The Marseillais in match clothes were already flocking in front of the Vélodrome for the OM-Rennes meeting, scheduled for this Sunday at 5 p.m., when the news broke in the early afternoon: in a message on his Twitter account, the club announced the death of René Malleville, emblematic supporter of the Olympians and passionate columnist for football, as a result of his illness. It had been a few weeks since the stormy septuagenarian (he was 73 years old) had lifted the media foot, after announcing that he was suffering from cancer. “Think well that I am not at the best, I embrace you all”, he wrote again Wednesday on Twitter. “It happened so quickly… We knew he was tired, but a personality like that, we can’t imagine not hearing it again one day”, blows a stunned supporter, phone in hand to follow live the many reactions of sadness flooding the networks. “Sad, that’s the only word that comes to mind”, sums up his neighbor. He was part of our life as a supporter. There is the club, and still there, there was René. ”
René and his banter drenched like his accent, René and his legendary anger, his bloodletting against a club he loved without measure … All here, follower or not of the character, salute the commitment of the one who embodied the words of the supporters Marseille, especially in front of national cameras. The youngest adopted it by discovering “René’s minute”, an unfiltered tablet broadcast for a few years after each match on the Marseille site of Le Phocéen, where the commentator generally had something for everyone, from players to leaders of the club. “A colorful language, but always objective”, insists Gilbert, 59, a lifelong supporter and at half mast, too, after the announcement of the death of “The one who represented at the national level what we are: passionate loudmouths who know the ball and who support the club at all costs”. In recent months, the notoriety of René Malleville had largely exceeded the Marseille borders, with his regular and flowery interventions in the show Do not touch My TV by Cyril Hanouna. Show that he had finally left after a few passes of arms remained through his throat… Until health problems were involved.
Admiration for Tapie
René le Marseillais was nevertheless born far from here, in the Aude. Landed under the blue and white sky at the age of 9, he made a career as a welder before joining the Marseille Transport Authority (RTM), and especially its CGT central where he already puts his verve at the service of union fights. In the 90s, it was above all behind the bar counter that he opened in the Joliette district that he earned his reputation as a supporter – and a good customer in front of the camera. For the club, these are the prosperous years of the Tapie era, to which Malleville will devote unfailing admiration to the end, sticking out his claws to defend him at the slightest criticism and support him in his fight against cancer.
His bar became the HQ of the Yankees, a group from the north turn which has now disappeared, for which he had become the megaphone, to the delight of the media from all sides who jostle there to capture his analysis on game nights. Still a militant, we find him engaged in politics, in particular alongside the socialist Jean-Noël Guérini during the municipal elections of 2008, where he was elected borough councilor. He will not come back, preferring by far the atmosphere of the stadium to that of political matches.
Rain of tributes
“He will have made us vibrate, laugh and cry. He was the voice of thousands of supporters. We already miss her voice. Ciao René ”, wrote this Sunday on Twitter the mayor (PS) of the city Benoît Payan. There are many, anonymous and others, from football players like Didier Drogba to former club leaders including a Cyril Hanouna “Devastated”, and even to the supporters of the opposing teams, to salute the memory of the chronicler whom many affectionately call Nene or “uncle”. A member of the Olympian family in the same way as Philousports, OM commentator on the networks who died before the summer, to whom the club will pay tribute next Sunday.
Like Bernard Tapie too, for whom the supporters hung this Sunday a giant banner “All with the boss” in front of the stadium in support of their former leader suffering from cancer. The supporters do not forget either Patrice de Peretti, known as “Dépé”, figure of the group of MTP supporters, who died twenty years ago and whose name the north bend today bears. A tifo in his memory must be deployed this Sunday afternoon for the match. René Malleville was also entitled to the tribute of the turns: his photo was shown on the screens of the Vélodrome before kick-off, followed by a minute of applause. Maxime, 30-year-old supporter, agrees: “Applause is better than a minute’s silence for him who was making noise all the time.”