October 22, 2016

2016-17 Ligue 1 (France/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./ Plus the 3 promoted clubs (Nancy, Dijon, Metz).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,France — admin @ 8:07 pm

2016-17 Ligue Un [1] (France/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed

By Bill Turianski on 22 October 2016;

-Teams, etc…2016-17 Ligue 1 (
-Fixtures, results, table, stats…Ligue 1 [summary] (
-Ligue 1 official site (in English)…

New Regions of France (effective 1 Jan 2016/final decree of names on 1 Oct 2016).
…Regions in France have been reduced from 27 regions to 18 regions…Regions of France [1982-2016] (

    The 3 promoted clubs in the 2016-17 Ligue Un (Nancy, Dijon, Metz)

Nancy won the 2015-16 Ligue 2. Dijon finished in 2nd place in the 15/16 Ligue 2. Metz finished in 3rd place in the 15/16 Ligue 2, bouncing straight back up to Ligue 1.

    • AS Nancy

(Est. 1967). City-population of Nancy: around 104,000/ 38th-largest city in France {see this}; metro-area population: around 434,000/ 20th-largest urban area in France {see this} {2012 estimates}. Nancy is, by road, 59 km (37 mi) S of Metz. Nancy is, by road, 160 km (99 mi) W of Strasbourg. Nancy is, by road, 385 km (239 mi) E of Paris.

Colours: Red-and White. Nicknames: ASNL, Les Chardons (The Thistles).

Manager: Pablo Correa (age 49), born in Montevideo, Uruguay. (See photo of Pablo Correa, and caption, further below.)

Major titles: 1 Coupe de France title (1978) (with Nancy winning 1-0 over Nice, the goal scored by Michel Platini in the 57th minute).
Seasons in the 1st division: counting 2016-17, Nancy have spent 30 seasons in the French 1st division. Their first season in the top flight was in 1970-71 (which was just 4 years after the club was formed, in 1967). The previous spell AS Nancy had in Ligue 1 was an eight-season spell from 2005-06 to 2012-13.

Thus far, up to 10 games (on 22 October), Nancy have had a horrible time of it back in Ligue 1, and have only won once, and sit in the relegation zone. Nancy are drawing pretty well, though, at 17.7 K per game. That is an increase of 2.6 K from last year. They are filling their stadium well, playing to 88.2 percent-capacity.

Photo and Image credits above -
Photo of 16/17 Nancy jersey unattributed at Aerial photo of Foire de Nancy 2010 (2010 Fair of Nancy) -Cours Léopold, photo by François Bernardin at File:Foire-de-Nancy Cours-Léopold.JPG ( Skyline view of central Nancy, photo by Toltek at File:NancycentreEst.jpg ( Aerial shot of Stade Marcel Picot, photo by AS Nancy at Shot of AS Nancy supporters with scarves held up, photo by Lolotho at File:Supporter asnl.jpg ( Photo of MauriFred Marvaux at Photo of Antony Robic celebrating with fans, photo unattributed at
Photo of coach Pablo Correa celebrating promotion (April 25 2016), photo by Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFP at Photo of AS Nancy players and staff singing as they celebrate promotion (April 2016), photo by Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFP at Promotion celebration in Nancy city centre, photo by Fans Of Nancy (@asnlfans) | Twitter.

    • Dijon

(Est. 1998). City-population of Dijon: around 152,000/ 17th-largest city in France {see this}; metro-area population: around 239,000 {2012 estimates}. Dijon is, by road, 263 km (163 mi) SE of Paris.

Colours: Red-and White-with-Black-trim. Nicknames: DFCO, Les Rouges.

Manager: Olivier Dall’Oglio (age 52), born in Alès, southern France.

Major titles: (none).
Seasons in the 1st division: counting 2016-17, Dijon have spent 2 seasons in the French 1st division. Their first season in the top flight was in 2012-13.

Dijon have been renovating their stadium, and due to the demolition and rebuilding of one of the stands at the Stade Gaston Gérard, capacity for 2016-17 has been reduced by about 5.3 K, to 10,578. Dijon began the 16/17 campaign poorly, but have recently improved their form and are unbeaten in 4 – with a win and then 2 draws, then a 1-0 win (v Lorient on 22 October), and Dijon have moved above the relegation zone. Dijon currently (Oct. 22 2016) are playing to a decent 82.9 percent-capacity after 5 home matches, at 8,846 per game at their (temporarily-reduced-capacity) stadium.

Here is a map-and-post that I made, from 2011, which features Dijon, when they had gained promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time; it has more information on Dijon’s ongoing stadium re-build…France: the 3 promoted clubs from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1, for the 2011-12 season (Évian TG, Ajaccio, Dijon).

Photo and Image credits above –
16/17 Dijon jersey, photo by Dijon FCO at Aerial photo of Dijon city centre, photo unattributed at[Djon France] k.e. Interior-photo of stadium, photo unattributed at e. Shot of recently-built stand, photo unattributed at Olivier Dall’Oglio, photo unattributed at Júlio Tavares, photo by Loïs Diony, photo by Emmanuel Lelaidier at Tavares jumping in celebration, photo by Ligue 1 at

    • Metz

(Est. 1967). City-population of Metz: around 119,000/ 30th-largest city in France {see this}; metro-area population: around 389,000 {2012 estimates}. Metz is, by road, 59 km (37 mi) N of Nancy. Metz is, by road, 167 km (104 mi) NW of Strasbourg. Metz is, by road, 331 km (206 mi) E of Paris.

Colours: Garnet-Red-and-White. Nicknames: Les Grenats (the Maroons), les Messins, les Graoullys (the Dragons).

Manager: Philippe Hinschberger (age 56), born in Algrange, Lorraine (which located is 18 miles south of Metz). (For more on Philipe Hinschberger, who played his entire 15-year career with FC Metz, see photos and captions further below.) Hinschberger got Metz promoted back to Ligue 1 by the narrowest of margins, finishing in 3rd, even on points AND even on goal difference with Le Havre, but with 2 more goals scored than Le Havre.

Major titles: 2 Coupe de France titles (1984 & 1988). In the 1984 Coupe de France Final, Metz beat Monaco 2-0 (aet), with goals by (current-Metz-coach) Philippe Hinschberger in the 104th minute, and by Slovenian-German FW Tony Kurbos in the 108th minute. Four years later, Metz won the Coupe de France title again, this time in a 5-4 penalty shootout following a 1-1 score with FC Sochaux-Montbéliard. Scottish FW Eric Black had scored the Metz goal in the 45th minute, nine minutes after a Sochaux goal in the 36th minute. After the scoreless added extra time, all 5 Metz players scored their penalties (Bernard Zénier, Philippe Hinschberger, Jean-Louis Zanon, Christian Bracconi, Sylvain Kastendeuch). Metz have never won the French title, but came agonizingly close in 1997-98, when they finished even on points with RC Lens, but lost out on winning the league on a goal difference of 5 (Lens had 68 points and a goal difference of +35; while Metz had 68 points and a goal difference of +30).

Seasons in the 1st division: counting 2016-17, Metz have spent 59 seasons in the French 1st division. Their first season in the top flight was in 1935-36 (which was the fourth season of the professional French first division [ie, Ligue 1).

Metz might have barely squeaked into the 1st division last season, but seem to be holding their own in Ligue 1 in 2016-17. They started out strong, although they have lost two in a row as of 22 October, and Metz sit right at mid-table on 4 wins, one draw, and 4 losses. As of that date, Metz are drawing OK, as they have seen a 3.4 K-increase from last season (to 16.7 K)...but they are playing to just a 65.1 percent-capacity. So perhaps Metz' stadium is a bit too big (their Stade Saint-Symphorien has a 26.6-K-capacity, and was at a 2-K-reduced 24.5-K-capacity last season in Ligue 2, and is currently at a slightly-reduced 25.6-K-capacity for their Ligue 1 games this season). {From the excellent Ligue 1 official site, here are current attendances and capacities.}

Metz is the 30th-largest city in France. Metz is capital of the department of Moselle, and capital and largest city in the historical province of Lorraine. Metz is located at the confluence of the Moselle and Seille Rivers. Metz is very nearby another promoted club from Lorraine - Nancy.

Timeline of Metz, from the 12th century to the present-day...
In 1189, the city of Metz rose to the status of a Free Imperial City in the Holy Roman Empire (from 1189-1552).
In 1552, following the Siege of Metz, Metz was ceded by the Holy Roman Empire, and became part of the Kingdom of France (from 1552-1871).
In 1871, after the Franco-Prussian War, Metz was re-gained by Germanic-speaking people: Metz became part of the German Empire (from 1871-1918).
In 1919: after the First World War, and following the Treaty of Versailles, Metz became part of France again (from 1919-1940).
In 1940: during WW II, (with the Annexation of the Moselle), Metz was again re-gained by Germany [well, maybe not Germany per se, but by the Nazis] [and Metz briefly became part of the Third Reich].
On 13 Dec. 1944: the Battle of Metz ended; the Germans [Nazis] were ousted. Metz was re-gained by France for the third time.

