Lille’s draw with Montpellier at the weekend caused horrible scenes at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy as fans invaded the pitch to attack players and the clubs owner, Gerard Lopez.
Lille are a club with some significant history, 3 time winners of the top division in France and 6 times winners of the Coupe De France, they are a club that deserves to be in the top echelons of French football.
They have produced some stellar talents, such as Eden Hazard, Lucas Digne, Yohan Cabaye and Adil Rami. Steadily growing as a club since they fell by the wayside between 1956 and 1980.
But the dark days look set to return, with the club finding themselves trapped in the relegation battle, currently 19th above only doomed Metz.
The most recent draw with Montpellier caused unsavoury scenes as fans invaded the pitch, attacking players and congregating to chant at Gerard Lopez ‘If we go down, we’ll take you down with us’. What may be a hollow threat can leave a chilling feeling to some around the ground and those involved.
Gerard Lopez was confirmed as Lille president in January 2017 and since then the club has been on a downward trajectory. Leading the fans to point the finger and accuse him of destroying all the hard work before him.
The former F1 team owner, has failed to deliver on the promises and ambitions he set out when he took over.
“This season is a transition year but next season we would like to get among the top six,” he told RMC.
“Once we are there, it’s about the top four, then on to Europe. From that point on, anything is possible.
“I want LOSC to be one of those teams going for the title within two years, or at least, in the top three. Taking over at LOSC and not having ambition in Ligue 1 would be a lack of respect for the club.”
It is safe to say that the club has failed to deliver this to the fans. In Gerards own words, he has shown a lack of respect for the club.
Now fans have taken matters into their own hands, something that is becoming a regular occurrence across Europe as club owners are being held more and more accountable for clubs misgivings.
There is still hope for Lille in terms of surviving the drop from Ligue 1, but rest assured, the Lille fans will not let Lopez forget those words.