Posts Tagged ‘le Racing’

Thank You

04/02/2012

I have been surprised and blown away by the response to my last post, Strasbourg’s modern art ‘Sistine Chapel?’. On facebook a number of people liked the post and a good friend commented:

“Thanks very much for the blog. Fascinating. Another good reason for visiting Strasbourg – apart from its more obvious pair of attractions! Have a good weekend both of you.”

Then the piece received the best response on WordPress I’ve ever had. I had Snehratnasinghsomvanshi, drecomalfoy, adampbelloto, Air Squadron, Rob Slaven, and into-mind among others either like my post or sign up to be told when I next post. This is the best response I’ve ever had from a post. So thank you to all the people who took the time to feed back that they liked the post.

Because of the cold there is no match today for le Racing but they are now top of the table and, hopefully, heading for immediate promotion back to the next level. It is more than a little embarrassing that this is the first season since I’ve lived here that I haven’t been to see them.

Despite the cold there was a match today for Manchester City and, despite all the carping, nit-picking and nay saying from the commentators about how we were in a serious slump, we managed to beat Fulham 3-0 this evening. So, have a great rest of weekend and I love you world.

Sports report

22/05/2011

As I said here I missed the last match of Le Racing Club de Strasbourg’s season on Friday. They won 2-0 and stay in third place in the National. As has been the case for the previous three seasons their future waits upon the last day of the season. Contrary to the wishes of the President of the Club, and representative of the London-based owner of it, the doors were open and fans present. There were quite amazing scenes at the end of the last match with the players joining the Ultra Boys in their ‘tribune’ in the stands. See the video here.

When I moved to Strasbourg in 2007 they had just been promoted back to the First Division. It was great watching the best teams in France for 5 Euros. Lyon, Girondins de Bordeaux, l’Olympic de Marseille, Paris St Germain etc. I didn’t know at the time but the manager who had taken them back into the top flight, Jean-Pierre Papin, was replaced by Jean-Marc Furlan and the season started well with le Racing in the top half of the table. A poor second half of the season and they were left needing a win in their last match to stay up. They lost.

The following season, despite the departure of many of the players, they started the season well and led the division at the winter pause. A less than good second half of the season left the team requiring a win on the last day of the season and another team to not win for the boys of Jean-Marc Furlan to return to the top flight. It didn’t happen. Jean-Marc Furlan was sacked and in the following season there were five different owners in six months. Fewer but a number of different managers, and the team required a win on the last day of the season to stay in the Second Division. It didn’t happen and they were relegated to the National a semi-pro league. Le Racing were allowed to stay professional for their first season and, with the departure of all bar one of the previous first team, started the season very badly and were in the relegation positions in the first month of the season and spent the first half of the season in the bottom half of the table. A strong improvement in the second half of the season, despite a ham-fisted attempt to replace the manager, after it had become clear there was a chance they could make the promotion places after all, left the team requiring a win to be promoted. They won. Le Racing also need Guingamp to lose their match next week to keep hold of the third place.

Blue Moon

I can’t let the events of the past week go without saying how thrilled I was for Manchester City to win their first trophy since 1976 and the win the FA Cup for the first time since 1969. Like I had for every game I had my 1969 replica shirt on for the match and watched the second half of the match in the Dubliners in Strasbourg. I am now looking forward to the match this afternoon and the chance of finishing third and qualifying automatically for the Champions League. I am wearing my replica third shird and I hope it brings as much luck today as the replica of the ’69 Cup Final winning shirt did for the cup run. Whilst talking about football I will just say how pleased I was about the victory on Tuesday night for my former home-town team Reading, earning them a match at Wembley in the play-offs for the Premier League. I will be cheering them on against Swansea later this month.

I don’t like cricket..

I love it. Especially after yesterday when Lancashire beat Yorkshire in the Roses match. I was following the game via the BBC and was afraid the match was going the same way as the Sussex match earlier in the season, when the game was drawn because we couldn’t get the last two batsmen out. This time we did get them out but had 15 overs to score 121, which we did with four balls to spare.

