Football for me is more than watching the same 7-8 teams play each other all the time in Champions League and in Paris I decided to go for a game with Red Star Paris who is one of the small working class teams in Paris.
“this is different than watching Qatar vs Qatar” says the young guy who helps me to get a ticket for the evening game between Red Star Paris and Avranches. He is talking about the Champions League game two days earlier between Paris Saint Germain and Barcelona who are both heavily supported by Qatari business interests. Red Star plays in the third best french league and has few sponsors, but they have a very loyal and lively fan base which is the main reason why I have decided to come and watch the game.
Left wing anarchists and local teenagers.
The 1300 fans of Red Star Paris, in tonights game, is a mix of left leaning anarchists and young local teenagers, mostly with emigrant background, with a few older guys too, who look like they have been to games at the stadium for many years. Red Star has always attracted a bit of an alternative crowd and it was founded in 1897 as the first sports club in Paris where you could come and play no matter what social status you had. It was founded by Jules Rimet, who later went on to found the football world cup, because he had problems getting in to a sports club himself when he was young, as he was the son of a poor merchant. Jules Rimet never played football himself, by the way, but was am active runner and fencer. But because of Jules Rimet’s social awareness, the club has gown in to a bit of a cult football club among left leaning fans and they are a very lively bunch in the stadium, even if a lot of them smoke one joint after the other during the game. There is non stop singing from the crowd for every second of the game and for several minutes after the game has finished too. It get’s pretty wild when Red Star scores the first goal and people are tumbling down the concrete stairs as the fans are running towards the fence to greet the goal scorer. A couple of girls are close to getting crushed and security looks a little worried, but nothing serious happens and the atmosphere is 100% friendly even if it’s very tense in the stadium.
Red Star Paris plays at Stade Bauer.
The game is at the stadium called Stade Bauer in the northern suburbs of Paris and the fans love the run down stadium, but they will most likely have to leave the stadium next season as it looks like they will be promoted to the second division and the facilities at the stadium are not at a high enough standard for a fully professional league, so they will most likely have to find a new stadium next year.
The name Red Star is taken from the Red Star shipping line that used to sail passengers between France and England and the name of the team is not Etoile Rouge as one would maybe think, since the team is french,, but Red Star Paris.