Tuesday, 14 May 2013

PSG: CHAMPIONS OF FRANCE - 24 hours of joy, illness and violence


Ok, so it took 19 years - and the GDP of a small African country - to get there, but PSG are Champions of France once more and boy does it feel good. I'm sure I wasn't the only one walking round with a permanent grin on my face yesterday.

To make things even better, Jezza Menezza was hero of the hour as PSG secured a 1-0 win over Lyon on Sunday night to clinch the title and spark wild celebrations at the Stade de Gerland. Thiago Motta won possession in midfield and found Zlatan, who in turn played in Menez. He did the rest with a cool angled finish past OL stopper Lopes. After scoring such an important goal, I'm sure the whole world will see Jezza for the hard-working, dedicated, ego-free team player that he is underneath. Maybe.

But it wouldn't be the PSG way to celebrate this magnificent achievement in a happy and drama-free fashion. First came the news that Director of Football Leonardo had been taken to hospital with a stress-related illness. Leo had been pictured in the aftermath of the Lyon match having a heated discussion with Zlatan Ibrahimovic over the striker's reluctance to leave the party and go and take a drug test, which just goes to show that it's pointless arguing with Ibra if you value your life.

Anyway, Leo is back home now and reportedly on the road to recovery, get well soon you charming little Brazilian. It's probably lucky he wasn't at the victory parade in Paris yesterday, as this would have undoubtedly sent his blood pressure soaring again.

The parade started well enough, with the squad on an open-top bus saluting thousands of people who lined the streets of the capital, waving flags and letting off fireworks and flares. The players were obviously loving it, Mamadou Sakho in particular seemed to have achieved the highest state of happiness I've ever seen in a single human being. It soon became apparent, though, that security wasn't the best, with chavs on mopeds having free reign to zoom around the bus and one over-exuberant supporter even trying to jump off a balcony and onto the top deck.

Things really started going downhill when the players reached their destination, the Trocadero. There was barely time to lift the trophy (above) before the players were whisked away back-stage, and fights started between fans and police. The police are - obviously - blaming the crowd, who they say charged the podium where the players were standing, then got violent with officers who tried to reinforce security.

“The conclusion you can draw is that there won’t be more any more events like this in a public place for Paris Saint-Germain,” said Paris Police chief Benard Boucault afterwards, and indeed a planned river cruise on the Seine was swiftly cancelled.

The club was also quick to release a statement condemning the events at the Trocadero: "The party was spoiled by a few hundred troublemakers who have nothing to do with football and even less with those that fill the Parc des Princes on match days with such passion and enthusiasm and in total security.

"Paris Saint-Germain is more determined than ever to build a huge European club, worthy of the French capital, and far removed from those intent on trying to destroy that dream."

It's an awkward situation for everyone. The club can say that these people have "nothing to do with football", but history suggests that there is a sizable minority of violent berks within our fanbase. Despite the efforts made in recent years to keep them away, they will still come out of the woodwork from time-to-time, and when they do you have to take some responsibility for them.

But its too easy for those in authority to just blame the supporters. In my experience the French police are not a nice organisation, and I imagine many of the officers on duty at the Trocadero yesterday were only too happy to get the chance to wield their batons and their tear gas canisters.

It seems to me the parade saw an unfortunate coming together of two groups of people who like a fight: one group wearing uniforms and carrying riot shields, and the other supposedly representing our great club. The title celebrations will continue on Saturday when we face Brest at the Parc des Princes, and lets hope yesterday's scenes can be put to bed without too many recriminations.


Sully said...

yep !

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