Lancashire are now leading the County Championship despite having played a game less than their closest teams. I wonder, will this be the year Lancashire win the County Championship for the first time since 1934? It would be ironic that the season when we are away from our Manchester headquarters, at Old Trafford, and playing in Liverpool would turn out to be our most successful in the County Championship. It would help confirm my view that we can not win the County Championship playing in Manchester because of the rain. I know from living in Liverpool that the clouds pass over there before heading inland to dump the rain on Manchester, before going over the Pennines. I’m sure there is a study to be done about the failure of fantastic Lancashire teams, like those of the 50’s, 70’s and 80’s to win a County Championship whilst winning nearly everything else going, and the number of matches drawn because of the weather.

En garde

17/05/2011

This blog hasn’t lived up to its name for some time.  I’ve still been taking part in the Monday night fencing training at the Salle des Armes at Kibitzenau. The last two weeks we have been fighting with the fleuret. Normally we fight with the épée which is the weapon with which I first learnt to fence and the one I’ve used all the time until these last two weeks. The two main differences are that the whole body is the target for the épée and you gain a point for a hit only when you are attacking with the fleuret. I am normally more of a defensive fencer, letting the opponent come onto me. I feel I have developed with the weapon and mow when I fight people I was fighting when I started and was equal to, I beat them quite easily. People who used to beat me I now have a good match with and am their equal. The fleuret has required a change of tactics and I’ve not managed to get my head around the need to attack and have been beaten every time we’ve fought. Next week its back to the épée which is good for my self-regard but it would have been good to get my head around the fleuret and improve the attacking side on my fencing.

The pictures were taken the last time we were using the épée. The first is of an exercise where the fencer in the mask drops a glove in front of the padded target and the aim of the other fencer is to catch the glove on different spots drawn on the target. You might be able to see that the glove was missed and has fallen onto the floor. The next shows a sword that I broke whilst fighting with someone. In the second you can see the two parts of the blade are held only by the wire that makes the connection and identifies a hit. I’ve extra private training on Friday night. Stupid me I’ve agreed to do it at the same time as the last home game of le Racing of the season which the barmy President has said he wants to play behind closed doors – today the ticket office and the boutique were locked shut.

Aux armes

12/09/2010

Yesterday was the “Le grand derby de l’est” Le Racing Club de Strasbourg against Sports Reunis Colmar, the capital of 67 versus the capital of 68.(see here)  My previous report from a match showed the corner of the ground where the strongest Strasbourg fans, the ones who travel to the away games and are known as the Ultra Boys, stand.  This time JTO and I sat in amongst them.  In my time the equivalent supporters in the UK didn’t have the facilities the ones here do.  The leaders of the chanting/singing have a microphone and pa to do it through, they get help with money towards the banners that are displayed at the beginning of a match though I don’t think they got help with the flares that were let off at the beginning and end of the game.  The atmosphere in that section was great and I now understand a lot more of the chants that previously I had heard but not understood.  The first picture shows the leaders off the singing getting the fans going.  It can’t be too great for them as they spend the whole match looking at their fellow fans rather than watching the match.  It is a strange kind of support for a team to go to the match and spend the whole time looking away from it.  There are others who go , the stewards, Police etc and spend their time at the game without watching it but they are paid to do so, yet these ‘Ultra’ fans go to the match and are dedicated ans but spend the whole game not watching it.  The title of this piece comes from the beginning of the chorus of the French National Anthem, La Marseillaise, which was written in Strasbourg – something not known by too many French people.  The picture on the left shows the composer, Rouget de Lisle, singing it for the first time at the home of Dietrich, Mayor of Strasbourg at the time.  Aux armes is a call and response between the Ultra Boys and the rest of the crowd which drew a good response yesterday.

At half time there were matches between the two youth teams of Strasbourg and Colmar.  This is shown in the second picture.  I was struck by the skill of these pre-teen players.  There was no kick and run as in my day but they passed, played one-twos, the level of skill for me was quite astonishing.

The most important thing to report though is that le Racing won 2-0 and have started their season.  Times past the team have always started well and been near the top of the table by this time.  This season they have not started badly, only one defeat and three draws before yesterday, but now hopefully they will get confidence and improve.  The next match is away to Paris FC who were top of the table till this weekend, we’ll see how things stand after that.

