• Marseille and Olympique de Marseille celebrate this May 26 the 30th anniversary of the victory in the Champions League.
  • These celebrations are taking place for the first time without the president at the time, Bernard Tapie, who died in October 2021.
  • The Marseillais remain "forever the first" and still the only ones to have won the Champions League in France.

Celebrations opened by Mayor Benoît Payan in front of City Hall with rebroadcast of the OM - Milan match, a special issue of 124 pages published by La Provence Friday morning, and a special edition of France 3 all day. But also the creation of a santon with the effigy of the "Boss", Bernard Tapie, and a cracking of smoke by the supporters of the beach of Corbières at Monte Rosa, more than 20 kilometers of the illuminated Marseille coastline - which could make it a record. In Marseille, nothing is ever enough to celebrate the first French victory in the Champions League, that of Olympique de Marseille thirty years ago, to become "Forever the first".

"Yes, it's too beautiful, it's too beautiful. Every year for thirty years, we have been talking about it. Tapie told us that we would remember it for life, and it's true that we remember this victory, despite the tears of 1991 [defeat in the final against Red Star Belgrade], and that's what is beautiful, "says Pascal Olmeta, European champion with OM in 1993.

The "duty of mandatory memory"

Since then, each anniversary is celebrated as "a duty of obligatory memory": "There is no debate to have on this" for Bastien, subscriber to the north bend and who had participated in the making of the tifo for the 20 years. This founding event in the culture of the club even reminds Pascal Olmeta daily for thirty years: "I went to buy a fruit, a fish in Marseille, no one ever made me pay. Even today, it keeps calling me, "can you say a word, make a video for my father?", that's what's beautiful. I'm still asked if it's true that I hid the Cup, that's all that makes you still cling to this title. »

The 30 years remain a marker for each individual, as for each historical moment, and those of the title of European champion are no exception to the rule: "30 years, it is still celebrated," recalls the supporter.

At the commemoration of Tapie

But this victory seems to gain a little more weight from year to year. "I don't know if it's celebrated more and more, we have the chance to do it every year. We are still here and we think of those who have left. To the players, to President Tapie, we have a thought for them. We are lucky to still be here so we will smile, laugh and celebrate. And in fifty years, we will still talk about it, "says Pascal Olmeta who even plans to drink "twice as much" for the 60th birthday of Eric Di Meco, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of OM's victory in the Champions League.

The recent death of Bernard Tapie, in October 2021, "makes it, it is also a way to commemorate the character. To say "well, here it is, it's no longer there, we're still here, let's celebrate it", abounds the head of the sports department in Provence, Alexandre Jacquin.

"Always the only ones"

The countless failures of PSG in the Champions League since its purchase by Qatar in 2012 also contribute to the importance of the feat achieved by OM thirty years ago. "Of course, Marseille would not celebrate as much if in the meantime PSG had won two. For the 20-year-olds, in 2013, many were convinced that PSG would quickly win the Champions League, so it plays a role. OM remains "forever the first and always the only"", continues Alexandre Jacquin.

"We are happy to see that PSG still haven't won it, because we're chauvinistic. But it's not normal that no French club has won it since. And as long as others do not win it, we remain those who won it, "forever the first", adds Pascal Olmeta.

But for the head of sports of La Provence, at the newspaper since the 15th anniversary in 2008, these celebrations of the 30 years also draw their importance from the passage of time. "The 35 years are celebrated less, so we can say that this is the last time that it will be so celebrated. Years go by, and maybe in ten years, some will no longer be here," he said. Because OM must also be careful not to live too much in its past, to create new moments, while the club has not won a trophy since 2012, on the eve of the twenty years of the title of European champion.

  • Football
  • Sport
  • Bernard Tapie
  • Olympique de Marseille (OM)
  • Champions League
  • Marseille
  • Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
  • PACA