Football Club Sochaux-Montbéliard was founded in 1928 under the name Football Club Sochaux by Jean-Pierre Peugeot, a director of Peugeot, a French car manufacturing company. Peugeot sought to create a football club for the leisure time of the company’s workers. He installed Louis Maillard-Salin as the club’s first president, and made Maurice Bailly the club’s first manager. Bailly was also a member of the team. Sochaux played its first match on 2 September 1928 against the reserve team of local club AS Montbéliard. The club was inserted into the lowest level of league football in the Franche-Comté region and played its first league match three weeks later winning 12–1.
Peugeot was among the first to advocate for the professionalisation of French football and, in 1929, went as far as to admit to paying his players, which was strictly forbidden during this time. The subsequent recruitment of several French internationals and players from abroad led to Sochaux gaining a stranglehold on the region easily disposing of local rivals AS Montbéliard and AS Valentigney. In June 1930, Montbéliard decided to merge with Sochaux to form the club that exists today. The following month, the National Council of the French Football Federation voted 128–20 in support of professionalism in French football. With Peugeot being a strong advocate for professionalism, Sochaux were among the first clubs to adopt the new statute and, subsequently, became professional. In the league’s inaugural season, Sochaux finished 3rd in its group. The club’s final position was later moved to 2nd after Antibes, the champions of the group, was disqualified from the league for suspected bribery.
Football Club Sochaux-Montbéliard (French pronunciation: [soʃo-mɔ̃beljar]; commonly referred to as FCSM or simply Sochaux) is a French association football club based in the city of Montbéliard. The club was founded in 1928 and currently plays in Ligue 1, the top tier of French football. Sochaux plays its home matches at the Stade Auguste Bonal located within the city. The team is currently managed by former football player Omar Daf as interim head coach and captained by David Sauget.
Sochaux was founded by Jean-Pierre Peugeot, a prominent member of the Peugeot family, and is one of the founding members of the first division of French football. Along withMarseille, Montpelllier, Rennes, and Nice, Sochaux is one of five clubs to have played in the inaugural 1932–33 season and still be playing in the first division today. The club has won both Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France twice and have also won the Coupe de la Ligue. Sochaux’s last honour came in 2007 when the club, under the guidance of Alain Perrin, defeated favourites Marseille 5–4 on penalties in the 2007 Coupe de France final. Sochaux’s colours are gold, and navy blue.
Sochaux is known for its youth academy, which has regularly finished in the top 10 rankings of youth academies in France (4th in 2010). The most successful team in the academy is the under-19 team, which has won the Coupe Gambardella twice; in 1973 and 2007. In 2010, Sochaux finished runners-up to FC Metz in the 2010 edition of the competition. The academy has produced several notable talents, such as Yannick Stopyra, El-Hadji Diouf, Jérémy Ménez, Bernard Genghini, and Benoît Pedretti, among others.
In the 1934–35 season, Sochaux captured its first league title finishing one point ahead of RC Strasbourg. Led by Uruguayan manager Conrad Ross, as well as captain Étienne Mattler, known as Le Lion de Belfort, and strikers Roger Courtois and Bernard Williams, Sochaux dominated the league losing only four times. Two seasons later, the same team, with the addition of goalkeeper Laurent Di Lorto and the Swiss duo of André Abegglen and Maxime Lehmann, Sochaux won its first Coupe de France title. The club faced league rivals Strasbourg in the final and defeated the Alsatians 2–1 courtesy of goals from Williams and the Argentine Miguel Angel Lauri. Ross finished his career at Sochaux by winning another league title in 1938. After the 1938–39 season, Ross and several players departed the club to play and manage abroad due to the onset of World War II. The non-deserters were, subsequently, called into action to fight with the French Army, which ultimately caused the club to limit its aspiring ambitions.
During war-time, in an effort to survive financially, Sochaux formed an interim merger with local rivals AS Valentigney. The club, known as FC Sochaux-Valentigney, participated in the war-time championships from 1942–1944. Following the conclusion of the war, Sochaux dissolved the merger, turn professional again, and returned to its original name. The club, however, failed to get back to its form prior to the war and, subsequently, made the decision to forgo entering bidding wars for players, which was becoming the norm and, instead, focus on keeping the team’s budget even. As a result, in the first season after the war, Sochaux suffered relegation after finishing in last place with only 15 points. Sochaux spent only one season in the second division and returned to Division 1 for the 1947–48 season. The club spent the next 13 seasons playing in Division 1 with its best finish coming during the 1952–53 season when the club finished runner-up to champions Stade Reims. In the same season, Sochaux won its first honour since 1938 after winning the Coupe Charles Drago. In 1959, the club returned to the Coupe de France final, however, the outcome was not in Sochaux’s favour, with the club losing to Le Havre on penalties.
In the early 1960s, despite playing in Division 2, Sochaux won the Coupe Drago in back-to-back seasons. The club made its return to Division 1 in 1964, and remained in the league for over 20 years, regularly finishing in the top 10 before falling down to Division 2 in the 1987–88 season. During Sochaux’s 24-year run in the first division, the club played in European competitions four times. In the 1980–81 season, Sochaux surprised many by reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup. In the round, the club was defeated by Dutch club AZ 4–3 on aggregate. The club’s successful play during this stint was predominantly due to the creation of the club’s academy in 1974, which paid immediate dividends. Player such as Bernard Genghini, Yannick Stopyra, Joël Bats, and Philippe Anziani were among the inaugural graduates who were instrumental in Sochaux’s domestic success.
After hovering between the first division and the second division in the 1990s, Sochaux returned to the first division, now called Ligue 1, at the start of the new millennium. The club surprised many by finishing in the top ten in its first three seasons back. Also included in that three-year run was an appearance in the Coupe de la Ligue final and, in the ensuing year, a league cup title. In the 2003 final, Sochaux, led by manager Guy Lacombe and academy graduates Pierre-Alain Frau, Jérémy Mathieu, and Benoît Pedretti were defeated 4–1 by Monaco. In the following season, a more-experience Sochaux returned to the final, where the club faced Nantes. In the match, Sochaux defeated Nantes 5–4 on penalties to win its first major title since winning the Coupe Drago 40 years ago. It did not take the club another 40 years to claim its next title as Sochaux were surprise winners of the Coupe de France in the 2006–07 season after defeating Marseille on penalties. Marseille were heavy favorites heading into match, mainly due to its 4–2 thrashing of Sochaux just 12 days prior. However, Sochaux, led byAlain Perrin, stunned the nation and claimed its first Coupe de France title since 1936.