Sometimes in American sport we think our owners are colorful. We have Marc Cuban and have had Ted Turner and Daniel Snyder and Jerry Buss. Tom Benson has danced with his parasol as his Saints won the Super Bowl and now we have Magic Johnson leading the Dodgers.
As we move towards the Stanley Cup Final we will have either the quiet and reserved Jeff Vanderbeek lead the Devils or the much maligned Jim Dolan of the Rangers face off against the duo of Phil Anshutz and Ed Roski, who have resurrected the LA Kings.
The literally larger than life Nicollin, who has made his money in the French Waste Management Business, had long battled French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain in a spending race that resembled the Ligue 1 version of “Moneyball.” PSG spent over €100 million on transfers in 2011-12 season; Montpellier spent just €2 million.
As the season progressed, the passionate Nicollin continued to show his emotions as PSG hung around with their high priced stars while Montpellier hung around in first place. The winner of Ligue 1 also had an even bigger carrot, a chance to travel to the United States and take on another French powerhouse, French Cup Champion Olympique Lyonnais for the ultimate French prize, the Trophee Des Champions July 28 At Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.
As the season reached an end last week, the gray haired owner of Montpellier had had enough from the followers of larger clubs. Should his side hang on to take the title, he would color his hair bright orange and blue and shave it in a Mohawk.
Come Sunday, Montpellier finished in first, was heading towards the States in July, and the club had an owner with a Mohawk. “It really is an honour to be competing for the Trophée des Champions in New York. It’s a legendary city,” he said sporting a new look atop his once stately head of hair. “We hope to fly the colours of Montpellier-HSC high in the Red Bull Arena against Olympique Lyonnais and give all the American fans a great image of French football.” One that will certainly be enhanced by one of the more colorful owners in sport.
While many Mayors may place idle bets and owners are constantly talking, it would be interesting to see someone step up to match Nicollin’s passion and his candor in the States. Many fans of the Knicks and Rangers would pay more than their pricey season tickets to see Dolan sporting an orange and blue Mohawk one day for sure.
We could always use a little more color at the top.