On the grass at Charletti Stadium, on Tuesday evening, Sochaux Montpellier (FCSM) will play the most important game in its history since 2014, and its relegation to the second division. Francs-Comtois, who finished fifth in L2, will play a playoff on grass at Paris FC (fourth). The winner of this meeting will face Auxerre (third) in Abbey Deschamps on Friday, and then, if he succeeds, in the eighteenth game of the French League, in the home and away matches (26 and 29 May).
So the path that leads Socialines back to the elite seems long and steep, but the mere fact that they’re taking it makes for a small event, as they stayed in seven lackluster seasons in L2. On this occasion, the Parisian journalist Jean-Baptiste Fouray, author of the wonderful book At the heart of the great downgrade (Cerf), dedicated to the bonds that united Peugeot and Sochaux between 1928 and 2015, relives the highlights of this shared history.
How did you come up with the idea of writing this book?
The starting point is the short sentence announced by the Spanish manager of Peugeot sponsorship in 2019, Isabel Salas Mendes, at Europe 1, about the prospect of a Sochaux takeover, then in agony. She said: “Football is a sport that is absolutely incompatible with our values. It conveys popular values, while we try to rise to a higher level “.
At the heart of the great deconstruction was released in March by Editions du Cerf. (Dr)
At the time, this aspect of “we don’t have the same values” had the effect of a slap in the face on production lines in Sochaux, Peugeot’s hometown. Until 2015, the club and the manufacturer were one. I told myself there was a story to tell about the transition from paternal capitalism to a globalized economy in which corporate culture became irrelevant.
Do you have a personal connection with FC Sochaux?
of course no. I first put my toe in Montpellier when I started working on this book, shortly before the big confinement, in February 2020. It was during the Sochaux-Le Mans that history would never go down (1-0), February 7, 2020). But I’m not quite a Parisian journalist like the others.
President Jean-Pierre Peugeot was the pioneer of professional football in France. He brought in world stars.”
I’m listening to the regional divide public newspaperSocieties Bible. I am also a fan of the Canary Islands and have always seen in the Lions of Sochaux and Nantes East, with local footballers and their taste for the beautiful game. But the defeat, on wire, to Nantes in the 2004 Coupe de la Ligue final against Sochaux (1-1, 4-5 on the pens) was a sharp cut for me.
You also insist in your book the importance of this success in the Coupe de la Ligue for Peugeot and the FSCM …
Yes, the Trophy was the first since the 1938 French Championships and was the definitive partnership between the Peugeot factory, nicknamed “La Peugeot”, and its flag team. Before the match, the production lines were decorated in the colors of the club. The manufacturer rented entire trains to workers who were, for some, for the first time on their way to the capital. Team captain Benoit Pedretti was a local man, and star striker “PAF”, Pierre-Alain Frau, too. When they made the annual visit to “la Peuge” with the other guys, one would send a kiss to his father who worked there, and the other to his brother.
Benoit Pedretti celebrated winning the Coupe de la Ligue in 2004, succeeded by Pierre Alain Frau. (En. Luttiau/Team)
When working on the history shared between the creator and his club, is there a specific period that you are particularly interested in?
I was struck by the stories of the training center’s first steps in 1974. The two young men, Bernard Genghini and Joel Bates, were soccer workers. They lived in prefab buildings that were previously occupied by the operating system (skilled workers) Yugoslavia. When someone passes then midnight, their coach Pierre Tournier wakes up all rooms at six the next morning for sessions on the training ground. FC Sochaux was subsequently managed by an engineer close to the Peugeot family, Jacques Thousary. Think about the movie headshot(Directed by Jean-Jacques Anod in 1979) And to the sentence of the club president and Trincamp factory interpreted by Jean Boyes: “I keep eleven idiots to calm another 800 who are just waiting for an opportunity to get excited…”
How has Peugeot’s commitment to Sochaux evolved over the years?
to me Originally, in 1928, the club was created to keep the workforce away from the giddiness of pubs and the ill influence of the unions. President Jean-Pierre Peugeot was then the pioneer of professional football in France. Bring in world stars. In the 1930s, Sochaux was Paris Saint-Germain. But after part of the factory was destroyed during the war, it was no longer the time for delusions of grandeur. The Grand Prix of Peugeot Maurice Jordan had this formula: “a machine, not a footballer.”. doctrine will remain. At the end of its long history with FC Sochaux, Peugeot was no longer a sponsor, but a guarantee organization, or even a simple bank.
What is the main reason, in your opinion, that explains Peugeot’s withdrawal from the FCSM in 2015?
It’s been a few years since the heart is no longer there in Peugeot. Al-Turabi Jean-Claude Plessis succeeded in 2008 at the head of the club, Alexandre Lacombe, who was more focused on the field of accounts than on the round ball. When asked by reporters what he thought of the 4-4-2, he replied, “I don’t know this model of the car…” Things accelerated in 2014-2015. The manufacturer is, at this time, on edge. The Peugeot family must give up the steering wheel of the group. New CEO Carlos Tavares comes from the opposite camp, Renault. He doesn’t care about FCSM. “We are unlucky, we come across the only Portuguese who does not like football”one of my supporters, David DesGuel, told me.
Are Sochaux fans still nostalgic for the time the club was affiliated with Peugeot?
Beneath his comforting father’s shell, former cheerleader president and retired Peugeot Sochaux Jean-Francois Bonnet still has plenty on his plate. Bonal fans haven’t forgotten this announcement in your columns, a week before the club’s sale in 2014 was announced: “A Renard (Editor’s note: named after coach Hervé Renard) and eleven lion cubs will fight Peugeot, a supporter of Sochaux Montbéliard since 1928. This hit from Yarnak, no one swallowed it.” I will never buy from Peugeot again. I want to hit the wall, the president of my 207 Supporters Association told me. Planet SochoFabrice Lefevre.
An advertisement published in L’Equipe on May 17, 2014 (DR)
Bonal Stadium was full on Saturday when Dijon greeted (2-2). Do you think the current enthusiasm surrounding the club proves that the Peugeot page can finally be turned in the hearts of the fans?
This season has the flavor of revenge. With a kid from Bonal, Omar Duff as coach, “PAF” looking after the youth, local players like Maxence Prévot, Sochaux has kept his spirit. It’s a miracle after the terrible years the club went through after the sale. Let’s remember this stage, between 2018 and 2019 when it was just a club affiliated with a Spanish federation, Baskonia.
The manager of the ticket office did not speak a word of French. She was using Google Translate for her signup campaigns. This gave Baroque slogans such as “Join the roar.” On promotional flyers, the historical lion has been replaced by a cat that has been discovered in a photo bank. We are no longer there today. However, fans are questioning the intentions of the Chinese owner and the personality of President Samuel Laurent. The Peugeot page will not be closed until the day Sochaux returns to the first division at the end of the month, I hope.
Listening to you, we have the impression that you became a supporter of the FCSM during the investigation…
certainly ! I note, on the occasion of the release of this book, that I am not the only one who likes the Doubiste Eleven. Sochaux has a hellish rating. He is the little one who is not afraid of the adults. It’s also a bit like François Mitterrand’s campaign poster representing the Socialist candidate in front of a village in 1981, France nostalgia before. A time, not so long ago, before the arrival of the lords of Qatar to Paris Saint-Germain, where the small towns with Auxerre, Sochaux and Lens, but also Guénon and Guingan, were regularly pawning to the great cities and the titles drawn.. »