Photo and Image credits above –
16/17 Metz jersey, photo unattributed at[jpg]. Photo at twilight of confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers in Metz, photo unattributed at Aerial shot of Stade Saint-Symphorien, photo by FC Metz at [metz]. Panoramic interior shot of Stade Saint-Symphorien, photo by Yann Dupré at Photo of Habib Diallo, photo by Michel Dell’Aiera via Photo of Christian Bekamenga, photo by Fred Marvaux at Photo of Yeni N’Bakoto by Fred Marvaux/Icon Sport via Photo of 1982 Panini trading card of Philipe Hinschberger, photo from Photo of Philipe Hinscberger at FC Metz promotion celebration (30 April 2016), photo by Le Républicain Lorrain via[promotion-celebration FC Metz April 2016].

Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of France, by Eric Gaba (aka Sting)/Otourly/NordNordWest, at File:France adm-2 location map.svg (
-Attendances, from E-F-S site,
-2015-16 stadium capacities (for league matches), from
-Coupe de France titles, from
-French 1st division titles, from

October 10, 2015

France: 2015-16 Ligue 1 location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./ Plus a few words on, and illustrations for, the 3 recently-promoted clubs in Ligue Un (Angers, Gazélec Ajaccio, Troyes). /Plus a look at the new municipal stadium built by the city of Bordeaux, for FC Girondins de Bordeaux & the 2016 Euros [to be hosted by France].

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,France — admin @ 1:18 pm


France: 2015-16 Ligue Un location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed

-Teams, etc…2015–16 Ligue 1 (
-Ligue Un official site (in English)…
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…Summary – Ligue 1 – France(

    France: 2015-16 Ligue Un location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed

By Bill Turianski on 10 October 2015;

    The 3 promoted clubs in the 2015-16 Ligue Un…Angers, Gazélec Ajaccio, Troyes…

Angers SCO, and their ground, Stade Jean-Bouin
Photo and Image credits above – Angers 15/16 jersey, photo unattributed at City of Angers city upon the Maine (fleuve), panoramic photo by tango7174 at File:Angers collage.jpg ( Aerial view of stadium [view to the south], image from a screenshot of satellite view at Interior shot of stadium with nearly-full-capacity-crowd (from 22 May 2015), photo by Thierry Bonnet/Ville d’Angers at . Exterior view of stadium (looking in), at twilight, photo by M. Mouchoir at File:Stade Jean Bouin Angers 2.JPG (

Angers (prounounced ‘Ahn-zhay’), is a city in western France and is the historic capital of Anjou. Angers has a city-population of around 147,000 {2009 figure}. Angers SCO wear black-and-white-stripes. They play in a 17.8-K-capacity stadium and have spent 24 seasons total (counting 2015-16) in the French 1st division. But Angers SCO had not been in Ligue 1 for over two decades. Angers had previously been in the top flight in 1993-94, when they finished last and went straight back down, drawing just 4.8 K per game. Granted, Ligue 1′s average attendance back then (10.0 K cumulative average for Ligue 1 in 1993-94) was less than half of what it is now, twenty-two years later (22.2 K cumulative average for Ligue 1 in 2014-15). That rather long spell without top flight football in the area has made it the case that Angers’ fanbase never really grew that much. Of course, it didn’t help that between 1994 and 2007 Angers had suffered 3 separate spells in the 3rd division. Once they got back into the second tier in May 2007, the side began drawing in the 6-K-to-8.6-K range in Ligue 2 (for the last 8 seasons). Currently, Angers are averaging a decent 12.4 K, and are playing rather well – they sit second on 18 points from 9 matches, after beating Marseille away then beating Bastia at home, before the international break started in the third week of October 2015. Angers might not be able to keep up that pace, but they are looking to be positioned well to avoid the drop.

Gazélec Ajaccio, and their ground, Stade Ange Casanova
Photo credits above – Jersey, photo unattributed at Shot of Ajaccio old quarter and harbor, photo by Aude Balloide at Aerial shot of stadium, photo by Steafa at File:Ange-Casanova 2011.jpeg. Photo of primitive terrace behind one of the goals at the stadium, & shot of main stand, both photos unattributed at [thread: Ajaccio stadiums].

The city of Ajaccio has a population of around 65,000 {2010 figure}. Gazélec Ajaccio, who wear bright-brick-red/orange-&-dark-blue, are the second-biggest club in the Corsican capital (after current-2nd-tier club AJ Ajaccio), and are the third-biggest club on the island of Corsica. (The biggest Corsican club being, of course, current-1st-division club SC Bastia, who hail from Corsica’s second city, Bastia.) 2015-16 is Gazélec Ajaccio’s top flight debut. (Note: I could not find recent post-stadium-renovation photos of Gazélac’s Stade Ange Casanova, but now, wrt to the concrete-step-terraced-goal-stand [seen in the lower-right-hand-photo above]…that goal-stand now has a full set of hard-plastic seats bolted to the terrace-steps there. The whole stadium also got a stucco re-plastering and a new coat of white emulsion, and the tiny ground now has a 4.2-K-capacity.) In France, maybe 2 or 3 times a decade, a real minnow emerges from the lower leagues, often via back-to-back promotions (such as Gazélec Ajaccio just did, and such as Arles did in the 2008-to-2010-time-period). Then they go straight back down – such as Arles did in 2009-10, and such as Istres did in 2004-05. I hope this will not be the fate of Gazélec Ajaccio. But when you are talking about a club that had always drawn below 2.4 K for its entire lifetime (before top-flight-promotion), and a club who currently play in a stadium that only has a 4.2-K-capacity (for Ligue Un matches), well, you can see how the deck is stacked against them. And Gazélec Ajaccio are currently winless after 9 matches, and sit last in Ligue 1, on 3 points. {Update 7 weeks later, on 22 Nov. 2015: but then Gazélec Ajaccio won 4 in a row, beating Nice, Bordeaux, Reims away, and Bastia away in their derby. That fourth-straight win on 22 November, which moved Gazélec out of the relegation-zone to 16th place (and put Bastia into the drop-zone), featured an excellent 12-yard left-outside-foot flick/volley by Khalid Boutaib (see it here).}

Troyes (aka ESTAC), and their ground, Stade de l’Aube
Photo credits above – Shot of Troyes 2015-16 jersey, photo unattributed at Aerial shot of stadium and surrounding countryside outside of Troyes, photo unattributed at [thread: Troyes, Stade de l'Aube]. Old village street in Troyes, photo by, at Exterior of stadium at night, photo by Troyes aka ESTAC at Interor of stadium, photo from [the now-defunct site] via

Troyes is a city of around 60,000 {2012 figure}, and is located in the Champagne region of northern France. Troyes is situated on the Seine, about 150 km (or 93 mi) ENE and upriver from Paris. The town of Troyes has existed since the Roman era, and the old town boasts many extant half-timbered houses from the 16th Century (see photo of a nice cobble-stoned street in the old town in Troyes, above). The Troyes pro football club wears light-royal-blue with gold and navy accents, and bears the official and profoundly unwieldy name of Espérance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne (ESTAC). But no English-speaking fans or media outlets that I have ever come across calls the club “Ess-tock”. And I really wonder whether any French football fans call them anything other than “Twah”. But the club sure expects people to call them ESTAC (“Ess-tock”), because their crest has that acronym spelled-out in large letters, and the club’s official website’s address is

Troyes play in the 21.6-K-capacity Stade de l’Aube, which has been around for over 90 years, but, as you can see above, is pretty up-to-date. Troyes can draw around 11-to-14 K in the top flight, and around 8-to-10 K in the second tier. Currently (mid-October 2015), Troyes are drawing 11.7 K.

The football club of Troyes had went under twice in the 20th Century. The first incarnation – named AS Troyes Savinienne – existed from 1900 to 1967, and played 8 seasons in the first division, mostly in the 1950s, and once made it to the final of the Coupe de France (in 1956, losing to Sedan-Ardennes). Then the second incarnation of Troyes were formed in 1970 (3 years after the first version were wound up), but Troyes Mark-2 – named Troyes Aube Football (TAF) – didn’t last the decade and went bankrupt in 1979. Then Troyes had no club to speak of for 7 years, until this present-day/third incarnation was established, in 1986. It then took Troyes/ESTAC 13 years to make it from the amateur divisions into the top flight – their first season in French football was in 1986-87, and then they won promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time in May 1999. 2015-16 will be Troyes/ESTAC’s 8th season in the top flight, with their previous Ligue 1 appearance being in 2011-12 (and before that, Troyes had a 2-season spell in Ligue 1 from 2005-06-to-2006-07). In other words, Troyes is a yo-yo club, and, sure enough, they are right back in a relegation battle, sitting second-to-last after 9 matches, winless, on 4 points.

New stadium for FC Girondins de Bordeaux & for the 2016 Euros [to be hosted by France] – the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux
Photo credits above -
Aerial photo of stadium in construction, photo unattributed at Interior of stadium on opening day with giant banner of Bordeaux supporter group les Ultramarines, photo by N. Tucat/AFP via Exterior view of stadium at evening, photo by/at 2015-16 Bordeaux kits, photo [segment] by Bordeaux crest/Girondins banner from
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of France, by Eric Gaba (aka Sting), at File:France location map-Regions and departements-2015.svg.

