French Fancies: hail Lille and – nearly – Patrice Carteron’s Dijon

Image: FC Lille

Lille’s 2-2 draw at Paris Saint-Germain last night was enough to bring them the cup-and-league double – they had already beaten PSG in the final of the Coupe de France – and a promise by the club president Michel Seydoux to throw a “huge party in this marvellous city”.

That’s a great achievement for a relatively unfashionable club that will do well to hang on to its better players. It is only their third Ligue 1 title, though their second double (look back to 1946 for the first). I did help a little by predicting a comfy late cruise to the championship for Marseille but the record books are unlikely to acknowledge this contribution.

At the other end of the table, Nice beat Lorient 2-0 and start today, like Sunderland, in 14th place. Sadly, an intriguing programme for the last games of the season next weekend leaves our fondly remembered midfielder Eric Roy uncertain of keeping them up. A draw at Valenciennes would suffice but the others fighting to stay in Ligue 1 – Lens and Arles-Avignon are down, the former beaten at home by the latter last night to give A-A a teaspoonful of pride, hitting all of 20 points – could otherwise overtake them.

Coming up, with Evian Thonon Gaillard – Evian will do for short – should be Dijon, home of the great mustard but also of Patrice Carteron, who famously scored for Sunderland in a Wear-Tyne derby. I watched that match in a pub in Lyon and, a couple of Geordies apart, the place erupted when the goal went in; he’d played 120 times for OL. Goal difference means it would take a couple of freak results in the final games for Dijon to be overhauled.

Great news for Patrice looks like being bad for Le Mans, one of Stephane Sessegnon’s former clubs and the home town of Mme Salut, not that she cares. After spending the first two-thirds of the season looking promotion candidates, les Manceaux have stumbled in the final third. They managed to lose 4-3 away to third-bottom Vannes despite having led 2-0 and 3-2 and now need – other than winning heavily at home to Nantes while Dijon collapse at Angers – Ajaccio to manage only a draw at Nimes on Friday night, plus that home win of their own.

It has been an unusually interesting season for the exile in France, with just enough Sunderland interest – including the collapse of Bordeaux – to make it fun.

Monsieur Salut

3 thoughts on “French Fancies: hail Lille and – nearly – Patrice Carteron’s Dijon”

  1. The Franco equivalent (well sort of….) of AFC Wimbledon then?

    Well done to them. An amazing story.

  2. It is even better than that, Pete, and if I had delved a little more, I’d have written about this above.

    Evian Thonon Gaillard have astonishingly achieved successive promotions in their first two seasons of existence. In 2007, two amateur clubs – Football Croix de Savoie 74 and l’Olympique Thonon-Chablais – amalgamated as L’Olympique Croix de Savoie 74. They nearly won the amateur league in 2008 and did so in 2009, also reaching the last 16 of the Coupe de France and a honourable exit v Lyon (0-1). They entered the French third division and finished fifth, acquiring money and changing their name to Evian Thonon Gaillard before winning promotion to Ligue 2 in 2009-2010 and now, one year on, the championship to take them to the top flight. Zidane and Lizarou are among the shareholders and there is big-money support, it seems, from the huge Danone group, but it is a remarkable achievement all the same. Even if they do go straight down again next season!

    All the above depends on my translation and understanding of the club’s own history

  3. I presume that the club in Evian is an amalgamation? I remember being part of a school trip to that area in 1981 and driving through Thonon on a Saturday evening, past the packed stadium. Had I been in charge of that trip, I would have stopped the coach and marched the children into the ground. Thonon got promotion that year and then disappeared off the radar.
    I also remember going into a sports shop in Evian and finding a Bolton Wanderers shirt on the reduced rack. Why?

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