ligue 1 news

Coach Gerets leaves Marseille on a high note

May 31, 2009

Outgoing Marseille coach Eric Gerets will walk away from the Stade Velodrome savouring every moment of his 20-month tenure despite narrowly missing out on the Ligue 1 title this season.

The Belgian, who agreed earlier this month to join Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal at the end of the campaign, saw his team thrash Rennes 4-0 to end the season on a high.

It was not enough for his team to secure a first Ligue 1 title since 1992, with Bordeaux securing more than the point they required to become champions by winning 1-0 at Caen.

But Gerets will look back on his reign at Marseille with nothing but fondness. He told the club's website: "What is good is that we finished off the season with a strong win at home. We did what we had to do: win the match. Unfortunately, Caen weren't able to give us a helping hand.

"I've been living on a cloud during my two years here and I'm leaving on that same cloud. I want to thank everyone for what I have experienced here. I have been appreciated in other countries, but what I experienced here was crazy.

"I'm going to take it with me and, in 10 or 15 years, if I'm still alive, I'll sit down in front of the fire with a glass of red wine and I'll watch a DVD of everything that happened to me at OM. I have loved this club, this city, but what the people here gave me in return is unbelievable. I don't have the words to explain it."

Gerets leaves OM in a healthy position and with a place assured in next season's Champions League, but felt it necessary to apologise to the club's fans for not delivering the Ligue 1 crown.

"I want to apologise to the supporters for not winning the title, because it was my objective with (assistant coach Dominique) Cuperly," he said. "The club's objective has been achieved but not mine. The title was the present that I wanted to give to all those people who have been behind us over the last two years. So, I'm very sorry.

"I'm happy to have finished on a high note. The club wanted to finish in first or second place. Their objective has been achieved but unfortunately mine hasn't.

"That does leave some regrets but there is also a lot of satisfaction on a human level. It was something very special."