What else?

Choose your priorities.

Today Barrack is almost confirmed as the Democrat candidate for the next US elections. Burma and China are rampaged by typhoons and earthquake... Nonetheless what really matters (sorry!) is that today
GF38, the football club of Grenoble, has finally secured its promotion to French Premier League. The last time this happened was just 47 years ago.

This even more impressive that 10 matches ago, the club was 12 points behind the third and last qualifying place. It seems that the anniversary of the 1968 winter Olympic Games have stimulated them, to the point that they decided to commemorate the May '68 with their own little revolution. But beyond the sport results, there are a few stories to be told around this performance. A different point of view on my region...

Grenoble - Feb. 68
May 68Grenoble - May 08

First of all, this club was almost bankrupt in 2001 when a Japanese business man, Katzutoshi Watanabe, decided to suggest its company, Index Corporation, to invest in this local club. The Japanese multimedia consortium arrived in Grenoble to benefit from the French silicon valley like HP, Sun Microsystems, CapGemini... All these groups have major operations in the Isere valley, and so has the French nanotechnology governmental research arm.

Japanese chips and French football.

But let's be fair brain drain have usually little impact on football results. To boot (excuse the pun), the main sport attraction in this place revolves more around skiing and eventually hockey with a well-performing professional team,
the Wolve Burners, than around a football. Anyway this year seems to have been the year of football in Grenoble. The players stopped playing with ski boots and the region started to back them up in a beautiful stadium, the Stade des Alpes (Stadium of the Alps, or Stadio delle Alpi as the Juventus fans will have recognised their little brother on the other side of the mountains).

From green to glass.

There has been a few stories around this brand new stadium which was only inaugurated in February 2008. Some of which made their ways to the national news... The stadium has been built in the middle of the city where the former derelict stadium was sitting since the 1930s. The ambition was to encourage access via public transportation. A green initiative could you think, except that this 20,000 seat-strong stadium needed to sacrifice some centennial trees on the altar of architecture and sport.
Local green activists refused this decision, especially for a club languishing in the depths of the second division with little appeal and supporters. They complained that this construction was illegal due to lack of consultation. To demonstrate their opposition, they climbed the bespoke trees and settled up there. Eco-citizens, as they were nicknamed by the media, started overnighting between branches, preventing the construction to progress.

Interestingly enough, Grenoble citizens have been famous in French History for their role in revolts. The French revolution started here when the representatives of the people signed a pact to overthrow nobles and thus encouraged the crowd to start throwing tiles at the army from the roofs of the city.

This time no projectile was thrown down, and ultimately the trees gave way to the bulldozers after months of negotiations. And let's be fair the result is beautiful. The new stadium is a real architecture beauty which can be virtually visited in 3D through this little download.

Now the question is: will the club manage to avoid relegation next year and will spectators come to support their team even during the cold winter months? Not sure... Especially if the snow is deep. Unless we start playing football-joering.

1 comment:

  1. c'est tellement bien resumé...