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The Tapie era

1986 - 1993



At the end of a 1985-1986 season that saw OM finish 12th in the first division, a businessman bought Marseille: Bernard Tapie. OM went on to experience a successful period, surely its most beautiful in history.


Upon the dawn of his first season at the head of Marseille, Tapie appointed Gérard Banide as coach and Michel Hidalgo as sporting director. The Phocean club strengthened by recruiting Papin, Förster, Domergue, Stambouli, Cubaynes, Brisson, F. Passi, Laurey, Sliskovic and Giresse. Les Olympiens then produced a very good season but barely missed the double by finishing second in the championship behind Bordeaux and falling in the final of the Coupe de France against ... Bordeaux. Approximately 30,000 spectators were present at the Vélodrome for each match, which stands as an attendance record.


But Tapie wanted to see OM at the top of French football, so about fifteen players leave the club, including the last Minots (Anigo, Francini, Di Méco). On the other hand, Le Roux, Delamontagne, Lowitz, Allofs, Bouafia and a certain Abedi Pelé were signed. But it still wasn’t enough and les Olympiens finished sixth in D1, low enough to anger Bernard Tapie. In the Coupe de France, Marseille were eliminated early against Bastia (1-0). It was only in the European Cup Winners' Cup that OM showed off. The Phoceans reached the semi-finals but were eliminated by Ajax Amsterdam in April 1988.


OM 1986
OM team 1986


At the beginning of the 1988-1989 season, Tapie blew up everything. We witnessed the departure of several players (Ayache, Lowitz, Bouafia, Fall, Appriou, Bell, Giresse, Passi, Domergue). Sauzée, Huard, Cantona, Di Méco, Thys, B. Germain and Vercruysse came into the ranks of les Olympiens. But the results were mediocre and Tapie decided to replace Banide with Gérard Gili at the head of the first team. Gili brought serenity and les Olympiens locked up with PSG and Auxerre to win the title. Led by an excellent Jean-Pierre Papin, scorer of 22 goals in D1 that season, OM finished first in the championship and won the Coupe de France on June 10, 1989, against Monaco - a match in which Papin scored a hat-trick ( 4-3). The club was truly back!


And Tapie would continue to win. He decided in the summer of 1989 to reinforce the team with Roche, Amoros, Mozer, Carmelo Micchiche, Bernardet, Tigana, Waddle and Francescoli. The Marseillais then produced an excellent season, bracing opponents one after the other. Didier Deschamps was recruited as a wild card in November. OM was neck-and-neck until the end of the championship with Bordeaux but managed to finish in first place. Marseille was champion for the second time in a row! In the Coupe de France, the Provençal failed to go beyond the semi-finals. Likewise in the European Champion Clubs' Cup. After winning the first leg (2-1), Marseille were eliminated in the semifinal by Benfica Lisbon in the return leg on a goal from the “hand of Vata” in front of 110,000 spectators at the Stadium of Light (1-0).


In the summer of 1990, Sauzet, Cauet, Rousseau, Thys, Francescoli, Roche and Deschamps (on loan with Bordeaux) left the club. Förster retired. Pascal Olmeta, Basile Boli, Bernard Casoni, Laurent Fournier, Bernard Pardo and Dragan Stojković were all recruited. The 1990-1991 season was marked by instability on the Phocean sideline. Gérard Gili was replaced by Franz Beckenbauer in September 1990. But the German was also replaced in January 1991 by the Belgian Raymond Goethals. OM still won its third title in three years. But the Marseillais knew two big failures. Monaco beat the Phoenicians in the final of the Coupe de France in June (1-0) and OM was defeated in the final of the European Champion Clubs' Cup in Bari against Red Star Belgrade. A defeat on penalties (0-0 5-3). It was cruel for the teammates of Basile Boli..


OM - Milan AC 1993
UEFA Champions League 1993




Tapie names Tomislav Ivic as coach the following season but Goethals returned in October. Pardo, Cantona, Germain, Vercruysse, Stojkovic, Fournier and Tigana all left the club. Angloma, Baills, Xuereb, Durand and Stevens were recruited and Deschamps and Sauzée came back from loans. The attacking trio composed of Waddle, Papin and Pelé was formidable and OM was again first division champions, but was eliminated in the round of 16 of the European Champion Clubs' Cup against Sparta Prague. The 1991-1992 season was particularly marked by the sad drama of Furiani during the Coupe de France semi-final between Bastia and OM.


But at the end of the season, major inroads were laid - including those of Papin, Mozer and Waddle. It was the end of an era. Tapie obtained the signatures of Völler, Bokšić, Ferreri, Eydelie, Desailly, Barthez, Omanbiyik and Martin Vasquez. Goethals left his place to his assistant Jean Fernandez but the Belgian made his return in November 1992. Despite the departure of his formidable scorer Papin, OM won the cup on May 26, 1993. Marseille won the European Cup over AC Milan thanks to a goal off the head of Basile Boli (1-0). OM still remain the only French club to have won a European Cup. Forever the first. Three days later, les Olympiens became champions of France for the fifth time in a row thanks to a victory against PSG at the Vélodrome (3-1).


It was a title that was later withdrawn from Marseille. A few days before the coronation in the European Cup, on 22 May, 1993, Valenciennes judged that they were victims of an attempt of corruption on the part of OM. A case that rings the alleged death of the club ...

The period numbers
OM achieved its second double of its history during the 1988-1989 season.
Jean-Pierre Papin finished OM best in the league for six consecutive seasons.
Papin scored 134 goals in the first division during his Olympien period (1986-1992).
The Marseillais won the championship five times in a row between the season 1988-1989 and 1992-1993.
OM scored 71 goals in the first division in the 1992-1993 season and had the best attack of the championship.