Nantes 0- Bordeaux 5: Sept 6 2000

June 10, 2007 at 10:53 pm | Posted in Games In My Travels | 2 Comments

In my “soccer tour of Europe” in fall 2000, my first footy stop was in the lovely Atlantic town of Nantes.  I took the  fast train from Paris to Nantes which took 3 hours or so.  It was rather bleak and stormy when I arrived, and I could tell that I was on the Atlantic Coast.  It reminded me of the conditions from my boyhood trips to England, all blustery and wet.  I walked to the tourist center and got myself a hotel near the train station, which like all hotels hear the train station was not the best hotel, but as I was staying for one night only it would do.   Having established my room I quickly  made my way to the Stade Beaujoire, Nantes football stadium hoping the box office would be open.  A tram goes from in front of the train station straight to the stadium.  The box office was closed, so back I went.  I returend early to ensure I got a ticket.  I was still jet lagged because I had only arrived in Paris only two days earlier.  I bought an Orangina which revived me and got into the match an hour or so early.  I was the only one there!  It shows you how dead keen I was to see football!   Luckily the pitch was divided into 4 and some very entertaining youth 6 v 6 games were being played.  I could not believe my eyes to see the skill of the French youngsters and it became clear to my why the French had won the world cup: their youth programs.  

The stade Beaujoire is an absolutely gorgeous stadium. http://www.stadiumguide.com/beaujoire.htm

It has a wonderful curvy roof which looks very space age and is a real antidote to the square boxy stadia which tend to populate England.  It holds 38,000 fans and about 32,500 showed up to see Bordeaux.    The stands were very steep indeed and the views were very good.   Nantes had noisy and lively fan groups in the endzone, with very colorful displays.   Bordeaux had a small but noisy section of ultras that had made the trip. They got their money’s worth: they beat Nantes 5-0.   It was the debut of their newly bought striker Pauleta from Portugal.  He lit up the night and scored 3 goals.   What a beginning!   Lilian Laslandes scored one and so did the Belgian Wilmots.  Poor Nantes were an absolute shambles on the night.   Funny how they went on and won the French championship that year!!! 

Another notable player in the match was Christophe Dugarry, World Cup winner 1998, who also played for Bordeaux.  He was incredibly confident on the ball and skillful for a big man.

In spite of the dreadful loss, the Nantes crowd remained quite cheery (except for the fellow sitting next to me who showed up drunk, smoked about 50 cigarettes and left in disgust at half time).

There was a wonderful festival atmosphere outside the stadium after the game and many street vendors showed up selling food.  You know you are in France when even the street food is bloody marvelous!  Even a sausage in a bun with tomato sauce and pommes frites is haute cuisine.

I spent the next morning walking through Nantes and samples some fruit, a pain au chocolate and some heavanly fresh apple juice at a street market.   I picked up a local paper which chronicled the loss to Bordeaux.  Then it was back on the train for Paris…

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2 Comments »

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  1. What can i say, it was quite frustrating but i also enjoyed the game.


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