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Ground: Stade Geoffroy-Guichard

Visits: 1

Date: 5 August 2017

Match: Saint-Étienne - Nice  1-0  (Ligue 1)

Attendance: 25 879

Staying the night in Nice I had three options in Ligue 1 on Saturday. Montpellier v Caen, Lyon v Strasbourg and Saint-Étienne v Nice. In the end I decided for the game at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Étienne was the most interesting one. As I went to bed last night, after midnight, I was really tired but after a good night´s sleep I was in a good mood and looking forward to the trip to Saint-Étienne. At 09.27 my TGV-train departed Nice and after changing trains in Lyon I arrived in Saint-Étienne at 15.10. My hotel was across the street from the station and I rested a while before having something to eat and drink at a nearby restaurant. Stade Geoffroy-Guichard is a 23-minute walk from the train station and at 18.15 I was outside the ground. Stade Geoffroy-Guichard was opened in 1931 but it has been reconstructed several times since then. The ground hosted matches in the 1984- and 2016 European championships as well as in the 1998 World Cup. Nowadays the ground has a capacity of 42 000. AS Saint-Étienne was the dominating club in France in the 60s and 70s and Saint-Étienne is the most successful club in French football history having won ten Ligue 1 titles, six Coupe de France titles, a Coupe de la Ligue title. The club's ten league titles are the most professional league titles won by a French club.

My seat was in row 27 in the stand opposite the main stand. After a while in my seat I noticed the lower tiers of the end stands were empty which seemed strange. Although it is officially a seated area this where the most vocal home fans normally stand and these areas tend to fill up early. I realized something was wrong a after a quick search on the web I found out the sections were closed by the French FA for previous bad behavior by Saint-Étienne ultras. In April Saint-Étienne had to play behind closed doors but the ultras still managed to force their way into the ground. Hence the closed sections in tonight´s game. Disappointing, especially since I know there is normally a good atmosphere at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. My stand was filling up nicely though and by kick-off it was more or less full. There is a small upper tier in the end stands and these were full. I guess most of the fans normally in the “standing” areas were in those upper tiers tonight. The official attendance was given as 25 900 which was 7-8 000 more than I estimated. Maybe season tickets holders in the closed sections were included in the official attendance? Those of us present could witness an early goal. In the 3rd minute Jonathan Bamba made it 1-0 to Saint-Étienne. Neither team created that many chances in the first half and at half-time it was still 1-0. The atmosphere at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard was, despite the closed sections, ok. At times even the “Poznan dance” could be seen from the upper tier. The second half didn´t produce many chances either and as the final whistle was blown home fans and players could celebrate three points. At 22.30 I was back at my hotel and at 10.13 tomorrow I am back in a TGV-train. Marseille v Dijon will be my third game on this tour.


Stade Geoffroy-Guichard


AS Saint-Étienne


Saint-Étienne fans


Rear of Tribune Pierre Faurand


Stade Geoffroy-Guichard


Saint-Étienne fans outside the ground


Rear of Tribune Jean Snella


Rear of Tribune Jean Snella


Fans outside the ground


Tribune Jean Snella


Tribune Jean Snella


Tribune Pierre Faurand


Tribune Charles Paret


Players end officials entering


Scarfs are out




Tribune Jeans Snella , upper tier


Saint-Étienne fans


View of play


Tribune Pierre Faurand


View of play


Tribune Charles Paret, upper tier


After the game