Aux armes

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.

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