In a glittering career celebrated local hero, and one of the world’s greatest ever footballers, Zinedine Zidane never played for his hometown club. He did however play for Olympique de Marseille’s Cote d’Azur rivals AS Cannes.
Notable players that did line out for the famous Provence club include the great mullet- haired diamond light Chris Waddle for three years from 1989–1992. Most recently the sweet and tender hooligan Joey barton has plied his trade in the recently redeveloped 60,031 capacity Stade Vélodrome. Didier Drogba, Rudi Voller and Ireland’s own Tony Cascarino all adorn a list of former Marseille players that includes some of French football’s best stars. Laurent Blanc, Basile Boli, Éric Cantona, Marcel Desailly, Didier Deschamps, Jean Djorkaeff, Christophe Dugarry, Samir Nasri, Jean-Pierre Papin, Robert Pirès, Franck Ribéry and Jean Tigana make up the impressive roll call of former L’OM greats.
Founded in 1892 as Sporting Club and then Football Club de Marseille the club, was a multisport organisation, adopting the name Olympique de Marseille in 1899, in honour of the anniversary of the city of Marseille’s founding by Greeks 25 centuries earlier.
The second largest city in France, Marseille’s port city status and high level of immigration means that football is much more popular than with the non-plussed Parisiens who have notably been more interested in rugby and whose PSG team were only formed in 1970.
Drawing inspiration from his own personal seal, Club founder René Dufaure de Montmirail created the interlaced ornate ‘O’ and ‘M’ of the crest Marseille crest. The typographic design stands reflects one of the most iconic typographic solutions to a sports crest, the New York Yankees. The decorative type is reminiscent of many of the simple, single lettered crests of many of the American Major League Baseball teams, such as Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, LA Dodgers and Detroit Tigers. In fact most American franchises in the NBA and NFL also employ alternate type based crests or logos as well as the main designs.
The club motto Droit Au But French for “Straight to the Goal” dates back to its days as a rugby club before switching codes to football. The star above was added in 1993 to commemorate the first and only Champions League victory by a French club. However the win is shrouded in controversy after relegation and a European ban the next year following a match fixing scandal involving president Bernard Tapie.