Each month we’ll be sending our disagreeable Eurosceptic correspondent to scout a different league on the continent, and asking him to report back with his nonsensical findings. This month, it’s Ligue 1.
“Bonjour! Salut! And as the locals here like to say ‘Je me rends’. I’ve come to France to have a look at the native soccer teams and see what they’re all about, which is exactly what this country needs. Having arrived at Calais yesterday morning I was immediately struck by the friendliness of the locals who welcomed me with a traditional Churchillian Victory hand gesture. There was a strange moment when, upon ordering a light lunch of the French national dish of chipped potatoes and gravy, the proprietor of the bistro I was in took sudden umbrage and called the police. Perhaps they only serve Putain in the metropolitan areas. Either way, I’m here now and I’m going to make a success of it. Let’s have a look at the teams that will be contesting Ligue (that’s League) 1 (or, One)*
*If you ask me, some of these teams might struggle in League One!!!**
**The League One that is in England.
Let’s start in Gay Paris, which I’m absolutely fine with. Paris St Germain (I wish they’d make their minds up!) are owned by a load of chaps from Qatar – I mean where does it end? It’s yet further proof that multicul…billionaires you say? Well bully for PSG! Now it says here they’ve bought a young chap from Brazil for…TWO HUNDRED MILLION EUROS?! What’s that in pounds? Couple of grand? Madness. Anyway, this Neymar character is meant to be particularly good at soccer – and for the price of a second hand Volvo Estate you’d hope so.
Now then Monaco, ah yes this is more like it. I’ve got a timeshare on a superyacht actually. Well if you spend long enough as the leader of the political party you’re going to end up with a bit of cash to burn. Monaco are defending champions apparently, but it looks as though half their team have upped sticks and gone to…oh you’re joking. 21% of young English soccer players can’t find a job, and yet here we are giving £50m to the EU when public finances are under great strain. And apparently they’re going to sell an 18 year old boy for over £100m?! Human-trafficking as well! I’m really going to have to reconsider my next trip to Monte Carlo.
It’s Nice to be Nice, but sometimes being too Nice can take the biscuit*! Ha ha. They’ve got that Italian boy up front haven’t they. Loose cannon. Balotelli. Mad old boy, him. Built like a brick outhouse, and very powerful of course. Yes, very powerful and athletic. Big strong boy. Yes.
*Nice is the name of a biscuit.
Lyon. Always reminds me of treacle tart. Ah yes. Treacle tart and custard on a Sunday for pud, and re-runs of Dad’s Army. Don’t Tell Him Pike! Ha ha. So they’ve sold their best striker to Arsenal have they? But they’ve got a young boy up front, name of Fekir, looks the business. Well with a name like that he’s got to be from the Africas hasn’t he? French?! Don’t make me laugh. He can’t be French with a name like that. Bernard, Dubois, Bonaparte – they’re proper French names. Fekir indeed.
Now I might not know a lot about soccer but even I know Marseille are the team for Englishmen. Chris Hoddle (Waddle – ed), Joe Barton, Tony Cascarino – he was an Irishman wasn’t he? Either way, good polite team, manners, hard working normal folk. I see they’ve signed Pele. Very shrewd. Better bit of business than that lot from the capital.
Toulouse or not Toulouse, that is the question! Ha ha. Charles Dickens – a wonderful writer, from the home of literature. This team play in purple, which is an excellent start. They’ve got a couple of nice big strong Northern Europeans in the team which is always good to see. But what’s this? They’ve sold their top goalscorer to Middlesbrough. Oh dear. Well ‘The Boro’ will surely profit from that! I hear he was quite ‘industrious’ which is exactly what the area needs right now.
‘Beware the Judderman my dear’…I used to love a bottle of Metz in the bar after work. Alcopops were great – not as great as a nice pint of mild bitter of course – but the kids need a gateway before they take on the stronger stuff. This team have got a lizard on their crest, which takes me back to my years in the family nest, but otherwise I don’t think much to them.
Like most things, English mustard is the best kind of mustard. Norwich, the home of English mustard, is almost ten times better than Dijon. What about the football team? They were nearly relegated last year, and I don’t think they’ll get on much better this year. Get rid of them I say. Wholegrain all the way.
Amiens is probably what the French would say after evening prayers if they weren’t so godless. This lot are in Ligue 1 for the first time in their history, good on you chaps. God loves a trier, even a French one. I don’t fancy their chances of sticking around though. Down you go.
So there we have it. You said you were sick of experts, well now you’ve got an ex-pat! Ha Ha. Thank you for reading, and God Save the Queen.”
Vile Barrage will be back next month with another insightless round-up of one of Europe’s top leagues, unless someone fires him into the sun.