Match report

29/08/2010

I don’t know if I am a bringer of bad luck.  It can’t be true all the time.  I have hope that Manchester City seem to have a good season in front of them.  Lancashire don’t and will have to settle for mid-table obscurity again.  England were awful this Summer in South Africa.  So of my obsessions there is Le Racing.  Perhaps in the fact that the two seasons I’ve followed them they have gone from the 1st Division in France via the 2nd Division to start this season in the National, or 3rd division might be some kind of message that my support is not welcome, a bad omen.  But then there is always the fact the club are known as the OM of the East.  Another club who do not achieve what they could because of off the pitch shenanigans and instability.  So, back to the second this season?  Well not if what I saw yesterday is anything to go by.  I had been equivocal about going to the match then I got a text from a friend who was on their way and after fifteen minutes further equivocating I got on my bike and in fifteen minutes we met and I then got my ticket.  Well, the match was no great shakes.  Le Racing missed a number of chances including two wonderful crosses met by air-kicks.  The third consecutive draw against well placed opposition.  As the new manager says the players need time to get used to playing with each other.  That’s true.  There were only two players yesterday left from the team who went down earlier this year, and one was the reserve keeper who hardly ever played but is now the No. 1.  I’m hopeful that we’ll not follow the previous path of being high placed at the end of September followed by descent and then a relegation scrap in the Spring which is lost.

The picture shows the crowd with focus on the Ultra Boys, or Kop, corner.  They were in good voice and sang for most of the match.  I was sat next to a group of middle-aged Alsatian men who talked through most of the match in Alsatian – so, if people tell you it’s a dying language don’t believe them.  Perhaps there is hope to be had from the fact we’re unbeaten for the first three games – a foundation on which to build.

the Brotherhood of Asparagus

02/04/2010

The Confrerie de l’Asperge, a group of chefs, growers and others dedicated to picking and eating the Alsacian speciality, the white Asparagus (more here).  Across the road from where I earlier pictured the snow in January and where therewas snow but now you can see the rows of asparagus out being planted.  My first experience of white asparagus came when I visited Strasbourg for work, before living here.  On the Monday night we always went out for a meal.  For the April meeting we went out to the village of Hoerdt north of Strasbourg and our coach dropped us off at a large barn like place where there was a lovely glass of cremant waiting for us.  We were then seated and dishes full of the asparagus and local ham were put in front of us.  I was a bit tentative at first as I wasn’t eating pork or ham at the time, but it was too good not to eat it accompanied with a glass of the local white wine.  We went back and I always enjoyed the meal on the Monday of the April part session. The pictures above were taken yesterday, the field on the edge of Duppigheim.  It was a wonderfully clear day and this next picture is looking towards Duttlenheim and behind it the Vosges:Earlier in the day I had my French class and on the way back from it I took this picture of the European Parliament with trees in front of it in bloom:Later the same day I was working not too far away and saw the European Parliament under a cloud.  I would point out to anyone of a Eurosceptic inclination that it had passed by the time I left the building.Behind the buildings you can see the Schwarzwald. I had hoped to be going to le Racing my first local derby against Metz but just like the last two years events have conspired against me and the match has been moved to Monday so it can be televised and I will be in Brittany.

Cock-a-hoop

07/02/2010

I am writing this whilst watching the draw for the Euro 2012 qualifying groups – who says boys can’t multi-task?  The quality of customer service in France has been something I have discussed with a number of people since being here.  A friend from my cricket team ran a restaurant in Strasbourg and was very unhappy with the attitude of the people who worked in the restaurant – is it unusual for a restaurant owner to have a poor view of the people working there?  Well it fits in with my some of my experience and that of others I have talked to.  It has always been something of a relief to say, well at least its not as bad as that in Paris, as the attitude there to people not from Paris is so snooty.  (For those interested England’s group for the Euro 2012 qualifiers is Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales and Montenegro.)  In further parenthesis it was interesting to read a piece about service in France but I was disappointed that the sub-editors who had headlined the piece had put that it was about service in France whilst, as is normal, it was about Paris.  I was surprised that the piece put the attitude of people down to the revolution and a keen sense that everyone is equal to you and no-one superior, I’m not convinced, particularly as it is not so strongly the case outside Paris as in Paris.

