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Only in Marseille: where ultras rule and temptation is never far away

Marseille is home to France’s wildest club, one that has lived on the cusp, where fans call the shots and El Loco attempts to maintain order on the pitch

Originally published in Eight By Eight magazine

At any other stadium in the world, is there a stand named after a fan? Take a seat in the virage Nord of Stade Vélodrome in Marseille and you’ll find yourself in the Tribune Patrice de Péretti. There you’ll be surrounded by the 3,000 members of Marseille’s most raucous, intimidating Ultras: MTP, for Marseille Trop Puissant (“Marseille, all powerful”). De Péretti, or Depé, was their founder, their talisman, their bare-chested hero. Olympique de Marseille’s club scarf loosely knotted around his neck, megaphone in hand, exploding flares punctuating his exhortations to the crowd, he stood as a reminder of his club’s uniqueness in the usually placid landscape of French football – mad, bad, and sometimes dangerous.

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