Three straight wins have made Lille mathematically safe but they will be going down if their finances are not up to scratch
Fan ire over the running of a club is hardly unusual, but the situation at Lille descended from discontent into utter catastrophe earlier this season. During their match against Montpellier in March, infuriated Lille fans vaulted the pitchside advertising boards, attacked their own players and had to be restrained by police while they threatened club owner Gérard Lopez with the chant: “If we go down, we’ll take you down.” Miraculously, the club pulled clear of the bottom three for good this weekend, but their Ligue 1 status remains fragile for financial reasons.
For a club that won the title in 2011 and spent €70m on players in the summer – only Monaco and PSG spent more – this season has been, as Lopez admitted “a nightmare”. They beat Nantes 3-0 in their first match of the campaign but then didn’t win again until November. After a few decent results over the Christmas period, they fell into another slump, with just one win in 15 matches at the start of the calendar year.