One of the most important moments for ceasing to be an expat and becoming a resident is to begin to take up an active involvement in some kind of local community activity. And for me, of course, that can only mean one thing.
Pionsat has a football club that has two teams competing in the Puy-de-Dome League.
The first team competes in Division 1 pool D of the league. When I first started watching the club the team was just an average side but over the years they've been slowly improving and a couple of seasons ago finished as runners-up in their pool. They won't find it so easy though this season as the leagues have been reorganised and Division One consists of just four regional pools (forty clubs) instead of six (sixty clubs). Furthermore, one of the leading lights of the team has a new job 150 miles away and so is no longer available for selection
The second team was promoted from Division 3 to Division 2 at the end of season 2008-09 thanks to a lightning-quick attack that compensated for a sometimes-sleepy defence. They found Division 2 much harder-going and suffered a couple of heavy defeats, and their cause wasn't helped by losing a few key players to reinforce the 1st XI. The defence was rather too lightweight at this level of football and they didn't offer too much in attack. Relegated back to Division 3 at the end of season 2010-11, they've been struggling at this level due mainly in my opinion to a lack of organisation and leadership. A commanding presence at centre-back and a voiciferous midfielder would improve this team no end.
We did formerly have a 3rd XI that competed in Division 4, which is basically Sunday-morning pub-league football. Made up mostly of the old veterans and a few guys playing for fun, the team went into hibernation at the end of season 2011-12 when the legs of half the team gave out.
We have to mention the supporters too as they play a vital role in the club. Extremely partisan, extremely friendly and also extremely solidaire, it's a nice, sociable atmosphere down at the club on matchdays. We musn't forget the nice bunch of beautiful girls in the pie hut either, and it's worth the trip down to a match just to say "bonjour" to them.
So if you want to get out and about and meet a bunch of friendly local people and spend Saturday evening (or the odd Sunday afternoon) in an exciting atmosphere, then come down and watch the games. With an average gate of 30 if they are lucky, it won't take long to be noticed and to become part of the local support.
If you have or have had any pretensions to club football, no matter how long ago, then come along to a match and talk to Franck, the trainer. I'm certain that he'll be able to fit you up for a game. You don't need to be particularly fit as these matches are played with rolling substitutions so you can go off for a breather at any time. Age is no barrier either. One player who turns out regularly for Montel-Villosanges is 77 years old! And he has his place on merit as well, but whether that says more about him or more about his colleagues I'll leave you to decide.
|DATE||HOME TEAM||RESULT||AWAY TEAM|
|09/09/2012 - 15:00||CLERMONT LA GAUTHIERE||1-0||1st XI|
|09/09/2012 - 15:00||AS CHATEAUGAY||7-0||2nd XI|
|16/09/2012 - 15:00||AS SERVANT||1-4||CUP MATCH|
|22/09/2012 - 20:30||1st XI||2-1||AS ENVAL MARSAT|
|22/09/2012 - 18:30||2nd XI||0-9||FC NORD COMBRAILLE|
|30/09/2012 - 15:00||BRIFFONS PERPEZAT||2-4||CUP MATCH|
|07/10/2012 - 15:00||AS CELLULE||6-0||1st XI|
|07/10/2012 - 15:00||AS SERVANT||4-2||2nd XI|
|14/10/2012 - 14:30||CUP MATCH||0-8||CLERMONT FOOT AUVERGNE 63|
|20/10/2012 - 20:30||1st XI||1-2||JS ST PRIEST|
|20/10/2012 - 18:30||2nd XI||6-4||CS TEILHET|
|03/11/2012 - 20:00||ESP CEYRAT||2-2||1st XI|
|04/11/2012 - 15:00||AS MIREMONT||1-3||2nd XI|
|10/11/2012 - 20:30||1st XI||v||ST BONNET PRES RIOM|
|10/11/2012 - 18:30||2nd XI||v||US LAPEYROUSE|
|18/11/2012 - TBA||TBA|
|25/11/2012 - 15:00||ES CHAMPEYROUX||v||1st XI|
|25/11/2012 - 15:00||ES LE QUARTIER||v||2nd XI|
|01/12/2012 - 20:30||1st XI||v||LE MONTEL VILLOSANGES|
|01/12/2012 - 18:30||2nd XI||v||LE MONTEL VILLOSANGES|
|09/12/2012 - 13:00||FC CHATEL GUYON||v||1st XI|
|09/12/2012 - 13:00||US MENETROL||v||2nd XI|
|02/02/2013 - 20:30||1st XI||v||CLERMONT LA GAUTHIERE|
|02/02/2013 - 18:30||2nd XI||v||AS CHATEAUGAY|
|10/02/2013 - 13:00||AS ENVAL MARSAT||v||1st XI|
|TBA||FC NORD COMBRAILLE||v||2nd XI|
|17/02/2013 - TBA||TBA|
|23/02/2013 - 20:30||1st XI||v||AS CELLULE|
|23/02/2013 - 18:30||2nd XI||v||AS SERVANT|
|03/03/2013 - 13:00||JS ST PRIEST||v||1st XI|
|03/03/2013 - 15:00||CS TEILHET||v||2nd XI|
|09/03/2013 - 20:30||1st XI||v||ESP CEYRAT|
|09/03/2013 - 18:30||2nd XI||v||AS MIREMONT|
|24/03/2013 - 15:00||ST BONNET PRES RIOM||v||1st XI|
|TBA||US LAPEYROUSE||v||2nd XI|
|06/04/2013 - 20:30||1st XI||v||ES CHAMPEYROUX|
|06/04/2013 - 18:30||2nd XI||v||ES LE QUARTIER|
|21/04/2013 - 15:00||LE MONTEL VILLOSANGES||v||1st XI|
|21/04/2013 - 13:00||LE MONTEL VILLOSANGES||v||2nd XI|
|28/04/2013 - 15:00||1st XI||v||FC CHATEL GUYON|
|28/04/2013 - 13:00||2nd XI||v||US MENETROL|
PLEASE NOTE - dates and times of matches are subject to change without notice
The above tables are not necessarily complete, due to sometimes-lengthy absences for work reasons but I do my best.
One thing that I have to say is that reading through my reports of the matches you might think that I have a tendency to be ...er... somewhat over-critical of the players and officials on occasion, so perhaps I ought to explain.
Back in the past I had certain connections elsewhere with a Football League that was probably at level 4 of the equivalent English football pyramid, where all of the players and most of the officials were either full-time or semi-professional and where crowds were in three or four figures. Given that kind of environment and that standard of football it's quite easy to lose sight of the fact that people here are taking part in sport for fun and amusement and not on account of any skill that they might or might not have, and that it is entertainment. In the Puy-de-Dome League no-one is paid.
And as for any criticism of the referees it has to be said that without anyone willing to referee the matches or run the lines there would be no football at all. I've been on a refereeing course and as a result I see things much differently now than I did before and I think that a few other people would benefit from taking the courses too before they shout too loudly. I've also tried my hand at refereeing and I will tell you now that whoever picks up the whistle and goes out to referee a match, and then goes out willingly to do it a second time is a braver man than I am.
So if anyone is upset by any remarks that I have made, I would like you to know that I am grateful none-the-less for the effort that you have put in, doing your best to provide entertainment for all of us on a Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon in this isolated part of the world, rather than leaving us sitting at home with nothing better to do.
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