The Club

The big comeback in Ligue 1

In the 1965-1966 season, Olympique de Marseille moved into the second division. The club's bankruptcy was even mentioned at the end of the previous year. But Marcel Leclerc took charge of OM in 1965 and the Phocean Club quickly found the elite of French professional football.

 

ZATELLI THE COACH

 

Marcel Leclerc ambitiously confirmed Mario Zatelli as a coach in the summer of 1965. The new president made a substantial financial contribution and recruited many players. Marseille fans saw the arrival of experienced footballers like Hatchi, Bérangé, Buron, Trusas, Gauthier. Casolari and Erhardt, two players with a good knowledge of the second division, also arrived to the Canebière and reinforced a team composed vintage players (Sejnera, Hodoul, Lopez, Tassone). Striker Franck Fiawoo, a Tongo international, was also recruited by Leclerc. Fiawoo and Joseph Yegba Maya then formed a formidable duo in the attack.

 

OM found a certain motivation and the atmosphere within the club was in good shape. Nevertheless, Marcel Leclerc and the mayor of Marseille Gaston Defferre grew cold about the Vélodrome stadium management. Leclerc decided that OM would play at the Huveaune until a solution was found. Les Olympiens were off to a pretty good start to the season with nine wins in the first nineteen league games with just five draws and four defeats (OM didn’t play on the eighth day). Marseille suffered its first defeat against Metz in the 13th round in October (1-0).

 

ELITE RETURN

 

Zatelli's men were particularly distinguished after a landslide victory against Boulogne in May 1966 on the 34th day (6-1). The last league match against Bastia was decisive and the Olympiens won 3-0 over the Corsicans in front of 13,171 spectators at the Huveaune stadium. With the victory, the players had to parade through the city as President Leclerc had taken care to organize their rout under the stands of the stadium of Huveaune. The parade took place following the success.

 

The Provencal club narrowly missed the trophy of second division, in favor of Reims Raymond Kopa and finished second with 48 points (58 goals scored, 31 cashed). Joseph finished top scorer in Marseille with 14 goals. OM was back found promotion after three seasons in the second division! The following season confirmed the renewal of the Provencal team.