Le Ballon is a recently-opened bar in Paris that serves as the clubhouse for Le Ballon Football League as well as home for some of the city’s most boisterous fans, Les PariSG 300. Originally called L\INCONNU (The Unknown), it was founded in 2012 in Paris’ up-and-coming 10th arrondissement. After creating a scene first with young, fashionable music lovers and then the neighbours, the trendy nightspot morphed into a pop-up bar for the World Cup in 2014 – Le Ballon was born.
After a rip-roaring good time over the summer, the men behind Le Ballon (Mikael Attar, Jeremy Attuil, Pascal Monfort and James Whelan) decided that football and beer was the life for them, so they made it a permanent affair. The aim of the bar was to provide Parisians with a place to watch football and be surrounded by other like-minded individuals, a place where people could indulge in football fashion, literature and culture. Beyond this, it is a place where fans can escape the drudgery of the ubiquitous ‘Sports Pub’ through the bar’s attention to detail.
Since the opening of the bar, with the help of a sports marketing agency called Nutmeg, the team has founded a football league inside the city limits. Featuring some of the city’s most influential characters from the worlds of fashion, publishing, art and football, the league has been a great success so far with the first matches taking place at the FFF’s centre of excellence; Clairefontaine – no less. With strong backing from Nike Football X and the know-how of all involved (Bernard Diomède is the head coach), #LBFL is something to shout about.
Who are The 300s?The 300s are a private group of PSG fans that became a family. We were united from all over by John Candan, our coach and shining star. Tired of the lack of quality debates between PSG fans, he started his own band. You guys were responsible for the John Terry metro prank that went viral - what compelled you to make that video?Everything! Nature itself called for this video! The loss against Chelsea last year, the arrogance of the Special One, the draw in the first leg and, of course, the racist incident with Chelsea fans in the Parisian metro. How will the 300s be supporting France in a unique way at Euro 2016?Hmm, I don’t really know. To be honest, The 300s are PSG fans. Some of us support Brazil, Ivory Coast, and Romania or even, say it quietly... the English. First and foremost, we stand for PSG.
PUBLIC HOUSE FOOTBALL CLUB
So, you’re literally a pub team?!Totally! We’re more than a football team. We’re lads from different backgrounds (north and south of France, and a German bloke!) working in advertising, fashion and music. We even have scientists and a lawyer! We like to spend time together on the pitch and at the bar – it’s why we’re so committed. What inspires you about English culture, football culture and pub culture and the intersection of all 3?England has such an impact on us: we eat fish and chips, drink lager and insist on being well dressed. We watch the Premier League, and the French league every weekend (let’s not forget we are Frogs!). Our perfect combo: Julian Dicks in a Stone Island Jacket playing darts whilst sipping John Smith’s. Morrissey or Noel and why?Prince Naseem Hamed
FOOT TANG CLAN
Creatively speaking, what are the big differences between full-field football, and the 7 aside that you’re currently playing with LBFL?I think that players have to move, pass and “play” more freely and be less predictable. At the same time you can’t leave your friends alone in case of a counter attack. 7-aside football is more demanding because you always have to be wary. Your logo has hints of classic Brazilian domestic logo design, can you tell us about the creation of the logo (what was the thought process/inspiration/etc.)?Our graphic designer was, a. skiing and b. hung-over, and we were really late. William Roden (Waf Agency/Shoes Up/Fricote) and Valère Dayen made typography for us to make the logo. The first drafts were too “designed” - the logo lacked football DNA: the stripes, the shield… it needed to reflect the Brazilian notion of playing football anywhere, anytime and on any surface. You’re the only team with a female player, which makes you the coolest team by miles. What does Cecile bring to the team that her bearded brethren could not?Cecile brings the most happiness to the team. She loves football and PSG, and even if she’s not the best in the team, she’s always focused during training and gets better every time. She never takes it too seriously and cools things down when the heat is too high.
Tell us a bit about ClekClekBoom and what brings you and River Dubplate together.ClekClekBoom is a Parisian club-music label. We love football and played since we were kids, so we were really excited to create a team for LBFL. We all love UK garage, grime, house (and reggae) - the underground club scene culture, plus a few Brits on our team led to this little joke with River Plate and dubplates. A Dubplate is a certain type of popular vinyl in the club music scene). How does music influence the way you see/play football?Work. I learnt with music that you have to work hard to get things done, and that’s exactly the same with football. Every training session we work hard to improve our skills and our team spirit. It’s a great experience!
For the non-French speakers out there, what does Bled FC mean?Bled has many meanings – originally, an Arab word meaning country or land. For immigrants, Bled is the homeland while city-dwellers see it as a small town with a suggestion of nostalgia. When I think about it, all of these meanings relate to Bled FC. How does the idea of Bled inspire you to create football-related art, culture and content?When I started Bled, it was to express my love of football in a unique way through art, design and illustration. It was a way for me to share my origins and double-culture – I’m French/Vietnamese and it’s important to me to promote my roots by exploring other cultures through football. What are your hopes and dreams for Bled FC?I’m working on the launch of Bled FC magazine that will focus on South-East Asia. I will be there for two months exploring Asian football, meeting old pros, amateurs and supporters while discovering their culture, lifestyles and the role the sport plays in their daily lives. I want everyone to be a part of Bled FC, I want to create a community where everyone shares their culture and learns those of others.
What is the Parisian obsession with the number 75? What does it mean to your team?The number 75 refers to the 75th Department of France aka Paris. It’s a nice round number that’s easy to remember – even better! Why the pigeon?!The 75ers have a very strong connection with Paris, urban culture, skateboarding, cycling, graffiti etc. It was therefore important to have a mascot that represented our backgrounds – we love Paris, the concrete and the tarmac - the pigeon is probably the animal that represents Paris, they’re everywhere! In France, pigeons are seen as nuisances and are usually a negative. We didn’t want to appear arrogant or too serious, so we chose the self-effacing pigeon. Given some of the creative talent on your roster, can you give an insight into creativity, football and culture from a Parisian perspective?Most of the 75ers work in culture, fashion, communication or events, we also come from Paris, the city of fashion - as a result we cast a critical eye on the visual aspect, the aesthetics. The ideal solution for a Parisian is to be top of the league and have a killer shirt…a bit like PSG…!
Who are the Paname Patriots? What is YARD?YARD is a 360-degree lifestyle-media based group based in Paris. We’re well known for our huge Hip-Hop party (5000 people) and our magazine. The Patriots are uniquely members of YARD. Basketball or football?Basket-Ball! I’m not a football fan I’m a PSG fan! Why are American sports so popular in France? How and why does it manifest itself in French culture/fashion?We love Basket-Ball so of course the NBA is the main sports league for us, but soccer is more popular than everything here. For example the SuperBowl is not a big thing at all here. French peeps are proud, so we love to have our own things. If you were to make an all-time football XI from basketball players, who would it be and why?Not that easy, but I think Steve Nash would be the main player. He has dope skills.Kobe knows about soccer culture, otherwise I’d love to see Shaquille O’Neal playing defense in soccer!
You have said that you want to create an amateur team unlike any other, how will you do this?We do not consider ourselves as an amateur football team, but a team of football connoisseurs. We love the beautiful game on and off the pitch. In this sense, Atletico Paris is more than a team; it is also a football label with a stylish and entertaining vision of a modern football lifestyle. Your art direction is profound - what influenced you? What motivates and inspires you on and off the pitch?As Parisians, we are fueled by football culture since day one. Our art-direction looks like the serious photographic arc that one would expect from a professional club. We play real-life Football Manager by adding the creative side of the beautiful game through graphic design, fresh films and beautiful photography.
ARTICLE BY COPA COLLECTIVE MEMBER PICKLES MAGAZINE