PostHeaderIcon La vie en France: Week 4

Les dernières émotions au Ray.
C’est maintenant, ou jamais.

18 May 2013

The match was scheduled to take place on the 18th May. We bought the ticket on 27th April right after our very first French class at Alliance Française. Obviously we were excited enough to act so quickly.

It was not just any match. One of the most popular french football clubs, Olympique Lyonnais were to visit local team OGC Nice, who, rather extraordinarily, were hot on their heels in the quest for UEFA Champions League (UCL) football next season. Of course, the UCL is nothing new for Lyon – being in the same group of French elites together with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille, they are expected to represent France every year in the highly coveted European club football competition.

For Nice, on the other hand, it’s an entirely different story. The club were almost relegated three times in recent history; in 2007, 2010 and 2011, where they finished 16th, 15th and 17th (out of 20 teams) respectively. Their last silverware was the Coupe de France (the FA Cup) in 1997. The fact that they were vying with Lyon, Saint-Etienne and Lille OSC this season for the last Champions League spot was too good to be true for some of the fans. C’est maintenant, they say, ou jamais. It’s now or never.

It was a must-win match. Like, duh.

And guess what? With Nice granted a new stadium for home games starting from next season, this would also be their last ever match at Stade du RayLes dernières émotions au Ray. A very special occasion indeed.

Due to adverse weather conditions (heavy rain), however, the match was postponed until the next day.

19 May 2013

Honestly I think I was the most excited for this whole OGC Nice thingy. You have no idea how many times I had visited the club’s official store situated not far from our French school, just to look at and admire those beautiful, maginificent official club merchandise. Without even the slightest of doubts, I was thrilled to put OGC Nice alongside Manchester United as my favourite football clubs.

So, thanks to my extreme eagerness and enthusiasm, I decided to take a look at the stadium in the morning, before the kick off later in the evening. A 40-minute walk was all that was needed. I strolled around the small stadium, with the intimidating, heavy presence of gendarmeries and police (on duty for the match) made me quite uncomfortable. Then I went home.

That evening, I set off to Stade du Ray with Hafiz (fellow PF10) and Laura (a lovely, newly-found American friend).

Stade Du Ray, Nice.
15h05 – 17h35.

Gendarmeries verifying tickets at various points of entry around the stadium.

The inauguration of OGC Nice’s new emblem – a real bonus for us!

The superb atmosphere at Stade du Ray.

The match ended 1-1. Nice’s Cvitanich slotted home from the spot just after the restart, but a fantastic freekick from Clement Gernier gave Lyon the all-important equaliser. In between the goals, Lyon’s Gonalons was show the red card.

It was not the best of results, but considering how exceptionally well Nice had been performing all-year round, the fans had nothing to complain and les Aiglons accordingly gave them a lap of honour, bidding goodbye to the Ray in the process.

The unofficial anthem of Nice – Nissa la Bella:

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