HISTORY: Paris Saint-Germain are a young football club, established in 1970 and formed with the help of 20,000 Parisian football fans who were desperate to see elite level football in the city. PSG started out in the second tier of French football by merging with existing club, St Germain-en-Laie. Splits, acrimony and a couple of years as an amateur club, PSG were finally promoted to Ligue 1 in 1974. They have never been relegated since.
HOW ARE PSG THESE DAYS?: Flying high at the top of France’s Ligue 1 and basking in the on-field sun of wonder striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who never seems to score a scuffed goal or a scrappy fumble into the net from the side of his knee cap. When the question is “Messi or Ronaldo?” for many the answer is “Zlatan.” Scorer of superb scorpion kicks and all sorts, Zlatan has recently been traumatising continental goalkeepers for sport and likes the odd 93mph shot on goal. This is a particular Away Colours favourite, Zlatan v Bastia October 2013.
Ibrahimovic joined PSG from AC Milan in July 2012 and is the highest paid player in Le Ligue. Zlatan likes to talk of himself in the 3rd person like that other grandmaster Ronaldo and is king of the soundbite. Zlatan says what he sees – these are a couple of our favourite quotes.
“What Carew does with a football, I can do with an orange.”….and on turning down a trial at Wenger’s Arsenal, “ Zlatan doesn’t do auditions.”
Mercurially talented, Ibra is also renowned for his ridiculous car collection which includes a Maserati Gran Turismo, a rare Ferrari Enzo and a shocking pink Lamborghini Gallardo he had customized to match his football boots. Well he is Zlatan as he will happily tell you.
KITS: Where to start? PSG have had some of the most beautiful kits in European club history in our opinion. They know what works and they pretty much stay true to the design ethos, created by former Chairman and fashion designer Daniel Hechter in 1974. The iconic PSG strip known as “the Hechter shirt”, uses a blue and red central vertical stripe, representing Paris and white borders to represent St Germain-en-Laie.
ARCH-RIVALS: Olympique de Marseille who unlike PSG have their names on a European Cup. Marseille are the team with the country’s largest fan base, but then they have been existence since 1899. PSG v Marseille games are known as ‘Le Classique’ and also for their history of crowd trouble. Cue lots of gallic fist-shaking, flags and Pyro, as the French tune in for the most watched game of Le Ligue’s domestic calendar.
FAN CULTURE: PSG are well known for their Ultra fan culture and when their fans take to the streets it looks like 1789. The PSG Ultras have self-organised into a wide variety of factions who each stand in a particular area of the Parc des Princes stadium, each having their own membership criteria. Groups, who are often in dispute with one another, include the Boulogne Boys, the Authentiks, the Tigris and the Supra. Why Ross Kemp has not starred in a documentary about these groups is a mystery.
Here spend 3 minutes immersed in PSG Ultra culture “in the heart of the Virage Auteuil” section of the stadium, flame retardant outerwear is advised. What’s French for “Propa nawty” ?
STADIUM: Located on the South West outskirts of Paris, right bang on top of the more fashionable Paris version of the M25, lies the Parc des Princes; a converted Velodrome and one time venue of the finish line of the Tour de France. The stadium which hosted France international games prior to the building of the Stade de France, has been home to PSG since 1974. The club’s Qatari owners have recently received planning permission to develop the 48,000 capacity stadium into a 60,000 seater, once the Euro 2016 finals have been and gone. The owners were keen to knock the whole stadium down and start again but the Paris Mayor said “No chance pal” to the PSG President– a major facelift will now be the most likely option.
Parc des Princes by psgmag.net
NOTABLE EX-PLAYERS: Jean Djorkeff, David Ginola, George Weah, Pauletta, Ronaldhino, WBA have 3 ex-PSG players in their current Premier League squad including Nicolas Anelka, Youssouf Mulumbu and Stephane Sessegnon.SILVERWARE: Le Ligue titles x4, UEFA Cup Winners Cup x1, Coupe de France x8. Not bad.
CLUB ANTHEM: “Allez Paris St Germain’ to the tune of Go West by the Pet Shop Boys – how very non-Ultra sounding.
© LRM 2013