1/8 C1 vs 1/2 C3: =≅>< ?

I recently received two tickets for the Olympique de Marseille/Manchester United Champion’s League match that will be held at the Stade Vélodrome later this month. Giddy hardly describes my state. I have actually twice suffered nightmares where I was late for the game and running through metro corridors, tears of frustration streaming down my face as I missed metro after metro.

I am vaguely optimistic about the match. Despite Wayne Rooney’s recent brilliance and Paul Scholes ageless form, I believe we can compete with Manchester. We have solid goalkeeping, a defensive line with European experience, and our 18-million euro striker, Andre-Pierre Gignac, is finally hitting stride with four goals in his last five matches.

No, what’s really troubling me about this match is how to describe it. It is certainly the biggest game to be held in Marseille in years, but in how many? In 2003, when we had Didier Drogba, we played a UEFA Cup semi-final against Newcastle in Marseille. Now, obviously, the UEFA Cup (C3) is an inferior competition, fielding teams that didn’t qualify for or got booted out of the Champion’s League (C1). But, it was a semi-final, not a round of sixteen match, and since this sport is all about winning trophies the semi-final had us much closer to silverware than this coming match.

Is the 2011 Manchester match bigger than the 2003 Newcastle match? I like to think so, but I am biased because I am attending and I want it considered as momentous as possible. So, I turn to the football knowledgeable among you: Is a round of 16 (1/8) C1 match more important than a C3 semi-final (1/2)?

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About Jeremy Mercer

Jeremy Mercer is an author and translator who lives in in the Luberon with his fiancée, two children, five cats, two chickens, ten fish, and one pregnant dog. He is currently on the market for a cheap horse. More at http://www.jeremymercer.net
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5 Responses to 1/8 C1 vs 1/2 C3: =≅>< ?

  1. K-Man says:

    patthetic! these are your big games to compar! support a real team! united will crush! this will be so fucking easy!

  2. Christopher Clarkson says:

    It’s all a matter of perspective, really. I’m Toon Army, more than 300 games attended. I would rank a Newcastle United friendly as more important than a Manchester Cup final and I’d rather attend a Newcastle Carling Cup game than a Champion’s League final (so long as Newcastle weren’t playing.)


  3. Juurian Gerhard says:

    I have been supporting Marseille for almost 30 years. I was a student at Luminy in 1983! I love Marseille and come back many times since.

    My feeling is that winning a trophy is most important. Look how important the Coupe de Ligue victory was last year. More important than any Coupe de France match except the finals even thought Coupe de Ligue is not so important at all as Coupe de France. My opinion is that the UEFA Cup final against Valencia in 2003 was more important than tomorrow’s game against Manchester United. But that the Manchester United Game is more important than the Newcastle semifinal in 2003.

  4. Andy Dandy says:

    No Gingac, No VAlbuean, NO CHANCE!!!!!

  5. Seb says:

    Football is all about the money. Champion’s League money pool for teams is 700 million euros, Europa league is 135 million. A team reaching Round of 16 in C1 gets about a 3 million euro bonus this year and a team reaching the Europa semifinal gets a 600,000 euro bonus this year. The math is easy. The United game is 5x as important as the Newcastle game.

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