If Florian Thauvin thought he was escaping a pressure cooker environment at Newcastle United, then his loan return to Marseille has proved anything but an improvement.
Strapped for cash and with no Champions League football/money, Marseille had been forced to sell many of their star players, including Thauvin.
If the club management thought there would be any understanding from the fans and an acceptance of much lower expectations, then they were way off course.
Whilst Newcastle are battling for their Premier League lives, Marseille are marooned in mid-table Ligue 1 obscurity.
Friday night saw Marseille host Rennes, with Florian Thauvin starting only his third Ligue 1 match since returning in January, it was also the third league match he has played alongside Remy Cabella.
Marseille Ultras had pre-planned demonstrations for the first 15 minutes, this was on the back of a club record 11 home games without a win (going back to September), plus no wins in their last six home and away.
Those tempestuous opening stages ended with Marseille three down after only 14 minutes, not exactly helping the mood of the crowd who gave the players a real hard time – with objects thrown by some fans, including a plastic bottle that hit Florian Thauvin, riot police having to move in to prevent further trouble.
This unorthodox ‘encouragement’ sparked short-lived hope of an amazing turnaround, Thauvin curling one home (first goal of his loan spell) after 20 minutes and then Rolando bringing it back to 3-2 with five minutes of the second half played.
Remy Cabella then just failed to make it 3-3 when he hit the post, before Rennes hit back with two more goals before Florian Thauvin was subbed with 12 minutes remaining – the final score 5-2 to Rennes with Cabella playing the full game.
The result lifted Rennes into third place, whilst it confirmed Marseille stuck in mid-table, safe from relegation but no hope of any European qualification with seven matches remaining.
The ordeal wasn’t over for the home players though as the 40,000+ crowd had just seen their team humiliated at home and extend their club record to 12 matches at home without a win.
The net result was that club officials had to smuggle the Marseille players away from the stadium in unmarked cars, due to the threat of attack from their supporters.
Marseille Manager Michel has said he won’t walk away whilst club President Vincent Labrune stated after the defeat:
“Marseille have performed beyond their means, we do not have any money, the owner does not have the means to invest in the club.”
Meanwhile Marseille player Bouna Sarr said:
“I hear that they (the fans) want to smash up our cars and burn our houses down, I understand them…”