That day, they paid tribute

This weekend, with its one-nil victory against the reserve of AC Ajaccio, the Sporting Club de Bastia wore a special jersey. A black jersey with blue print, specially worn in tribute to Davide Astori, Fiorentina captain, and to Thomas Rodriguez, a young player from the Tours FC academy, who both passed away last week. This gesture of support is not without precedent in the French football landscape, notably these ten last years. The Team Oscaro proposes a tour of these “tribute jerseys”, symbols of passion and solidarity which reigns around the world of football. At a time where part of the football world shows itself at its worst (a minority of Lille ultras penetrated onto the pitch), a little humanity does not do any harm…

April 5th 2008, SC Bastia – AC Ajaccio: Another derby. But a derby different from others. At the time, the Sporting receives an opponent in mourning. That evening, the Bears win on a 1-0 score on the pitch of Furiani (Lucas Pereira at the 82nd). The night before, the Ajaccian club said goodbye during a funeral, to its President Michel Moretti who died on March 31st 2008. On the heart of their black jersey it said “Mighè u to ricordu sarà sempre vivu in nostru cori è a nostra memoria” (“Michel your memory will always be alive in our heart and in our memory”). A message which accompanies Ajaccio for 24 matches, during which they collect 37 points. Ajaccio wore the jersey until the first derby of the following season, on December 5th 2008 (A 6-2 win by Bastia).

August 30th 2009, Olympique de Marseille – Girondins de Bordeaux : This time, no black, but white. In Week 4 of the Ligue 1, Marseille receives Bordeaux in a prime time match. In this match against the reigning Ligue 1 champion, Marseille decides to render a last tribute to Robert Louis-Dreyfus, largest shareholder of the club since 1996, who died one month before, at 63 years old. For the occasion, the players wear a white jersey. The Adidas stripes, usually sky blue, are black, as the rest of the messages on the jersey. A “Thank you RLD” also figures. The match unfortunately was not one to remember (0-0), but at the end of the season, Marseille wins its ninth Ligue 1 title.

May 2nd 2015, SC Bastia – AS Saint-Etienne : At only a few days from the 23rd anniversary of the terrible Furiani disaster. Fighting for its survival in Ligue 1, the Sporting receives Saint-Etienne in Week 35 of Ligue 1. In a cathedral-like silence lasting for seven minutes, the players walk onto the pitch of the Stade Armand-Cesari. For the occasion, Bastia brandishes a special black jersey with two blue stripes and a white stripe on the upper chest. Written on the jersey: “In Memoria” (“in memory”), “23 anni digià” (“Already 23 years”) and “5th May 92 Collective”, all marked in capital letters. The SCB wins on the smallest of margins thanks to a 84th minute goal from Floyd Ayité. The same jersey was used again in 2016 against Angers, and 2017 against PSG.

November 25th 2015, Malmö FF – Paris SG : Twelve days after the terrible attacks which striked the French capital, causing the death of a 130 people, PSG travels to Swedish Malmö (5-0 victory). In these circumstances, the Parisians put on their usual black Champions League jersey, but the main sponsor of the club is replaced by one sentence “Je Suis Paris”. A gesture of support that is to be reiterated three days later in the championship. When PSG receives Troyes (4-1), the same slogan is on the jersey, but on the traditional blue home jersey.

August 14th 2016, OGC Nice – Stade Rennais : White as a symbol of light and peace… For Week 1 of the Ligue 1, Nice receives Rennes in a very particular atmosphere. One month earlier, 85 people lose their life in a tragic terrorist attack. In order to pay tribute, the Eagles and the Bretons wear a jersey on which a heart, drawn with the names of the 85 victims appear. Nice, dressed in all white, enter the pitch in stony silence. After releasing 85 balloons into the sky, the OGCN players ends up winning on a 1-0 score.

March 10th 2017, Stade de Reims – AC Ajaccio : A replica jersey to celebrare a legend. In Week 29 of Ligue 2, Reims receives AC Ajaccio in a special context. Raymond Kopa, one of the biggest football players in history, star of the great Stade de Reims in the 50’s passed away at 85 years old. In tribute, Reims puts on a jersey replicated from their 1956 jersey, with “Kopa” printed on. As their mentor at the time, Reims proposes a recital, winning 3-0 against their Ajaccian rival.

August 5th 2017, Montpellier HSC – SM Caen : A classy, sober jersey, which contrasts with the extravagant personality of Louis Nicollin, who died in June 2017, but a jersey which pays great tribute. Black and grey, “Loulou” printed in the back, the players brandishes this magnificent jersey for Week 1 of the 2017-2018 season, in glory of their emblematic president, who took the club out of the amateurs and to a Ligue 1 title in 2012. In a match rich in emotion, Souleymane Camara offers to Montpellier the victory.

October 13th 2017, FC Sochaux-Montbéliard – Paris FC : When we think about Sochaux, we think about their colours, yellow and blue. Last October, for the duration of an evening, Sochaux left their colours in the locker-room, to wear a new and more somber jersey. For Week 11 of Ligue 2, the FCSM wears an all-black jersey when receiving Paris FC. The occasion to render a last tribute to Olivier Baudry, who played for the club from 1991 to 2000, and who died from a cancer a few days earlier at 44 years old. Signed by the players, the 18 jerseys, with “Baudry” printed on the back, were then sold at an auction. The money that was collected, was then donated to the League against Cancer.

November 18th 2017, RC Strasbourg – Stade Rennais: Another tribute with a jersey with a former player’s name on the back. That night, Strasbourg wore a jersey with the name “Steven“. An important character in the story of Strasbourg’s return to the elite, in charge of the youngest players in the academy, Steven Keller, 25 years old, died a few weeks prior after a long period of sickness. In a last salute, Strasbourg won against Rennes.

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