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The football club has been on an absolute high since Jeremy Menez netted the only goal of the game versus Lyon on Sunday night. It was that stroked effort just after the interval which sealed the club’s third league title and ended a 19-year hiatus from being champions of France.
The scenes that have followed have been nothing short of spectacular. The players and staff more or less immediately left the Stade de Gerland upon the final whistle to get their celebrations under way. Most of the players still adorning their match day strip, ended up partying at the airport with a chorus of chants and mingling with the airport staff. Even on the plane, photos emerged of Blaise Matuidi and Mamadou Skaho leading a conga down the aisle with gleaming smiles. The skipper Thiago Silva is never shy from a celebration also and ended up crowd surfing on the team coach on the way back.
The one thing that stood out in the midst of all this is the team spirit in the camp. Believe it or not, despite the marquee names and ludicrous wages, this group of players are a close-knit bunch. They also relate to the supporters, particularly the French contingent. The likes of Christophe Jallet, Kevin Gameiro, Clement Chantome and Sylvain Armand immediately joined the travelling Parisiens after the final whistle to celebrate with them and drink it all in. Chantome certainly had that idea, guzzling a bottle of beer in the centre-circle. And there was us thinking he was a quiet lad.
On the Monday morning, plans were afoot for a day of celebration. The double decker bus was draped in red and blue with the new Parisien logo the predominant feature on the front. Thousands of fans gathered at the Trocadero awaiting their heroes to lift the Hexagoal trophy which would be the culmination after the players and staff had travelled through the city on the open top bus. It all started so well, the scenes were an absolute sight. Red, blue and white draped all across the city – even the Eiffel Tower the night before was illuminated in the aforementioned colours. The Champs-Elysees was reminiscent of those scenes in 1998 after France had won the FIFA World Cup. It was beautiful.
But, this is when the ugly side of Paris Saint-Germain unfurled. Nearly three-dozen so called supporters started causing trouble as the players emerged on the stage at the Trocadero. It all looked to be going oh so well until the trouble commenced. This resulted in armoured police getting involved and letting off tear gas which cut the celebrations short. Subsequently the planned boat trip across the Seine on the night was postponed, as too a Gala dinner. It just marred what should have been a week of celebration and the true Parisien supporters have been short-changed thanks to a minority.
Credit to the club though who immediately released a statement condemning the violence and expressing their sorrow to the proper PSG supporters who had just wanted to celebrate with them.
Unfortunately, those scenes put the football club in a bad light in a day in which Barcelona and Manchester United also had their title parades without a hitch. It is a lesson for the club and hopefully any future title winning parties elude any such incidents in the future.
It has been a beautiful week for the club no doubt. Winning a league title is special but it could have been so much greater. Thankfully, the final home game of the season is just days away allowing the supporters to have another opportunity to celebrate a deserved league title.