Monday 18 March 2019, 08:20

Nice's creative initiative to help the homeless

  • Nice supporters crowdfund in an effort to help club buy a new striker

  • Underlying purpose of the initiative was to raise money for charity

  • Funds raised went to help the homeless

“We’re raising money so OGC Nice can sign someone in the transfer window. Come on! €10m is nothing and we could (maybe) actually sign a striker instead of getting one on loan without the option to buy.”

That was the announcement put out by Jean-Philippe and his Nice supporters club during the January transfer window. Nice were certainly in need too. The lowest scorers in Ligue 1, they had just seen Mario Balotelli move to Marseille.

Explaining to the local press why he set a target of €10m, Jean-Philippe said: “It seemed to us to be just about the right market price. After all, that was the price the media were quoting for Ryad Boudebouz, and it was also the limit on the Leetchi crowdfunding platform.”

Driven to despair by the failure of Nice’s forwards to put their chances away, fans responded to Jean-Philippe’s no less desperate plea for donations, though the sum raised fell a little way short of the total needed to buy a striker worthy of the name.

Did you know? In 1949, Nice supporters raised 300,000 French francs to allow the club to purchase Italian forward Roberto Serone from Torino. In the end, Serone played only seven games for the French side, scoring just once.

Anticipating just such an outcome, Jean-Philippe tweeted: “In the unlikely event that the target is not reached, all the money donated will go to OGC Nice’s endowment fund, which will put it to very good use.”

As it turned out, nearly €2,000 was raised through the Leetchi crowdfunding initiative, helping to buy sleeping bags and shower gel for the city’s homeless, with Nice defender Christophe Herelle also making a contribution and former club legends giving their backing to the initiative.

Some of the funds were donated to the club’s endowment fund to support the city’s disadvantaged children.

“It’s just a question of making light of what’s not working well at the club and showing what does work well. When it comes to supporting charities, OGC Nice probably does it better than any other club in France,” said Jean-Philippe: “And our main aim all along was to give the few hundred euros we’d hoped to raise to people who are in need.”