#bombing #Paris #30s #Sochaux #PSG
On the pitch of the Charléty stadium, this Tuesday night, FC Sochaux-Montbéliard (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 effectively play a play-off against Paris FC (fourth). The winner of this meeting will face Auxerre (third) at Abbé Deschamps on Friday, then, if successful, on the 18th in Ligue 1, in round-trip matches (May 26 and 29).
The path that leads the Sochaliens to a return to the elite therefore seems long and steep, but the mere fact that they take it constitutes a small event, since they spent seven mediocre seasons in L2. On this occasion, the Parisian journalist Jean-Baptiste Forray, author of the fascinating book In the heart of the great degradation (Cerf), dedicated to the links that united Peugeot and Sochaux between 1928 and 2015, traces the highlights of this shared history.
“How did you get the idea to write this book?
The starting point is the brief sentence pronounced by the Spanish sponsorship director of Peugeot in 2019, Isabel Salas Méndez, in Europe 1, about a possible takeover bid by FC Sochaux, then in agony. She said: “Football is a sport that does not go at all with our values. It transmits popular values, while we try to go luxurious. “.
The book “At the heart of the great dismantling” was published in March by Editions du Cerf. (DR)
At the time, this side of “we don’t have the same values” had the effect of a slap in the face on the production lines of Sochaux, the birthplace of Peugeot. Until 2015, the club and the manufacturer were one. I told myself there was a story to be told about the transition from potato-based capitalism to a globalized economy in which corporate culture becomes insignificant.
Do you have a personal link with FC Sochaux?
Absolutely not. I first put my toe in the Montbéliard region when I started working on this book, just before the great lockdown, in February 2020. It was during a Sochaux-Le Mans match that will go down in history (1- 0, February 7, 2020). But I’m not a Parisian journalist like the others.
I listen to the territorial division The Commons Gazette, the bible of communities. I’m also a fan of the Canary Islands and I’ve always seen Nantes del Este in the Sochaux lions, with their home footballers and their taste for the beautiful game. But the defeat, on the wire, of Nantes in the final of the Coupe de the 2004 Ligue against Sochaux (1-1, 4-5 on penalties) was an open wound for me.
You also insist in your book on the importance of this success in the Coupe de la Ligue for Peugeot and the FSCM…
Yes, it was the first trophy since the 1938 French Championship and it marked a definitive communion between the Peugeot factory, nicknamed “La Peuge”, and its flag team. Before the match, the production lines were decked out in the club’s colours. The manufacturer had chartered entire trains for the workers who were going up, for some, to the capital for the first time. The team captain, Benoît Pedretti, was a local boy, the “PAF” star striker, Pierre-Alain Frau, too. When they made the annual visit to “la Peuge” with the other players, one blew a kiss at his father who worked there, the other at his brother.
Benoît Pedretti celebrating victory in the Coupe de la Ligue in 2004, with Pierre-Alain Frau behind him. (N. Luttiau/The team)
When working on the common history between a constructor and his club, is there a specific period that particularly interests you?
I was struck by the stories of the first steps of the training center in 1974. The young offspring, Bernard Genghini and Joël Bats, were football workers at the time. They live in prefabricated houses previously occupied by OS (specialized workers) Yugoslavs. When one of them goes over midnight leave, their trainer Pierre Tournier wakes up all the rooms at six the next morning to spin around the training ground. FC Sochaux was then managed by an engineer close to the Peugeot family, Jacques Thouzery. We think about the movie. Head blow(directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud in 1979) and to the phrase of the Trincamp club and factory boss interpreted by Jean Bouise: “I keep eleven imbeciles to calm another 800 who are just waiting for an opportunity to get agitated…”
How has Peugeot’s commitment to FC Sochaux evolved over the years?
For Originally, in 1928, the club was created to keep the workforce away from the vertigo of the taverns and the bad influence of the unions. Boss Jean-Pierre Peugeot was then the pioneer of professional football in France. He brought international stars. In the 1930s, Sochaux was PSG. But after the destruction of part of the factory during the war, it was no longer time for delusions of grandeur. The great chamberlain of Peugeot Maurice Jordan had this formula: “A machine, more than a footballer”. A belief that will remain. At the end of its long history with FC Sochaux, Peugeot was no longer a sponsor, but a guarantee organization, or even just a bank.
What is the main reason that explains in your opinion the withdrawal of Peugeot from the FCSM in 2015?
A few years ago the heart was no longer in Peugeot. The earthly Jean-Claude Plessis succeeded Alexandre Lacombe in 2008 as head of the club, who was more focused on the square of accounts than on the round ball. When asked by reporters for his opinion on the 4-4-2, he replied, “I don’t know this car model…” Things picked up speed in 2014-2015. The manufacturer, at this time, is on the brink of the abyss. The Peugeot family must let go of the steering wheel of the group. The new CEO Carlos Tavares comes from the opposite camp, Renault. He doesn’t care about FCSM. “We are unlucky, we find the only Portuguese who does not like football”a supporter, David Desgouilles, told me.
Are Sochaux fans still nostalgic for the time when the club belonged to Peugeot?
Beneath his comfortable father shell, former Supporter Club president and retired Peugeot-Sochaux Jean-François Bonnet still has a lot on his plate. The Bonal public has not forgotten this announcement in their columns, a week before the announcement of the sale of the club in 2014: “A Renard (Editor’s note: named after coach Hervé Renard) and eleven lion cubs will fight. Peugeot, a fan of FC Sochaux-Montbéliard since 1928.” This blow from Jarnac, nobody bought it. “I will never buy from Peugeot again. My 207, I want to crash it against the wall”, the president of the rock told me. Planet SochauxFabrice Lefevre.
Advertisement published in L’Équipe on May 17, 2014. (DR)
Bonal stadium was full on Saturday when Dijon received (2-2). Do you think the current hype surrounding the club shows that the Peugeot page could finally become the hearts of the fans?
This season has a flavor of revenge. With a boy from Bonal, Omar Daf as coach, “PAF” who takes care of the youngsters, local players like Maxence Prévot, Sochaux has kept its soul. It’s miraculous after the terrible years the club went through after the sale. Let’s remember this phase, between 2018 and 2019 when it was just a satellite club of a Spanish consortium, Baskonia.
The ticket attendant did not speak a word of French. He was using Google translate for his subscription campaigns. This gave baroque slogans like “join the roar”. In promotional flyers, the historical lion had been replaced by a feline unearthed in an image bank. We are no longer today. However, fans are wondering about the intentions of the Chinese owner and the personality of President Samuel Laurent. Peugeot’s page will not be turned 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 have become a supporter of the FCSM during your investigation…
Sure ! And I note, on the occasion of the launch of this book, that I am not the only one who likes eleven Doubiste. Sochaux enjoys a hellish rating. He is the little one who is not afraid of the big ones. He is also a bit like François Mitterrand’s campaign poster depicting the socialist candidate in front of a town in 1981, nostalgic for France before. A time, not so long ago, that before the arrival of the princes of Qatar at PSG, where with Auxerre, Sochaux and Lens, but also Gueugnon and Guingamp, the small towns regularly beat the metropolises and collected titles…