Joey Barton: a year in Marseille

Marseille is home to one of the most successful clubs in France, a footballing establishment whose history transcends that of current giants Paris Saint-Germain, who’ve usurped Marseille’s throne in recent times. Their fans are passionate; their ultras even more so. But even they would have been taken aback when their club announced the loan signing…

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The obsession of Marcelo Bielsa

As featured on Guardian Sport With one brief, shocking press conference, he was gone. Marcelo Bielsa announced to the media at the Stade Vélodrome following Olympique Marseille’s 1-0 loss to Caen that he had stepped down as head coach. “I took my decision on Wednesday,” the coach told perplexed cluster of journalists. “I’ve finished my work here.…

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Eric Cantona: the early French years

Like a raging bull who had just seen flashed of red, he charged over the advertising board and embedded his studs into the chest of Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons. It was the defining footballing image from the Premier League in the 1990s. An unspeakable incident that prompted endless media coverage, psychological analyses and protests from…

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A World of Ultras: Marseille

Welcome to Marseille, the second largest city in France and capital of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region. The Mediterranean coastal location is one of the nation’s most affluent cities and was named European City of Culture in 2013. It is also home to France’s longest-serving football ultras group: the Commando Ultra 84. For three decades,…

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