French Fancies: sing your heart out for a ban



Here’s an adventure in fantasy football:

Imagine we’ve just beaten someone, not Newcastle but a team like Bolton or West Brom, in the League Cup final. Yes, that’s quite a leap of faith given how modestly we proceed in cup competition these days, but bear with me ….

The winning goal has been scored by Asamoah Gyan. Sadly, Gyan is off at the end of the season but wants to say goodbye properly to the Sunderland fans roaring his name. So he grabs the microphone from the man doing the announcements and sings his heart out for the lads.

The song he sings is familiar to the fans and goes down quite well. It is about Newcastle and is not made for Sunday school listening; instead it includes a choice piece of profanity. Think “never been mastered” and you get the drift.

All too far-fetched? Well, something of the sort has just happened in France.

Marseille beat Montpellier 1-0 to win the Couple de la Ligue, their second successive league cup final victory, and the goal was scored by the Nigerian player Taye Taiwo, who will be moving on at the end of the season.

At the Stade de France, he did indeed take the microphone and start singing a charming little song about going up to Paris – they were already there, but that’s a mere detail – and doing something fairly nasty to Paris Saint-German, OM’s great rivals. He wasn’t about to offer PSG supporters crème brûlée but what he did have in mind rhymes, more or less.

The OM manager Didier Deschamps assured the media that he hadn’t heard it and hoped they’d have more important things to report on. Unfortunately, the football authorities were less dismissive and have launched an inquiry. There’s a clamour for exemplary punishment and it could bring a three-match ban, limiting Taiwo’s involvement in a potentially thrilling run-in.

As you may have guessed, there wasn’t much to report for French Fancies this week.

Marseille, I predict, will now win Ligue 1 again to add to the league cup. Lille dropped a point at Lorient and are now just two points ahead. Marseille will overtake them tonight if they beat Salut! Sunderland and Eric Toy’s team, OGC Nice, which should be well within their powers.

Beyond that, Arles-Avignon fought a spirited 0-0 draw at Nancy and have mustered all of 14 points. With six games left, they will surely not now be on as few as 15 points – our own worst in the top flight – when they sail back down to Ligue 2 at the end of the season.

Monsieur Salut

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