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The World Seen With  A Football Fan's Eye

FC Evian

18.05.2013 LIGUE 1 2012/2013
FC Evian - Valenciennes 2:0

The club's history is not too long yet a bit complicated: it was founded in 2003 in Gaillard, through a merger of two clubs. That same year, the Danone Group CEO became the club owner and changed the name into FC Evian, with Zinedine Zidane, Bixente Lizarazu and Alain Boghossian (all three World Champions 1998) belonging to the club's shareholders. Since the 2010/2011 season the team has been using the Parc de Sports stadium in Annecy, it would have not otherwise obtained a license to play even in the League 2 competition. 2011/2012 was club's first season in the French uper league.
I was asked to deposit my reflex camera at the gates, I was told this sort of an equipment is only allowed for journalists entering the stadium. I was not suprised, since I faced similar constraints at some other venues (most recently at SC Freiburg) where I managed to scounge the permission. Yet this time the security guard was adamant.
Despite a relatively modest club's tradition referred to above, the stadium is regularly visited by several thousands of fans, most probably due to a lack of a better alternative in the region - no other L1 club is nearby whilst both Servette Geneva and Lausanne Sports have been permanently balancing on the fringe between Switzerland's Super and Challenge leagues.
Valenciennes began the match much relaxed, which was used by the hosts meticulously: Evian scored the first goal in just 2nd minute, having launched a spectacular fast break. When the score was turned into 2:0 ten minutes later, the crowds smelled blood in the air and started demanding more goals vigorously. Evian rested on their laurels though and nothing special happened until end of the first half. Apart from some rain, pretty onerous despite the roofed sector we had our seats in. The crowds used the break to hunt for chips and cola, the smokers had their moments of pleasure on the spot. I was wondering about spontaneous reaction to the half time scores from other stadiums displayed on the beamer, before I realised the win over Valenciennes would secure the Ligue 1 retention - which they utlimately achieved although the guests performed visibly better in the second half and a contact goal seemed a matter of time.
Only in the 90th minute a former Wisła Kraków star (as well as a Poland's National Team would-be), Maor Melikson, came to the pitch as a subsitute. This did not give too much time for a nearly 1 m Euro Valencienne's purchase to present full variety of his skills. Yet the club stats claim he has been a member of the first 11 regulalry to date and even scored in the previous match vs. Rennes.
The audience cheered the game for the last several minutes and a Mexican wave was rolling across all the tribunes. After the last whistle of the referee (all four dressed in yellow - hurting everyones' eyes), the fans were greeting their players for retaining the League 1 competition for the next season. And I immediately run to the deposit box to prevent that my Nikon is claimed by somebody else.
I am still uncertain which of the two was a bigger attraction of the weekend in Annecy: the match itself or the afternoon stroll in the old town.