While historical successes of Racing Strasbourg, or ‘Le Racing’ as they are known hereabouts, have not led to high expectations from their devoted fans, recent developments have made even the most football-phobic residents of France’s ninth largest city groan with embarrassment.
Can it really be the same team that lifted the league cup in 2005 languishing in the relegation zone of League 2? Posting only 5 wins out of 21 league matches so far this season, all at home obviously, and booted out of the cup by Lyon two rounds before the quarter finals? Things are not looking rosy for the end of season dinner.
Indeed, should Le Racing repeat the same shenanigans they under-took at the end of the 07/08 season, when they tumbled out of League 1 due to eleven consecutive defeats (a post-war record for French club football), then we might as well knock the stadium down and stick up a housing estate or shopping mall. Lord knows it would make better use of the space.
It is somewhat ironic that across town in a stadium that seats little more than 50, Racing Strasbourg, the rugby club, are as yet unbeaten this season. Though it has to be said Federal 2 is a good few pegs below League 2 in terms of competitiveness.
One glimmer of hope for the city’s fortunes lies in France’s bid for the 2016 European Championships, whereby the stadium would receive a seat capacity boost (to 36,000 from 29,320) if the nation were to be selected as host. Although more seats won’t mean more fans, it may bring in a few more visitor pennies to the cash strapped operation to help compete with the big boys.
However, with the decision not scheduled to be made until May this year, we’ll have to just pray that our eleven do it the old fashioned way – and revive the club by putting the ball in the net (at the right end) a few more times a week. If only Arsène would come home …