Very soon, Steed Malbranque and his mates will kick off for L’Olympique Lyonnais at Stade Brestois.
Sadly, only an 11-0 win would take Lyon back to the top of Ligue 1, but any win would at least put them on equal points with Paris Saint-Germain. (Update: they didn’t score 11, managing only a 1-1 draw)
PSG’s defeat at relegation-threatened Reims – 1-0 with Reims down to 10 men from the 59 minutes, ie before the goal – was sweet. That is anti-PSG, not anti-Beckham who has conducted himself well in France, giving friendly interviews, meeting the fans, playing reasonably well.
But in case anyone else needs a reason to dislike the moneybags Parisians, other than just preferring Lyon because they’d be inclined to like – within reason – any team he played for, consider this.
I have only L’Equipe‘s word for it but see no reason to doubt the report’s accuracy. Stoppage time, and the Reims keeper Kossi Agassa kicks the ball out of play when his teammate Florent Ghisolfi goes down with a bad injury.
And guess what happened next. PSG shamefully refused to observe convention and decency and give the ball back, once play resumed, to Reims.
There is no law against it though referees should be able to interpret it as ungentlemanly/unsporting conduct and issue cards.
PSG must live with the minior disgrace this brings on them.
At least the manager, Carlo Ancelotti, had a shred of honour, apologising to his Reims counterpart, Hubert Fournier, after the match, explaining that he was not on the field so could do nothing to curb the rotten instincts of his fabulously paid players (he didn’t mention “rotten instincts”; I added that).
“That’s class,” said Fournier of Ancelotti’s apology and I agree. But just another little episode to drive away lingering notions of football as a game in which decency invariably triumphs over cynicism and arrogance.