Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Good, The Bad, The WTF

As tough as it may be to believe now, just over 20 years ago, Olympique Lyonnais, otherwise known as Lyon, was floundering in Ligue 2. It took the efforts of two men to get them out of there and on their way to the seven consecutive Ligue 1 championships the team currently enjoys. The first of these men is Jean-Michel Aulas, who invested in the club and took over as president. Upon taking over in 1987, he stated his intention of reforming the club into a French power within 15 years.

The second man who had much to do with Lyon's ascent from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1 is, I kid you not, Raymond Domenech. That's right, the man who manages by the stars and thought a post-match news conference after being eliminated from the Euros was the best time to propose, used to be a pretty fine coach. Under Domenech, Lyon won Ligue 2 at the first try. The team solidified their Ligue 1 place next season and, in 1992, finished fifth in league, guarenteeing a European berth.

The upshot is that in 2002, or 15 years after Aulas took control, Lyon won their first of seven straight Ligue 1 titles. Mission accomplished, I'd say. Go buy yourself a banner.

Okay, now that all of that has been explained, I guess I should tell you why I went through all of that. You see, these are the shirts the Lyon wore in their first seasons back in Ligue 1, and I think they are kind of swell.

The one thing I'm not so sure of is the dual chevrons on the front. I am a fan of Bordeaux's look, when it's simple. One solid colored field with a contrasting chevron in the center. This seems to be a ripoff of that look. Future incarnations of OL shirts would not have the chevron on there, and I can't find compelling evidence of it being a traditional look. Odd that the team would copy something so uniquely defined by one team in the same country.

As for that shirt sponsor, it would appear that is has something to do with the Departement that Lyon is the capital of. I'll let The NY Kid fill in the blanks on that one. One thing I can fill in the blanks on is that whenever I look at the pictures here, I instantly hear Bill & Ted with a French accent. "Le 69, dude! (insert guitar solo)"

All in all, I really do like these shirts. I'm not a big fan of the contrasting reflective material of the shirts. I'm not a damn crossing guard, why do flash photos of the shirt make me look like one? I would choose the red one over the home white, but that's just me. Consider this one of the rare Goods that we just don't see enough from this era.


The NY Kid said...

Yes, in France they have "Departements" which is sort of the equivalent to a county (remember that France is approximately the size of Texas). Lyon is the capital of Le Departement du Rhone, which is Departement 69. Very unexciting.

But, "69, les gars!"

Andrew said...

It's French for "The 69."

The Fan's Attic said...

It looks like they got a medal for 69ing.