Today I will be watching for the result of the presidential election in Ukraine where little seems to have changed since I was there for the election in 2004 and I will be surprised if the result is anything other than close with the two halves of the country split.  Also starting today, as far as people here are concerned, is the Six Nations.  With England defeating Wales and Ireland beating Italy yesterday.  Alsace is supposed to be a football area, it doesn’t have any top-flight rugby teams and, even with the problems of the football le Racing they are still several divisions above the rugby team of the same name – who are though unbeaten in their last 10 games.  But people I’ve worked with this week have talked about looking forward to the start of the 6 Nations, so much so that it has surprised me.  My memories of the 5 Nations from my youth include the match at Twickenham between England and France when someone would always release a cock onto the pitch.  I always wondered about the wisdom of having it as a symbol even before I was old enough to understand other meanings for the word.  Yesterday, on my way to see a disappointing exhibition of drawings by an architect whilst he travelled on the trams of Strasbourg, I came across this building:

the home of DNA,  the media group which produce the main local paper.  A close-up of the clock shows:

The most famous man from Alsace in the English speaking World

07/11/2009

I missed one of the few home games of le Racing since I’ve been back in Strasbourg but I’m pleased that they won 2-0 against Istres, a team who beat le Racing 6-1 at the beginning of the season, so progress and a move 05112009062away from the bottom three and relegation positions.  I hope to see Manchester City versus Burnley this afternoon, either on our satellite service or, as seems more likely, at a local Irish Bar.  Anyway, starting this post with the current football situation allows me to write about perhaps the best known Alsacian in the English speaking World, 05112009066Arsene Wenger.  The pictures are of ‘La Croix D’Or’ (Literally the Cross of Gold but a better English equivalent being the Golden Cross) in Duttlenheim a village a few miles South-West of Strasbourg on the road to Molsheim.  Arsene Wenger has talked about his time growing up in the village, most recently to the League Managers Association:

“There is no better psychological education than growing up in a pub… I learned about tactics and selection from the people talking about football in the pub – who plays on the left wing and who should be in the team.”

There is a wonderful extract, published five years ago in the Guardian, from the biography of Arsene Wenger by Jasper Rees, “Wenger: The making of a legend” talking about growing up in the village and playing football in Alsace to be found here:

On Fridays they serve rosbif

The young Arsene Wenger, a native of Alsace, was discovered by Max Hild one spring in the late 1960s. “He was 18,” says Hild, “and playing for his village. I was coach for the neighbouring team. Our espoirs were playing against Duttlenheim. It was a Wednesday evening. I can’t remember the score but we won.” The neighbouring team was AS Mutzig, a club with a reputation under Hild’s stewardship for playing the best amateur football in Alsace. The espoirs were the kids, the ones who still have hope.

It was so long ago that England were world champions. Arsenal, with a team containing Pat Rice, Bob Wilson and George Graham, would not win the double for another couple of seasons. Rice would later be Arsene Wenger’s assistant, Wilson his goalkeeping coach. Graham would be his predecessor, and his antithesis. “That was the first time I noticed him,” says Hild. “He was a midfielder. He played very well. He made such an impression that I got in touch with him and the next year he came to play for Mutzig in the third division.”

Hild is a small trim boyish man of 70 who meets me at the station in Strasbourg. It is a freezing Saturday morning in February and the city, the designated capital and centre of Europe, is quiet.

We get in Max Hild’s car and head for Duttlenheim. We turn off the motorway and are soon ambling along a main drag flanked by a mixture of solid modern houses and charming older structures. A settlement has been here since Roman times, and the name Duttlenheim has been around since at least 992. It feels as if some of its buildings have too. There are yards with neatly-piled firewood and museum-piece agricultural instruments. In one courtyard is an old wooden farm building, and a couple of tractors. Next door to it is a house – neat, modern and impeccably bourgeois – with a steep sloping roof and a large conifer on the front lawn. The plate on the letterbox says “A Wenger”. “A” in this instance stands for Alphonse.

Further down on the same block, just by the crossroads, is a restaurant. A bistro, they call it here. La Croix d’Or, it says above the door. Arsene Wenger’s father Alphonse ran an automobile spare-parts business in Strasbourg, but he and his wife Louise also owned and ran La Croix d’Or. It must once have been a residential house and at some point transmogrified into a watering-hole. On a blackboard outside the dishes of the day are listed. On Fridays they serve rosbif.

It was in this building that the future manager of Arsenal grew up, along with his older sister and brother. Within its four walls Wenger imbibed one of the central tenets of his footballing philosophy: that it is an offence to be drunk in charge of a football, or even to let alcohol touch your lips as a player. Perhaps imbibed is the wrong word.

