A FRENCH LEAGUE DIVIDED INTO SEVERAL GROUPS
The Second World War marked a special period for Olympique Marseille and more generally for all French clubs. From the beginning of the war in September 1939, the French League was divided into several groups: the North zone, the South-West zone and the South-East zone. As war required, some players of French clubs lived in barracks and deserted the football fields.
Olympique de Marseille then integrated into the South-East zone with Nice, Cannes, Saint-Etienne and Antibes. Marseille finished second in the league, just behind Nice in the 1939-1940 season.
Despite the war, the Marseille participated in the Coupe de France -- then renamed Charles Simon Cup -- but the Club, coached by Joseph Eisenhoffer, were defeated, 2-1, in the final by the Racing Club of Paris on 5 May, 1940, at the Parc des Princes in front of 25,969 spectators.
The following season, in 1941, Les Olympiens finished first in the South zone and were therefore the French Champions of the non-occupied zone. It’s a championship that is not counted in the triumphs of Olympique de Marseille, which was then chaired by Marcel Constant. A sixth French Cup won by the club was counted. Olympique Marseille, led by a core band of players -- Dard, Scotti, Robin and Pironti -- beat Bordeaux in the final on 22 May, 1943 (4-0). A margin of victory in a final had never been so wide. This match between Marseille and Bordeaux was replayed -- for the first time in the history of the competition -- after a 2-2 draw. Bordeaux had also used an unqualified player and -- in the name of sportsmanship, Joseph Pascot, a State Representative decided to replay the final.
20-2, OM BIG WINS AGAINST AVIGNON
During the 1943-1944 season, a federal championship was set up -- but OM did not win. A year later, on 10 May, 1945, OM was defeated in the final of the Liberation Cup -- also called the Victory Cup -- at the Huveaune stadium against FC Metz in Marseille.
During the war, OM stood out with some impressive victories. In the semi-finals of the Coupe de France in April 1940, Les Olympiens beat Lens by eight goals (9-1)! On 6 October, 1942, OM made a statement against Avignon, winning 20-2! Emmanuel Aznar scored nine goals and Georges Dard scored five times.
Aznar and Dard were two major players in Marseille during the war years. Aznar, nicknamed "Manu," scored 116 goals in the first division with Marseille and Georges Dard played 330 matches in all competitions with OM, scoring 106 goals.
After the war, the championship regained its rights and is composed of 18 teams. Les Olympiens finished the first post-war season in ninth place despite Louis De Maréville's 21 goals, and they were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France.