-Attendances and Ligue 1 stadium-capacities, from the excellent Ligue 1 official site,

-Gazélac Ajaccio 2013-14 attendance [3rd division], from E-F-S site,
-2014-15 stadium capacities (for league matches) from; 2014-15 Ligue 1/Stadia and location (

August 2, 2014

France (including Monaco): 2014 football attendance map – with the 37 highest-drawing clubs in France [all French clubs drawing over 4 K per game] (from 2013-14 home league matches).

France: 2014 football attendance map – with the 37 highest-drawing clubs in France [all French clubs drawing over 4 K per game]

Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Ligue Un, click on the following: category: France.

This continues my new category of European football leagues attendance maps. This map for France (including Monaco) shows all football clubs in the French football leagues system which drew over 4,000 per game in the 2013-14 season (from home domestic league matches). The larger the club-crest is on the map, the higher the club’s attendance. The chart at the right-hand side of the map page shows 2013-14 average attendance, stadium capacity, and percent capacity. Also shown at the far right of the chart are: each club’s French titles (with year of last title), seasons spent in the French first division, and French Cup titles (with year of last title).

On the map, I have included the major rivers (fleuves) of France. Adding that detail just seemed like the French thing to do. Here is the page at the French Wikipedia where I got that info, ‘Liste des fleuves de France‘ ( There is a cool map there of the watersheds/drainage basins within France.

My attendance map for England (including some Welsh clubs) will be up next, in about 12 days.
Thanks to Eric Gaba for the blank topographic/political map of France,

Thanks to, for French attendance figures,

Thanks to the contributors at ‘Ligue 1‘, ‘Ligue 2‘, and ‘Championnat National‘ (

March 3, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: France (UEFA), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for France, with 4 other player-options listed).

Filed under: France — admin @ 1:07 pm

France national team. UEFA (Europe). Les Bleus (the Blues). Home jersey: blue (currently [2014], navy-blue); with white pants and red socks.
-France is in Group E (with Ecuador, Honduras, and Switzerland), ‘2014 FIFA World Cup Group E‘ (
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 2014 is France’s 15th qualification out of 20 tries {2014 is the 20th FIFA World Cup].
France has qualified for the World Cup in 1930, 1934, 1938, 1950 (but withdrew after qualifying), 1954, 1958, 1966, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014.
Previous WC finish: 2010, Group Stage (0-1-2).
Highest WC finish:
1998, Champions (6-1-0).

France coach, Didier Deschamps. Didier Deschamps.
France squad captain, Tottenham GK Hugo Lloris. Hugo Lloris.

The map on the chart below shows the 7 largest urban areas in France (in order of population size: Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nice).
List of largest cities in France, ‘Metropolitan Area (France) [list of 15 largest metro areas in France]/France’s aires urbaines [urban areas]‘ (

Below: Theoretical Best XI for France (with 4 other player-options further below) -
[Note: players shown below reflect 2014 WC final roster selection, 'France national football team/current squad' (]
Photo and Image credits above -
France 2014-15 home jersey badge, photo from
France 2014-15 home jersey, photo from
France/EU map, by NuclearVacuum at ‘File:EU-France.svg‘ (
France map by at ‘File:France with Corsica2 (demis).png‘ (
Didier Deschamps, photo by AP via
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), photo unattributed at
Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle), photo unattributed at
Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid), photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via
Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), photo from
Patrice Evra (Manchester Utd), photo unattributed at
Paul Pogba (Juventus), photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images Europe via
Yohan Cabaye (PSG), photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Europe via
Blaise Matuidi (PSG), photo from
Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille), photo by Claude Paris/AP via
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via
Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich), photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe via
Other player-options,
Laurent Koscielny DF/CB (Arsenal), photo by Andrew Matthews/EMPICS Sport via
Olivier Giroud FW (Arsenal), photo by Getty Images via
Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad), photo unattributed, uploaded by Andeva at
Loïc Rémy (QPR/Newcastle Utd), photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images Europe via
Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (
Thanks to the contributors at ‘France national football team‘ (
Thanks to, for player-position details.
Thanks to, for recent squad line-ups (with positions-on-the-field graphics), at

August 6, 2013

France: Ligue 1, 2013-14 location-map with 2012-13 attendance data / Plus all-time French pro titles list (1932-33 to 2012-13) / Plus photos of top scoring threats in 12/13 Ligue 1 / Plus, new Stadium for OGC Nice – Allianz Riviera, capacity 35,000.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,France — admin @ 12:25 am

France: Ligue 1, 2013-14 location-map with 2012-13 attendance data

Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Ligue Un, click on the following: category: France.

    Teams from France playing in Europe for 2013-14 (with 12/13 Ligue 1 finish noted).

#1 & #2 – Paris Saint-Germain & Olympique de Marseille qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League Group Stage as 2012-13 Ligue 1 champions (PSG) and as 2012-13 Ligue 1 runners-up (Marseille).
#3 – Olympique Lyonnais (aka Lyon) finished third in 12/13, and qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League Third qualifying round; Lyon play Swiss side Grasshoppers (on 30 July & 6 Aug.).
#4 – OGC Nice finished fourth in 12/13, and qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League Play-off round (seeding and team to play TBD).
#5 – AS Saint-Étienne finished fifth in 12/13, and qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League Third qualifying round; Saint-Étienne play Moldovan side FC Milsami (on 1 Aug. & 8 Aug.).
#6 – Lille LOSC finished sixth in 12/13, and did not qualify for Europe.
#7 – Girondins de Bordeaux, though finishing 7th in 12/13, qualified for the group stage of 2013–14 UEFA Europa League, as winner of the 2012–13 Coupe de France.

    All-time French pro titles list (1932-33 to 2012-13).


Below -
Top 4 goal scorers in 2012-13 Ligue 1:
1. Zlatan Ibrahimović (PSG), 30 goals in 34 games (plus 7 assists made).
2. Darío Cvintanich (Nice), 19 goals in 29 games (plus 2 assists made).
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Saint-Étienne), 19 goals in 37 games (plus 8 assists made). Aubameyang was tranferred to Borussia Dortmund in July 2013.
4. Bafétimbi Gomis (Lyon), 16 goals in 37 games (plus 3 assists made). Bafétimbi Gomis is a possible transfer, to Newcastle United, in a proposed deal estimated to be worth £8.7m with bonuses {see this, ‘Newcastle agree deal to sign Lyon striker Bafétimbi Gomis‘ (}.

Top 2 on the assists table in 2012-13 Ligue 1:
1. Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille), 12 assists in 37 games (plus 3 goals scored).
1. Dmitri Payet (Lille), 12 assists in 38 games (plus 12 goals scored). Payet was tranferred to Marseille in June 2013.

Photo credits above -
Zlatan Ibrahimović (PSG), unattributed at
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Saint-Étienne), Phillippe Vacher at
Darío Cvitanich (OGC Nice),
Bafétimbi Gomis (Lyon), unattributed at
Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille), Panoramic via
Dimitri Payet (Lille), unattributed at

    New Stadium for OGC Nice – Allianz Riviera, capacity 35,000. Owner: city of Nice.

Photo credits above -
Old stadium, photo by angellli at and at
New stadium under construction,
New stadium,


Thanks to, the Ligue 1 official site, for 2012-13 Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 attendance figures, stadium capacities, and percent-capacity figures, .

Thanks to Eric Gaba at commoms.wikipedia.irg for the blank map of France,

Thanks to this forum,, for the Population Distribution map of France [which is from 2000 and originally appeared in a document published by Columbia University (no Internet source currently)],

August 9, 2012

France: the 3 promoted clubs from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1, for the 2012-13 season – SC Bastia, Stade de Reims, Troyes (aka ESTAC).

Filed under: France — admin @ 9:28 pm
    The 3 promoted clubs in the 2012-13 Ligue Un – SC Bastia, Stade de Reims, Troyes (aka ESTAC)…

France: the 3 promoted clubs in Ligue 1

Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Ligue Un, click on the following: category: France.

Troyes (aka ESTAC) returns to the French first division after a 6-year adsence. SC Bastia returns to the French first division after a 7-year absence. Stade de Reims returns to the French first division after a 33-year absence.

There are some similarities which 2 of the 3 share, but are at the end of the day these are three very different football clubs. Here is one similarity…2 of the clubs are from the same Region – Reims and Troyes are 63 km. (or 39 miles) apart and are both from Champagne-Ardenne (which is in northeast France just east of Paris). The other similarity between 2 of them is that both Reims and Bastia have played the same number of seasons in the French first division – 30 seasons [counting 2012-13]. But Bastia has spread that 30 years of top-flight-presence throughout the last 45 years ( with 2 spells – their first of 18 seasons, and their second spell of 11 seasons), while Reims has not been in the top flight since 1978-79 (33 years). Both Bastia and Reims have won major titles, but Bastia have just the 1981 Coup de France title to their name. On the other hand, Reims’ silverware cabinet is quite full (though rather dusty)…Reims have won 6 French titles (last in 1962) and 2 Coupe de France titles (last in 1958). Troyes have no major titles.

