Welcome back to the Jersey Gallery! We are back with our latest review, and after their dramatic victory last weekend; we are reviewing one of the last time’s previously that Olympique Marseille defeated Paris Saint Germain at the Parc des Princes – the 2008/09 season! It was a season filled with ups, downs. sideways movements, the absurd and the amazing; I hope you enjoy this presentation of Episode #9 of The Jersey Gallery: The 2008-09 Olympique Marseille Home Shirt!
THE STORY OF THE SEASON:
ANOTHER TOP 3 FINISH BUT STILL TOO FAR BEHIND LYON..
Another top 3 finish was secured in 2007-08, but for a 7th season in a row, Marseille would have to watch on as Lyon were crowned as champions of France. With the benefit of a full transfer window; Eric Gerets continued his rebuild at the Velodrome in the summer of 2008, yet he would have to do so without starlet Samir Nasri who was sold to Arsenal in the close season for £12 million. Gael Givet and Djibril Cisse would also join him in the Premier League following loan moves to Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland respectively. Hatem Ben Arfa would replace Nasri as Marseille’s young French superstar following his transfer from Lyon, meanwhile: Bakari Kone, Tyrone Mears, Brandao and the Euro 2000 winner with France: Sylvain Wiltord were amongst the major arrivals in the summer.
AN AWESOME AUGUST – FALSE DAWN OR THE WINDS OF CHANGE?
The 2008-09 Ligue 1 season saw Marseille kick off away at Rennes on August 9th and the die was cast for what was going to be a wild season was for OM! They would go 3-1 ahead by half-time, only to need a 90th minute Bruno Cheyrou equaliser to salvage a point in a 4-4 draw! Cheyrou was on target again in the 1st Leg of their Champions League Play-Off against Brann in Norway on August 13th, before knocking 4 past Auxerre in a fine 4-0 win at the Velodrome! Marseille would reach the top of table after Match-Day 3 with a 1-0 win away to Le Havre. A fantastic month of August saw Marseille reach the draw for the Group Stage of the Champions League and stay top of the league with a 2-1 win over Sochaux,
A SEPTEMBER NOT TO REMEMBER…
Following the return from the international break, Marseille met their first huge test of the season; the visit to last season’s runners-up: Bordeaux. A 1-1 draw would play out in the September 13th clash. 3 days later, they would begin their Champions League Group-Stage journey against a familiar foe: Liverpool. Liverpool would famously defeat Marseille 4-0 at the Veledrome in December 2007 to leap-frog Marseille and reach the knock-out stage at their expense on the final match-day. Lorik Cana would put Eric Gerets side 1-0 up, before falling 2-1 to Rafa Benitez’ side. A poor September continued as both Monaco and Le Mans held them to draws in the league, before Sochaux ended their Coupe de la Ligue journey in the 3rd Round. Marseille would move 6 points behind Lyon who re-assumed 1st place.
10 AND OUT!
October continued the seeming free-fall as Atletico Madrid defeated them 2-1 at the Vicente Calderon in the Champions League to leave Mars’ 0-2 after their first 2 games in the group. After no win in 6 games; Marseille finally got back into the win column with a 2-1 win over Caen, crucially, Lyon would lose their first game of the season; leaving Marseille as the only unbeaten side left in the league, and more importantly, just 3 points shy of the champions. A 3-1 win over Valenciennes on October 19th allowed them to narrow the gap to just 1 point ahead of ‘La Classique’ against Paris Saint Germain on October 26th. Before the derby came the trip to PSV Eindhoven in Europe on October 22nd; regrettably, Marseille would be beaten 2-0 to make it 3 defeats in a row. After leading PSG 2-1; they would spectacularly collapse in the 2nd half; losing 4-2 to their fierce rivals. The month would end with a 1-1 draw with Nantes as Bordeaux entered the title race…
OLD HABITS DIE HARD…
Marseille started November by beating St-Etienne 3-1 at the Velodrome, and then 3 days later, they would secure that elusive win the Champions League as they defeated PSV 3-0 at home to keep alive their chances of finishing 3rd and continuing their participation in Europe by way of the UEFA Cup. ‘Les Phoceens’ would score thrice again in the league as Grenoble Foot 38 were punished 3-0 at the Stade des Alpes. The theme of squandering a lead reared itself yet again in the stunning 3-2 defeat at home to Lorient; this dropping all 3 points from a 2-0 position! In a seeming reversal of roles, Marseille would come from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Lille on November 23rd. Liverpool would complete the double over Marseille following their 1-0 win at Anfield 3 days later, before slipping to a season low of 4th after a goalless draw with Toulouse at the end of November.
