Next year, the Premier League will embark on celebrations for its 20th birthday. The world's most watched domestic football competition will not go about the process discreetly.
Hype and self-congratulation have long been part of the show since leading clubs broke away from the rest of the English professional game and splashed out the newly-acquired funds from satellite television.
But, as they bang drums and blast trumpets for 20 years of success, the Premier League should include a recital of La Marseillaise, France's national anthem.
In the heavy influx of foreign expertise that has nourished and defined modern English football, no country has had as big an effect of changing the game than France.
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As Manchester United prepare to negotiate a Champions League last-16 tie - at 0-0 from the first leg - with the French champions, Olympique Marseille (OM), such reflections are inevitably sharpened.
OM were French champions when the Premier League was launched in 1992, and became Champions League winners a year later. They then had to wait until last May to regain their domestic title.
In the period in between, English football grew markedly in strength.
Part of the reason is money. Another is the flow of excellence across the English channel.
Ask a United supporter to name the key player in making United the dominant club in the first five years of the Premier League and the most common answer would be Eric Cantona, a former OM footballer.
Cantona retired in 1997, a folk hero in Manchester. The Premier League then swooned to other French influences, notably Arsene Wenger, a coach who seemed to modernise the English game.
His Arsenal won three league titles in seven years as their so-called Frenchies, players such as Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry became world and European champions for their country.
At the same time they altered entirely the image of Arsenal from a cagey, conservative team to magical musketeers.
The tricolor flies on, through later shifts in Premier League power.
The champion Chelsea sides of 2005 and 2006 owed much of their rugged character to Claude Makelele in midfield.
By the time Chelsea won their next league title, in 2010, they would be grateful for the thriving form of Florent Malouda, a winger somewhat in the tradition of flyers such as Pires and David Ginola, who were both voted England's Footballer of the Year in a six-year period - 1998 to 2004 - when a Frenchman won that award four times.
In the last two decades, French managers have collected trophies far more often than English ones.
To Wenger's three league titles are added four FA Cups and silver medals in the Uefa Cup and Champions League. Gerard Houllier, now in charge of Aston Villa, won an FA Cup, two League Cups and a Uefa Cup with Liverpool.
Few French footballers who held prominence during Les Bleus' golden era - World Cup victory in 1998, European Championship success in 2000 - were not drawn to the Premier League.
Zinedine Zidane was a notable exception, as Marcel Desailly, Fabien Barthez, Laurent Blanc, the Arsenal brigade, Nicolas Anelka, Franck LeBoeuf, Makelele, and then dozens more gravitated to a culture that Desailly would describe as "more relaxed", that Blanc would note "has much greater depth of support than in France," and that Didier Deschamps, the captain of France in their greatest moment, the World Cup win, admits "has transformed in the last 10 years".
Deschamps has mixed views on the relationship between England and France in the sport in which he is gaining huge respect as the coach of Marseille. As a Juventus player in the 1990s, he came to regard Italy's Serie A as the best league, but acknowledges that England's top-flight has since overtaken Italy's.
Deschamps won an FA Cup with Chelsea towards the end of his playing career, but thought he "preferred the Latin style of football".
As a coach, though, he is tempted to try a league where managers have richer resources than in France.
"The fact is the best French players leave the French league, very often for England," Deschamps said, "and so our clubs have a struggle to compete in Europe."
Tonight, he will see a successor of his as France's captain, Patrice Evra, among the opposition, and reflect on the truth that in England, there are far more French superstars than there are at home.
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