The city of Bastia has a population of around just 43,000 {2008 figures}, Bastia is the second-largest city on the Island of Corsica, but in spite of that, SC Bastia are Corsica’s largest club. The largest city on Corsica is Ajaccio, which has a population of around 65,000, and is home to SC Bastia’s biggest rival, AC Ajaccio. Ajaccio are also currently in Ligue 1 (they were promoted back in May 2011, and just survived their first season back in Ligue 1 by finishing in 16th place in 2011-12, 3 points clear of the drop). So the Corsica derby will be played twice this season as a top-flight-match for the first time since 2004-05. From, ‘Derby Corse [Corsica derby]‘. 2012-13 will be only the 8th season that both Ajaccio and Bastia are in the first division at the same time.

2012-13 Ligue 1, Corsica derby matches:
Wed. 10 October 2012, Ajaccio v. Bastia.
Fri. 03 January 2013, Bastia v. Ajaccio.

Corsica has a population of around 302,000, and is about the size of Puerto Rico (or between the sizes of the states of Connecticut and Delaware) with an area of 8,680 km. squared (or 3,350 square miles). Bastia is on the northeast side of the island, at the base of the Cape of Corse. Ajaccio is further south, on the west side of the island.
Image and photo credits above –
Eric Gaba at, segment of the base map of France (blank topographic map of France with regional boundaries),

Note: this page on is well done, and is a nice history lesson, and is recommended. It is where I got the larger block of text in the illustration above.

SC Bastia were formed in 1905, by a Swiss teacher named Hans Reusch (who taught German in a high school in Bastia). Bastia remained in the lower reaches of the French football pyramid for decades, and did not turn professional until 1965, upon winning promotion to the second division. From there, it only took 3 more seasons to finally reach the French Division 1, as Bastia won the 1967-68 French Division 2 by 6 points ahead of the also-promoted Nîmes Olympique, and 7 points ahead of third-place finisher Stade de Reims. In 1968-69, Bastia promptly made themselves at home in the top flight, finishing in 7th place. The following season, 1969-70, Bastia really caught a break, though. That’s because they finished second-from-last (in 17th place), but they were not relegated because the then-18-team French Division 1 was expanding to 20 teams, and only one club that season was relegated (FC Rouen). Bastia again finished in 17th place the next season (1970-71). Bastia then got some new talent on the squad, such as FW François Félix (who had 14 league goals that season, and 17 the following season), and not only did Bastia do well in the league, finishing in 9th place, but they went all the way to the Coupe de France final, were they just fell short of glory, losing 2-1 to Olympique de Marseille, before 44,000 at Parc des Princes in Paris.

For the rest of the 1970s, Bastia established themselves in the first division, finshing in the top half of the table more often than not, with high points of 3rd place in 1976-77 (with 21 goals by François Félix) and 5th place in 1978-79 (powered by Dutch striker Johnny Repp’s 18 goals – Repp was a Netherland international with 2 FIFA World Cup final apperances). That era’s Bastia squad was built around Corsica-born MF Claude Papi (Bastia, 1968-81, with 421 app./121 goals), who played his whole career for Bastia, but sadly died at only the age of 33 of an aneurysm (in 1983). It was with Papi as field general that Bastia had probably their greatest moment, when they made it all the way to the finals of the 1978-79 UEFA Cup. En route to the finals, Bastia took some pretty big scalps – Sporting Club [Lisbon], Newcastle United, and Torino FC. It was in Turin, in the 16-team 3rd Round of the 77/78 UEFA Cup, that the relatively small club that is SC Bastia achieved their zenith, as Bastia beat Torino 2-3 to win the aggregate by a score of 5-3. At that point in time, Torino were not the yo-yo club they are today – Torino were Italian champions 2 seasons previously (1975-76), and were undefeated at home for a two-season spell. The first leg in Bastia featured Claude Papi scoring on a mazy run with a give-and-go. The second leg in Turin featured a sublime, low, 20-yard volley from Algerian-born Bastia FW Jean-François Larios, plus two nice finishes from Moroccan-born Bastia FW Abdelkrim Merry (aka ‘Krimau’) (the last goal coming off an assist from Papi from the Bastia penalty circle, where Papi slotted to Krimau at the center circle).
Here are videos which feature all those goals…
Claude Papi [UEFA Cup-1977/1978 SC Bastia 2-1 Torino FC, 23 Nov. 1977]‘ (1:07 video uploaded by obpjg at
UEFA Cup-1977/1978 Torino FC – SC Bastia 2-3 [2 Dec. 1977]‘ (3:52 video uploaded by eurocups dofootball at

Facing Dutch side PSV [Eindhoven] in the finals, the high-scoring Bastia squad might have won the 1978 UEFA Cup had it not been for a torrential pre-game downpour on Stade Armand Cesari, which made their field almost unplayable (the match should have been postponed), and nullified Bastia’s slick passing game – and the first leg finished scoreless. In the second leg in Eindhoven, PSV dismantled Bastia 3-0.
Photo credits above –

But 3 years later, Bastia were able to finally claim a major title, when they won the 1981 Coup de France title by beating AS Saint-Étienne 2-1. Bastia’s goals were scored by Louis Marcialis and Cameroonian legend Roger Milla (Bastia, 1983-85, with 113 app./35 goals). Clade Papi was unable to play due to injury, and retired shortly after. One side-note, in the Saint-Étienne squad that day was none other than current UEFA president Michel Platini (also playing for ASSÉ was former Bastia FW Johnny Repp).

Bastia’s great run, coming as it did from a town of only 40,000 or so, was bound to run short at some time, and after an 18-season spell in the first division, Bastia were relegated in 1985-86, when they finished in last place with only 5 wins and 20 points. The club remained in the second division for 8 seasons, and this time period was marked by one of the biggest tragedies in french football history. On 5 May 1992, the ‘Armand Cesari Stadium disaster‘ occurred when a hastily-built temporary stand at Bastia’s stadium collapsed, killing 18 and injuring over 2,300. The stand had been built to host the huge crowd expected for the semifinal match between Bastia and Olympique de Marseille.

Bastia won promotion back to the first division in 1994, managed by former Bastia midfielder and current [2012] Rennes manager Frédéric Antonetti, who is northern Corsica-born. The high points of this previous 11-season spell in the top flight (1994-95 to 2004-05) was a 7th place finish in 1996-97 which qualified them for the 97/98 UEFA Cup. Bastia also finished in 9th place in 1997-98. Antonetti left after the 2000-01 season to manage Saint-Étienne, and Bastia have never been in the top half of the table since. During the early 2000s, Bastia achieved their highest average attendances, in the 7,000-range in 2001-02 and 2003-04 [throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Bastia's highest average gates were in the 5,000-range]. Basta were relegated in May, 2004-05 finishing in 19th place.

Bastia played 6 seasons in Ligue 2 from 2005-06 to 2009-10, finishing in the top half of the table the first 5 years (but never truly threatening for promotion). Then the bottom fell out in 2010-11, and Bastia were relegated to the third division, a level the club had not played in in 46 years (not since 1965). In fact, Bastia were initially also administratively relegated a further level (to the 4th division) for financial reasons (a 1.2 million Euro debt), but were reprieved of that in the off-season. Bastia, with the squad full of many young players, then won the [third division] 2010-11 Championnat National by 13 points ahead of Amiens, going undefeated at home. Back in Ligue 2 for 2011-12, under manager Frederic Haentz, Bastia were again undefeated at home, and a promotion-clinching 3-0 win over Metz with 3 games to spare saw a pitch invasion at the Stade Armand Cesari. SC Bastia averaged 9,906 per game last season, which, despite being in the second division, was Bastia’s highest average attendance ever. That was the result of the buzz created by Bastia’s back-to-back promotion campaigns, as well as the buzz created by Bastia finally getting stadium improvements (which you can see on the map page). So expectations are high in the north half of Corsica, and the whole island is anticipating the return of the Corsica derby within a top-flight context.

Here is the French wikipedia page of Bastia manager Frédéric Hantz.

Reims is located 129 km./ 80 miles east-northeast of Paris. Reims has a population of around 188,000, and is approximately the 12th-largest city in France {see this,}. Reims is effectively the capital of Champagne {see this ‘Champagne (historical province)‘ (}. Speaking the obvious, the Champagne region is known for it’s fine wines and champagnes, and Reims is one of the the centers of champagne production.

Stade de Reims was founded in 1911, as Société Sportive du Parc Pommery, being the football branch of the sports club of the House of Pommery & Greno, a large winery in Reims. Its players (all with amateur status) were not only recruited from the staff of the vineyard and winery, but also from the other trades associated with the wine-making industry such as coopers and carters. The team wore kits that resembled the colors of a champagne bottle, with yellow-orange (ie, gold) jerseys and dark green pants. The club changed it’s name to Stade de Reims in 1931. Professional status was instituted in France in 1932, but Reims resisted shedding their amateur status for 3 years before succumbing to the inevitable and turning pro in 1935. The 1931 name-change brought about a change in kit colors, to orange jerseys (with a black chevron across the chest) and black pants, but the champagne-bottle-theme was retained in their new crest, a football with a champagne bottle on top, depicted in stain-glass form, in the colors of green, pale gold, red, and white. Stade de Reims crest from 1931 is a work of art in my opinion (see it below, and also see it in the photo of Reims’ 1950 jersey [which I found on the German Wikipedia page on Stade de Reims]).
Photo credits above – Wahrerwattwurm at

In 1938, Stade de Reims merged with a local club, Club du Reims. The Stade de Reims name was maintained, but the club adopted the colors of Club du Reims, which were basically Arsenal’s colors – red and white, with a red jersey that has all-white sleeves. This has been Reims’ style of uniform ever since (although they have won black pants, like in the 1956 European Cup fimal).

