After many twists and turns and disappointments, Olympique de Marseille finished the season in fifth place. Thanks to the victory of Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de France, this position has become a qualifier for the next Europa League. Therefore, the Phocaeans will play a European competition again next season.
But nothing has been offered to them and nothing has been spared them this season. As a result, it was obvious that we had to go back to some very eventful passages that the Marseillais had to live this year and that only OM know how to make. So let’s go back to the start, the end of last season and the real-false start of André Villas-Boas.
The threat of AVB
For a few seasons now, OM has not been able to give up players. Andoni Zubizarreta, who had brought in the Portuguese, was therefore sidelined. Despite qualifying for the Champions League, the first of the Frank McCourt era, AVb decides to put his Marseille future on hold and threaten, if the Spaniard is removed from his post, to leave too.
Finally, the former goalkeeper arrived, Jacques-Henri Eyraud and especially Frank McCourt, the majority shareholder of the French team, convinced AVB, who had the confidence of his group, to stay. However, despite proposals to extend the contract, the former Porto player refuses to extend his lease which ended in June 2021.
Victory at the Parc des Princes
OM wins at the opening of the championship against Brest (3-2) and their second match of the season opposes them to Paris Saint-Germain, at the Parc des Princes. For a long time, too long, the Marseillais did not beat the Parisians and far from their grounds, it seems even more impossible. However, André Villas-Boas and his men will do it.
While the match is electric and will be punctuated by five red cards, including that of Neymar, the Marseillais prevail on the smallest of margins following a goal from Florian Thauvin, who was at the reception of a free kick from Dimitri Payet. We say to ourselves that OM can possibly play the places for the Champions League, even the title since at the winter break, with their two games late, they can be first and therefore crowned autumn champions.
The sad record in C1 and the invasion of the Commandery
In the Champions League, things are not going well. OM won only its final match and above all beats a record with thirteen consecutive losing matches. The month of January is far from ideal, it is even particularly dreadful since the Phocéens take only 4 points and concede four defeats in a row. And there, the unimaginable happens.
On January 30, when André Villas-Boas’ players are due to host Stade Rennais, supporters march around the training center. But it escalates quite quickly. Some elements enter the building, break a lot of things and it will take Alvaro Gonzalez and André Villas-Boas, out to meet them, to calm the matter down.
André Villas-Boas resigns at a press conference
But the Olympians are not over, it would be too simple. The transfer window is coming to an end and André Villas-Boas does not seem really satisfied. He explains in particular that he learns of the departure of Nemanja Radonjic really late and even worse, Olivier Ntcham arrives. On February 2, a press conference is scheduled and he pulls the pin.
” I was against this transfer. I do not agree with the sports policy of the club. I don’t have an answer yet. Even for Radonjic, I was warned at the last moment. I don’t want anything from the club, I don’t want their money. I just want to go. I love OM and I love Marseille, but you can’t touch my professionalism. When I am offered a guy who has nothing to do with the other profiles sought .. No. I don’t agree with sports policy », Explains AVB. He adds on top of that that he doesn’t want anything from OM, just that the club lets him go. During the day, OM laid him off.
Eyraud comes out, Longoria takes the light
He was replaced at a moment’s notice by Nasser Larguet, the director of the club’s training center. But the atmosphere is not really simple within the club, nor healthy otherwise. The groups are in total confrontation with Hugues Ouvrard, the club’s head of business, and above all with the president, Jacques-Henri Eyraud, who is accused of many things.
On February 26, Frank McCourt sliced down to everyone’s surprise. He sends JHE to the supervisory board and appoints Pablo Longoria, recruited as sports director the previous summer, as chairman: “ Frank McCourt announces profound changes, opening a new chapter at OM. Pablo Longoria is named president of the OM board, Jorge Sampaoli, internationally renowned coach, is named head of the first team. Frank McCourt travels to Marseille to meet with fan groups and local leaders. (…) Pablo Longoria becomes President of the Management Board and President of OM with immediate effect. As such, Longoria will be responsible for the management of the club, both sporting and economically. “.
An end to the season that raises hope
You will understand, OM will also have found the real successor of AVB in the person of Jorge Sampaoli, the former coach of Chile, who will officiate for the first time under the colors of Olympians for the match against Rennes, March 10. The Argentinian was explaining it pretty quickly, what mattered was the content and everything would get really serious next year.
This did not mean that he took the end of this exercise lightly. Since arriving, OM have won six matches, lost twice and drawn three times. Results which have allowed the club to qualify for the next Europa League and above all, we hope for them, to turn the page of one of the most eventful seasons in its modern history.