History of Stade Bonal



The history of Stade Bonal is almost as long as the club history of FC Sochaux-Montbéliard.

In the beginning of the 1930's, after just three years of existence, FCSM attracted already a huge crowd to their matches. The directors of Peugeot decided to create a stadium which has been constructed next to the forges section of the Automobiles Peugeot car factory, the latter already in use since just after the First World War. On November 11th, 1931, in the so called Stade de la Forge, FCSM hosted Stade Français to play for the Coupe Peugeot, a game that ended in a win for the home side. The ground was gradually improved as time went by : stands, terraces and roof were built. In order to enlarge its capacity (with a record in 1935 with 10.160 spectators, whom 3.000 seated) Peugeot lent out some trailers, which were placed behind the goals. In 1935 the FCSM fans had a lot to cheer about in this stadium: FC Sochaux-Montbéliard were crowned champions of France and played some great matches like a 12-1 victory over Valenciennes with seven goals of Trello Abegglen.

After the Second Wolrd War, the club renamed the stadium in Stade Auguste Bonal. Auguste Bonal, in function as director at FCSM and also in charge at Peugeot, was deported to a camp in Germany where he died in April 1945. In July 1945 FCSM tributed him by renaming the Stade de la Forge into Stade Auguste Bonal. This stadium didn't change much during the next decades. Floodlights were installed in 1957, and were first switched on for a friendly with Burnley FC from England. The grass of Stade Bonal had the reputation of being the best of France and it was Roger Dirand who took care of it with all his passion for more than 35 years.

Just before the first participation in 1973, the club was afraid that the stadium was more and more in a state of decay. They refurbished the exterior of Stade Bonal with some new painting. In the beginning of the Nineties, the future of the old stadium wasn't that bright anymore, the French Football Federation asked for a higher level of facilities. In 1998 the reconstruction of the Stade Bonal started and one half of the stadium was demolished in order to continue the games at same the location. Two years later, at the start of the season, the new developed Stade Bonal opened with the tie between 1999-2000 Champions AS Monaco and Cup winners FC Nantes. Since then FC Sochaux-Montbéliard can provide their fans with all the comfort they need to enjoy a football match.