Monday, January 18, 2010

Not to be outdone by their Belgian neighbours, France also had new champion, although of more familiar name. Nantes had been champions before and traditionally are among the better French clubs, but the previous 6 years the title was monopolized by Saint Etienne for four years, followed by Olympique Marseille in 1970-71 and 1971-72 seasons. It looked like Marseille were going to win and win – at least such were their ambitions:

The champions of 1972: Bottom, left to right: Magnusson, Bonnel, Gress, Skoblar, Couecou.
Top: Zvunka, Kula, Novi, Carnus, Lopez, Bosquier.
When Olympique Marseille celebrated their 100 years in 1999, ‘France Football’ conducted a poll for their best ever team – this selection won, ahead of the team winning the European Champions Cup! Surely it is impressive – with Magnusson (Sweden) and Skoblar (Yugoslavia) in attack and fine group of French stars – Gress, Couecou, Novi, Carnus, Bosquier, and Zvunka. There was a third title coming… but only for Couecou, who was transferred to Nantes. For the rest – nothing. Only Skoblar was once again top goal scorer of the championship – hardly a reason for big celebration. The most likely reason for the failure was aging – most of the players belonged to the 60s rather than 70s, and names alone were unable to sustain success.