It is a vast mineral esplanade that few people frequent outside of match days, but which becomes the place of all passions when Olympique de Marseille plays at the Stade-Vélodrome (8e). This large forecourt, which gives access to the presidential stand of the enclosure and its southern bend, will soon bear the name of Bernard Tapie, businessman and former owner of the club, who died on October 3, 2021. He is the mayor various left of Marseille, Benoît Payan, who personally announced it, Thursday, May 25, exclusively to Provence, Bernard Tapie’s old diary. “It was our duty and our responsibility to do so,” explained the chosen one, on the eve of the incredible festivities which ignited his city for the 30th anniversary of OM’s victory in the Champions League final on May 26, 1993.
Forever the first
Arrived in 1986 in Marseille, at the request of the mayor of the time Gaston Defferre (PS), to take over a bloodless OM, Bernard Tapie led, seven years later, the club to the most prestigious title in European football, a feat that no French formation has reissued since. In the meantime, his team, made up of French and international stars, won four championships and a French Cup, while his president drew, through transfers and communication, the beginnings of “ football business “. From that time, the businessman earned a nickname from Olympian supporters: « with the Boss ». Two years ago, several thousand of them followed his coffin in pagan fervor. And Friday, May 26, while the actors of victory 1993 saluted from the balcony of the town hall, the crowd chanted his name several times.
In Marseille, few voices question the municipal decision to give a public place the name of a personality who has been convicted several times. “After his death, what prevails is the positive face of a charismatic character », analyzes the sociologist Ludovic Lestrelin, specialist in the study of supporters. “It is not a question here of talking about the politician or the businessman, who was complex and out of the ordinary. I retain the image of the sports leader”, clears in Provence Benoît Payan who, during the OM-Brest match on Saturday May 27, came to set the mood, microphone in hand, at the south corner. However, Bernard Tapie was also at the heart of the Valenciennes player corruption case, which followed the European exploit and led to an avalanche of sanctions against the club. This corruption earned the “boss” a two-year prison sentence, including eight months on appeal.
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