History since 1928
Before the Second World War: the founding fathers of professional football in France
Founded in 1928, FC Sochaux-Montbéliard became in less than ten years a major participant in French Football. Jean-Pierre Peugeot, boss of Peugeot Automobiles, the car company, decided in 1928 to create a high level football club. The Football Club Sochaux was born. One year later, he recruited the best players, French and international football stars, and it made no secret of the fact that it paid the players to play for his club. FCSM became thus the first professional football club in France.
In 1930 FC Sochaux merged with A.S. Montbéliard to continue as FC Sochaux-Montbéliard. The club initiated a competition, called Coupe Peugeot, in which participated all the best clubs in France. The French Football Associated soon accepted professional football in France and started an official national football competition. In the early years of this new league, FCSM was one of the leading clubs and were crowned champions in 1935 scoring a massive amount of 94 goals. In 1937 FCSM won the French Cup and a after this year they dominated again the national championship in which they ended top of the league after a close title race with Olympique Marseille. During these days the FCSM squad was composed of a lot of great football players like Matller who played no less than three World Cups. In this team a lot of youngsters, who had been recruited all over France, were given a change. With the start of World War II did end the golden period of FC Sochaux-Montbéliard.
After war period: end of the glory years, start of the youth scouting department
FCSM suffers a lot during the war period and was named shortly FC Sochaux-Valentigney until the liberation when it continued as the former known FCSM. The stadium name changed in Stade Auguste Bonal, in honour to the former FCSM director deported to a German work camp which he didn’t survive.
The cruel war break ended FCSM glory years and the club survived due to the development of the scouting department in their search for gifted young players all over France. Despite the presence of some pre-war big names to help the talented boys, FCSM relegated in 1946 for the first time in their history. After just one year in a lower league, the club gained promotion back into the French Division 1, where it showed again their principles of the « beautiful game ». More and more FCSM got their focus on the recruitment of talented young players. In 1959, guided by coach Gaby Dormois, FC Sochaux-Montbéliard reached the Cup Final after more than 20 years without any silverware. The match against Le Havre saw a replay after a draw in the first game (2-2). In the second leg, Sochaux weren’t lucky, hit the post several times and lost thanks to some deadly placed counter attacks: 3-0.
From a couple of years in the Second Division slowly up into Europe
In the early Sixties, FC Sochaux passed a period of irregularity, caused by a lack of experience, and found themselves back in Seconde Division for three seasons. But they made a strong come-back in which they had a big confidence in their youth policy. In 1967 FCSM suffered a new defeat in a Cup Final, this time it’s Olympique Lyonnais that take the cup back home: 3-1. The next season, FCSM bounced back and finished third in the league. In 1972 they consolidated a third position which gave access to the UEFA Cup. The European campaign, which supposed to be a dream for all who loves FCSM, ended up in a nightmare after being eliminated by FREM Copenhagen, an amateur club from Denmark. René Hauss is hired to bring FCSM to a higher level.
Start of the Youth Academy and UEFA Cup semi-finalist
FC Sochaux-Montbéliard opened their current Youth Academy in 1974. Players like Bernard Genghini, Joël Bats, Yannick Stopyra are all promoted to the first team after being formed at the famous talent school. The second spot in the French league is followed directly by some European success. In 1981 FCSM reached the semi-final of the UEFA Cup (after eliminating Servette Genève, Boavista Porto, Eintracht Frankfurt and Grasshoppers Zurich to be knocked out by AZ Alkmaar) with a squad mixed of own « products » and experienced players. After other clubs plundered the best elements of FCSM, the squad had to continue with a less experienced group. FC Sochaux-Montbéliard struggled to keep their place in de Division 1. And after 24 years the club relegated in 1987.
With a new generation of youngsters like Paille, Rousset, Sauzéé and Sylvestre and two Yugoslavian internationals (Hadzibegic and Bazdarevic) FCSM gloriously gained back promotion a year later , in 1988, and made a fabulous cup run. But again no win in the final for the Lionceaux: FC Metz conquered the cup after penalties. Back in Division 1, FCSM kept their great form and finished twice fourth which gave them new European experiences.
Difficulties in the Nineties, two Cups and the struggle to avoid relegation in the 21st century
After a couple of years finishing among the best five teams of France, FC Sochaux-Montbéliard lost their grip in the Nineties. They managed to avoid relegation after some narrow escapes for four seasons in a row but in 1995 there was no way possible to avoid dropping out of the highest division. The club finished bottom of the league and relegation is a fact. This time the way back isn’t easy as before. The desired come-back is secured in 1998 but a year later, they are again dropped back in to Division 2. Thanks again to a generation of brilliant talents (Frau, Meriem, Pedretti and Monsoreau) the club won promotion as Champions of Division 2 in 2001. Finally, FCSM created a solid base to stay in Ligue 1, also thanks to the completely reconstructed Stade Bonal and the Youth Academy, now based in the castle at Seloncourt. Founder fathers of the attractive game in France, FC Sochaux-Montbéliard showed the ambition to be a structural force in France and closed the championship on the fifth place for two seasons in a row.
After decades without being able to hold a real Cup, FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, touched glory again in 2004 when there is a League Cup trophy to show to the fans after beating FC Nantes on penalties. It’s the second final in a row, the first lost against AS Monaco. Also in Europe there are some new journeys to make. Like to Borussia Dortmund, Internazionale, Sporting Lisbon and Olympiakos Piraes a year later. But the greatest glory was reserved for 2007. Exact 70 years after the first Coupe de France in their history, its club captain Jérémie Bréchet who holded up this precious Cup for FCSM after a tight game (2-2 with win after penalties) with Olympique de Marseille. Unfortunately, after the glory, the club passed two difficult seasons avoiding relegation in the final game of the season. In 2011 the Sochaliens ended up fifth in Ligue 1 which gave them a ticket for the UEFA Europa League play-offs. After a 0-0 draw in the Ukraine, Metalist Kharkiv were too strong at Stade Bonal (0-4). Although FCSM sometimes fight against relegation, they still continue to be the football club in France with largest total of seasons at the highest level. At the start of the 2013/2014 season they prepare themselves for the 66th seasons in the top flight, a national record.