Marseille celebrates the champions of 1937

19 may 2017
Allan Chaussard
Photos © 
Montage : Fatima Larbaoui / et Archives 2017
Amateur Champion of France 1929, OM celebrates the 80th anniversary of its first professional title of champion of France. Throughout the week, celebrates this anniversary by remembering the past. Today, a return to the festivities that followed the coronation of OM during an exhibition match against the Basque selection.

Already full three days earlier for the last championship match of the season, against Sochaux on Thursday 20th May 1937. The Fernand-Bouisson stadium was full once again on the following Sunday, for the occasion to celebrate the champions of France, the Olympiens playing against a Basque selection, whose members almost all compose the national team of Spain.
Before the event, Olympique of Marseille organises several opening matches from 12:45 pm, including the final of the Rodolphe-Pollack Cup, won by C.A. Gombertois.
An omni-sport club at the time, OM presented every team from the football-association section and the representatives of the sections to the public: rugby, basketball, tennis, women's sports...a parade of 450 practitioners given a standing ovation by the crowd to the rhythm of the Olympian hymn, performed by 90 musicians of the Musique Municipale. Magnificent.
But the atmosphere became even more intoxicating when the champions of France appeared, presented by their president, Henri Raynaud, to the Under-Secretary of State for Merchant Marine and Deputy Mayor of Marseilles, Henri Tasso, who then received the gold medal from OM under the applause of the crowd.

As Le Petit Provençal reported the day after the event, the Basques are also entitled to a warm welcome when they come on to the field. Led by the famous Regueiro, Langara, Muguerza and Iraragori, the Spaniards are in Marseille in the middle of a European tour to raise money to buy food and medicines for the bombing victims in their country. A noble cause for which they spare no effort at each performance and reward the public that day with a splendid match.
Faced with the champions of France, deprived of two of their best players (Ben Bouali and Ignace), the Basques entertain the entire crowd with their immense talent. The Olympiens do not give up the game, return to the locker room on a draw, then open the scoring thanks to Zatelli. The Iberians beat the Olympiens and scored 5 goals before the "handsome Mario" reduced the score at the end of the game. "It was an admirable match. Played with a little customary enthusiasm, with a rare speed of execution and top class technique", wrote Georges Darbos in the regional daily newspaper, which also reports the words of Regueiro in perfect French before leaving the stadium: "Tell your readers that we are taking the best memory from Marseilles and we hope to come back soon."
The Marseillais also kept a fabulous memory of this day, where they celebrated, with the passion that still characterises them, the first French professional champions of OM.

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Crowned with King George VI

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To come

Saturday: a cosmopolitan team

1937 Title