French Fancies: Nice work, Le Mans race downwards, PSG au revoir to Becks

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Our last look of the season at French football takes in ups and downs and (tenuous) Sunderland links at both ends of the table …


The poster for Jonny Wilkinson’s Toulon rugby club
at the nearby Toulon-Hyères airport gives you an idea of which shape of ball matters most in the area Monsieur Salut calls home. Winners of the Heineken cup in Dublin (against Clermont) and this coming weekend in the French championship cup final against Castres. Wilkinson, who just keeps on scoring match after match, has become a local hero.

But another thirtysomething English sportsman in France has been prominent in the French press. As everyone knows, David Beckham was warmly received for his short sojourn at Paris Saint-Germain and, after neither disgracing himself nor covering himself in glory in his relatively limited playing time, has now retired. Le Journal du Dimanche wished him well but could not resist mentioning that he’d made “only two decisive passes” in his PSG career.

Read moreFrench Fancies: Nice work, Le Mans race downwards, PSG au revoir to Becks

French Fancies: the shame/la honte of PSG. Allez Steed and OL

Jake: l'artist
Jake: l’artist

Very soon, Steed Malbranque and his mates will kick off for L’Olympique Lyonnais at Stade Brestois.

Sadly, only an 11-0 win would take Lyon back to the top of Ligue 1, but any win would at least put them on equal points with Paris Saint-Germain. (Update: they didn’t score 11, managing only a 1-1 draw)

Read moreFrench Fancies: the shame/la honte of PSG. Allez Steed and OL

French Fancies: Beckham’s PSG flick and Toure’s sensational Brest dive

Jake: l'artist
Jake: l’artist

A booming burst of Hey Jude, the familiar broad Essex smile and a clever flicked pass to helped Ménez set up the second Paris Saint-Germain goal, off the knee of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, otherwise poor to the extent of being whistled at by his own fans, are on French lips today.

But David Beckham’s debut for PSG, big an event as it deemed to be on both sides of the Channel, was not for me the most memorable feature of the Ligue 1 weekend.

Read moreFrench Fancies: Beckham’s PSG flick and Toure’s sensational Brest dive