No News, Only Football

photo: bistro le lutetia

Regular News Took a Week Off

Paris:- Saturday, 11. July 1998:- I had a sort of funny paper - it was supposed to be a joke - about the style of management in France.

It went something like this. These 11 guys are in a rowing race. When they don't win they appoint two members of the team to write a report about their failure. It recommends a new tactic and proposes one of them to manage it.

When this fails, they decide that if three of them write the report, their chance of success will be greater. In order to carry out its recommendations, they appoint two managers. You see where this is going: right up to ten managers and one oarsman. As I said, it's not very funny.

Apparently this is how the French football coach feels. Aimé Jacquet is a low-key and reportedly modest guy who has been in soccer all his life and along the way has won top honors as a player and managed various French first-league clubs up to championships, without attracting a lot of attention by being seen on variety shows.

Skipping ahead to about 3:23 on Monday morning - after his team has won the World Cup - he is on TV and he's notgraphic: liberation 9 july being 'low-key.' He is blasting the criticism that has been dumped on him non-stop by 'media elitists.'

The catch-phrase is in Saturday's Le Parisien: "Son équipe continue de ne pas séduire les esthètes" but finishes with, "Mais elle gagne."

Translation: 'Jacquet wins, but without elegance.'

After France's win over Croatia, Libération's front page.

The guy has a nose-full of those 10 managers telling him how to row the boat and now that he's got it across the finish line before anybody else - in the world - he is telling them where they can put it. Now his detractors will be able to say he is rude as well as being a country-bumpkin.

Winners of tough games have got to be rude sometimes. I don't think Jacquet meant Le Parisien even though it has given its first 15 pages to football features and analysis today.

No, it's not Le Parisien, because it also has a full-color centre-spread for... the Tour de France, which I believe, is a promo of L'Equipe, the all-sports newspaper. That L'Equipe owns Le Parisien makes no difference. I can tell this because Le Parisien does not have clever headlines so it cannot possibly be 'elitist.'

Big Singers - Big Deal!

One day last week on Wednesday, I was going from 'A' to 'B' and the quickest way to do it was to take my feet over the Champ de Mars. I did not get far before I was halted by barriers, which had signs on them saying I could not pass because of the concert to be given by the 'Three Tenors.'

I had just come from the Invalides and I had nophoto: construction for 3 tenors further need of the Esplanade there, so I couldn't understand why the 'Tenors' were here. Like everyone else, I took the walk-around-the-block route. At the Tour Eiffel there were the biggest crowds I have ever seen there, with ticket-lines snaking all over, under it.

'Fixing' up the Champ de Mars for the 'Three Tenors.'

Up at the Addidas football park at Trocadéro, I heard some security guys tell some Croatian fans there wouldn't be any broadcast of the evening's quarter-final France-Croatia game on their big screen - on account of the 'Tenors' rehearsal.

The 'Tenor's' place on the Champ de Mars is a long way from just below the terrace at Trocadéro, and it was an important game, and the fans were there already - being told to go way off to the Hôtel de Ville, or Stalingrad.

I had heard on the radio that 800,000 were expected for the concert on Friday. Le Parisien said there were 12,000 paying guests inside the compound, and 80,000 on the grass of the Champ de Mars.

Apparently Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras do this often, and it is immediately for pay-TV - broadcast to 65 countries - and for their record label, plus their souvenir stand.

I do not know how much their Wednesday rehearsal cost Addidas in good-will and I don't see any mention of how much Paris gets for 'Champ' rental and the aerial views of Paris with the Tour Eiffel as a backstage.

All I know is they forced me to walk around the block; but they can't force me into a record store. For all I know, the other 400,000 or 700,000 no-shows feel the same way.

Promanades Révolutionnaires

I wasn't the only one looking for the Revolution last week. Today's Le Parisien has ten tours to propose. For a paper that has a populist pose, it puts up a fair number of sideways or anti- or counter-revolutionary sites - such as the Jeu de Paume at Versailles, which is only open on weekends.

As usual I had plans much larger than the time available; so I have left out the details of the philosophy of the 'Revolution,' although theygraphic: le parisien 9 july were simple enough. Ordinary working people only wanted the rich to pay... some share of the taxes.

Like the Michelin Guide, Le Parisien's nobles and royalty were 'victims' and in the place Vendôme, the no-pants brigade tossed the statue of Louis XIV into 'the dirt.'

Le Parisien's front page after France's victory over Croatia.

The Père-Lachaise cemetery is famous for having Louis XVI's defense attorney as a resident.

Poor Louis himself is described as a martyr and the Episcopal Palace in Meaux is also on the list of 'Revolutionary' sites.

If Louis hadn't been fleeing to Varennes, by way of Meaux, he probably wouldn't have lost his head. He was a 'constitutional' monarch in no personal danger, until he tried to flee.

France had a relatively happy revolution for a few years, until those deposed or asked to pay their share of taxes tried to organize the destruction of the republic, from foreign soils with the help of neighboring absolute monarchs. This 'fact' of the revolution is the one that seems most convenient to forget.

Football Sells Ink

Throughout last week, as France cranked itself - no, as the media cranked up France - to tomorrow's football final, the good scribes have been discovering all the positive social aspects of soccer.

The census may tell us there are 61 million French persons, but as the FN is fond of saying, not all of them have the same skin color. Unless you are blind, you don't need the FN to tell you this.

What the FN doesn't tell anybody, is that France had a lot of colonies and still has some offshore 'departments' and territories, and France used to fill these places up with workers by stealing them from Africa. The result today is, French people have various colors.

Everybody knows this, even if the FN says people who don't have whitish skin are not French. In this roundabout way, I get to the papers commenting about how Zmédine Zidane - the star football player - is a symbol of integration.

Mr. Zidane was born in Marseille as Yazid de Castellane. He went to school in France, resides in France, has a French passport, wears the French national colors and sings the 'Marseillaise' in football stadiums along with the President of the Republic.

None of this would be worth a comment unless Libération decided to comment on it. Their findings: the Algeriansphoto: our world cup football are unhappy that their team is not in the World Cup tournament - but they don't consider Mr. Zidane to be some sort of substitute Algerian.

Metropole's own borrowed football, has seen better days. Bye-bye.

This startling conclusion probably surprises Algerians as much as it does me. If Libération wants an 'icon of integration,' I think they should look around for a bona-fide immigrant.

Now that France appears to have a winning team, I think all kinds of them are going to show up at any minute. You know, sort of, to get on the band-wagon.

An Online Sports Event

The Tour de France is the world's number one bike race by virtue of being the longest and hardest. This year's edition is the 85th and it started today Dublin, just a bit before fans can recover from the World Cup.

To get a taste of it, it won't hurt to give VéloCity a spin, especially if you want to know about the races and racers that will be competing in the 'Tour.'

Both VéloCity and the Tour de France's official Web site sell various bicycle-related goods online, and if you feel like getting into the swing of things by doing it in French, then give 'Le Tour' a shot.

The SportsBar Has Moved to the Fútbol Page for the duration, which has been held over a week, for us to recover

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