Reims won promotion to the French first division for the first time in 1946. That time period saw the arrival of two players who would become central to Reims’ subsequent success – defender Robert Jonquet (Reims, 1945-60) and defender Roger Marche (Reims, 1944-54). In 1948-49, in just their third season in the first division, Reims won their first French title, pipping Lille by a single point. At this point in time, Reims’ midfielder Michel Leblond began his 13-year tenure with the club. The next season, Reims won the Coupe de France, defeating Racing Paris 2-1 in the final. Reims won it’s second national title in 1953, when they were managed by longtime Reims midfielder Albert Batteaux (Reims, 1937-50). Batteaux would manage Reims for 13 seasons (1950-63), and lead the club to 5 French titles (in 1953, 1955, 1958, 1960, and 1962), as well as the 1958 Coupe de France title (defeating Nîmes Olympigue 3-1 in the final). Batteaux also led Reims to two European Cup final appearances. Reims were runners-up to Real Madrid both times, losing in agonizing fashion by a score of 4 to 3 in the first-ever European Cup final in 1956 before 38,000 in Paris {see this, ‘1956 European Cup Final‘ (}, then losing again 3 years later in 1959 to the Albert Di Stéfano-captained Real Madrid by a score of 2-0 in front of 72,000 in Stuttgart, Germany. The Reims of the late 1950s featured 4 French internationals – Just Fontaine, Jean Vincent, Roger Piantoni, and Dominique Colonna. The Marrakech, Moroccan-born Just Fontaine had the astounding goals-to-game ratio of 93% with Reims, making 131 appearances and scoring 122 goals (1956 to 1962). The year after their 1962 French championship, Reims finished second to AS Monaco, and their veteran midfielder Leblond moved on to RC Strasbourg. The following season, Reims finished in 17th place, and were relegated (there were 4 relegated clubs per year in France, back in the early part of the 1960s). It took Reims 3 seasons in the second division to win promotion back to the First Division, but when they did, they went straight back down, finishing in 19th place in 1966-67. It took Reims 3 years again to get out of the second division, and this time, when they returned in 1970-71, Reims lasted 9 seasons, with a high point of 1974-75, when they finished in 5th place, behind Nantes (4th), Nice (3rd), Sochaux (2nd), and St. Étienne (champions).

Since then, for Stade de Reims, it was over three decades of being stuck in the football wilderness of France’s lower divisions. In 1991, Reims was administratively relegated to Division 3, after the club failed to find a buyer to help alleviate the club’s debt, which was around ₣50 million. Reims were liquidated in May, 1992. Reims was reborn in July 1992 under the name Stade de Reims Champagne. The club began play in the Division d’Honneur (4th division/amateur) and spent two seasons there before earning promotion to the Championnat National (3rd division), but at the end of the 1990s, Reims were stuck back in the forth division. The club changed its name back to Stade de Reims in 1999. In 2002, Reims finally got out of the third division. But then they were relegated right back to the third tier the next season. Reims rebounded back to the second division in 2004, yet for 5 seasons they failed to finish in the top half of Ligue 2. In 2008-09, Reims were relegated out of the 2nd division for the third time in less than a decade. Ex-Reims defender Hubert Fournier {his French wikipedia page, here} began as assistant coach in the summer of 2009, and after earning his coaching badges, Fournier took over as manager of Reims in June 2010. Meanwhile, Reims went straight back up to the second division once again in May, 2010. In 2010-11 in Ligue 2, Reims finished a decent 10th place, and 2011-12, Reims won promotion – finally – back to the first division, by finishing in 2nd place in Ligue 2, six points behind 2011-12 Ligue 2 champions SC Bastia, and 6 points clear of 4th place.

Now Reims have won two promotions in 3 years, and as fortune and good timing would have it, the club finds themselves very well set-up, with a totally renovated stadium, the Stade Auguste Delaune, which seats 21,800 and which re-opened in 2008. The City of Reims is the owner of the stadium. Stade de Reims drew 12,851 per game last season, and will probably draw from 18K to 20K per game in 2012-13, as long as they can consolidate and avoid an immediate drop back to the second division.

Espérance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne is a club based in Troyes. The city of Troyes has a population of around 61,000. The club is most commonly referred to as Troyes, while Troyes AC is also used, and the ESTAC acronym is also used (but thankfully not so much, though, seeing as it just seems so odd to utter the word ‘Estack’). Troyes AC were founded in 1986. It is the third professional club from Troyes, after ASTS (1900-1965) and TAF (1970-79). Neither of the first two incarnations of the Troyes pro football club was in the French first division.

Counting 2012-13, Troyes AC has spent 7 seasons in Ligue 1, in 3 different spells. The first spell lasted from 1999-2000 to 2002-03 (4 seasons), and saw Troyes impressively finish in 7th place twice (2000-01 and 2001-02). Troyes collected a few scalps in Europe then, beating Newcastle United in the Intertoto Cup in 01/02, and Villarreal CF in the UEFA Cup in 02/03. Their European adventures probably contributed to their 18th place finish and relegation in 2003. Alain Perrin was manager of Troyes for a decade, from 1993 to 2002, and under him Troyes first established themselves in the French scene, while playing some attractive football to boot (Perrin then went on to manage Marseille, Portsmouth, Sochaux, Lyon, and Saint-Étienne, before he went over to Qatar for irrelevancy and fat paychecks, managing the club Al-Kor, and now currently coaching the Qatar national team).

Troyes’ next spell in the top flight was a 2-season stint from 2004-05 to 2005-06. Now, after five seasons in Ligue 2, Troyes are back in Ligue Un, after finishing in 3rd place in the 2011-12 Ligue 2, where they ended up 5 points ahead of fourth-place finishers Sedan. and won 4 of their last 5 matches. Their manager is Jean-Marc Furlan {his French wikipedia page here}.

Troyes play at the 21,684-capacity Stade de l’Aube, which was opened in 1924, was renovated in 1956, and was totally renovated in 2004. Troyes averaged 10,785 per game last season. When they first made it to the first division, in the early 2000s, Troyes were averaging in the 14,000 per game range. I am gussing they’ll average around 17K or 18K per game this season.

Photo credits on map page -
Troyes (aka ESTAC)/ Stade de l’Aube – Exterior photo of Stade de l’Aube at night by Aerial image is a screenshot from’s Eye satellite view (view to the East). Interior photo of Main Stand [unattributed] from Interior photo during night-time match [2007] by Photo of Troyes supporter-group Magic Troyes 1997 [unattributed] from Troyes official site, at

Reims/ Stade Auguste Delaune – Photo from re-constuction of Stade Auguste Delaune (circa 2007) from via Exterior photo of the renovated Stade August Delaune by Ludovic Péron at Aerial photo of the renovated Stade Auguste Delaune uploaded by parcdesprinces at, STADIUM AERIALS (three-quarters of the way down the page). Interior photo of the renovated Stade Auguste Delaune Wahrerwattwurm at Interior photo of the renovated Stade Auguste Delaune with crowd at night uploaded by parcdesprincers at Thread: FRANCE – Stadium and Arena Development News (one-quarter of the way down the page).Reims’ supporters pitch invasion: photo from stands by Stidpmi at Reims’ supporters pitch invasion: screenshot of video uploaded by ProdKenny at via

SC Bastia/ Stade Armand Cesari – Photo of since-demolished old South Stand [unattributed] from Aerial photo [circa 2007] by Marc Anto at Photo of new South Stand under construction [March 2012] from RCLD at Interior photo of Stade Armand Cesari, (with completed South Stand at the left), from May 2012, by tolenga dany at Photo of Bastia fans with scrves and banners in the stands with Bastia players in an on-field huddle (circa 2010-11 season) [unattributed] from

Thanks to E-F-S site for attendances,
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en. and fr., ‘2012–13 Ligue 1‘.
Thanks to Eric Gaba at, for the base map of France (blank topographic map of France with regional boundaries),

July 5, 2012

France: Ligue 1- Top of the Table chart, featuring 2011-12 champions Montpellier HSC / Plus 2012-13 Ligue 1 Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data.

Filed under: Football Stadia,France — admin @ 10:45 pm

Ligue 1, clubs playing in Europe for 2012-13, featuring French champions Montpellier HSC

Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Ligue Un, click on the following: category: France.

Note: this post has 3 gifs – one above (French clubs in Europe for 2012-13), one further down (Location map of 2012-13 Ligue 1, w/ attendance data), and one which is an enlarged section of the first gif, showing the championship-winning club (halfway down this post).

