#Football #ASSE #Ligue #Hell #paved #unforgettable #moments
A week after the poor show offered to Geoffroy-Guichard, following AS Saint-Etienne’s defeat on penalties by AJ Auxerre, synonymous with relegation to Ligue 2, we usually go black on the side of the Greens and their supporters.
A sentiment perfectly conveyed by an MC Pampille who has the “babaud” in his latest creation put online.
So green people just want to “be happy again”. For this reason, the first reassuring historical element, Saint-Etienne never spent more than three seasons in purgatory before returning to the elite.
So if Rodez, Niort or Pau are less of a dream than Paris, Marseille or Monaco, it is good to remember that Ligue 2, in the past, has reserved some beautiful moments of football and communion between the team and its fans.
Of course, we will skip over the difficult period of the mid-1990s when the Forézien club, in turmoil, came close to relegation to Nacional for two seasons in a row.
2003-2004: from Niort to the reception of Châteauroux, legendary games
Let’s go back to the 2003-2004 vintage during which, after two seasons in the underbelly of L2, the Greens quickly took the lead. With just a few days to go, promotion is becoming more and more likely for Frédéric Antonetti’s players.
It was confirmed on May 7, 2004, at Niort (1-0), thanks to a goal by Frédéric Mendy. The emotion is strong on the pitch, where captain Patrice Carteron and his teammates celebrate this rise, but also in the stands generously packed with Saint-Etienne fans.
After having missed the mark first against Gueugnon (draw at Geoffroy-Guichard) then at Le Havre (1-0 loss), the Greens only have the last day against Châteauroux to allow themselves the title of French champion at the expense of Caen, still in ambush. And you have to win.
This last match, which was played in a molten cauldron, remains one of the most memorable in Greens history. Patrice Carteron’s opening goal, from the penalty spot half an hour into the game, then Castelroussine’s equalizer and finally Damien Bridonneau’s goal in the closing minutes: it was all a matter of intensity. Starting with the forward gesture from the right side of Saint-Etienne.
After the party at Geoffroy-Guichard, jubilation invades all of Saint-Etienne and thousands of people gather at the Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville where the players come to brandish the champion’s trophy.
It should be noted that this great team, in which we find Janot, Sablé, Compan or Hellebuyck in particular, also cleared up that season in a pleasant way in the Coupe de la Ligue. Semi-finalists, after eliminating Lille and Nice, among others, the Greens only lost to Geoffroy-Guichard in extra time (3-2) against future winner Sochaux.
1998-1999: the title and an incredible match against Red Star at the Stade de France
After having flirted with relegation in Nacional two seasons in a row, Saint-Etienne lives a dream in this 1998-1999 season. As if the effect of the World Cup and the first coronation of Zidane’s Blues had enhanced something on the side of a completely renovated Geoffroy-Guichard stadium for the World Cup.
From this season in which the Saint-Etienne team, formed by Robert Nouzaret between young shoots and “old grognards” around captain Ferhaoui, takes a while to validate a promotion that they were promised at the end of winter, we will remember the game where he wins your ticket to the elite. It was on May 1, 1999, in a draw (2-2) at Geoffroy-Guichard, against AC Ajaccio. An escalation celebrated by an impressive ground invasion.
Another match will remain in the annals of this season and in football history. It takes place on March 10, 1999 at the Stade de France. The stage, which saw the crowning of Aimé Jacquet’s Blues eight months earlier, hosts a League match for the first time. The president of the Red Star took the initiative to rent the stadium to the world champions to celebrate the return of the Greens to the elite.
The match was played in front of more than 45,000 spectators (which is still the record for a 2nd division match today) and Red Star, more than fair play, gave Saint-Etienne the opportunity to play under their fetish colors . The evening is extraordinary in many ways and it is even the singer Renaud, a fan of the Greens, who kicks off.
That night against Red Star, who are struggling not to fall, Saint-Etienne quickly take the measure of the event and lead 2-0 at half-time thanks to surface fox Néstor Subiat and then a wonder Lucien Mettomo signed.
Alonso is injured, replaced by… Revelles
The waves are united but the second half is a little less idyllic. In the first place because the Red Star lowers the mark, without this ultimately being detrimental to the result. But above all because Jérôme Alonzo seriously injured his ankle in an aerial exit.
The Saint-Etienne goalkeeper will not play again until the end of the season, leaving his place to the young Jérémie Janot, future emblematic goalkeeper of the Greens.
But there was no substitute goalkeeper on the Stade de France bench and it was striker Patrick Revelles who put on the gloves to heroically save the score.
After this magical evening, Sainté will have to wait fourteen years and the League Cup final to set foot on Saint-Denis’ pitch again.
While the Greens are crowned French D2 champions despite a slow final (3-0 losses in Amiens and Sedan, draw against Châteauroux), Saint-Etienne celebrates its heroes on May 25 at the Place de l’Hôtel -of-Town. A moment of communion and sharing between a loyal audience and a very united team.
1985-1986: the comeback and the audience record against Le Puy
In the early 1980s, the bribery fund affair plunged ASSE into crisis and then into the 2nd division in May 1984.
Two years later, the club, now managed by André Laurent and trained by Henry Kasperczak, returned to the elite after dominating group A of the French D2 championship. Small setback, however, the Greens are not crowned champions after having lost, in extra time, the Division 2 final against Racing de Paris, already at the origin of their relegation two years earlier.
During this second consecutive season in purgatory, we will remember the game of the 7th day that turns out to be a derby against the neighbor not Lyon but Ponot.
CO Le Puy also arrives at Geoffroy-Guichard, this August 23, 1985, as the leader of this group A. And we can say that the crowd is there. With 42,584 spectators, this ASSE-Le Puy continues to hold the record for the highest attendance at a 2nd division match at the Cauldron.
A record that will never be broken, except to imagine an improbable expansion of the stadium, since since the works for Euro 2016 the capacity of the Geoffroy-Guichard amounts to 41,965 seats.
During this match that really opened their season, AS Saint-Etienne de Castaneda, Milla or Ribar set the record straight and took control of regional supremacy.
1962-1963: fast and crushing step in D2
Involved for the first time in its history on the European scene (Coupe des Coupes) after its victory in the Coupe de France, it was however in D2 that ASSE evolved during the 1962-1963 season after a last catastrophic exercise in the elite, ended in decline
Paradoxically, it was during this season “in purgatory” that the first lines of two decades of dominance of French football were written. The Greens are in the lead and have recorded just three defeats in 36 days.
The 6-1 conceded to Aix-en-Provence, last dead in the championship, at the end of the season, however, is a bit of a stain. However, Saint-Etienne immediately returned to the top flight, winning their first French D2 title and continuing the following season with their second ever D1 title.
At the dawn of (re)discovering Ligue 2, Saint-Etienne can at least say that the previous four relegations have led to as many comebacks in a maximum of three seasons with, at the end of the day, three league titles.