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Hanot, 1924: French football after the 1924 Olympic Games

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-05-03 23:38:34

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Gabriel Hanot | 04/12/1924 —

Unanimity is obtained on this point: never has the quality of football in France been as poor as it is today. Not a Sunday goes by that you don't hear the public grumbling as they leave the pitch at the low level of the match they have just attended. Each researches and gives the causes of forfeiture. Each offers remedies. In the meantime, everyone despairs.
I think we have already played football as badly as this season. But the spectators were more blinded by the club spirit. They didn't know what world class is. And, above all, they had not seen the Olympic tournament.
It must be said without hesitation: until now, it is not the players, it is the spectators who have benefited the most from Olympic football matches.
We know that the main success of the 1924 Games was ensured by the round ball tournament. The highest revenue, 1,800,000 francs, is due to the football event; and, when it was full to bursting, the Olympic stadium in Colombes was occupied by the public of the Switzerland-Uruguay final. Moreover, in the middle of the week, the Bèrgeyre stadium was stormed by a fervent crowd and attracted by the most disinterested love of football, since France was not at stake.
At the spectacle of the elite of players from all over the world — apart from the English professionals — the public understood all the beauties, all the subtleties, all the tactics of football. They initiated himself completely. They acquired in a fortnight a strong skill. They forged a critical sense that today finds too many opportunities to exercise.
The spectators moved forward. The players marked time, if they did not demote. I sometimes have the impression that current practitioners have not seen the Olympic tournament. The feints of the whole body and the outbursts of the negro, the half-back Andrade, the tumbles of horse and the shots to break everything from the centre-forward Petrone, the dribblings of the magician from the inside right Scarone, the art of the inside left Cea, to attract all the opposing defenders to him, in order to leave his partners unmarked, the subtleties of the left winger Romano, master in the art of the opposite foot, the ability of the Uruguayans to cushion the ball, regardless of its angle of arrival or its speed, it was in vain that such actions took place in front of our players.
But the spectators captured in their eyes and imprinted in their memory all these images. This is why they now show themselves to be rigorous judges. They have terms of comparison.