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Olympique Marseille

Ground: Stade Vélodrome

Visits: 1

Date: 6th August 2017

Match: Olympique Marseille - Dijon  3-0  (Ligue 1)

Attendance: 50 904

The game that would have the biggest attendance on this tour was of course Olympique Marseille v Dijon at Stade Velodrome. My day started St Étienne from where I at 10.13 boarde a TGV-train taking me to Lyon. 30 minutes waiting time at Lyon Part Dieu before boarding another TGV-train. 13.15 we arrived at Marseille St Charles and I was greeted by really warm weather, around 32 °C. From outside the train station I had a great view of the city of Marseille and my hotel was then less than 5 minutes away. After checking in I went to the metro station at St Charles and from there I made the 10-minute journey to Stade Velodrome. There are two metro stations, on either side of the ground, and as I had a ticket to pick up I tried to find the ticket office. As I approached the ground, I was told I was in forbidden territory. The security guards didn´t speak English but it was clear I had to turn around. I showed my ticket confirmation (in French) and they showed me where to walk. Going to the other side of the ground took quite a while but I eventually found the ticket office. Kick-off was at 21.00 but 6.5 hours before the game would start there was a long queue at the ticket office. I had to wait 25 minutes and then they couldn´t find my ticket. They had apparently mixed up my surname with my forename and after a while I was given my ticket. Going back I used the other metro station, only five minutes from the ground, and I then headed towards the port area for a well-deserved lunch/dinner. The area around the port was packed with tourists and after a few pictures I returned to my hotel where I relaxed before leaving for the game.

Two hours before kick-off I was back at Stade Velodrome. There were already thousands of fans buzzing of excitement outside the ground. The queue to buy tickets was enormous and I was starting to believe an attendance of between 50- and 55 000. As I was searched I could see the person in from of me having a camera that was not allowed to take inside. My camera was ok and once again, you can´t have a (too) professional camera if you want it inside bigger games. My seat was in block X, row 86 of the Jean Bouin Stand. Last year my Scottish friend Jonathan was at Stade Velodrome for Iceland v Hungary in EURO 2016. Having seen his view I realized he must have been very close to where I was tonight. It turned out we had the exact same seat, remarkable! The two side stands were almost completely full tonight and the attendance was around 51 000 and as expected the atmosphere at Stade Velodrome was very good. The end stands are where the ultras stand and before kick-off they protested against the ground´s new official name, Orange Velodrome. In the first half Dijon played well and could/should have scored a few goals. In the second half there was only one team creating chances though. Within ten minutes of the restart Olympique Marseille were 2-0 up. The atmosphere was by now even better than before. When the home team scored again to make it 3-0 the atmosphere actually died down a bit, the game was over.

Stade Velodrome is without a doubt a ground every groundhopper should visit and I am pleased to have (finally) visited this ground. The organization at the metro station after the game was far better than expected and at 23.20 I was back at my hotel. Tomorrow I will change time- and climate zone when I fly to England. Cooler temperatures but hopefully the rain will stay away!

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View of Marseille (from the train station)

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View of Marseille

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Harbour

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Harbour

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Harbour

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Harbour, pano

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Rear of Tribune Ganay

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Rear of Tribune Jean Bouin

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Fans outside Tribune Jean Bouin

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Fans outside Tribune Jean Bouin

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Virage Nord

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Tribune Ganay

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Virage Sud

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Players and officials entering

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Kick-off

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Virage Nord, tifo

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Virage Nord

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Ultras, Marseille

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View of play

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Goal!

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Tribune Ganay

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Virage Sud

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Pyro

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After the game

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Pano

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Pano