Groundhopper Guide to Marseille

Carter Lawson · Profile
Groundhopper Guide to Marseille

Olympique de Marseille are one of the giants of French football, recently eclipsed by PSG with their billions but still the only French team to win the Champions League. Plus they possess one of the most famous stadiums and fanbases in world football.

Here is our Groundhopper Guide to Marseille.

Location: Marseille, France

Contacts:, 33491769508, #TeamOM

Nicknames: “Les Phoceens”

Olympique de Marseille History

Olympique de Marseille, more commonly known as simply Marseille, was founded in 1892 as a multisport association called Sporting Club, US Phocéenne and Football Club de Marseille. The club changed its name to the current Olympique de Marseille in 1899, as an honor to the Greeks who founded Marseille 25 centuries before. The name “Olympique” refers to the ancient Greek Olympic Games.

The first few years, rugby was a much more prevalent part of the club and it wasn’t until 1902 that the club began to play soccer. Marseille gained significant success in the 1920s when they won the Coupe de France 3 times, as well as the French Championship in 1929. Marseille became a member of the league of professional clubs in 1932 and began to compete in Division 1, the equivalent of Ligue 1 at the time. Marseille won another two Coupe de France’s during the 1930s but failed to secure any league titles during the decade.

In the 1950s, Marseille began to struggle and while they avoided relegation in 1952, they were ultimately relegated in 1959. Under new president Marcel Leclerc, Marseille returned to the first division in 1966, won the Coupe de France in 1969 and 1972 and the first division in 1971 and the following year in 1972. Leclerc was forced out in 1972 and the club began to decline, ending with their relegation to Ligue 2 in 1976. They returned to the top division in 1984 and began a period of dominance in the early 1990s, winning 4 league titles in a row from 1989-1992. The club also won a Coupe de France during this time and reached the Champions League final in 1991, ultimately losing on penalties. They would go on to win their first Champions League in 1993 over Italian club AC Milan.

The remainder of the 1990s was a period of decline for the club as they were relegated in 1994 due to a series of match-fixing allegations and financial irregularities. They were promoted back to Ligue 1 in 1996 and reached the UEFA Cup Final in 1999 and 2004, but lost both. In 2010, Marseille won the Coupe de la Ligue Final, their first major title in 17 years. Two months later, they won their first league title in 18 years.

Over the next 10 years, Marseille struggled to achieve any major results, which resulted in major protests from fans in 2021, forcing the manager to resign.

2022-23 SEASON: 3rd in Ligue 1, Coupe de France quarterfinal

2023–24 SEASON: Ligue 1 (since 1996), UEFA Europa League

Olympique de Marseille Rivalries

Marseille’s main rivalry is with PSG, known in France as ​​Le Classique. This rivalry extends to social, political and cultural movements as it pits the wealthy high-class capital club against the working-class provincial club. This rivalry really came into light in the 1990s when it was promoted by higher ups in both clubs to drive engagement with fans. These two clubs are also two of the three French clubs who have won major European championships.

Marseille Women’s Team

Marseille was actually involved in the women’s game as early as the 1920s, before the team was disbanded in the 1930s. The team was reactivated in the 70s and competed in the French Championship until it was relegated in 1983 and was again disbanded in 1986. The team was created for a third time in 2011 and since then has competed in Division 1 and 2 of the French leagues.

OCTOBER 25, 2019, Marseille, France : The Stade Velodrome, known as the Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France. It is home to the Olympique de Marseille football club of Ligue 1

Olympique de Marseille Stadium

Marseille moved into their current stadium, the Stade Vélodrome, in 1937. The stadium has undergone significant renovations over the years, including efforts to expand the capacity using massive side stands, which the stadium is known for. It also underwent renovations prior to Euro 2016 to add a roof to the stadium.

Olympique de Marseille Tickets

Groundhopper Guides offers tickets to all Marseille home games.

Visit our Marseille tickets page for more information.

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Written By Carter Lawson
Carter Lawson, Content and Social Media Director · Profile

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