Dijon is a fairly attractive town set in the beautiful region of Burgundy. Links between there and Sunderland probably don’t extend beyond the short time one of their former managers, Patrice Carteron, spent at SAFC (the famous highlight of his stay being a goal against Newcastle United). The town does give its name to a mustard Monsier Salut regards as a basic necessity of life so should be thanked heartily for that. Pete Sixsmith could not make it to France for the three friendlies there but offers thoughts on what he saw of the 3-2 win – the game being played nearkly 200 miles away in Evian-les-Bains – via the club site …
In the end I am really quite neutral on the question of the Premier League title.
Yes, Man City have gone out with Abu Dhabi money and bought the trophy. But Man Utd have been doing the same, minus the UAE connection, for years.
Most attention in French football, providing welcome distraction from the elections, focuses today on the Premier-style movement at the top, where moneybags Paris Saint-Germain are again threatening to tear up the fairytale script that would have Montpellier as champions. And once-mighty Marseille’s first Ligue 1 win in centuries, Loic Remy grabbing the only goal at home to far-from-mighty Nancy.
I prefer to look forward to tonight’s game and hope for a Dijon victory over Auxerre.
STOP PRESS. Beaten two nil …
Some Salut! Sunderland readers gave encouragement to the idea of maintaining our occasional look at French football. And there’s enough Sunderland interest in Ligue 1 this season to make it worthwhile …
STOP PRESS: ST ETIENNE, without Steed who was not eligible and played for the reserves instead, beat Bordeaux 2-1 away tonight – a great start and the defeat couldn’t have happened to more deserving opposition. Steed impressed in his run-out, showing plenty of verve and enthusiasm according to the official club site, though he ended up on the losing side (2-1). And is it going to an Arles-Avignon sort of season for Patrice Carteron’s Dijon? Walloped 5-1 at home by Gyan’s old club Rennes!
The headline in Saturday morning’s Le Figaro had the whole of French football trying to play catch-up with the Man City-style flash boys of Paris Saint-Germain. PSG flaunted their new Qatari-sourced wealth by spending the ludicrous sum of €43m for Palermo’s Argentinian attacking midfielder Javier Pastore just too late to start the season last night.
First Lewis Hamilton got himself into trouble with Formula 1 race stewards after his misfired gag – “maybe it’s because I’m black …That’s what Ali G says,” he said with a smile about being penalised in the Monaco Grand Prix – and then Monaco went down. And this, to the relief of those without the least interest in le football, is the last French Fancies of the season …
Well Patrice Carteron’s Dijon were already up, and yesterday Eric Roy’s Nice survived the dramatic final day of Ligue 1 despite losing at Valenciennes, so once-mighty Monaco joined once-mighty Nantes in France’s Championship equivalent, Ligue 2. There was nothing much at stake at the top, of course, because the title was already Lille’s.
Monaco’s fate was in their own hands, but the fixtures list left them a tough last game, against Lyon at home, and they lost 2-0. That meant they could stay up only if Nancy stumbled at home to already-relegated Lens. Nancy 4 Lens 0 soon snipped that lifeline.
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.