Saturday, June 25, 2011

Leftovers for the rest… Lens reached the Cup final and thanks to the St. Etienne’s double, they got to play in the European Cup Winners Cup. As a losing finalist, outscored 0-2 at the final… hardly a surprise, considering the opposition.
Top, left to right: Notheuax, Grzegorczik, Leclerqc, Hopquin, Marie, Lenvoy.
Bottom: Faber, Bousdira, Zuraszek, Elie, Kaiser.
Well, hardly a squad to compete with the French national team dressed in green, yet an interesting team. In general, Lens – or Racing Club de Lens, as the ful name goes – were meandering between First and Second Division for the most of the 1970s (and later, one may add) and did not have even occasional strong year, keeping their lot near the bottom of First Division table. So, playing at the Cup final was big achievement. The rest is trivia… Lens is one of the traditionally Polish clubs in France: two real Poles – Grzegorczik and Faber and bunch of French with Polish roots – Zuraszek, Cieselski, Thomaziewski… add the coach – Sowinski. And another angle as well: Greek one. Arghirudis played for Lens – and St. Etienne had Yves Triantafilos in their squad. None played at the final, but Greeks – like the Poles - often make lists of Greek contribution to French football. If not by citizenship, then by ancestry.
Sounds like trivia, but is not – Angers, Rennes, and Red Star ended at the bottom of the table and were relegated to the Second Division. Typical clubs of the unsettled category too good for Second and too weak for the First… they constantly moved up and down, no big deal. Moving up were Avignon, Valenciennes, and Nancy. For the city which centuries ago was Papal residence, ascending to First Divison was a rare triumph (did not last, though). The other two newcomers were similar to the relegated – once again returning, only to face new relegation quickly. Yet, there was something very important in one of the promoted clubs: AS Nancy-Lorainne.
Top, left to right: Lopez, Bernhard, Curbelo, Donnat, Raczinski, Redin – coach.
Bottom: Jannaud, Platini, Martinez, Rico, Mesones, Di Caro.
Well, Second Division clubs hardly possess noticeable players and at first glance Nancy is not any different… except for one boy, who does not need introduction: Michel Platini. He was nobody yet, but he was to stay, and to excite fans around the world, and grace much bigger clubs with his fantastic and elegant game. Platini arrived!