OLYMPIQUE DE MARSEILLE

HISTORY

Olympique de Marseille was founded by René Dufaure de Montmirail, a French sport official, in 1892, as an omnisport club. Known as Sporting Club, US Phocéenne, and Football Club de Marseille in the first five years after its founding, the club adopted the name Olympique de Marseille in 1899, in honor of the anniversary of Marseille's founding by Greeks from Phocaea some 25 centuries earlier, with the name Olympique, coming from ancient Olympic Games and the colours (reversed flag of Greece) chosen to represent the club. At first, rugby union was the most important team sport of the club, the motto Droit au but coming from rugby. Affiliated with USFSA since 1898, it was only in 1902, thanks to English and German (still according to André Gascard), that football began to be played by Olympique de Marseille. Richer and better organized than other football teams of Marseille (Sporting, Stade, Phocéenne.), Olympique de Marseille, playing at the Stade de l'Huveaune, took the leadership in the city. In 1904, Olympique de Marseille won the first Championnat du Littoral, opposing teams from Marseille and its suburbs, and took part in the final rounds of the eleventh French championship. At that time, the word "football" applied to rugby, and people used the word "Association" (which would be soccer in North America) for football.

During the twenties, Olympique de Marseille became an important team in France, winning the Coupe de France in 1924, 1926 and 1927. The team won the French championship in 1929, defeating Club Français. The Coupe de France in 1924 was the club's first major title, won against FC Sète which dominated French football at the time. In the twenties, numerous French internationals such as Jules Dewaquez, Jean Boyer or Joseph Alcazar played for Marseille.[3] In 1930, Marseille lost against Sète, which would be the winner, in the semi-final round. In 1931, the team became champion of the South-East, with victories against rivals such as Sète. In Coupe de France, l'OM lost in 5 matches to Club Français, winning the second match which was canceled due to the disqualification of the Marseille striker Vernicke. Even though the 1931–32 season was less successful, Marseille easily entered professionalism. In 1932, the team became a member of the union of professional clubs. On 13 January 1932 at 9:15 pm, at the Brasserie des Sports, Mr. Dard, Mr. Bison, Dr. Rollenstein, Mr. Etchepare, Mr. Leblanc, Mr. Mille, Mr. Anfosso, Mr. Sabatier, Mr. Seze, Mr. Bazat, Mr. Molteroj, and Mr. Pollack elected the following committee:

Honour Presidents: Paul Le Cesne et Fernand Bouisson President: M. Dard Vice-Presidents: Mr. Leblanc, Mr. Bison, Mr. Etchepare, Dr. Rollenstein et Mr. Anfosso General Secretary: Mr. Possel-Daydier Treasurer: Mr Bison (assisted by Mr Ribel).

For the first championship, Division 1 was divided into two pools. Marseille finished second in the first, behind Lille OSC. For its first match of the championship, Marseille defeated the future champion, Lille.

In 1937, Marseille won its first professional French championship thanks to goal average (+30 for Marseille, +17 for FC Sochaux-Montbéliard). The arrival of Vasconcellos made the defence stronger, whereas former goalkeeper Laurent Di Lorto shone with Sochaux and France. In the meantime, Marseille won the Coupe de France in 1935 and 1938 but failed a double success in 1934, due to FC Sète.

In 1938, Larbi Ben Barek signed with Marseille and became "the black pearl" for the team. World War II would cut his career short. The 1942–43 season was full of records: 100 goals in 30 matches, including 20 in one match (20–2 against Avignon), in which Aznar scored 9 goals, including the first 8 (Marseille was leading 8–0), playing only 70 minutes. Aznar scored 45 goals in 30 matches, plus 11 in cup games, for a record of 56 goals in 38 matches. With the minots (young players) of the moment (Scotti, Robin, Dard, Pironti), Marseille won the cup in two matches against FC Girondins de Bordeaux (4–0).

In 1948, thanks to a draw against Sochaux, Marseille became the champions of France. The two last victories at the Stade Vélodrome against Roubaix (6–0) and FC Metz (6–3) were important, as Aznar and Robin's returned in spring.

In 1952, Marseille was about to be relegated, but Gunnar Andersson saved his team, finishing as best scorer with 31 goals. The team won (5–3) on aggregate against US Valenciennes.The same year, Marseille lost at the Stade Vélodrome against AS Saint-Étienne 10–3, but Liberati was injured. In 1953, Gunnar Andersson would take the record of goals scored in one season with 35. Marseille was runner-up in the Coupe de France (OGC Nice won 2–1) in 1954 and the Coupe Drago in 1957 to (RC Lens which won 3–1). Marseille were struggling at the time and were relegated for the first time in 1959. From 1959 to 1965, the team played in the second division, except during the 1962/63 season, finishing 20th out of 20 in the first division. In 1965, Marcel Leclerc became president.
[edit] Marcel Leclerc era and crisis

The first period of Olympique de Marseille's domination of the French League started in the early 70's under Marcel Leclerc's presidency (1965–1972). His ambition allowed Marseille to return to the First division in 1965–66. They went on to win the Coupe de France in 1969 as well as the First division in 1971 with a record of 44 goals by Josip Skoblar, helped by Roger Magnusson. The arrival of Georges Carnus and Bernard Bosquier from Saint-Étienne helped them to win the Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France in 1972. Marseille played in the European Cup in 1971–72 and 1972–73 but were defeated by AFC Ajax of Johan Cruijff and Juventus. However, success was not to last. Marcel Leclerc was forced to leave the club on 19 July 1972. The president was a stubborn man, and he threatened the whole league by threatening to withdraw his professional team from Ligue 1 because the federation refused to accept three foreign players in one team (Leclerc wanted to acquire the Hungarian star Zoltán Varga but he had already the maximum number of two foreigners in his team). But Marseille decided, instead of following Leclerc against the league, to fire him.[4] Then followed an era of crisis with Marseille only winning a Coupe de France in 1976 and being relegated to the second division, where they played with a bunch of young local players: the Minots who allowed the team to return back to First division in 1984. Éric Di Meco was one of them.
[edit] Bernard Tapie era and OM/VA bribery scandal

