“When they come to us we’ll sort things out in usual way. Like men. Like Corsicans”
The words of former Bastia coach and Corsican native Francois Ciccolini sting just that bit more than they did when they were spoken back in November.
That is the attitude that permeates into the East Stand that hold the Bastia 1905, the islander’s mentality that it’s us against the world. They use that antiquated belief as a shield to do whatever they please, then the club then seem to sit back, watch and hope that the backlash is not too harsh.
Get French Football News spoke to a fan at the game on Sunday, who sits in the South Stand of the Stade Armand Cesari but wishes to remain anonymous, and they said that things never seem to change.
“Security seemed the same as normal but, for me, they need to do more at most games. When the opposition take corners where the ultras are, for example, they throw things and spit at the opposition which doesn’t bring a particularly proactive response from stewards.”
And it’s not just the viewers at home that are disgusted by the actions of Bastia 1905, but the rest of the stadium let them know their fury as well.
“The reaction of others around me was perhaps the only positive. The rest of the stadium were furious with those who invaded the pitch and booed/whistled their actions. Every chant the ultras tried to start following the incident was drowned out by everyone else. There was also a nice moment when the stadium (apart from the ultras) applauded the Lyon banner when it was brought out to start the game. But what the club should be more alarmed at is how it’s affected their true fans, with the one we spoke to admitting they do not wish to return. I left in disgust before the match kicked off. A shameful episode amongst far too many incidents of problems with that section of the stadium. I want the club to do more and won’t be going back this season.”
Is that not a sign that this club is not doing enough? Is the knowledge that paying fans, in a club that aren’t blessed with great wealth, are unwilling to spend their hard-earned cash unless action is taken?
So, let’s take Bastia to task first. What really has been done this season to stop those in the East Stand from ruining games?
It goes back to the first game of the season, where Paris Saint-Germain’s Lucas was struck by an object from the crowd in that stand. What did the club do? Send out several tweets that stated the Brazilian had taken a dive and the object had never even struck him.
Then at the start of this year, Nice’s Mario Balotelli was the subject of racist chanting from that section of the stadium. What did Bastia do? They were “amazed” by the accusations but promised to help the LFP filter them out after a three-game closure.
Do I really need to say what strike three was? In all honesty, wasn’t it probably enough before now?
There also needs to be some blame at the feet of the LFP, who should have really pushed Bastia to do more. It’s fair enough to close the stands, they even closed the stadium in 2015, but there has been no talk of lifetime bans from the club and that’s a failing on the governing body just as much as Bastia.
Then the attitude of officials at the club come into the question. Why did they push for the match to start and continue on Sunday when it was clear that it was not a safe environment for the players?
The actions of the stewards, who seemingly danced around the first melee before joining in with the second, puts their hiring and vetting process into question. When Anthony Lopes went to collect his water bottle, why does the Bastia official have to confront on the pitch, in full view of those fans, even if he did think the Portuguese was antagonising them?
It has run on for years and that, from all parties, is simply inexcusable. For it to bubble to a point where something as bad as this had to happen should put shame on everyone involved.
So many questions, so many chances and patience has run dry. The book needs to be thrown at them, an example that this is simply unacceptable at any level of football or even in any walk of life.
Unfortunately for those real fans, this is almost certainly the end of Bastia in Ligue 1 and if the LFP hit them as hard as they should, it will be incredibly difficult to see them back any time soon.