The Club

The renaissance

1945 - 1965



After the war, French football was reorganized. The France first division was reformed and 18 clubs participated. The final rankings within D1 during the 1938-1939 season -- the last season before the war -- established the participating clubs. Olympique de Marseille was obviously integrated into the D1.


The championship started on a good basis. Olympique de Marseille, coached by Paul Wartel, played its first post-war match at Racing Club de Paris. OM, led by De Maréville and Dard, puts on an offensive clinic -- winning 6-2! The Marseillais finish the season in ninth place.


In the summer of 1946, Les Olympien leaders recruit players from North Africa. Armand Liberati, Ben Mohamed Bouchaïb and Sauveur Rodriguez join the ranks of Olympique de Marseille. In December 1946, President Dancausse also recruited Otto Bures, the first foreigner (Czechoslovakian) to sign at OM since the end of the war. In progress, the Provencal club, under the orders of former Olympien Jules Devaquez, finished 1946-1947 in sixth place.


Equipe de l'OM
Team OM 1953/54 in the Coupe de France


But Dancausse aimed higher and decided to replace Devaquez with an Italian, Joseph Zilizzi. A wise choice since with Zilizzi, renowned for his leadership qualities, OM won its third championship in France, 11 years after its last. Second in mid-season, Scotti, Dard, Pironti and Co. fought until the last day with Reims and Lille to win the trophy. The Marseillais finished third the following season.


But Dancausse made several changes in an unstable team. The president is behind a largely unsuccessful recruitment and was eventually replaced by Marcel Constant, president during the Second World War, in 1951. The story will stand that it was Dancausse who recruited the legendary Gunnar Andersson in 1950.

The 1950s proved to be more complicated for Olympique de Marseille and the club barely avoided relegation to the second division in the 1951-52 season, when OM finished in 16th place. Marseille fans invaded the Velodrome pitch when Racing visited in January 1952 to express their dissatisfaction. Henri Roessler's men saved themselves against Valenciennes in the play-offs. Gunnar Andersson was still named top scorer in first division with 35 goals!




In May 1954, the Phocéens came close to winning a seventh Coupe de France, but were defeated in the final against Nice (2-1). Andersson scored a goal. Les Olympiens won the Draco Cup on 6 June, 1957 against Lens (3-1).


But in 1957-1958, Marseille, led by Jean Robin and Joseph Zilizzi, again avoided relegation by securing 16th place on the last day. Gunnar Andersson left the club in the summer of 1958. Marseille mourned the loss of their idol. The Swede scored 170 goals in the first division. Exceptional.


After his departure, OM did not immediately recover. Worse, the Provencal club finished last in the 1958-1959 season. Forced to play in the second division for the first time in history was the greatest misfortune of his supporters. And the situation of Olympique de Marseille was not ready to correct itself.


Equipe de l'OM
Team OM 1962/63


President Saby Zaraya appointed a new coach, Lucien Troupel and recruits a dozen players. But Les Olympiens finished 10th in D2 in 1959. Again, Marseille recruits seven new players but does not find promotion. A new coach, Otto Gloria, took charge of the team during 1961-1962 and managed to get OM up to D1.


A few months later, on 26 September, 1962, OM made its first steps toward the European stage, playing its first match against Royal Union St Gilloise in the the International Fair Cities Cup. But Marseille, despite winning the first leg (1-0), were eliminated in the first round after a defeat to the Belgians in the return leg (4-2).


But Otto Gloria is gone and OM goes down again in D2 the following year. Filing bankruptcy is even mentioned a few times. But Marcel Leclerc -- full of ambition -- takes power of the club and OM earns its way back to D1 during the first season under the Parisian businessman. The fans begin hoping for a renewal ...

The period numbers
The number of goals scored by Andersson in the league with OM. He is the best OM scorer of all time.
Gunnar Andersson finished top scorer at Olympique de Marseille in eight consecutive seasons.
The number of supporters present at the Velodrome stadium on April 23, 1965 to attend the second division match against Forbach (3-0).
OM play its first European match in history against the Royal Union St Gilloise at the International Cup of Fair Cities on 26 September, 1962.