PLENTY TO SAVOUR, PLENTY TO PONDER AS 2008 DRAWS TO A CLOSE…
December began with a crucial 2-1 win over Nice to move back into 2nd place, and after holding Atletico Madrid to a goalless draw at home in their final Champions League game of the group; they would finish in 3rd place to set up a Twente in the Round of 32 in the UEFA Cup in 2009. Up next, came the clash of the season: Lyon vs Marseille, OL vs OM at the Stade de Gerland. The battle with the champions would end 0-0 to keep the gap at 3 points between them at the top of the table. The year of 2008 would end with a stunning 3-0 defeat at home to Nancy, leaving Marseille in 5th place at the half-way stage of the league.
GROUNDHOG MONTH, GROUNDHOG YEAR?
Marseille returned in 2009 for Coupe de France duties and narrowly avoided a catastrophe; needing penalties to see off Bensancon! They would leverage the momentum of that win to defeat Auxerre 2-0 on January 10th, and then add a 2-0 win over Le Havre to move back into 3rd place. Regrettably, yet another month would end in frustration as Lyon dumped them out of the Coupe de France.
BREAKTHROUGH AS BORDEAUX BEATEN AND TWENTE TOPPLED AS A 13 MATCH UNBEATEN STREAK IN THE LEAGUE BEGINS…
February 1st yielded a 1-0 defeat to Sochaux; however, those recent blemishes would be quickly forgotten however, as a Marouane Chamakh own-goal allowed Marseille to defeat Bordeaux 1-0 at the Velodrome on February 8th! Another 1-0 win was secured, this time over Monaco, before being felled by the same score-line by FC Twente at home in the UEFA Cup on February 19th. Once again, OM would be left reeling by their most recent defeat as they could only draw 0-0 with Le Mans in their next outing. On February 26th, Marseille would make the trip to Holland to meet Twente in the 2nd Leg of their Round of 32 UEFA Cup clash. Hatem Ben Arfa would equalise the score on aggregate, before helping his side to a 7-6 win over the Dutch side on penalties to guide Marseille to the Round of 16 where fellow Eredivisie side: Ajax lay in wait for the March pair of ties!
PREPERATION FOR THE LE CLASSIQUE GRUDGE MATCH!
It would be a brilliant start to March 2009 as Marseille defeated Caen by a goal to nil, and although they would be held by Valenciennes; Lyon would be stunned 2-0 by Lille to keep the gap at just 4 points between themselves and the league leaders. Ajax were the latest side to visit the Velodrome, and Marseille would remain resolute as they claimed a 2-1 win to take with them to Amsterdam on March 18th.
REVENGE IS SWEET IN THE PARC DES PRINCES!
This set the stage for the grudge match at Parc des Princes against PSG! Unlike the first game earlier in the season, this national derby carried the added weight of it being a 2nd vs 3rd affair in the French capital, with Paris Saint Germain looking to pull away by Marseille by a further 3 points and possibly end the round of 28 on top! Lyon would drop points yet again, as they were beaten 2-0 by Auxerre earlier in the afternoon! Marseille would take the lead through Bolo Zenden, before Ludovic Giuly equalised just before half-time, ending the Marseille clean sheet record which culminated at over 550 league minutes! A red card for PSG’s Zoumana Camara paved the way for goals from Bakari Kone and Lorik Cana to gift a Marseille a famous 3-1 in the capital! More importantly, the win lifted OM above PSG, and within just a point of Lyon, with their game at the Velodrome still to play!
UEFA CUP QUARTER FINAL TIME!
3 days later, Marseille would reach the quarter final of the UEFA Cup as they were able to secure a 2-2 draw with Ajax after extra-time and earn themselves a tie with Shakhtar Donetsk in April! March continued to get even better as Nantes were put to the sword in a 2-0 at home on March 21st!
UEFA CUP CONSOLATIONS BUT FINALLY BACK AT THE TOP OF THE LEAUGE!
After a 2 week break, Eric Gerets’ charges continued their fine form as they saw off Saint-Etienne 3-0 away from home ahead of the trip far-east to meet Shakhtar in the 1st Leg of their UEFA Cup quarter final. Sadly, things did not go to plan in Donetsk as Mars’ were beaten 2-0 at the RSK Olimpiyskyi on April 9th. The round of 31 would yield the sight all Marseille fans were dreaming of: 1st place! Their 4-1 win over Grenoble, coupled with Lyon’s 2-2 draw with Monaco finally saw the champion’s hegemony of 1st place overthrown, and with just 7 games left to play, could they deliver that 1st league title since 1992* (*the 1992-93 championship is not attributed to a team although Marseille finished in 1st place originally). Before then, came the visit of Shakhtar to the Velodrome for the 2nd of the UEFA Cup quaarter final. The Ukrainian side made it academic as they defeated the French league leaders 2-1; the defeat however, would allow Marseille to concentrate all of their efforts on the league tilt…
WIN STEAK ENDS AT 6 AND BORDEAUX ARE WELCOMED INTO THE TITLE RACE…
Marseille retained their grip on 1st place with a 2-1 win over Lorient, however, Bordeaux had now taken 2nd place after beating Lyon in their crunch clash on April 19th. Marseille made it a season best of 5 wins in a row in Ligue 1 when they overcame the challenge of Lille away from home, however, the momentum of their title challenge would begin to slow as Toulouse held them to a 2-2 draw at the Velodrome in a game which featured braces from Mamadou Niang and Andre-Pierre Gignac. The round of 34 would end with both Marseille and Bordeaux on 68 points each. Niang and Brandao were both on target in an excellent 2-0 win away against Nice on May 13th.
