This has been a bad year for Nice.
First, the team starts off poorly. After starting the first two matches undefeated, Nice lost their next few matches by wide margins. The defeats were becoming so bad, that Nice supporter threatened team chairman Maurice Cohen during the team’s 3-1 loss to rivals Monaco. They shouted at Cohen and started throwing objects in his direction. Angry supporters were only inches from the chairman as they continued their rant. Still, they were successful in his removal from the chairman position, as he was replaced by Gilbert Stellardo just a few days later.
After that display, the team started to pull together. At one point, Nice put together a string of five wins in six matches, defeating Lyon, Toulouse and PSG. But since their win against Toulouse, which was on November 19th, Nice has yet to win again.
So, 2010 arrives, and a chance to get their team back on track. Already knocked out of the League Cup by St. Etienne, Nice looked to rebound against Championnat National side Plabennec in the French Cup. Nice looked to destroy the Brittany side, who looked to be on their way out of professional football all together, as they were in the relegation zone in the CN. But, by some miracle, Plabennec pulled off the only big upset in the French Cup Round of 64 and defeated Nice 2-1.
And yesterday, to continue their poor performance in Ligue 1, Nice lost yet another match, this time to Auxerre. Both teams looked to be heading toward a scoreless draw. But three minutes into stoppage time, Ireneusz Jelen, who was offsides during the play, scored the game winner for Auxerre and secured the victory for the visiting team. After Jelen’s goal, supporters started to throw flares on the pitch in protest, which brings up questions about the safety of the players, staff, officials and other fans, both home and visiting. Here is a video of the incident:
In addition to the flares, fans starting chanting for the resignation of coach Didier Ollé-Nicolle and the chairman as well.
This seemed to be the last straw for Nice fans. After the match, a group of disgruntled Nice fans waited by the for the players and staff to leave the building. The stewards of the match and additional security officials had to escort everyone out of the building as the situation was getting out of hand.
During the altercations, star striker Loic Remy was spat on. And since that incident, Remy has now said that he wouldn’t mind a transfer out of Nice during this winter transfer window. In the past, we have mentioned that Arsenal was interested in Remy. But Bordeaux and ‘some other French clubs’, according to L’Equipe, are also interested in the striker.
“I wet my shirt for people who spit at me, it’s unacceptable,” said Remy to RTL. “If I am to be spat upon, I will consider leaving the club before the end of the transfer window.” He added “The situation is critical at the club, I try to do my best but I am not a robot, I can’t do everything by myself,” according to L’Equipe.
While Nice chairman Gilbert Stellardo said that he disapproves of the actions of these ‘thugs’ during the match and afterward, he also has respected Remy’s possible move to another club. While his main goal is to straighten things out, he understands the actions of his so-called “supporters” might result in the team’s best player departing to another team in the next two weeks.
Still, Stellardo said to supporters that they need to be patient, as much of their team in still in Africa on international duty.
In addition to the problems with the supporters and the current player situation, Nice also cancelled a friendly match against Nimes which was scheduled for Saturday. The team insists that too few players are available for the match. In addition, Nice’s two new signings, Didier Digard and Renato Civelli, suffered injuries as well.
Still, even if it is the case, one might have to question if the club could handle another loss, especially to a Ligue 2 team in a friendly.
The situation at Nice is extremely sensitive right now. This team could possibly plunge into obscurity. And if they do, there is only one group of people that can have the blame pinned on them…the fans!