On 12 April 1986, Bernard Tapie became president, thanks to Marseille mayor Gaston Defferre, and promptly built the greatest team ever seen in France. His first signings were Karl-Heinz Forster and Alain Giresse, who were bought after the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Tapie signed a large number of highly regarded players over the next few years in his pursuit of the European Cup, such as Jean-Pierre Papin, Chris Waddle, Klaus Allofs, Enzo Francescoli, Abedi Pelé, Didier Deschamps, Basile Boli, Marcel Desailly, Rudi Völler and Eric Cantona as well as appointing high-profile coaches like Franz Beckenbauer, Gérard Gili and Raymond Goethals. Between 1989 and 1992, Olympique de Marseille won 4 League titles in a row and the French Cup. The highlight of the club's history is winning the new format Champions League in 1993. Basile Boli scored the only goal against Italy's A.C. Milan in the final held in Munich's Olympic Stadium. That triumph was the first time ever for a French club and it made Didier Deschamps and Fabien Barthez the youngest captain and goalkeeper, respectively, to capture the title.

This, however, was followed by a decade of decline. In 1994, due to financial irregularities and a match fixing scandal involving then president Bernard Tapie, they suffered forced relegation to the second division, where Marseille stayed two years before coming back to First division. Moreover, they lost their 1992–93 Division 1 title and the right to play in the UEFA Champions League 1993-94 , the 1993 European Super Cup and the 1993 Intercontinental Cup. This scandal, called l'affaire VA-OM (VA for Union Sportive Valenciennes-Anzin and OM for Olympique de Marseille), was denounced by Valenciennes, whose players Jacques Glassmann,[5] Jorge Burruchaga[6] and Christophe Robert[6] were contacted by Marseille player Jean-Jacques Eydelie,[7] in order to let OM win and, more importantly, not to injure any OM player ahead of the UEFA Champions League final.
[edit] Return to success?

Marseille returned to the top flight in 1996 with backing from Adidas's owner Robert Louis-Dreyfus. He chose Rolland Courbis as coach, signed Fabrizio Ravanelli, Laurent Blanc, and Andreas Köpke, and Marseille finished 11th for his return. For the 1998–99 season, the team celebrated his centenary and built a team of stars: Robert Pirès, Florian Maurice, and Christophe Dugarry, culminating in a second place finish in the French championship, behind Bordeaux and an appearance in the UEFA Cup Final in 1999, losing to Parma. Courbis left the team in November 1999, after a poor start to the season. The closest Marseille to get another trophy was when they reached the UEFA Cup Final in 2004, impressively beating Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Internazionale, Liverpool, and Newcastle United along the way. But they were beaten in the final by newly-crowned Spanish champions Valencia CF and once again fans were forced to continue waiting for the next trophy to come along.

In 2005, Marseille succeeded in winning Intertoto Cup, beating the likes of Lazio and Deportivo La Coruña in doing so, and earning another shot at the UEFA Cup.

In January 2007, there was negotiation between Dreyfus and Jack Kachkar, a Canadian doctor and businessman (CEO of pharmaceutical company Inyx), about the selling of the club. As Jack Kachkar took too much time to buy the team, Robert Louis-Dreyfus decided on 22 March 2007 not to sell to the Canadian businessman.[8]

Another close call to glory was in the French Cup final against Sochaux in May 2007. However, they lost on penalties after a 2–2 draw after extra time, to the disappointment of everyone linked with the club, but they soon wiped all that disappointment away by qualifying for the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League group stage, after securing 2nd place with a game to go.

In the Champions League, Marseille became the first French team to win at Anfield when they beat 2007 runners-up Liverpool 1–0, and the team took 6 out of 6 points from their opening two games. They only drew one more match, and in a winner-takes-all final group game they lost 4–0 to Liverpool, who became the first English team to win at the Stade Vélodrome. Marseille, coming third in the Champions League Group A, then joined the UEFA Cup.[9]

Marseille finished the 2008–09 season with a second place finish in Ligue 1, following a tight race with Girondins de Bordeaux for the title. This earned them a direct entry into the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, their third consecutive season in the competition. Marseille won the 2010 Coupe de la Ligue Final beating Bordeaux 3–1 at the Stade de France in March 2010. This was their first major title since their Champions League triumph 17 years previously. Two months later, Marseille won their first league championship for 18 years with two games to spare after beating Rennes 3–1.[10][11]

Marseille defeated PSG on penalties to win the 2010 Trophee des Champions at Stade 7 Novembre in Rades, Tunisia before the season began. Marseille then became the first team to win back-to-back Coupe de la Ligue successes when they won the 2011 edition by beating Montpellier HSC 1–0 on 23 April. Before that, they qualified for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League for the first time since their historic success, but lost unluckily 2–1 at Old Trafford to Manchester United and also set a Champions League record by thrashing MSK Zilina 7–0 in what was the biggest away win in the competition's history.