END OF AN ERA! LYON DETHRONED, BUT MARS ATTACKED…
Up next was the clash with Lyon at the Velodrome! Lyon would need to win, and hope Bordeaux dropped points to stay in the title race mathematically and keep alive their dream of claiming that 8th successive Ligue 1 title. For Marseille, they could ill-afford anything less than a win given Bordeaux’s streaking form. The first major development of the weekend was that following Bordeaux’s victory over Le Mans; we would be crowing a new champion of France since the 2001-02 season as Lyon’s vice grip of the league was finally relinquished. It would be either Marseille of Bordeaux who would claim the now vacant title. With the pressure on Marseille to deliver, it would be yet another nightmare at home for OM as they were crushed 3-1 thanks to the brilliance of Karim Benzema and Juninho, ending their unbeaten league run at 13 games! The round of 36 would end with Bordeaux taking 1st place for the first time during the whole season!
SO CLOSE, YET SO FAR FOR OM AND ERIC GERETS…
Both Bordeaux and Marseille would prevail in their round 37 clashes against Monaco and Nancy respectively, meaning that in order for the Marseille to claim the title, they would need Caen to defeating the visiting Bordeaux, and for Marseille to win and achieve a better goal difference than Laurent Blanc’s side. The latter they achieved as they punished Rennes 4-0 at home in a second half blitz, however, Yoan Gouffran’s goal was enough to gift Bordeaux a 1-0 win and ultimately the 2008-09 Ligue 1 title.
That would be Eric Gerets’ last stand as Marseille manager as he was replaced in the hot-seat by Didier Deschamps ahead of the 2009-10 season, meanwhile, this would also be the last season that the likes of: Mahamadou Samassa, Lorik Cana, Karim Ziani and Ronald Zubar featured for the club as they took on challenges anew elsewhere in Europe.
MY MEMORIES OF THE SHIRT:
Admittedly, I don’t have really any memories of Marseille playing that season. European football was not as easily accessible in those days as it is now, bar La Liga and whomever Euro Sport had the rights to show games of, and from what I recall, Ligue 1 wasn’t one of them, although I could be wrong! Besides, as an 18 year old working my first full-time job; a security guard doing 12 hour nights, French football was the farthest thing on my mind!
What was prevalent however, was my budding love for French hip-hop music and how fascinating I found that the rivalry between Paris and Marseille, extended to the football teams and there was even a dichotomy surrounding the artists that came out from the respective regions! This inevitably led to me adopting Marseille as my team in France, and as luck would have it, M&M Direct had the gorgeous 2008-09 home shirt available for a paltry £19.99 or so in the summer of 2009! (Some things never change eh!?) This shirt, along with the pair of Japan shirts I purchased back in 2008, was one of the ‘founding shirts’ of my collection that at its peak, was some 300 strong!
As far as the Adidas Marseille pantheon is concerned, it is my opinion that certainly of the 2000’s, this is their best home shirt made! There were some truly beautiful Marseille home shirts, especially between 2004-09, and for me, this is the pinnacle of that body of work. Only the 2011-12 season’s home shirt came anywhere close afterward in my humble opinion.
The template used by Adidas ahead of the 2008-09 season was only let down by its less than ideal fit; anyone who has a shirt of theirs from the period between 2006-09 will no doubt attest to either the sleeves being too long, too baggy, or the chest being too roomy. Still, the white of this shirt just glistened like crystal, an effect no doubt perpetuated by the sparkling shade of cyan and the classy collar. Another fine caveat was also the use of the city coat of arms that was implemented in a very light grey on the right hand side of the shirt. The Direct Energie sponsorship was pushed a little higher up the shirt and the colours and font only added to the quality of the aesthetic in my opinion. For those who recall the club’s European foray that season, the club used the ‘n9uf’ sponsor which casual fans may be more familiar with the sight of.
We have one of these fine shirts for sale in size medium! The shirt is in very good condition, however this is some staining to and light signs of wear that does prevent us from listing it as excellent in condition. As touched upon earlier, if you are a size medium who prefers a fitted shirt, I would probably avoid buying this one, however, a size large by todays standards may get a lot more joy from this purchase!
You can view the product here:
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this most recent trip down memory lane and I hope you join us again for the next episode of The Jersey Gallery!
#ForeverFootballShirts #FFS #OwnAPieceOfYourClub #TheModernClassic
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