The State of French Club Football

May 21, 2019

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Ligue 1

Founded: 1932

Most Championships: Saint-Etienne, 10

Last 5 Winners: PSG (18/19, 17/18, 15/16, 14/15), Monaco (16/17)

UEFA Ranking: 5th

Highest Ranked Club: PSG, 8th

Interview with French football writer Andrew Gibney

What do the fans in France currently think of the state of Ligue 1 in comparison to the likes of La Liga, the Premier League and the Bundesliga?

When it comes to modern football, the French have never loved their own league as much as they like to fawn over the competition.

You only need to walk around Marseille, Paris, Lille etc. to see kids wearing tracksuits from other teams. You’ll see more PSG than Lille in the north of France now and you’ll see just as much Bayern, Dortmund and Barcelona in the south.

The passionate fans will always support their teams, but the lack of star power and just respect for Ligue 1 in French has been a problem for a long time.

Have the last few years been seen as a disappointing time for French football in Europe? Only one French side has made a European final since 2004.

As PSG have become stronger and the league as a whole has become weaker due to the players being sold, there is an understanding of where France is in the pecking order.

When Lyon or Monaco have done well, or Rennes taking on Arsenal, there is hope and a togetherness for them to do well, but this can’t be said for PSG.

From any fans I’ve spoken to, there would be no French glory for them if the Parisian club won the Champions League.

How seriously is the Europa League taken by the French clubs that enter the competition?

The EL is taken as seriously as the clubs can. Due to money issues, clubs struggle to build a squad big enough to compete in both the league and the EL. The biggest success is just making the group stage, after than anything is a bonus.

Due to playing on a Thursday and Sunday for the first half of the season, it can take it’s toll and if the team are struggling in the league, that’s where they will focus. It points to how close the teams are below the likes of Lyon, Marseille etc. Everyone can beat everyone, so a few bad results will see you heading towards relegation.

Do most of the country get behind the French sides playing in Europe or is there still a lot of tribalism apparent?

There is definitely tribalism, especially against the bigger sides. But it only starts when they get far. French fans are smart enough to know that teams doing well can only benefit them in the long-run, so group success is fine, get big results over high-ranking teams. But just don’t go and win it.

It depends on the team too. Everyone enjoyed how Monaco played under Jardim the first time, so there was no ill feelings over them, especially as they pipped PSG to the title.

It would be very interesting to see how the country reacted to PSG reaching the final of the Champions League at some point. I’m far from convinced France would be on their side. Especially as Marseille as still the biggest supported club in the country.

Interview with French football writer Andrew Gibney

Find all your Champions League betting odds here

A Europa League infographic

Author: Tom Mortimer

Tom is the editor at Betting Circle and has been creating online content for over 10 years. Tom mainly writes about sport and gambling, but every now and then also delves into fleshier subjects like politics and psychology. When he was 18 he created and over the last few years he's written on a freelance basis for ESPN, WorldSoccer,, among many others.

Twitter @TMortimerFtbl

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