Is Nice returning to the old days of glory?


One of the biggest and surprising stories of the summer transfer window is the signing of Mario Balotelli to OGC Nice which it shouldn’t suprise since the Eagles are the club on the rise in French football.And they proved that in the beginning of the season where in the first eight matchdays of the new Ligue 1 season they sit at the top of the table with 20 points besides that Balotelli is the only name which can be recognized with former Borrusia Monchengladbach coach Lucien Favre taking over the bench after Claude Puel left for Southampton during the summer.The story of Nice starts in 1904 when the club was founded while in 1919 the club merged with Gallia Football Athletic Club from which they adopted the red-black shirts which to this day they wear,but it wasn’t until the 1950s that Nice would a force in French football when when they won Ligue One titles in 1951,1952,1956 and 1959 with Coupe de France triumphs in 1954 and 1954.During that period the squad featured the names like Marcel Domingo,Antoine Bonifacci,Abdelaziz Ben Tifour who was one of the first professional Algerian players in Ligue 1 also he blazed the way for players from North Africa and was one of the founders of the Algerian national team,Luis Carniglia who also coached the Eagles for two seasons,Par Benegtson,striker Victor Nurenberg who spent nine years in the clubs with 252 appearances and scored 89 goals and most notably it featured Just Fontaine who in three seasons for the Eagles scored 43 goals in 64 appearances before he left for Stade de Reims.However after the golden era of the 1950s the club couldn’t repeat any of its success and most notably was shadow of its former self with two second places finishes in 1973 and 1976 under coaches Jean Snella and Vlatko Markovic and from the 1980s to the mid 2000s the club was bouncing between Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 with an almost direct relegation to the Championnat National (third division of French football) due to financial problems besides that in 1997 Nice won its third Coupe de France by beating Guingamp in penalty shootouts,however the club managed to get its finances in order to compete in Ligue 1 where they compete ever since.But in the last a couple of years the Eagles have began their rise to the top of the Ligue 1 and possibly the return to the days of glory of te 1950s.Since the hiring of former Lyon coach Claude Puel in the last four seasons the Eagles finished twice in 4th place with once escaped relegation (in the 2013-14 season) and a mid-table finish in 2014-15 season.Last season which was the last in Puel’s charge the Eagles finished 4th with 63 points which were 2 short of a 3rd place which Monaco clinched combined with a participation in the UEFA Champions League.But for the club the future looks bright after a mixed Chinese-American consortium led by Chien Lee and Alex Zeng bought the club this summer which will secure the necessary financial security and further investments in the club and combined with that is that the club moved to their 250 million Euros worth new Allianz Riviera stadium in 2013 which repleaced the ageing Stade du Ray where the club played from 1927 till 2013.But during the summer the club made headlines by signing Mario Balotelli on a free transfer since Balotelli himself was refused due to his erratic behavior by many clubs including his former clubs-Inter Milan and AC Milan also Swiss coach Lucien Favre who coached Borussia Monchengladbach till the beginning of he last season when he was fired because of a bad start was hired due to the departure of Claude Puel who left the club for Southampton.Nice’s season started with two 1-0 victories both at home and away,but it was their 4-0 trouncing of Monaco two weeks ago which showed that the team is ready for big things this season and to return to the old days of glory of the 1950s when they were the dominant side in French football,but their real tests are just ahead against Lyon and PSG which will prove is Nice ready to return to its old days of glory.

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