Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Soccer Memories-Part 47, New French League Foreign Players 1980/81


Series looking at the new Foreign player signings in the French League in the 1980s and 1990s and their impact.

One of the novelties of the French League in 1980 was the promotion of Guy Roux’s Auxerre. Auxerre would slowly gain momentum and become a force into the next decades.

For its maiden season on the top-flight, they chose Polish foreigners: midfielder Henryk Wieczorek arrived from Gornik Zabrze and 1974 and 1978 World Cup stand-out striker Andrzej Szarmach arrived Stal Mielec.

Other new Foreign player arrivals that season included West German striker Uwe Krause joining Laval from Eintracht Braunschweig.

Yugoslav striker Simo Nikolic joined Olympique Lyonnais from Galenika Zemun.

Austrian veteran striker Alfred Riedl joined Metz from Belgian side Standard Liege.

Established Swiss International midfielder Umberto Barberis joined AS Monaco.

Former Wacker Innsbruck’s Argentine defender Fernando Zappia joined Nancy.

Danish striker Henrik Agerbeck arrived at Nantes from West German side Hertha Berlin.

Strasbourg signed Israeli midfielder Yitzhak ‘Vicky’ Peretz from Maccabi Tel Aviv.



Henryk Wieczorek had been part of Poland’s successful 1970s sides. He had participated in the 1974 World Cup and 1976 Olympics.

He was 30 years old when he arrived at Auxerre and would wind down his career at the French club in 1982.

Andrzej Szarmach was nearly 30 years old when he arrived at Auxerre. He was part of Poland’s most successful generation of the 1970s. He had played with Arka Gdynia, Gornik Zabrze and Stal Mielec.

He would be very successful at Auxerre and spend five years where he would consistently finish amongst the top goalscorers. He helped pave the way for Auxerre being a regular European Cup qualifier. One of his most successful years was the 1983/84 season when his strike partner at Auxerre, Patrice Garande, was joint top goalscorer of the League with 21 goals (with Delio Onnis) and Szarmach just scored one less (20 goals).

When age caught up with at the top level, he still remained in France to finish his career. He joined Guingamp in the Second Division in 1985 and a final stint at Clermont (1987-1989) before retiring at the age of 38.


Photo From: Panini France 1980-81

(Henryk Wieczorek)

Photo From: Panini France 1981-82

(Andrzej Szarmach)

West German striker Uwe Krause started out at Eintracht Braunschweig in the late 1970s. He joined Laval in 1980 aged 24.

He would have s successful spell in French Football and remain there for the rest of his career. After Laval, he joined Monaco in 1983 and then Sochaux in 1984. His final spell was at FC Sete from 1986 to 1989, when he retired aged almost 34. Despite his fine performances in France, he was overlooked by successive West German Managers and never received a cap.


Photo From: Panini France 1980-81

(Uwe Krause)

Former Partizan Belgrade striker Simo Nikolic made his name during his spell at Galenika Zemun. He joined Olympique Lyonnais aged almost 26 and would be a prolific striker for the club. He did suffer relegation with the club in 1983 and stayed with Lyon in the lower Division until 1985. He played one last season at Beziers (in the Second Division) in 1985/86 before retiring aged 32.

Just like Krause, he was ignored by his Nation’s International selectors and never gained a cap.


Photo From: Panini France 1980-81

(Simo Nikolic)

Alfred Riedl was a veteran and much traveled International striker for Austria. The 30-year-old had started in the late 60s at FK Austria before joining Belgian sides St. Truiden, Antwerp and Standard Liege. He stayed at Metz for only one season before rejoining the Austrian League and signing for Grazer Ak. He retired in 1985 with VfB Modling aged 35. He later had a long managerial career and managed the Austrian and Liechtenstein National Teams among many others.

He passed away on September 8th, 2020, aged 70 due to cancer.


Photo From: Panini France 1980-81

(Alfred Riedl)

Umberto Barberis arrived as an experienced Swiss International, in his prime, aged 28.

He had played for Sion, Grasshoppers Zurich and Servette. He had won the Swiss League title once (1979) and the Cup on multiple occasions. He had also been the Footballer of the year on three occasions.

Barberis would be successful at Monaco and be part of the 1981/82 League winning side. He would also be named as the Foreign-Player of the year by ‘France Football’ magazine in 1981 and 1982.

He remained with Monaco until 1983, and returned to Switzerland, to Servette, to sign off his career with the club in 1986, aged 34.


Photo From: Panini France 1980-81

(Umberto Barberis)

Argentine defender Fernando Zappia started out at River Plate and then had a spell at Lanus before joining Austrian side Wacker Innsbruck in 1978.

He joined Nancy in 1980, aged 25, and would remain in France for the rest of the decade. After Nancy, he joined Metz in 1983 and would be part of the 1984 Cup winning side and the team that eliminated Barcelona from Cup Winners Cup in 1984/85.

He stayed at Metz until 1987, when he joined Lille. After two seasons, he re-joined Nancy in 1989. In 1990, he returned to Argentina and joined lower League side Atlanta, before retiring in 1992, aged 37.

He was a solid defender for mid-table teams in France. He would never gain a cap for Argentina.


Photo From: Panini France 1980-81

(Fernando Zappia)

Danish striker Henrik Agerbeck joined French Champions Nantes, aged almost 24, from West German side Hertha Berlin. He was part of the Nantes side that won the League title in 1983. Agerbeck did not particularly have a memorable spell at Nantes and joined Sochaux in 1983. He was at Sochaux for three seasons until 1986. He remained in France for the rest of his career but played for lower Division sides, US Orleans (1986-88), USL Dunkerque (1988-90), Calais (1990-93) and Stade Portelois (1993-94). His spell in France did not help his International career. After gaining a handful of caps in 1978/79 years, he was ignored by new Manager Sepp Piontek.


Photo From: Panini France 1980-81

(Henrik Agerbeck)

Israeli midfielder Yitzhak ‘Vicky’ Peretz joined Strasbourg, aged 27, from Maccabi Tel Aviv. After two seasons, he joined Stade Rennais in 1982. He helped the side to get promoted to the First Division in 1983.

That summer he returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv and later other clubs in Israel before winding down his career in 1991, aged 38.

 He died on June 29th, 2021, aged 68. It’s believed he may have committed suicide.


Photo From: Panini France 1980-81

(Yitzhak ‘Vicky’ Peretz)

From this group of 1980/81, perhaps Szarmach was the most successful because of his goalscoring and the impact he made in Auxerre’s early steps in the First Division. Umberto Barberis also stood out for being instrumental in AS Monaco’s League title win in 1982. As for the rest, many stayed for many seasons and did hold their own for the most part.

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