“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”
– Jules Renard, a notable French author of the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century.
This is the quote of the year that has made sense for majority of the French people this year.
It was just a week ago that a Socialist – Francois Hollande was inaugurated as the President of France replacing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. The first Socialist to win the title since Francois Mitterrand did in the 1980’s.
And tonight the medieval and historic city of Montpellier located in the South of France has added one more moment of significance to an already impressive list of accomplishments. This time it was Ligue 1 club from the city – Montpellier HSC.
A remarkable story considering the fact that they have become the Champions of France’s top-flight football for the first time in their history.
The La Paillade as the club is known, was finally crowned tonight as they defeated their counterparts Auxerre who were guaranteed relegation before the matchup.
After twice braving a fan induced turmoil along with witnessing the march of riot police to evacuate the guilty stand at Stade de l’Abbé Deschamps, the team finally achieved what it was destined to achieve.
At the beginning of the season, not a single soul in French football ever imagined this scenario bearing in mind that they had finished 14th in the table last season and the subsequent amount which was spent in the transfer market.
And with surprising performance’s every weekend, there came anxiety. Anxiety of knowing that they are ever so close to the title.
The club that once featured notable stars such Laurent Blanc, (most interestingly, club’s all-time leading goal scorer and he played as a defender), Eric Cantona, Roger Milla, and Carlos Valderrama, managed to scrape by the finish line as money rich Paris Saint-Germain hovered in the fold with a difference of 3 points but equal on goal difference. The latter waiting for them to slip through in the final day of the fixture. And boy did they wait? The players ended up watching the late restart of the Auxerre-Montpellier game in the tunnel of the stadium at Lorient.
But coach René Girard (not related to the famous French historian – René Girard) stuck to the job in hand. He demonstrated his faith and believed in the potential that survived in the players throughout the season. On the other hand the players went some way to recompensing Girard for his faith with an exquisite trophy that the club could never have contemplated winning.
It remains to be seen if Girard will return to the club next season as he has had his share of involvement in rumors that has taken him from the EPL to Serie A to the Bundesliga. And the same goes with top assets like the in form striker and top scorer, Olivier Giroud who is currently linked with Arsenal and Liverpool. And then there is the charismatic Moroccan and a player who is compared to the likes of Edin Hazard – Younés Belhanda being chased by Manchester City, Arsenal and season rivals – Paris Saint-Germain.
The below goal which is in the list of one of the best goals scored in the season against Olympique de Marseille demonstrates his versatility in front of the goal.
There’s little doubt the club will be able to hang on to these players as the rich come knocking, but for the moment, it is a time for the club to revel in. A long track record of an obscure existence has ended. Montpellier is finally visible; firstly to the city of Montpellier, then to French football and finally, to European football as they anxiously anticipate next season’s European Champions League.
Truly this has been an unexpected but a long time coming for Montpellier.