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Fancy!

One of my old English teachers, Jean-Pierre Escalettes, is now President of the French Football Association. Even though I played loads of football in and around Ribérac, I never knew he had anything to do with it.

I knew his son better, he was in the sport-études, the special football stream at school, one of only two local lads to get in. I didn't even apply although I'm pretty sure I would have made the grade.

I met his son Eric later whilst studying in Bordeaux. We turned up on opposing sides in a 5 a side tournament. Knowing that he was pretty good, I detailed one of our guys to follow him around, getting physical whenever he got the ball. This worked pretty well as he got pretty pissed off, the ref had words with him and we won 1-0. Eric is now director of a glass factory in Milan.

Another sport-études alumni was Christophe Robert who was one of the key players in the Valenciennes - Olympique Marseille scandale. In the run up to the European Cup, Marseille were still in the hunt for the French league. He took a bribe from OM to throw the game which Marseille won 1-0. He got £25k for doing this which seems rather cheap, especially as this pretty much put paid to his career.