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Celebrating Olympique Marseille

Yesterday I took an Uber and the driver soon made me aware he was a football fan, as he had an OGC Nice red and black pennant hanging from his rear view mirror.

After expressing his surprise at the amount Fulham paid for Nice players le Marchand and Jean Michel Seri, he moved the conversation on to the great Marseille side under the ownership of Bernard Tapie.

This contained Jean Pierre Papin, Klaus Allofs, Chris Waddle, Fabien Barthez, Alan Boksic, Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly and Basile Boli.

They beat AC Milan in the 1993 European Champions Final in Munich but a corruption scandal resulted in their subsequent relegation.

Even with the present supremacy of PSG , the driver rated this as the greatest French team of all time.

I met a Marseille supporting waiter in England who stated that Chris Waddle at his team was a superior player to Diego Maradona.

The team, though always in the top flight with the biggest gates, never matched that success of the Tapie era.

Tapie himself became a stage actor.

Marseille attracted a certain notoriety in a Netflix series in which Gerard Depardieu, now somewhat bloated but still a fine actor, played the Mayor.

French city mayors are more like US bosses than their ceremonial counterparts in the UK.

Jacques Medecin, who controlled Nice, decided the city need a better team and duly backed them in the fifties.

Jacques Chirac as Mayor of Paris was a huge soccer fan and publicly supported PSG.

The Uber driver was so engrossed in all of this that he took the wrong route and we became ensnared in the Old Town of Nice

About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts