The Red Star in “Le Monde”, greatness and denial of a symbol of popular football

Un piece of French football history, sold to an American investment fund. On May 11, the Red Star, legendary club of Saint-Ouen, in the inner suburbs of Paris, was sold to 777 Partners, against several million euros. The end of an era, for the green and white formation founded in 1897.

In The world, the Ile-de-France team was mentioned for the first time on December 29, 1944, on the occasion of the announcement of the start of the “Southern Zone Championship” with a match against Stade Français. On May 31, 1947, the fiftieth anniversary of “Audonian Olympic Red Star” is announced in the newspaper, as proof of his fame in French sport – four French Cups won in the interwar period and a last one a few years earlier, in 1942.

The shock is therefore total, on June 27, 1955, when The world, in his section “La Vie sportive”, title: “The Red Star is downgraded for sports fraud”. The daily describes facts of a “extreme gravity”. The coach, Charles Nicolas, would have offered bonuses to certain players from other teams before their meeting with the Ile-de-France club. Because of this cheating, the Red Star, among the oldest of the French professional formations, lost its “prestige”.

Corruption, attack and liquidation

The newspaper follows what has become, over the weeks, “The Red Star Affair”. In July 1955, the coach was finally struck off for life and Mr. Gilbert Zenatti, president and patron, was suspended for three years. Sporting performance takes a back seat and the following years are marked by complications, for managers and players alike. The footballer Saïd Zoubir was arrested on August 20, 1958, in the midst of the Algerian war, with two members of the National Liberation Front (FLN). “He had lured one of his co-religionists, Mr. Ali Gouri, into an ambush and participated in his assassination on August 13,” informs the daily.

“At PSG, the West of Paris and its ease; the popular North-East of Ile-de-France behind the Red Star. » The journalist Stéphane Joby, in 1996

Two years later, new scandal. Another attempt at corruption, during the 1959-1960 championship, this time. As a result, the Red Star was expelled from the league on August 18, 1960. Then Gilbert Zenatti, the club’s president, narrowly escaped a car bomb attack in June 1966. Finally, as the symbol of the explosions to come, “the Red Star is put into liquidation”, title The world, December 24, 1977.

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