If Carlsberg did match reports – they would be pretty much the opposite of this
I won’t lie, there are a lot of benefits to living in France. The weather is magnificent and the beer and wine are fantastically cheap. On top of that, croissants are nicer than toast.
There are however obvious downsides. First up, my French is extremely poor (and I seem to be on a very shallow learning curve), so I spend most conversations with the French looking at my shoes and feeling like an ashamed child, and I miss live football. I miss the late nineties and having a season ticket at Barnsley, I miss ‘the uni years’ and watching Sunderland.
Thankfully, this season, I have discovered Ligue 1.
As you will know if you are reading this site in the first place, Ligue 1 is on the rise. The money that PSG found themselves with in the summer, and the signings that they’ve made has thrown the spotlight onto ‘my’ league, and thanks to my geographical situation, I am now a Toulouse FC fan.
Now, I must mention something at this point. I went last weekend’s match with the intention of writing an excellent match report, as well as taking pictures galore of the action on the field and the fans, but, my battery died at around kick off and, during my first proper night out in Toulouse, I managed to forget almost everything that happened during the 90 minutes. In my defence, it was very, very forgettable.
The Toulouse fans were in fine voice, as they have been in every home game which I have visited. My regular seat is in the home section next to the ‘Ultras’, the hardcore Toulouse fans who sing and chant from half an hour before the game until the final whistle blows. They are quite different to any fan that I’ve encountered in all my years of watching football in the UK, as they stand on their seats from start to finish, and have two ‘directors’ between them and the pitch. Not only do these guys start each chant, but they also have a PA system set up, within the crowd, to make sure that everyone is singing from the same proverbial song sheet.
As I said, the match itself was something of a turgid affair. I was excited to see Loic Remy leading the line for Marseille, while French U21 hotshot got the nod ahead of Umut Bulut as TFC’s lone striker.
The first half almost came and went without anything of note happening. Benoît Cheyrou beat Aymen Abdennour to the ball and hit the bar, Marseille hit the bar again from a header after an excellent ball in from the left, and Frank Tabanou blazed over for Toulouse after being played through thanks to a wonderful ball over the top from Ettiene Capoue.
In the second half, Charles Kaboré picked up two quick yellow cards, leaving OM to play the final 30 minutes with ten men, but Toulouse, with Bulut now on in place of Riviere, couldn’t create anything of real quality, although the Turkish international did put a header wide with seconds on the clock, before Capoue evened up the numbers and picked up his own second yellow card of the game.
Dan Williams (follow: @daninfrance)