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Jan, 21, 2013

Lille fans express anger at club president

Disgruntled Lille fans barracked club president Michel Seydoux on Sunday, demanding to know where more than €100 million recouped from the sales of the team's stars has gone.

During Sunday's 2-0 home defeat to Nice, which left the 2011 Ligue 1 champions in tenth place, vocal supporters from the Dogues Virage Est (DVE) group chanted the names of the long list of key players who have been cashed in on in recent seasons.

France Football estimated last summer that the departures of the likes of Eden Hazard and Yohan Cabaye had brought in €138 million, a sum added to by Mathieu Debuchy's recent switch to Newcastle. Only limited funds have been re-invested in the team, prompting the DVE fans to ask: 'Michel Seydoux, what have you done with your dosh?'

The fans' ire is all the greater given those players who have arrived for big fees, such as Dimitri Payet, a €10 million buy from Saint-Etienne in 2011, and Marvin Martin, picked up from Sochaux for €13 million last summer, have disappointed. Though Salomon Kalou, who joined Lille on a free transfer from Chelsea last summer, did not cost a penny, the Ivory Coast international's hefty wages have been questioned given his below-par displays this season.

The mood at the club was worsened by manager Rudi Garcia's rant after the loss to Nice - the first time his side had lost by a two-goal margin since October 2010.

"I know that it's not good to speak in the heat of the moment, but it'll be worse [on Monday]. It's inadmissible that you're so individualistic," he said.

"Some of you are going to play with the reserves. I have to shake you up, the youngsters too. Things aren't going to go on like this. We have to win against Plabennec [in the Coupe de France on Wednesday] and at Paris. We don't have any other choice."

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