Since 1962, it is a gloomy plain in Marseille. Almost 60 years since there has been no top-level basketball in France’s second-largest city. Bastion of the 40s / 50s – with the UAM (French champion in 1948 after the mythical Frenc Nemeth) turned into OM Basket, which will survive in the first division until 1954, before a last swan song from SMUC between 1960 and 1962 – the city of Marseille is now a desert of the orange ball (or a “virgin forest” like the president of the SMUC, Carlos Cardoso, for its immense untapped potential). And this even on a structural level, both the playgrounds are almost non-existent, but always crowded, and the gymnasiums dilapidated.
Establishing a great club in Marseille is one of the oldest sea snakes in French basketball. Didier Rose and Robert-Louis Dreyfus had explored this possibility together but the famous OM Basket chimera was never as close to becoming a reality as in 2002 with two concrete possibilities: the absorption of the sports rights of Montpellier, then in financial distress, where Pape Diouf will advise OM chief Christophe Bouchet to say no during the last call with the Hérault leaders (Alain Weisz had told us this story here) or the serious negotiations led by Bernard Coron, president of JL Bourg in conflict with his municipality, and Éric Di Meco, sports assistant of the city of Marseille, to sell the sports rights of the Bressan club. A possibility that had obtained the approval of Yvan Mainini and René Le Goff, respectively at the head of the FFBB and the LNB, before the Bourg-en-Bresse city council decided to save the JL by installing Jean-Luc Tissot in the presidency chair. .
Fos, the missed opportunity for the wild cards
Since then, nothing under the sun, or almost, except the sweet era of the wild cards between 2012 and 2014. Under the leadership of Antony Thiodet, head of the Fos-sur-Mer project, and ‘Alain Béral, president of the After League Having largely boosted the southern dossier by touring local elected officials, the FOPB had a candidate twice, but ultimately stayed in the room, much to their misunderstanding. “Honestly, at the time, we had more of the impression of being had to be had than anything else,” manager Mohamed Sy told last year. Basket Le Mag. However, the desire was great to gradually move to Marseille, big names had joined Ditch’s management committee like Marshall Glickman (former CEO of Portland TrailBlazers) but Antony Thiodet had ended up getting tired in 2015 of the political vagueness that surrounded the club. . At that time, it had been renamed Provence Basket, thus eliminating any reference to Fos from its name, which had the gift of ulcerating the municipality which later expressed its discontent with a large drop in its financial endowment, but the main source of income for the club.
December 29, 2012: Alain Béral starts Fos – Pau, first match in Marseille
(photo: Sébastien Grasset)
After this fiasco, a middle ground was found under the name of Fos-Provence Basket. Now a resident of Betclic ELITE after long years breaking our teeth in the Pro B playoffs, the club remains more linked than ever to the city of Fos-sur-Mer, dependent on municipal subsidies, and a move to Marseille is not. more on the agenda. That said, the BYers have preserved a holdover from this wild-card era: relocating several games per season to the Palais des Sports, a habit established during the 2012/13 season. A great way to make yourself known locally, explains Ditch President William Raffa.
“We are called Fos-Provence. When you play in Marseille, the term Provence takes on its full dimension. But playing in Marseille does not mean that we are the Marseille club, the Marseille club. It is a sounding board for the reputation and visibility of the club. It is important that all Provenzaux and Southerners know that we exist. The reality is that we still suffer from that point of view. Fos is our launching pad to shine throughout the metropolis and Marseille is a kind of push to go higher and make ourselves known even more. We must not hide that there is a commercial side to coming to Marseille. We have twice the number of viewers in Fos and that generates more income. And coming here is consistent with who we are, the only professional basketball club in Provence. Playing in Marseille embodies the name of Fos-Provence. “
“As soon as we talk about Marseille, everyone is attentive”
Whipped by AS Monaco (56-94) in front of a record number of spectators last Sunday at the Palais des Sports (3,500), Fos-Provence will perform twice this season at the venue next to the Stade Vélodrome: on March 29 against Dijon and then on April 19 against Limoges. The JL Bourg reception on January 8 was also initially scheduled in Marseille, but was canceled following a decision by the Palais des Sports. So is there a real desire to go beyond these few occasional relocations, 3-6 per year on average?
“It’s a complicated subject,” responds William Raffa. «What happened was bad in the past because of the discussions about the propos … The political volonts are the key to the entry of the most and also the economic realization and it senses that the veut donner to an eventual history. We are not there yet. But I understand the question: Marseille makes everyone fantasize, including the LNB. In Paris, as soon as we talk about Marseille, everyone is so attentive that this city is so in awe. In the National Basketball League, if we were Marseille Basket instead of Fos-Provence, we would be treated differently and I agree to say so. However, Marseille is in Provence, so we can be the club of Fosséens, of all the Étang de Berre, of Marseillais and Provençaux. We have to think big. We can be the Marseille club, but not a Marseille club. “
Unlike his predecessor Antony Thiodet, William Raffa does not aim for a merger with Marseille
(photo: Sébastien Grasset)
“OM cannibalizes many mediums and passions”:
the desert of Marseille …
Furthermore, for several years, Fos-Provence has indicated above all that it wants to acquire a metropolitan dimension (in reference to the metropolis of Aix-Marseille-Provence and its 92 municipalities) rather than strictly Marseille. However, for example, a relocation to Aix-en-Provence “is not on the radar due to the excessively high operating cost,” of the Arena du Pays d’Aix, an ultramodern 6,000-8,500-seat venue, home to the PAUC , the handball team. It is a pity that the other city of the department seems more open to a plurality of sports than Marseille with the coexistence of several elite clubs (handball, water polo, women’s volleyball), in addition to Pro D2 in rugby. Compare yourself to the city of Marseille, where only the Cercle des Nageurs, the city’s other sports institution, survives in the shadow of Olympique de Marseille. No indoor sport has been able to settle alongside this devouring giant: volleyball was demoted to National 2 in 2009 after a single year of Pro A ambition, while OM Vitrolles Handball remains a sad example. Under the aegis of Jean-Claude Tapie, Bernard’s brother, his existence was certainly (with stars like Jackson Richardson and trophies, including a European title) but more than short-lived, with a bankruptcy at the age of five, in 1996. Al Dawn of 2022, the place for an indoor sport remains vacant, but is there only one space to occupy?
“If there is space next to OM? Proof of that yes with the PAUC or Provence Rugby in Aix-en-Provence. It is true that Fos is quite out of tune with the main cities of the metropolis, but it can still shine in everything the Etang de Berre Ouest. But today, it is true that it is difficult to find a place in Marseille itself. OM cannibalizes many mediums and passions. Afterwards, basketball may have its role to play. I, the first one, am crazy about it football and OM but with all the excesses that we can see there now … I think basketball is capable of draining this same passion when we see the Eastern countries for example. Marseille has a street side, urban, where we can have our menu to play. “
“A card to play”, of course, but probably not beyond simple transfers, for promotional purposes, to Fos-Provence. The flagship club in Marseille therefore remains the SMUC whose co-chairman Mickaël Piétrus reported last year on its Betclic ELITE ambition for 2030. A year later, the Stade Marseillais are not much more advanced: in the middle of the season, they mainly struggle to survive in Nationale 2 (3v-9d) …
3,500 people in the stands of the Palais des Sports on Sunday against Monaco:
a record for the Fos-sur-Mer team in Marseille
(photo: Sébastien Grasset)
#occasional #transfers #FosProvence