France’s answer to Hayden Ballantyne falls


by Bob Utber

Paris in the spring without football is not football. Mind you the way the weather has been behaving here, walking up the Champs Elysees is like making your way to your seat at Arctic Park.  Not once has anybody asked me the score and there have been some big games this weekend.

For the Parisians it has also been a big weekend with the first run on the election of President taking pace. France’s answer to Hayden Ballantyne , the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, is running second to the Socialist challenger Francois Hollande (no relation to Nick, Brodie and Ben).  The real politicians, the taxi drivers, were very happy with the result and believe that a fairer go for all will be achieved if Hollande wins the big one on May 6th.

Thank heavens for the internet and the ability to get scores when you are all sleeping.  Five minutes after seeing that St. Kilda were beaten by Fremantle we were on the Metro at Pont de Neuilly when two musicians, a saxophone and clarinet in hand, boarded the train and gave us a deep south rendition of When the Saints Go Marching in.  My wife and I seemed to be the only ones enjoying the sound.  Never have been a great fan of the Saints but when the tune comes out as it should it is tres bien.

Ross Lyon would have been a happy man or would he?  There has been so much angst on the issue that one would think he would have been torn between two lovers.  Speaking of Lyon, our night at the Moulin Rouge reminded me very much of his movement as a coach.  Two steps forward and one step back followed by a pincer movement.  Too many talls in this team with not enough smalls to pick up the pieces.  Andrew would have loved it. We left at 11.00pm (no sign of PJ.Flynn) with another crowd ready to file in.  Never an empty seat.  I can envisage a double header at Docklands with late game between Richmond and Melbourne commencing at 11.00.

One felt like telling the locals of the scores as the Bluebaggers and Hawks went down and the Cats just scraped in but that can wait until we reach Villers Bretonneau for the Dawn Service on Wednesday morning when all and sundry will want to know some score in some sport in Australia.

We await the experience with wonderment and sorrow. My research continues to show how floored the British War mongers treated us during the Great War.  If only Mick had been in charge he would have used some ancient Chines battle to ensure that there were less ANZAC casualties on the Western Front.  We will ponder what might have been If Pompey Elliott and John Monash had have been in charge.  Then we wonder what might have been if Mick was still in charge. Life is full of questions that will never be answered unless you barrack for Collingwood.

We are camped indoors this morning as the temperature has not reached double digits but the warmth of the Parisians is felt whenever we say we do not barrack for the Pies.

About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Wonderful stuff, Bob. Life is at should be. Many questions. Few answers, but lots of wonder. I am jealous of your adventures, but somehow feel that Monsieur Hollande has as many answers as Mark Neeld.
    Your despatches from the front lines on Anzac Day would be welcomed by the folks at home.

  2. Peter Flynn says

    Safe travels Bob.

    Sorry I couldn’t be there.

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