Groundhop 1881 – FC Girondins de Bordeaux

Ligue de Football Professionnel, Ligue 1
FC Girondins de Bordeaux v Olympique Lyonnais
Sunday, 17th February 2013, 2pm
Stade Chaban Delmas
Entrance €42, Programme Free
Distance 590 miles, Attendance 27240
Somewhere back in June I hatched a rather audacious plan to get my non-footballing wife to one of the 1881 games and, with valentines weekend on the distant horizon, what better way to demonstrate another side to this football obsessive than a romantic weekend away (with football).
???????????????????????????????Keeping an eye on Ligue 1 for some time, leading up to the trip – for research purposes only you understand – I’d tuned in to a couple of Europa League matches involving the teams we would see. Giving me hope, both Bordeaux and Olympique Lyonnais had put in fine performances however little could have truly prepared me for what was to come.
Situated on an estuary, now in the Gironde region of SW France, Burdigala was fist settled in by a Celtic tribe around 300BC. Since then – due to its strategic location, and wine – the city has been desired by everyone from Franks to the Visigoths, and in Aliénor d’Aquitaine even provided a wife for Henry II of England.
130217 Girondis de Bordeaux v Lyon (19)Eventually annexed to France in 1653, Baron Haussmann used it as the architectural blueprint for modernising Paris, and the French Government relocated there to shelter from both the Franco-Prussian and Great Wars.
130217 Girondis de Bordeaux v Lyon (25)wWith a name adopted from local revolutionaries – between said wars, on 1st October 1881 – Girondins de Bordeaux was founded initially as a gymnastics and shooting club. Further sports were added before football was introduced in 1910. In 1936 the club’s professional status coincided with their starting life in the 2nd Division.
The original ground became their training facility as Bordeaux’s Stade du Parc Lescure was built to help host the 1938 Coupe du Monde, and only recently this stadium was renamed after the city’s mayor, Jacques Chaban-Delmas. In three years it will close for good.
Having won countless trophies since the 1941 Coupe de France, Le club au scapulaire is now one of the most successful clubs in France; winning its last league title in 2009.
130217 Girondis de Bordeaux v Lyon (155)Going into the game both teams were again vying for top finishes but – as our taxi driver from the airport had warned – FCGB were struggling with injuries and with this first weekend of fine weather many fans would be heading for the beach instead. We on the other hand settled for a wonderful breakfast by Cathédrale Saint-André and a trip to Musée des Beaux Arts before heading by tram for the stadium.
At the ground supporters mingled freely and my wife’s French came in handy as we struggled to find the ticket collection booth but, once inside the sunny stadium a welcome scene stretched before us. About us mixed fans basked in the warm sunshine, with filled baguettes and beer, whilst to the left a lively home support began chanting an impressive repertoire.

130217 Girondins de Bordeaux v Lyon (196)

Missing the handshakes was probably a blessing in disguise but, after a banner was unfurled across our stand (saying I know not what) the next thing we saw was kick-off.
130217 Girondis de Bordeaux v Lyon (170)For ninety minutes – as my wife pitched in with amusing comments I was relieved our neighbours couldn’t fully understand – Bordeaux strived to break down a stronger Lyon team without much success. The visitors took the lead on 15mins when Grenier shot deftly past the outstretched keeper, and a flurry of attacks sort to bring parity back but up front, Bordeaux repeatedly drew blanks. In the second half it only got worse.
130217 Girondis de Bordeaux v Lyon (202)wThree well taken goals from Fofana, Lacazette and a Grenier penalty midway through the half put the game far out of reach of our hosts. It just wasn’t Bordeaux’s day. They had plenty of possession but rarely used it to any effect; Lyon conversely were potent in attack. After a gentle stroll through the sunshine back into the city, we reflected on our good fortune with a glass of the local.
On being wowed by the city’s beauty, Victor Hugo is alleged to have said “Take Versailles, add Antwerp, and you have Bordeaux.” Ok we (and I mean “I”) had come for sport and that hadn’t gone to plan but – after the endless cold back home – a long weekend in such a beautiful, fully pedestrianised city where warm sunshine enhanced the lovely food, wine and architecture, really we couldn’t have asked for more.

130217 Girondis de Bordeaux v Lyon (290)w

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Initially appearing in this season’s Watford FC matchday programmes, consequently Groundhop 1881 reports will appear late on here. At the end of the journey, a book will be published telling the full story.
This entry was posted in 2012-2013, Groundhop 1881, Ligue de Football Professionnel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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