Clubs playing in Europe maps & charts…
Once again, I will be making posts like this for the 5 biggest leagues in Europe – the Premier League in England, La Liga in Spain, Serie A in Italy, Bundesliga in Germany, and Ligue Un in France.

There are a few changes to this year’s charts…
First of all, I got rid of showing the full league table {‘2011–12 Ligue 1/ League table‘. I still have the clubs listed in order of the final table, and I indicate which clubs qualified for UEFA competitions in Europe for 2012-13. The 3 or 4 much-coveted Champions League spots are shown in bands of blue-violet, and the 3 or 4 not-as-much-coveted Europa League spots are shown in bands of pale yellow-orange.

The main change is that I gave a lot more space to the champions, at the top of the chart page. So here is the format…
Going from top left to right… A photo or two of the championship-winning team’s celebration (or title-winning-goal, or civic celebration). Then the championship-winning manager is shown (with his age and place of birth, the clubs he played for and the clubs he managed, and his honors listed). Then the top 4 or 5 or 6 goals and assists leaders on the team are shown (with info on: players’ home-nation’s flag; the players’ age, birth-location, goals and assists [domestic league games] that season, and international caps & goals). Then there are 5 or 6 photos of the club’s stadium and of their fans in the stadium; along with illustrations of the club’s 2011-12 kits. I might be able to squeeze in a general-interest-photo of the champions’ home-city (like here, with the photo of the 18th century aqueduct in Montpellier). Then the championship-winning club’s thumbnail info is listed (including attendance data, major domestic titles, and total seasons in first division). Finally, the championship-winning club’s crest is shown alongside the coat of arms of their home-city, with metro-population listed. I added a small location-map to show where Montpellier is located in the south of France, but I will only do that with championship-winning-clubs who come from locations that many people could not pinpoint off the top of their heads, like Dortmund in Germany.]

Underneath the championship-winning club’s section of the chart, there are all the other clubs from that country that have qualified for Europe – with 3 photos of the club’s stadium and their fans; illustrations of the club’s 2011-12 kits; and each club’s thumbnail info including attendance data, major domestic titles and total seasons in first division. Explanations for how each non-championship-winning club qualified for Europe are shown at the far right-hand side of the chart.""

    Montpellier HSC – champions of France

Shock-winners Montpellier HSC won their first national title ever. It was so surprising because most everyone thought that the heavily-backed Paris Saint-Germain (aka the Manchester City of France) would run away with it, after their spending spree last summer (PSG finished in 2nd place). But Montpellier, owned since 1974 by the Falstaffian figure of Louis Nicollin, and managed by the calm and understated René Girard, surprised everyone and came out on top.
From, by Matt Spiro, from 22 May 2012, ‘How Montpellier beat PSG to win the French title‘.

Montpellier, as Sport Olympiques Montpellérains, were a founding member of the French first division in 1932-33 {‘1932–33 French Division‘ (}. Olympique Montpellérains played 11 seasons in the French First Division, their last in 1962-63. Monrpellier then endured a real fallow period, when, in 1969, for financial reasons, the club was forced to renounce their professional status and play in the 3rd division. In 1974, entrepreneur Louis Nicollin (present age, 68) began his association with the club, becoming club president (a title he still holds). In and around the Montpellier area, Nicollin has had his hand in rugby teams, handball teams, basketball teams, and in football (he has made his money in the waste disposal industry). The club merged with the-then-30-year-old Nicollin’s AS Paillade in 1974, and 2 years later became known as Montpellier Paillade Sport Club (from 1976 to 1989). Montpellier got back to the first division in 1981, but only for one season (1981-82). Six years later, Montpellier were back in the top flight, winning promtion in 1987. That spell lasted from 1987-88 to 1999-2000 (13 seasons), and was when Nicollin was a bit of a big spender (for that era, anyway). All told, and counting this season [2012-13], Montpellier has been in the French first division for 32 of the 76 seasons (the French first division has existed from 1932-33 to 1938-39; and from 1945-46 to 2012-13), with Olympique Montpelliérains having been in the 1st division for 11 seasons, and present-day Montpellier SC/Montpellier Hérault SC having been in the 1st division for 21 seasons {if you want a headache, see this list, ‘France – All-Time Table (since 1932/33)‘ (}.

Montpellier’s current spell in Ligue 1 has only been since 2009-10, so that just emphasizes how out-of-the-blue their championship run was in 2012. It is pretty rare these days in a Western European football league for a club to win a title in just their third season back in the first division. By way of example, it took Juventus 5 seasons to win the Serie A title after getting promoted back to the top tier in Italy. Montpellier does have a couple other major titles, having won the Coupe de France twice – once in it’s early days in 1929 (as Olympique Montpelliérains), and also in 1990, which was during the same season that the local council of Hérault began subsidizing the club, and the club changed it’s name to their present name, Montpellier Hérault Sports Club. That 1989-90 Montpellier squad was pretty loaded with talent, featuring Laurent Blanc (251 app./76 goals), Eric Cantona (33 app./10 goals), and Carlos Valderrama (77 app./7 goals). Cameroonian legend Roger Milla also played for Montpellier (from 1986-89, with 95 app./37 goals).

Montpellier is the 15th largest city in France {‘Metropolitan Area (France)‘ (}. Montpellier is in southern France in the region of Languedoc-Rousillon, about 127 km. (78 miles) west of Marseille, and about 160 km. (100 miles) from the Spanish border. The metropolitan area population of Montpellier is around 510,000 {2006 figure). Montpellier Hérault Sports Club come from the west-central/south-west part of France that is rugby country, and Montpellier HSC’s small fan base reflects this. The club drew 17,492 per game last season (9th-highest in France), which was Montpellier’s second-highest average attendance ever (their highest was around 500 more per game, three years ago (17,981 per game) in 2009-10, the season the club returned to the top flight after a 5 years in Ligue 2). Montpellier play in a stadium that is frankly too large for them, but this is a legacy of the 1998 FIFA Word Cup in France, when the city of Montpellier’s Stade de la Mosson was chosen as one of the host-country’s venues, and was expanded to it’s current ~32,000 capacity. So, despite being saddled with a stadium short on atmosphere (because the club could barely fill it halfway), and despite a budget that was among the smallest in the league (the 13th lowest at the equivalent of 29 million pounds), Montpellier still came out on top. Montpellier’s total budget was less than what sheik-money-mad PSG spent on just one player transfer (Javier Pastore, for 39 million Euros [~27 million pounds] from Palermo). Besides their manager Girard, who spent 7 years coaching within the France national team set-up, and is a Languedoc native, the 2 main reasons Montpellier HSC won the title were Olivier Giroud and Younès Belhanda. Joint-top-scorer Oliver Giroud, age 26, who tied with PSG’s Nene for the most goals in the league, scored 21 goals and tallied 9 assists {‘French Ligue 1 Stats: Top Goal Scorers – 2011-12‘ ( Former-defender-turned-midfielder Younès Belhanda, age 23, scored 12 league goals and tallied 4 assists, and ran the midfield. Besides players who came up through the Montpellier youth set-up like Younès Behanda, MF Remy Cabella and the 20-year-old MF Benjamin Stambouli, an assemblage of journeymen helped complete the side. The best example of this was the 30-year-old Nigerian striker John Utaka, who returned to France after a frustrating stint at Portmouth. It was Utaka’s brace that clinched it for Montpellier, as they defeated the already-relegated Auxerre 1-2 on the final day of the 2011-12 Ligue 1 season (which finished 41 minutes over time due to Auxerre fans’ misbehavior). Then thousands of folks back in the Languedoc partied all night in the Montpellier city center to await the Monday victory celebration there.

Sadly for MHSC fans, financial realities have dictated that a certain portion of this league-winning squad will be shipped off, and Olivier Giroud has already been transferred to Arsenal FC. More transfers will probably take place, and a main target is the Montpellier capatain, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (en.wikipedia page, here). Yanga-Mbiwa is another ex-Montpellier youth player. So, while Montpellier must sell to remain afloat, there will most likely be more home-grown talent to come.

    2012-13 Ligue 1 – Location-map with 2011-12 attendance data

Location-map/attendance data credits -
Base map of France by Eric Gaba (aka Sting), ‘File:France location map-Regions and departements.svg‘ ( Attendance data from Stadium capacities from (at each club’s page, under ‘Stade’).

Photo and image credits for chart page -
Montpellier -
Moments after clinching the title, winning away to Auxerre 1-2, unattributed photo at
Title celebration in Montpellier city center (where giant television screens had been set up to watch the final match at Auxerre), photo by Pascal Guyot/AFP via
Manager – Rene Girard, Getty Images via
Players (left to right)-
Olivier Giroud,
Younès Belhanda,
Souleymane Camara,
John Utaka,
Champion de France banner from Montpellier official site at
2011-12 kits from
Photo of Aqueduct St. Clemente in Montpellier by Salvatore Freni at
Stade de la Mosson -
Exterior photo from Adventures in Montpellier (
Large interior photo from Ligue 1 teams.
Panoramic photo of interior of Stade de la Mosson from
Montpellier fans with ‘Saison Historique’ banner from
Larger aerial photo of Stade de la Mosson from
Montpellier crests through the years, collated by unnamed contributor at
Montpeier official club names through the years from
Location-map for Montpellier, base map by M-le-mot-dir after Eric Gaba (aka Sting) at

Paris Saint-Germain – Photo of PSG ultras Boulogne Boys by ngari.norway at, here. Exterior photo of Parc des Princes by at, here. Aerial photo of Parc des Princes from, here.

