FEATURE | Searching for Red Star FC tickets in the Saint-Ouen Flea Market

This weekend saw drama in the third tier as Red Star FC won away to Châteauroux (0-1) to set up what manager Habib Beye called a “last dance” against Stade Briochin. The promotion race has swayed in all directions and extracted the best and worst emotions in a rollercoaster of a 2022-2023 season for the four teams still involved. Red Star have perhaps felt these emotions the most – and interest in the final day showdown can be felt all over the northern Parisian suburb.

With Friday’s match at Stade Bauer all-but sold out, the club decided to partner up with advertising agency BETC to transform the last 28 tickets for the match into objects to be found in the world-renowned flea markets of Saint-Ouen. The club posted the said retro Red Star-related paraphernalia on social media where those wanting to attend the last game could find tickets to possibly witness a historic promotion on 26th May.

Buoyed by the idea of a football-related treasure hunt, Get French Football News sub-editor George Boxall ambled down to the largest art and antiques market in the world to chance his luck at finding Red Star paraphernalia and talk to those involved in the original project. Among the objects to be found in the more-than seven hectare market space was a plate, a vinyl record, a retro shirt and even a signed photo of former Red Star, Fulham, and Marseille striker Steve Marlet.

By Saturday afternoon, word had got out that all 14 objects had already been found. Our adventure thus led to stall 163 / 8 at the Marché Vernaison. The setting: a labyrinth of shopfronts and stalls originally built back in 1920 –  ten years following Red Star’s move to the northern Paris suburbs of Saint-Ouen.


Gilles Plattner and Jessy Delvallé arrived to set up shop at the flea market in 2017 and 2020 respectively, describing Vernaison as “eclectic, a bit more picturesque [than the other markets] – like a small village.” They are the president and vice-president of the Vernaison Market association, and kindly spoke to GFFN on the sunny Saturday afternoon in Saint-Ouen. 

We were approached by the organisation that runs all 10-12 different markets here, and we responded saying we thought it was a good idea. The club are involved already with the tourist association, so we more or less know the same people.” 

“In my opinion, I think it was perhaps too much of a success.” Plattner said “I was told that some people arrived at 08:00, and we didn’t even open the store until 10:00. So they waited for two hours. So when we opened they came in here and found the plate right away.”

“I think it could have been better if people could walk around and take time to look at everything. But I think the club were afraid no one would find the objects sprawled across all the different markets.”

The flea market is a common sight in the spaces of Paris where the centre meets the suburbs, but Saint-Ouen’s positioning in the North and it’s renowned specialities in antiques means it is the biggest. Les Puces (as they are known in French) have historically attracted an average of around five million visitors a year, but with decreased numbers of tourists coming since the COVID crisis, the need for local people to be attracted to visit has become a priority. Plattner highlighted to Le Parisien the importance of being “connected to the population around us, even if we’ve been around for 100 years. We must always renew ourselves so we can attract young people.”

Whilst we did not find any swanky Red Star objects – such is the interest in the Stade Briochin season finale –  I was indeed taught about the local history of the Les Puces and their emergence in the 19th century. As a keen and avid leaner of all things Red Star and Saint-Ouen, I listened attentively, and couldn’t help but think that both historic organisations of the club and the markets have a shared interest to preserve their history and identity.

The goal of the campaign was to undoubtably present Red Star as a club which is attached to its surroundings, whilst generating interest for the final game of the season in an on-brand creative and original fashion. Red Star president and marketing guru Patrice Haddad claimed as such in the official club communiqué, with the Flea Market association president Medhy Allaouchiche adding that he hoped the event “will facilitate a strong and lasting relationship” between the market and the football club.

When I decided to join as a young coach it was because this club has a history and a soul.” admitted manager Habib Beye following a Paris region derby win against Versailles (0-3). “When you go to Stade Bauer, it is an experience. When you manage this club it is an experience that will stay with you forever.” 

The ‘Bauer experience‘ is certainly one which is continuing to intrigue and attract fans around the world, and it is something the club seems to put across well. Some would say that this marketing campaign is further evidence of that.

The reconstruction of Red Star’s 114-year old Stade Bauer looms around the corner from the market, both in the sense of time and geography. With Ligue 2 potentially on the horizon, and with the continued ownership of 777 Partners – a link to the locality and history of Saint-Ouen is needed more than ever.

GFFN | George Boxall







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