Most people who know me will testify, i'm a groundhopper. Most people who know me may testify i'm slightly mad. Either way, I travel around various football grounds of this island and, sometimes, beyond to watch the beautiful game.
Most of my travels encompass the non-league game and, with my inane ramblings, I will attempt to show you where my travels take me and, also, try to show you that there is footballing life beyond the so-called "best league in Europe"
I hope you enjoy reading!
It was that time again when my mate and I sought out a jaunt to across Europe to take in as many games as possible in the space of seven days, and as cheaply as possible. This year it involved three countries, two I'd never visited before.
France was the first destination. A very cheap flight to Paris-Beauvais Airport (that was neither in Paris nor Beauvais) then a 90 minute bus transfer into the city (allowing plenty of time for seeing the usual touristy gubbins) and then a 2 hour train journey from Paris Saint Lazare to Caen for their big Normandy derby versus Le Havre.
These were two teams I was actually aware of due to my sad 1980's football knowledge as Brian Stein (ex-Luton) played for Caen and Johnny Byrne (ex-QPR) played for Le Havre. These days both teams are now languishing in French Ligue 2, Caen having been relegated this year.
Stade Malherbe Caen, to give them their full name, were founded on the 17th November 1913 following the merger of Club Malherbe Caennais and Club Sportif Caennais. The team takes its name from Lycée Malherbe, named after François de Malherbe (1555–1628), a poet who was a native of Caen.
After playing at the Stade de Venoix since their formation, Caen moved, in 1993, to the Stade Michel d'Ornano. The ground was named in honour of the former politician Michel d'Ornano.
As it was a big derby the ticket situation was a bit concerning (we didn't have any) but I need not have worried as tickets were easily available on the night and the ground was only just over half full.
This was my first taste of French football and I have to confess I was not overly impressed. I found it very pedestrian and, considering it was a derby, there was no real passion. Caen ran out 2-0 winners thanks to a goal in each half. Aurélien Montaroup (34) and Romain Poyet (57) secured the points for home side.
Monday 5th November 2012 French Ligue 2 SM Caen 2-0 Le Havre Attendance: 13,217