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For the first time in their 122-year history, Brighton and Hove Albion are in Europe. It's a momentous season for Seagulls fans, whose side's flowing football has drawn the admiration of supporters across the globe and will now be tested in the UEFA Europa League.
Roberto De Zerbi's side have been drawn into a tough group alongside European heavyweights including former European Cup winners Ajax and Olympique Marseille, as well as Greek side AEK Athens who defeated Brighton at the Amex in the opening group stage fixture.
Brighton's first away trip is in France at Marseille's famous Stade Velodrome. Many Brighton fans will make the trip for the 5 October fixture, and this guide will help them to make the most out of the visit to the south of France. It includes information on tickets, the Stade Velodrome away section, the iconic stadium's history, directions, pubs and restaurants to visit and hotels to stay in.
Tickets information for Olympique Marseille vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Tickets for the Brighton away end at the Stade Velodrome cost £26, while those with a restricted view will be £20 and wheelchair users £19.
These tickets first went on sale to all Season Ticket Holders, 1901 Club Members and MyAlbion+ Members who pre-registered. On Wednesday 20 September, they went on sale to all Season Ticket Holders and 1901 Club Members who didn't pre-registered, and finally, MyAlbion+ Members who failed to pre-register could purchase from 2pm on the same day.
The away tickets for Marseille will be taken off sale on Wednesday 27 September at 4pm.
If the away end sells out, some Brighton fans may look to buy tickets in the home end, but any doing so should use caution and act appropriately to avoid trouble in what can be a hostile atmosphere.
How to get to Stade Velodrome
The Stade Velodrome is situated four kilometres away from the Old Port of Marseille. East of the stadium is the Marseille Palais des Sports, while south of the venue is the Huveaune RIver. The stadium itself is located in the neighbourhoods of Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Giniez.
For Brighton fans, getting to the stadium should be no problem, with various bus services stopping off right beside the stadium. The other option of transport to the stadium for fans is the Metro, and there are two stations (Rond-Point du Prado or Sainte Marguerite Dromel) of the Marseille Metro Line 2 that are close to the venue.
Where is the Stade Velodrome away section?
Brighton fans will find themselves sitting in between the Virage Nord and the Tribune Ganay in the lower tier. Supporters looking to get to those stands will be looking to get off at the Sainte-Marguerite Dromel station. Extra trains and buses are put on the timetable on matchdays.
If you are planning to fly in late on 5 October and want to travel straight from the Marseille Provence Airport to the Velodrome then the trip is thirty kilometres.
Bars and restaurants for Brighton fans in Marseille
As expected in France, there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat before or after the match. Near to the Stade Velodrome itself, the Pub Black Stone is one where you can enjoy a drink with your food and at a reasonable price. A restaurant named The Meltdown is also close by, while various Irish pubs are scattered across the city, with O Brady's being the closest to the stadium.
If you want to enjoy yourself without the noise of other football fans, stay in Marseille city centre. La Part des Anges is an affordable wine bar, La Caravelle looks over the Old Port and has a historic feel to it, Le Bar de la Marine is also next to the port and was a filming location for Love Actually, L’Unic is a reliable spot for a lively evening, Le Marengo is a great mix of good food, drink and bubbling atmosphere and Dantès Skylounge Marseille will give you a wonderful view of the city. Take your pick!
As for a sports bar, your best bet is Le Canebière.
You might come across some rugby fans staying in Marseille for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. South Africa play Tonga on Sunday 1 October, just before Brighton fans come into town.
Hotels for Brighton fans in Marseille
While there are plenty of places to stay in Marseille, the closest hotel to the stadium is the Mercure Marseille Centre Prado Velodrome. The four-star hotel charges €146 a night, so it is more on the expensive side if the away fans wanted to treat themselves.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative but want to stay as close as possible to the stadium so you can save on travel expenses then the ibis Styles Marseille Centre Prado Castellane is the best option. At €74 a night, it is just north of the Velodrome. Hotel Edmond Ronstand is also a cheaper option at €85 per night. As it is a very popular tourist destination, Marseille hotel prices aren't going to be much cheaper than that.
The alternative is to book a nearby hostel, which would be around €20 euro a night, which many Brighton fans may opt to take.
The history of the Stade Velodrome
The Stade Velodrome was built in 1937 and is the home to Olympique Marseille. It is the largest stadium in France with a capacity of 67,394. It has hosted matches in both the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and the 1960, 1984 and 2016 UEFA European Championships.
As well as being a football stadium, it is also the home to rugby club RC Toulon and has hosted matches in the 2017 Rugby World Cup and (currently) the 2023 World Cup.
The record attendance for the stadium stands at 65,894, when Marseille played PSG on 23 February 2023.
The first ever football match to played in the stadium was a friendly game between Marseille and Italian side, Torino, back on the 13 June 1937, a game that Marseille won 2-1.
The first ever official match recorded was on 29 August 1937 when Marseille played host to Cannes in a league encounter.
The Stade Velodrome got its name from its early days of being used as a cycling track, before football was its main use. Before Marseille moved in (they played at the Stadium Huveaune in their early days), the stadium had a cycling track going around it. This, over time, has been replaced by seating as football became more popular and cycling declined as a result, meaning the track became redundant.
The stadium has undertaken many renovations throughout the years, most notably in 1985, 1998 and 2014. The 1984/85 renovation saw the running track removed, the 1998 renovation was in preparation for the World Cup that year, while the 2014 renovation helped the stadium get ready for France's European Championships in 2016.