“When he was little he was in La Croix d’Or all the time,” says Hild, who at the end of a long career as an amateur in the lower divisions had his first drink of beer at 36. “He saw a lot of people drinking, and the after-effects.”

In 1996, when Wenger was revealed as the new manager of Arsenal, he inherited a captain in the early stages of recovery from addiction to alcohol. Never in a rush to volunteer much about himself, it took Wenger two years to open up to Tony Adams and pool his memories of the alcohol abuse which, for better or worse, helped to plump the family coffers. “It’s further down the road that he actually had compassion for it,” recalls Adams. “Later on, down the line he shared things with me. He talked about being brought up in a Strasbourg pub and observing the way alcohol changed people, the effect the drink had on people.”

At Saturday lunchtime it is empty. The place looks pretty much as the Wengers left it more than 20 years ago. So says the current owner from under his thick grey moustache. Later in the afternoon it will fill with the smell of cigarettes and choucroute and beer and the chatter of Duttlenheimers whose families have known and intermarried with one another in this small community for centuries. You can’t imagine an environment more alien to the clean, antiseptic worlds which Wenger would later try to create at each of the clubs where he was made coach: smoke-free, alcohol-free, fat-free. And yet it was the siège of FC Duttlenheim – the HQ, the head office – where the talk was all of football, where the game leaked into the marrow of the young Wenger and stayed there.

On the bar is a copy of Alsace Foot, a weekly newspaper that gives some idea of the local passion for the game. There are 80,000 registered players in Alsace, out of a population of only 1.5 million.

“Alsace has always been football country,” says Hild. “It’s been the number-one sport since I was a boy.” The front page of Alsace Foot is usually devoted to Racing Club de Strasbourg, the big city outfit, but further in the font size gets smaller and the games more local. The results of the Ligue d’Alsace, in which FC Duttlenheim plays, are noted in the back half. Village football was truly a humble launchpad for the journey that followed – to running the prince’s team in Monaco, Toyota’s team in Japan, and on to the most traditional old club in the country that gave football to the world. No wonder, as the russet-cheeked barman says, while drying a glass, “Arsene really is a hero of Duttlenheim.”

Hild’s car turns right at the solitary traffic-light and treads gently through the village. We pass the ugly 19th-century bulk of St Louis (Catholic, of course), pass the mairie, and more barns and bungalows until we turn right down a track that leads to a small football pitch. It is hemmed in by the road on this side and the backs of houses on the other. Wedged in between the houses and the touchline is an open-sided stand of the kind you might erect to give horses shelter in a windy field. There is no seating, no rudimentary terrace. You could cram perhaps a hundred spectators in there, but you’d have to put the tall ones at the back.

It was on this ground that Wenger learned how to play football. There wasn’t a lot else to do in Duttlenheim in the 50s and 60s. But after school, at weekends, in the holidays, there was football, or watching football. The FA Cup final was the first foreign football he clapped eyes on, on the one television set in the village – in the school – in the late 50s. He would have seen Tottenham win one half of their double in 1961.

The children would count the cars which occasionally passed through the village. “One of you took the Citroens, the other took the Renaults,” remembers Claude Wenger, who may or may not be a relative. (“Perhaps our grandparents were cousins,” he says vaguely.) Everyone knew one another. “Back then no one went away on holiday. We were together the whole time.”

Because the Wengers ran a restaurant, they couldn’t always keep an eye on their children. It was a village where everyone took care of the young. Wenger later compared it to a kibbutz. But it was a Catholic kibbutz. The young Wenger put his faith at the service of the team. He’d be in church reciting from his prayer book when the team were playing on Sunday. He would pray for them to win.

When he wasn’t praying, he was rounding up boys to play in the game. In such a small village, it wasn’t easy getting 11 together in one age group. Wenger would spend the whole week assembling a team. Otherwise they’d have to play one short, or two. Perhaps it was in the early 60s that he began his love affair with pace and power, as you needed these to combat numerically superior teams. Arsenal often thrive when one of their number has been sent off; and struggle, by contrast, when they are playing against 10.

Not that, at the age of 12, he could muster much in the way of pace or power. Hild says the player he later spotted was “quite quick”. Claude Wenger says he was “quite slow”. Most people seem to agree with Claude Wenger. He was also short enough to have earned a humiliating nickname. When he arrived at Arsenal they called him Clouseau because there was something haphazard and clumsy about him (plus he spoke English with a hilarious French accent). Then they called him Windows because he wore glasses. But as a young teenager they called him petit: titch.