Lille – Image of architects’ rendering of Grande Stade Lille Métropole from losc.ft. Photo of Grande Stade Lille Métropole under construction [interior photo from June, 2012] from [Grand Stade Lille Métropole (Officiel)]. Grande Stade Lille Métropole under construction [photo from June, 2012],

Lyon – Photo of Lyon ultras at Stade Gerland from Lyon v. Schalke UEFA CL match [14 Sept. 2010] by S. Guiochon/Le Progres via, here. Photo of the interior of Stade de Gerland by Kostas Xenos at Aerial image of Stade de Gerland from’s Eye satellite view, here.

Bordeaux – Photo of Bordeaux Ultramarines in the Virage Sud from Interior photo of Stade Chalban-Delmas from Aerial photo of Stade Chalban-Delmas by What’s-up at

Marseille – Photo of interior of Stade Vélodrome at dusk by Scarf at Exterior photo of Stade Vélodrome at night from, here. Aerial image of Stade Vélodrome from, here.

I used the following list for total seasons/consecutive seasons spent in Ligue 1 for each club, ‘Ligue 1/Members for 2012-13‘ (en.wikipedia).

Thanks to World Soccer magazine, and their comprehensive article on Montpellier HSC in the June 2012 issue, written by Howard Johnson –

August 1, 2011

France: the 3 promoted clubs from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1, for the 2011-12 season (Évian TG, Ajaccio, Dijon).

Filed under: France — admin @ 7:04 am

The 3 promoted clubs in Ligue 1

Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Ligue Un, click on the following: category: France.

Two of the three clubs promoted to Ligue 1 will be making their top flight debuts – Ligue 2 champs Évian, and 3rd-place-finisher Dijon. Dijon secured promotion on the final day of the season, besting 4th-place-finisher Le Mans on goal difference, this despite losing their final match. The other promoted club is from the Island of Corsica – AC Ajaccio – and the club returns to Ligue 1 after a 6 season absence.

Actually, Évian Thonon Gaillard have won promotion for 2 consecutive seasons. Évian TG are from the Haute-Savoie department of the Rhône-Alpes Region of France and are situated in Gaillard, which is a border-town near Geneva, Switzerland. However, Ëvian TG currently play their home matches in Annecy, which is around 35 km. (22 miles) south of Évian’s headquarters in Gaillard. The stadium in Annecy is called the Parc des Sports, has a capacity of only 12,243, and has a running track. [The club also has, as part of their training facilities, a 2,000-capacity stadium in Gaillard.] Gaillard has a population of 11,000, and is part of the Greater Geneva metropolitan area. Geneva’s metro-area population is around 1.2 million [note: it's unclear how many Swiss citizens from the Geneva area go to Évian TG matches...I would guess of the 5,555 per game that Évian TG drew last season, less than 500 came from across the border in Switzerland. After all, it's a border crossing, and then another 35 kilometers, from Geneva to Annecy].

Évian Thonon Gaillard FC are a club that came into existence as the result of two different recent mergers, the first occurring in 2003, when FC Gaillard (established 1924) and FC Ville-la-Grand (established 1928) merged to form Football Croix-de-Savoie 74. Football Croix-de-Savoie 74 won promotion from the 4th division Championnat de France amateur in 2004 (in their first season), by finishing third, but still winning the sole promotion-spot for their regional league (Groupe B section) by virtue of finishing behind 2 ineligible-for-promotion teams (the teams that finished in 1st and 2nd place that year in Groupe B were the reserve squads of Oyimpique Lyon and FC Metz). Once in the 3rd division National, relegation was narrowly avoided in 2004-05, but Football Croix-de-Savoie 74 went back to the wilderness of the 4th division and the regional leagues in 2005-06.

2006-07 saw the club undergo another merger, this time with Olympique Thonon-Chablais, with the resultant club being known as Olympique Croix-de-Savoie 74. The club also moved their headquarters from Thonon-les-Bains, on the south shore of Lake Geneva, around 34 km. (20 miles) west to Gaillard. In 2007-08, after being forced to play in the 6,000-capacity stadium back in Thonon, rather than their much smaller stadium in Gaillard, the club won promotion back to the 3rd division (the National). Here is a link to the news archive of the official Évian TG site, that shows several photos of the last match of the 2008-09 season, and the last time the club played in Thonon, and the last time the club played under the Croix de Savoie name, { }.

In the summer of 2009, Franck Riboud, the president of the large French food products multinational corporation Groupe Danone (marketed as Dannon in North America and famous for yogurt products such as Yoplait, and Évian bottled water) was named the honorary president of the football club, and Groupe Danone acquired the club. It was then (2009) that the club changed it’s name to Évian Thonon Gaillard FC. It was also then that the club started wearing kits {see this} that look like an Évian water bottle (pink/white/sky-blue trim). In 2009-10, in the first year with the new name and the new look, Évian won promotion to the 2nd division. But again, thanks to promotion, the club was stuck playing in an inadequate stadium, and were forced to look elsewhere than the stadium in Thonon. For a while it appeared that Évian TG would begin play in August 2009 in the French second tier in Switzerland, in Geneva’s 30,000-seat Stade de Genève, but UEFA listened to complaints from Swiss second division club Servette FC (who play in that stadium [and who were recently promoted back to the Swiss top flight]). Despite the support of the French football federation (FFF), UEFA decreed that Évian were not allowed to play at Stade de Genève. So the club were forced to settle for the small stadium a half-hour’s drive south, in Annecy (note:’s page on Annecy, {here} has a nice picture of a very old turreted stone building right on the water in the town-centre of Annecy). Annecy is on the shores of a smaller mountain lake, Lake Annecy, which is known as ‘Europe’s cleanest lake’.

In January, 2011, Évian beat French giants and then-reigning champions Olympique Marseille in the round-of-64 stage of the Coupe de France. In May, 2011, after completing their first season in the second division, Évian won their second consecutive promotion, and will now play their first season in the top flight in 2011-12.

Note: On the map page, the locations of Évian’s current home ground in Annecy, the club’s former headquarters and former home ground in Thonon, and the club’s current headquarters in Gaillard are shown. I’m guessing some folks out there are curious where the source of Évian mineral water is. Well, I balked at showing, on the map page, the source of Évian mineral water (that would set a precedent which would mean I would also have to show, say, where the Red Bull factories are located, on my map of football in Austria), but it’s a couple towns east of Thonon, in Évian-les-Bains {here}.

Évian TG have signed former Udinese centre back and Ghana international Jonathan Mensah to a 4-year deal, {see this (from }. Former Lyon winger and French international Sidney Gouvou has been signed by Évian on a 2-year deal, as mentioned in the following link…From, ‘Ligue 1 special: A look at newly-promoted Evian Thonon Gaillard FC ‘.

AC Ajaccio are the largest football club in Ajaccio, which is the largest city on the Island of Corsica. The population of Ajaccio is only around 65,000. [In case you are wondering, SC Bastia are the only other club from Corsica with any first division history; and the other sizable club from the city of Ajaccio is the 4th-division-club Gazélec Ajaccio.] AC Ajaccio play in red-and-white-vertically-striped jerseys. Athletic Club Ajaccien was formed in 1910, and their first ground was on the site of a former sand dump. They moved soon after to a ground which held 5,000 spectators, on which they played until 1969. Their current ground, the 10,600-capacity Stade François Coty, hasn’t made it that far from their sand dump days, though, as you can see by one of the photos on the map page here – some of the ‘seating’ there consists of concrete slabs. I think the folks watching the public stonings in the film Life Of Brian had better seating than those concrete slabs in Ajaccio. Sheesh. Anyway, AC Ajaccio will be making their first appearance in Ligue 1 since a 4-year-spell which lasted from 2002-03 to 2005-06 (where they never finished higher than 14th place). 2011-12 will be Ajaccio’s 11th season in Ligue 1. Ajaccio averaged 3,422 per game last season in Ligue 2, and their highest recent average attendance was in 2002-03, when they drew 4,840 per game. That’s dire, but remember, the club plays in a city of less than 70,000. And despite having the smallest operating budget in Ligue 1 this season (of just 16 million Euros), Ajaccio have made a pretty big signing in luring over from Mexico City the former Club América goalkeeper and Mexican international Guillermo Ochoa. From, ‘Guillermo Ochoa snubs Paris Saint-Germain to join AC Ajaccio‘.

