"Demarconnay, Demarconnay... Kneeling in front of the two kops of Paris FC (Old Clan and Ultas Lutetia), Vincent Demarconnay, microphone in hand, sings with the supporters in a Charléty stadium on fire. On Friday evening, the whole Paris FC family paid tribute to its iconic 40-year-old goalkeeper who played the last match of his career, the 371st (a record) in the jersey of the capital club.
Before the match, a long banner with his portrait "Merci Vincent Légende du Paris FC" was put up by the fans. A few minutes before kick-off, the goalkeeper seemed relaxed, multiplying the little salutes. "It's weird," says his wife Marine, her husband's jersey on her back, present on the athletics track. Vincent Demarconnay gave him a little kiss before entering the field. First wink, he was accompanied by his twins, Liam and Mila, 6 years old. One wore a Paris FC shirt flocked "Merci Dad". His two children even shared their dad's latest team photo.
Vincent Demarconnay with his twins Liam and Mila (Photo by Loic Baratoux/FEP/Icon Sport) 2023 Icon Sport
On the match won 1-0, Demarconnay, showed that he still remained at 40 years old one of the best goalkeepers of the L2 despite his decision to stop his career. He made four decisive saves ahead of Shamal (29th), Mendy (65th), Temanfo (74th) and Sahi (86th). "It's good to finish on a clean scheet," he smiled. It was his 11th of the season and therefore the last of his career.
Right after the start of extra time, we saw the first highlight of the tributes. His exit from the field, replaced by Croatian Ivan Filipovic. Almost all of the 5,400 spectators at the Charléty stadium are standing and chanting his name. He falls into the arms of all his teammates, before joining the bench and continuing the hugs. But the referee Mr. Abed and the Annecy players, who are virtually relegable, shorten this festive moment. At the final whistle, the fans are still standing. Vincent Demarconnay stays long minutes on the field. A guard of honour, composed of all his teammates, staff, managers and employees of the club is formed. He leaves the field clapping his hands or falling into each person's arms.
The guard of honor for Vincent Demarconnay. (Photo by Loic Baratoux/FEP/Icon Sport) 2023 Icon Sport
At that moment, the emotion can be read on his face. "I said I wouldn't cry," he says before falling into Pierre Ferracci's arms for a long time. The president of Paris FC also has misty eyes. It is a page in the recent history of Paris FC that turns with the stop of Demarconnay, at the club since 2008. A loyalty so rare in modern football.
Everyone is now heading to the two kops. For more than half an hour, the fans sang with their goalkeeper. "Thank you all, we really built a great relationship together," Vincent Demarconnay told the microphone. President Pierre Ferracci also delivered a moving speech, recalling the goalkeeper's difficult start at Paris FC with a rupture of the cruciate ligaments during one of his first training sessions when he arrived, then the importance he has taken in the club over the years. A nice frame representing him in an artistic way is offered to him.
The beautiful tribute of the @stadecharlety..
Vincent Demarconnay sings with the two kops @OldClan10 @UltrasLutetia14 of the @ParisFC #ParisFC #Demarconnay @PassionParisFC pic.twitter.com/1OyO4BYWzF
— Laurent Pruneta (@PrunetaLaurent) June 3, 2023
But while the tribute was initially entirely reserved for him, the goalkeeper decides to play it collectively. He then called Ousmane Kanté, at the club since 2018 but not kept, to join him in front of the fans. The Guinean international is also entitled to his speech and celebrations. A nice gesture. Vincent Demarconnay does not forget, either, the other players at the end of their contract who will leave the club, Florent Hanin, Khalid Boutaïb, Jonathan Iglesias, Ilan Kebbal, Mehdi Chahiri, Sekou Sanogo, Lebobang Phiri... One by one, they join him in front of the rostrum.
It is with a last song, this time with all the players, that the festivities end. In the locker room, the president Pierre Ferracci ends the tribute and this season, with a new speech. He took the opportunity to announce to the players, the arrival of Stéphane Gilli as new coach. Always in uniform, Vincent Demarconnay goes up to the VIP lounge to meet partners and guests. He multiplies selfies.
Vincent Demarconnay greets the supporters one last time. (Photo by LP/Loic Baratoux/FEP/Icon Sport) LP/Loic Baratoux/FEP/Icon Sport
It is more than 0:30 when he leaves the Charléty stadium. After a little vacation, he will refine with the leaders of Paris FC his future conversion to the club. This year, he passed a correspondence management degree. "My story with Paris FC is not over," he concludes after this evening rich in emotion.