Friday, 1 March 2013

Allez Lausanne!

Back in May 2010, during my first twelve months in Switzerland, I travelled to Basel to watch FC Lausanne-Sport play against FC Basel in the final of the Coupe Suisse (see "Following FC Lausanne-Sport to the Final"), in what promised to be a great day out.

As it turns out, FCLS were on the wrong end of a serious spanking, losing 6-0 in what was truly a dire performance. Having spent 120.- CHF for a round trip train ticket, plus the cost of the match ticket, then sat for the duration of the game with a headache in torrential rain, I can honestly say I was not particularly impressed with Swiss football.

I wrote in my blog entry afterwards that I doubted I would attend another FCLS match unless they made it to another cup final. On 27th February, FCLS were scheduled to host FC Sion in the quarter final of the Swiss Cup, and an invitation from my brother-in-law Pascal tempted me to go back on my words.

La Pontaise starts to fill up with hopeful supporters...
It was a bitterly cold evening, coming a few days after most of the Canton of Vaud was covered by a few centimetres of snow, and the match was only scheduled to start at 8:30pm. I met up with Pascal and a few of his friends, and we quickly bought our tickets and went inside to warm up.

I'll admit I was a little surprised by the price of the ticket, forking out a whopping 50.- CHF for my seat in block J of the Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, the home of FCLS. Granted, my seat was well placed in row 22 slightly to the right of the stand with a side view of the pitch, a viewpoint that would let me see all the action regardless of where it happened on the pitch, but I honestly found the ticket price to be rather high considering it was FCLS.

The other side of the stadium has cheaper tickets, at around 30.- CHF, but it is more open to the elements and on such a cold night a little wind protection was a welcome bonus. Still, I wasn't impressed at the dent this made in my cash flow, and hoped that the match would be an open, entertaining affair to at least make it worth my money.

Sadly, this hope was totally misplaced.

Insipid, dire, dreadful, dull. Plenty of words come to mind that would describe the match, but none of them are positive. Both sides played some truly awful, uninspired football of a standard that would be unacceptable at even a fourth division team in England.

FC Sion scored a goal in the 28th minute of the first half, and that was practically the only effort on goal. In an attempt to keep some level of interest in what was a terrible display of half-arsed football, we spent the first half counting the successive passes by each team to see if either side managed to string more than 5 passes together before losing possession. FCLS managed this just once in the opening period, and FC Sion not at all.

On such a cold night, the shivering supporters searched desperately for a reason to applaud their side, if only to generate a bit of much-needed heat through banging their hands together. These occassions were few and far between, aside from the solitary goal.

When the referee's whistle signaled the end of the first half, there was a sense of huge, collective disappointment amongst the FCLS fans. We headed to the bar and grabbed a beer; at least that gave us something to be happy about.

The second half, unfortunately, was full of the same tripe as the first, with very little to cheer for either set of supporters. To their credit, the FC Sion fans entertained themselves with songs and the occasional flare, and they actually looked to be enjoying themselves despite the shockingly bad game they were witnessing.

The only real move for the FCLS fans to cheer was when a shot from distance crashed back off the crossbar. At that moment, the supporters might have sensed a small hope that their team might be about to wake up and suddenly start playing some actual football. The hope died shortly afterwards as the match reverted back to being the equivalent of watching paint dry.

Right at the death, FC Sion won a penalty that they duly converted with the very last kick of the game. The ref whistled the end of the match, with FCLS on the wrong side of a 2-0 defeat, exiting the Coupe Suisse with little more than a whimper.

I headed home after the match (where a hot shower helped to warm my semi-frozen body) thoroughly disappointed and a little angry to have spent so much money on such a terrible, terrible game.

This brings me back to the same sentiment as the last time I watched them play in 2010, as I really don't think they are worth my money.

It's a shame as I enjoy the experience of watching a football match, with songs ringing around the stadium and flags being waved from passionate supporters. If the ticket price was cheaper I might be tempted to go more often, but at 50.- CHF for sub-standard football, I think my wallet will be staying firmly shut.

No comments: