Jean-Paul Belmondo, one of the greatest actors in French cinema, passed away Monday night at the age of 88. Outside the 7e art, “Bébel” largely contributed to revive the project of the football club of Paris Saint-Germain, when it was at a standstill in the early 1970s. Explanations with Julien Froment, journalist and author of The incredible story of the birth of PSG.
These are the stories that forge a legend, that of Jean-Paul Belmondo. “Bébel” passed away on Monday evening, but will leave an eternal trace of his life. His face, his smile, his banter have marked the history of cinema but also of sport. And in particular that of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), his favorite club.
“Football and cinema are cut from the same wood”
Because before the meteoric rise of the club in the capital, the construction of PSG was far from being a long quiet river. It was even unpredictable, almost romantic. Totally like Jean-Paul Belmondo.
“It has sometimes been said that Paris Saint-Germain seemed born from the inspiration of screenwriters, but none of them could have imagined such an incredible destiny for a football club. In some ways, yes, football and cinema are carved out of the same wood ”, had also declared the actor, quoted in the official magazine of Paris Saint-Germain dedicated to the 50 years of the club, released in September 2020.
Jean-Paul Belmondo has just left us and it is also his historical link with the @PSG_inside that he leaves behind. Present around D. Hechter in the project to relaunch PSG, in the spring of 1973, he gave his full support to a young club then threatened with disappearance.
– Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_inside) September 6, 2021
The famous night of the Meridian
If today the club of the capital can boast of being one of the best in the world, it owes its influence, in part to Jean-Paul Belmondo. Many consider him to be one of the club’s co-founders… but he’s not.
“When Jean-Paul Belmondo lent a hand to PSG in the spring of 1973, the club already existed as such. PSG was born in June 1970 after the merger with the Paris Football Club, a virtual club, a kind of empty shell, the result of the newspaper’s will The team, the French Football Federation (FFF) and radio Europe 1 to create a big club in Paris, since the Parc des Princes was coming and there was simply no big club in the capital ”, explains Julien Froment, journalist and author of the book The incredible story of the birth of PSG (to be published on September 16, 2021 by Editions Amphora).
“It was a bit of an anomaly, he continues. The leaders of the time then wanted to merge with other clubs. Sedan retracted, Rouen too. So it was either the leaders giving up or they were starting from below. “
This is what was done with a departure in Division 2 of the Stade Saint-Germanois club, a club from the city of Saint-Germain-en-Laye then chaired by Henri Patrelle, eminent member of the FFF.
“This first PSG had a life with a rise in Division 1 in 1971, details Julien Froment. Then there was the night at the Hôtel du Méridien, May 16, 1972. The Paris town hall had just announced to PSG that it would no longer pay it the big subsidy. Their motive was that they no longer wished to give it to a suburban club and wanted Paris Saint-Germain to be renamed Paris Football Club (PFC). “
Bebel, I put that there! pic.twitter.com/L70ncsU086
– KARL OLIVE (@KARLOLIVE) September 6, 2021
A saving encounter during the “Polymusculars”
“This exceptional general meeting split the club in two, the PFC recovered all the professional players and infrastructures, the PSG then set out again in D3, with amateur status during the 1972-1973 season”, lists the reporter.
And this is where Jean-Paul Belmondo intervened indirectly. “Daniel Hechter, a rising figure in the world of fashion, attends the confrontation between Poissy and PSG during the Coupe de Paris, in the spring of 1973, relates the former journalist from Europe 1. He evokes with Henri Patrelle the possibility of putting money in the PSG. Daniel Hechter does not come empty-handed, he sees himself investing with friends: Francis Borelli, Charles Talar, Guy Bossand, Jacky Bloch, Bernard Brochand and Jean-Paul Belmondo. “
?️ Preface @ kimpembe_3
– Julien Froment (@JulienFroment) April 28, 2021
Daniel Hechter and Jean-Paul Belmondo were presented by the intermediary of Jacky Bloch, celebrity of Ile-de-France football during a match of the “Polymusclés” – the “Variety Club of France” of the time – where “Belmondo played goalkeeper, a position he loved. He is the one who created this association. So there were connections between mutual friends. He was asked if he wanted to follow. As a big football fan, Bébel said yes by injecting a sum of money [le montant n’a pas été communiqué]. He was registered on the board of directors. He did this out of friendship and passion. ” As a true sports fanatic that he was …
He brought notoriety to it
More than a simple financial issue, “Bébel” brought a lot of notoriety to the club. “What Daniel Hechter explained to me is that, casually, when PSG started playing at the Parc des Princes, Belmondo was the great figure of the club, his popularity was already very great in France and abroad . He perfectly embodies Paris Saint-Germain, details Julien Froment. There was the popular side since he was an actor with national or even international reach, he was almost at the height of his glory at that time. There was also a bit of bling-bling, a bit of stars, a bit of glitter. This is exactly what the club wanted to give as an image. He was essential to the revival in 1973. He was a supporter and an iconic figure. “
The end sentence will be for “Bébel” whose words chosen, in the official magazine of Paris Saint-Germain dedicated to the 50 years of the club, to describe the new club of Lionel Messi, are extremely correct: “The strength of Paris Saint-Germain will always be to project a film that is both captivating and endless. An eternal film! “
The incredible story of the birth of PSG, by Julien Froment, release scheduled for September 16 at Éditions Amphora. € 18.