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 know, the other 400,000 or 700,000 no-shows feel the same way.


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