Logo row widens rift between Marseille and fans

Logo row widens rift between Marseille and fans

Post by max sold » Sat, 28 Feb 2004 10:47:24


MARSEILLE, France, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Olympique Marseille's recent decision
to change their logo was greeted by a fan furore which perfectly illustrated
the widening rift between club and supporters.

Marseille's powerful supporters' groups protested at the move, saying
president Christophe Bouchet and his aides were not entitled to alter the
club's image.

"Instead of changing the club's symbol, Bouchet would be better inspired to
change players," said Rene Maleville, head of the Yankees, one of the most
influential fan clubs.

"Our logo has been around for decades while Bouchet is only passing

The reaction may seem out of proportion but it was only the latest in a long
list of feuds between the fans and the club's management.

"The new logo will be more modern," a Marseille spokesman insisted, saying
it would the eighth logo in the 101-year-old history of France's most
renowned soccer club.

The logo row followed a strike from cheering by the Ultras, another
supporters' group, and street fights between rival groups MTP (Marseille Too
Powerful) and Winners.


Since he took over from Bernard Tapie two years ago, Bouchet has regularly
mentioned the "heavy heritage" he received from the previous management,
especially regarding relations with fans.

In a situation unique in French football, the members of half a dozen
supporters' groups have exclusive access to almost half of the club's Stade

In a peace agreement signed with the fans in 1989, Tapie agreed that members
of the groups would get discounts on tickets and the club even pays the rent
on the headquarters of the various groups.

Ten years later, president Yves Marchand went a step further by offering
jobs within the club to the heads of two supporters' groups, asking them to
liaise with the fans.

"It was a gross mistake. The fans suddenly had the impression that they
owned the club," said a former leading official.

Seven main groups hold their positions in the Velodrome tribunes. The north
stands are the stronghold of the Yankees and Ultras. To the south can be
found the Winners, MTP, Dodgers and Fanatics.

The split in the stadium is roughly the same as the social and cultural
divide in the city itself between the northern and southern suburbs.


The tensions between rival groups have increased in recent weeks and two
leading members of the Winners were sent to jail after attacking MTP members
in a dispute over tickets.

Other members of the Winners were banned from the group after insulting
Bouchet and several players at the end a lacklustre game against AC Ajaccio.

The fans later apologised but the incident once again showed that the
honeymoon between Bouchet and the Marseille crowd is only a fading memory.

"It was a deplorable incident but everybody met to discuss the problems and
the fans responsible came personally to the players to apologise," said
midfielder Brahim Hemdani.

"But it's something we won't forget easily."

Above all, the various supporters' groups are fighting for a share of the
Marseille cake -- they receive a percentage from sales of T-shirts and other
promotional items -- so the club's lacklustre results in recent weeks have
not helped to ease the tension.

Marseille finished second in Ligue 1 last season and played in the Champions
League. But now they are sixth in the standings with only limited European


Logo row widens rift between Marseille and fans

Post by Shussb » Sun, 29 Feb 2004 09:02:52

>The north
>>stands are the stronghold of the Yankees and Ultras. To the south can be
>>found the Winners, MTP, Dodgers and Fanatics.

>Are their nick names really in English or has this article just
>translated them?

No they are really in english , exept MTP ( Marseille Trop Puissant ),  but it
could work too ( Marseille Too Powerful )

Take care!