Why one Edinburgh schoolboy was the only fan allowed at a French football match
Schoolboy Louie Curti had long dreamed of seeing his favourite French football team play in their home stadium on the last day of the season. And the youngster was delighted when his father managed to secure tickets for the game.
However, the football-daft youngsters’s joy turned to dismay after learning that as punishment for a pitch invasion by its fans, the French football authorities had ordered his club, FC Sochaux-Montbéliard (FCSM), the famous Ligue 2 Franche-Comté football team, to end their season with a closed-doors match.
But Louie, nine, still ended up the winner after his father managed to persuade FCSM officials to let him into the stadium in Montbéliard - his father’s home town - unsupervised to witness his heroes in action as they thumped Grenoble 3-1.
Louie’s French dad, David, 43, who has lived in Edinburgh for 20 years, said he wrote to the club to say that he and his lad had planned and paid for a trip for Friday’s match.
“I bought the plane and the match tickets last December for this last match in Bonal against Grenoble. When I learned about the sanction of the League, I did not believe it. I was really sad, disgusted even, for me and for my son especially. “
David said the hard part for him was to announce the “sad” news to Louie.
“He was on the verge of tears, he still managed to contain them, but he was really sad.” he said.
Louie said: “I was really looking forward to this game. It was the last of the season with a huge stake. I like Sochaux, it’s my daddy’s club. So with this private match, I was sad, it’s unfair really. I was angry, fans of Sochaux should not have invaded the field, it’s not good. “
His sadness did not last long as FCSM executives, touched by their story, decided to let Louie watch the game. He was the only fan in the stadium and his dad waited for him outside.
Louie - who also supports Hibs - was able to meet the players, he also walked onto the pitch and partied with them after they won the match 1.
But his big trip to France could have been ruined by a handful of thugs who brought shame on his club and saw their stadium closed down temporarily.
The ruling, by the beaks at The Ligue de Football Professionnel, commonly known as the LFP, followed rowdy scenes at a match between Louie’s favourites and Paris club Red Star FC, France’s second-oldest football club.
FC fans took to the pitch to protest their defeat against the Red Star earlier this month after a string of previous incidents saw them slapped with a final warning to behave or face tough sanctions.