Marseille Away – Wednesday 8th December 2010
Planes, trains and automobiles take your pick – as with all European away games Chelsea fans will get to their destination by blagging, begging and forking out for various methods of travel. Pick of the bunch for an away game in France is by train – kick-back with a few cold beers, a couple of bottles of red and relax as you cross the French countryside
A quick glance on the net lists the Red Lion, O’Malley’s and Shamrock, which no doubt will be a magnet for the lager swilling, singing support; others will find plenty of bars and restaurants to while away the hours; Marseilles is described as a cultural melting pot and so all types of food will be catered for
Nightmare – anyone who attended the last game at the Velodrome will have witnessed some of the worst policing and stewarding at a football match – from entering the ground to leaving, the CRS and the stewards displayed very aggressive behaviour. Tear gas, indiscriminate assaults on Chelsea fans, including women and children, took place and a baton charge on to the terraces all occurred before and during the game
Chelsea fans will be stuck in the corner of the ground next to the north curve where the more boisterous Marseille fans congregate – high fences are designed to protect you from missiles but didn’t work well on our last visit. The view is crap, especially with your eyes streaming from tear gas and smoke bombs.
Enter the ground at Gate E and you are led into what can only be described as a cattle shed; on the previous trip here we were held on mass and not allowed to access the ground, no toilets and no facilities. I understand that things may have improved but a visit to the cattle shed is still on the agenda
The North Curve along with the South Curve are where the hardcore Marseille fans stand, they control the ends and have a say in ticket distribution; each end represents various fan groups and are famous for Ultras style displays. Very loud and very raucous support makes a cracking atmosphere
This match is being billed as the return of the prodigal son, Didier Drogba, who is worshipped on the Marseille terraces and Drogba himself often talks of his love for their fans – so it should be an emotional night for both; why they show so much love for a player who was only at the club for a year I’ll never know – let’s hope we thump them with a Drogba hatrick and shut the garlic munchers up
Memories of Marseille
For everyone who attended the one nil defeat in 2000 the abiding memory will be the behaviour of the CRS and the stewards – the tear gassing of the Chelsea end was due to Chelsea fans finally getting pissed off with the missiles thrown at us and returning the favour. There was a further skirmish outside the ground after the match but the Marseille fans soon melted after seeing the reaction of hundreds of angry Chelsea fans who were furious at the treatment meted out to them inside the ground.