Dijon FCO are another club that owe their recent rise to a merger. In 1998, Circle Dijon Football and Dijon FC merged to form Dijon Football Côte-d’Or. It’s actually way more complicated than that, but I have still got a headache from untangling Évian TG’s origins, so you must forgive me if I simply direct you to the Dijon FCO ‘Arbre généalogique‘, or family tree, at the page on Dijon, {here}. Dijon FCO are from the Côte-d’Or departement of the Region of Burgundy, 262 km. (162 miles) south-east of Paris, and 174 km. (108 miles) north of Lyon. The city of Dijon has a population of around 151,000 {2008 figure}. Dijon play in all red kits, and their kit badge features an owl in flight. Dijon FCO are renovating their Stade Gaston-Gérard in stages, and will next be in the fill-in-the-coirners stage. The stadium has a running track. Stade Gaston-Gérard used to be a 9,000-capacity stadium, and currently it holds 16,000. I had a real hard time getting any aerial images of the stadium as it currently looks, let alone any decent photos of any of the new stands, so the Dijon fansite at the following link really saved the day…Photo of Tribune Nord and Tribune Est from, here, here. Here is one of those architect’s renderings of what Dijon’s renovated stadium is planned to look like {from, {click here for architect’s rendering – to see it, scroll down to bottom of page and click on image}. [Note, I could not find any projected-completion-date for the renovated stadium.] Dijon were drawing around 3,500 per game in 2008-09; around 5,400 per game in 2009-10; and increased their crowds again to about 7,500 per game last season, so this is a club that has a fan base that is growing at a nice pace. And the club’s ambition is evident in their stadium redevelopment, which will result in a 22,000-seat stadium that is fully covered and will have no running track. Hooray for that.
Dijon will be keeping a considerable amount of players from last season. Still, they have done OK in the transfer market, signing former Bolton centre back and Côte d’Ivoire international Abdoulaye Meite, and Japan international Daisuke Matsui, a winger who has played in Ligue 1 for Le Mans, Saint-Étienne and Grenoble.
From, ‘Ligue 1 special: A look at newly-promoted Ligue 1 side Dijon FCO ‘.

Photo credits -
Évian Thonon Gaillard…Aerial photo of Parc des Sports d’Annecy) by Lucien Fortunati at [Tribune de Genéve], here. Exterior photo from Ville dÁnnecy via, here. Photo of stand with mountains of the Apls behind it from, here. Photo of fans in Main Stand from the official site, here.

Dijon FCO…Aerial image of Stade Gaston Gérard [before construction of Tribune Nord (North Stand)] from’s Eye satellite view, here. Interior photo of renovated Stade Gaston Gérard from, here. Photo of Tribune Nord and Tribune Est from, here, here..

AC Ajaccio…Aerial photo of Stade François Coty by Michel Luccioni at, here. Interiotr photo of stade François Coty from, here.Photo stands at Stade François Coty by Julia&Stoffi at, here. Photo of Ajaccio fans with banners from, here.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘2011-12 Ligue 1‘.
Thanks to Ligue 2 site, for attendance figures, here.
Thanks to, for the 2010-11 Ligue 2 final table.
Thanks to Yahoo! Babelfish for French translation.
Thanks to the Évian TG site [in French].

July 1, 2011

France: final table of 2010-11, with clubs playing in Europe in UEFA competitions for 2011-12 / Plus location of clubs in 2011-12 Ligue 1, with attendance data.

Filed under: Football Stadia,France — admin @ 9:02 pm

France: Ligue Un clubs playing in Europe for 2011-12

Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Ligue Un, click on the following: category: France.

This post has 2 charts – one chart, above, that features all 6 clubs from France that qualified for Europe in 2011-12; and the second chart, further on down, which includes a location-map of the 2011-12 Ligue 1 season and attendance data for the 20 clubs.

The chart page, which you can see by clicking on the image above, shows the 6 clubs in France that will play in Europe in 2011-12, including the 2 clubs – Lille OSC and Olympique de Marseille – who have automatically qualified for the lucrative promised land of the UEFA Champions League Group Stage. Lille won their first title in 57 years. And by winning the Coupe de France title, Lille became the 16th French club to win the double. Lille’s Rudi Garcia bucked the stereotype of the ultra-cautious, clean-sheet-obsessed French manager by having Les Dogues play with an attacking style. And so for the second straight year, Lille had the most goals scored in Ligue 1. Featured on the chart page is top scorer in the league, FW Moussa Sow, a Senegalese international, who netted 25 times. There are also photos of 3 other Lille players instrumental in their scoring onslaught…Côte d’Ivoire international FW Gervinho (who scored 14 times and accumulated 10 assists); MF Yohan Cabaye (9 assists); and Belgian international MF Eden Hazard (8 assists) [note: Cabaye was transferred to Newcastle United this off-season]. If I had more room, I would have added a photo of Lille’s goalkeeper Mickaël Landreau, whose shot-stopping ability was crucial to Lille’s title run. The photo of Rudi Garcia (who played for Lille as a midfielder from 1982 to 1988) was taken right after the final whistle had blown after Lille’s final match, in Paris, and Lille had clinched the title with a 2-1 win over PSG.

I have included an architects’ rendering of Lille’s new Grande Stade Lille Métropole, projected for a summer of 2012 opening, as well as a photo of the ongoing construction of the ~50,000-capacity stadium. So after the 2011-12 season, Lille will finally say good riddance to the inadequate and running-track-scarred Stadium Lille-Métropole, which only held 17,700. This, combined with the fact that Lille finally won a national title in the modern era, may signal a bit of a shift in the balance of power in French football…because if Lille can continue their fine form and regularly fill that new stadium, Les Dogues won’t have to sell players like Yohan Cabaye and (possibly) Eden Hazard, and Gervinho – because all that ticket revenue will allow Lille to afford such top-shelf talent.

Below is a graphic depiction of the formation, in 1944, of Olympique Sporting Club Lille Métropole, featuring old club crests – Click below for a larger image…


Old Lille OSC crests from this page at the following site:

Below: attendance data from 2010-11, and location-map of clubs in the 2011-12 Ligue 1 – Click below for a larger image…



Photo credits -
Lille… Photo of construction on new stadium (Grande Stade Lille Métropole) from, here. Architect’s rendering of Grande Stade Lille Métropoe from, here. Background art of architect’s rendering, here. Interior photo of Stadium Lille Métropole from, here.

Photo of Moussa Sow by Bob Edme/AP via, here. Photo of Gervinho from, here. Photo of Yohan Cabaye by Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe via, here. Photo of Eden Hazard from, here.

Photo of Rudi Garcia from Getty Images via, here. Photo of new 2011-1 Lille home jersey from, here. Aerial photo of Stadium Lille Métropole from [Collection of Postcards of French football stadiums].

Olympique de Marseille… Photo of main stand at Stade Vélodrome with fans spelling out ‘O-M’ with placards by Fred GLLS at, here. Exterior photo of Stade Vélodrome at night from, here. Aerial image of Stade Vélodrome from, here.

Olympigue Lyon…Photo of Lyon ultras at Stade Gerland from Lyon v. Schalke UEFA CL match [14 Sept. 2010] by S. Guiochon/Le Progres via, here. Photo of the interior of Stade Gerland from Ticket$, here. Aerial image of Stade Gerland from’s Eye satellite view, here.

Paris Saint-Germain…Photo of PSG ultras Boulogne Boys by ngari.norway at, here. Exterior photo of Parc des Princes by at, here. Aerial photo of Parc des Princes from, here.

FC Sochaux…Interior photo during a match at Stade Auguste Bonal from, here. Interior photo of Stade Auguste Bonal by Arnaud 25 at, here. Aerial photo of Stade Auguste Bonal from, here.

Rennes…Interior photo of Stadee de la Route de Lorient by Kuso at, here. Exterior ground-level photo of Stade de la Route de Lorient from, here. Aerial photo of Stade de la Route de Lorient from, here.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘2010-11 Ligue 1‘.
Thanks to E-F-S site, for attendances.
Thanks to European football Club Logos site at
Thanks to, for the base map of France, Demis Web Map Server.

August 21, 2010

France: Ligue 1, 2010-11 season – Stadia map.

Filed under: Football Stadia,France — admin @ 4:22 pm

Ligue 1 2010-11 Stadia map

Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Ligue Un, click on the following: category: France.

Thanks to http;// [collection of post cards of stadiums/France] (Lille/Stadium Lille-Métropole {last photo, under Stadium Villeneuve d’Ascq}). Thanks to ( photo). *Here is a photo of Valenciennes new stadium under construction ( Thanks to (Lens/Stade Félix Bollaert photo).
Thanks to (PSG/Parc des Princes photo…here in full, city-wide view [which includes Eiffel Tower]).
Thanks to EU Foci site (, (Nancy/Stade Marcel Picot photo).
Thanks to (Auxerre/Stade Abbé-Deschamps photo).
Thanks to (FC Sochaux/Stade Auguste Bonal photo).

Thanks to the contributors at Euro 2016 venues, France. [Thread includes Rennes/Route de Lorient photo; and Toulouse/Stade Municipal photo].
Thanks to (Montpelier/Stade de la Mosson photo).
Thanks to ACA-Supporter site (Arles-Avignon/Parc des Sports photo).
Thanks to Dkhgdnh at de Marseille/Stade Velodrome.
Thanks to Big, (Monaco/Stade Louis II photo).
Thanks to European football Statistics site, E-F-S attendances.

Thanks to Demis of the Netherlands, for the base map, Demis Products: Web Map Server.

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