Thursday, 1 November 2012

From The Archive: Olympique Lyonnais 3 vs 1 Nancy - 15/10/11

This time last year Chris was travelling around Europe and had the joy of taking in a fantastic experience in Lyon. Since we have a break in games that we can make it to we thought you might enjoy his report. Enjoy!

My decision to visit Lyon was by chance. I was travelling around Europe for a month and after Paris wanted to head to Italy (Turin to be exact) however in doing so, would lose a day sitting on a train. Looking at my options I decided upon a weekend stopover in Lyon to break up the journey and wow was I happy I did. Not only was Lyon a great city but Olympique Lyonnais was playing at home that very weekend… bonus!

I arrived early to Stade De Gerland to soak up the atmosphere and was delighted to find La Tribune (the Lyon Programme) was free. I immediately headed for the beer & food tents and joined the locals for some street drinking and Lyonnais Sausage before heading into the stadium.

What strikes you first about Stade De Gerland is how old and dated it feels in today’s Football Stadiums world however, this is the very thing that makes it so fantastic. My seat was in the Virage Nord end and, once in the stadium grounds, the walk up to the stand felt something like that of an old Roman Theatre; aged concrete steps lead up to arches before entering into the stand and once in the stand you soon realise that it is made of nothing but steel & concrete with no frills. Once at my seat I realised this was a common theme. However, the unique and truly awe-inspiring element of this stadium will be sadly lost when Lyon move to their new, currently under-construction, 60,000 seater stadium in 2013.

Now… not speaking a word of French what happens next is what I imagine was said…
10 minutes before kick off a Large Frenchman climbs up at the front of the Virage Nord stand with a mega-phone and addresses the near full Virage Nord stand ‘OK GUYS, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME TONIGHT, WE’RE GONNA SING OUR HEARTS OUT, AND GONNA KICK SOME NANCY ASS! SEE YOU IN 10 MINS!’, the crowd cheers him and he disappears… Roughly 10 mins later he appears this time with friends ‘GET ON YOUR FEET!’, the whole stand is now on their feet and standing on their seats, 40% of the front section raise flags, ‘OOO – LIMP – PIQUE – OH – LYON – AISE!’ This does not let up for the whole 90 minutes! Fantastic, I lucked into tickets in with the Virage Nord Kop.

The Match itself was a whitewash with Lyon winning 3-1. Before the match I was extremely excited to see Yohann Goucuff as, in my opinion, he is an undeniable talent that simply needs to pull it all together. Yet in this game he proved all his haters right as he came on as a 1st half sub to have very little influence on the match. I was, however, blown away by Michel Bastos. He completely dominated the match from the left wing and was a constant set piece threat scoring the opening goal with a lovely free kick and the 3rd goal from the penalty spot. Gomis scored the 2nd Lyon goal ending a lovely team move. All of this happened in the 1st half which put the game result beyond doubt; which is a shame as it overshadowed the activity in the 2nd half which included a Nancy penalty miss & then the goal of the day… week… month… maybe year from Nancy Striker Jo-Gook Jung… PEACH!

Leaving the stadium I took one last look at Stade De Gerland, knowing it would be unlikely I would ever be back before it was demolished, and realised I had had one of my favourite football trips ever. I felt sad to think that the new Lyon stadium may not contain the atmosphere that the current one has. Only one way to find out, I’ll be back…

Ticket - €17.50

Access to Stadium – Underground straight from Centre of Lyon to Stade De Gerland - €7.50 Daily Metro Pass

Programme – Free

Attendance - 33,825

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