“Even at 12 he was a very calm, very lucid player,” says Jean-Noël Huck, who played for Mutzig. The same age as Wenger, he came up against him throughout their teens. “He was always the technician, the strategist of the team. He was already getting his ideas across, but calmly.” Wenger was going through a growth spurt when he got into the FC Duttlenheim first team at 16. When he shot up, he still didn’t use his head much, or at least not in the air. Training was once a week, on Wednesday evenings. There was no coach as such to instil tactics and skills, but someone who oversaw the session. On the pitch, even as the youngest player in the team, Wenger was in charge. “He was virtually, more or less, le patron,” says Claude Wenger. “Arsene wasn’t the captain and yet he was. It was, ‘You do this, you do that, you do this, you do that.’ He was the leader.”

Perhaps when I am working near Duttlenheim again I might take pictures of the Church, School and pitches mentioned in the piece above and post them here.

A tale of two matches

18/10/2009

My parents have been visiting since Tuesday so there has been time only for work and showing them Strasbourg and Alsace.  On Friday night, for the first  time since I was a boy and he took me to football matches, the roles were reversed and I took my father to the Stade de la Meinau to see le Racing play Vannes at home.  As a result we were not standing in my usual place but right back behind the goal in the top row of the seats, so we had a great view of proceedings.

16102009014

Inside ten minutes le Racing were 1-0 up and a couple of minutes later a Vannes forward was brought down by the keeper when through.  Red card for the keeper and I thought a penalty but the foul had happened outside the box so just a free-kick which was defended.  The ten men of le Racing didn’t just hold out for the rest of the game but had a few chances to make the game safe.  Vannes, like Reading FC this season according to my father who is a season ticket holder, for their part played pretty football but had no idea in the last third of the pitch, they seemed to lose it in front of goal.  So a first win this season for le Racing and they move off the bottom of ligue 2 for the first time this season.

Then after taking my parents to the airport this afternoon and dropping off the hired car I went to a local Irish bar to see City play Wigan in today’s late Premiership match.  Having seen City play Man U, Aston Villa and now Wigan in the same bar I have yet to see them win a match, perhaps I’ll stop watching them and they’ll win?  Anyway we should have had a penalty and  a player received a dodgy yellow card which meant later, when the card was deserved, he then had to be sent off.  I wonder how much dodgy refereeing decisions like today’s the endless extra time against Man U etc. will have cost us by the end of the season?  Taking the positives we have recently played Aston Villa and Wigan at their place and have come away with a point from each, Chelsea lost to both.

Le Racing match report

02/10/2009

Continuing the catch-up, on Monday night I left work after 20:00 and P1040633walked to the Stade de la Meinau.  Passing the southernmost tram stop for the stadium I saw the notice on the left calling for a “boycott” of the match to highlight the concern of the fans about the danger the club were in.  Since failing to get promoted the club sacked the manager, appointed another and then sacked him when the pre-season had been rubbish and they were dumped out of the cup by some minnow outfit and lost the first two games of the season.  Before the game against the leaders le Racing were bottom of ligue 2 and the match was P1040634being played on a Monday night as it was being televised on Eurosport.  So, the ultra fans thought a message could be sent about the direction of the club and people could still see the game.  The picture (right) is of about 30 people who were protesting outside the ground.  P1040636Unfortunately, by then JTO and I had already bought our tickets so we went in to the match.  The ‘kop’ where the Strasbourg supporters gather was pretty much empty as can be seen from the picture above.  For the match, well the first half was fairly dire and ended 0-0.  Strasbourg played like a team devoid of confidence.  P1040641Whatever hope there was from them going in level at half-time was quickly shaken when I read that it had been 0-0 at half-time in their last match which was lost 3-0.  However, a change of personnel and the substitute, Emil Gargarov, put Strasbourg were 1-0 up in seven minutes.  Caen equalised and then Strasbourg took the lead again before Caen equalised in the last ten minutes.  At the end Strasbourg were going all out for the win, not the behaviour of the team bottom of the league against the one at the top.  An omen of hope for the rest of the season?  We’ll see.  The last picture is of the Strasbourg keeper and captain.  I’ve posted before about his nervous habit of pulling his shorts up as play approaches his goal but never captured it properly before.  Well, now I have.


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