New Boys - RC Strasbourg
France's Ligue 2 had a crazy finale: with just one match left, six different teams had chances to win the title. The trophy was eventually lifted by RC Strasbourg Alsace, who will return to the top of French football for the first time since their relegation in 2008.
1. This is their second consecutive promotion
Following their 2008 relegation, Strasbourg were close to achieving an immediate return to Ligue 1 the following year. For a long part of the season, they were the leaders of Ligue 2; however, they ended up finishing 4th, missing promotion by only one point. The next year, they had a period of instability on and off the pitch and were relegated to the third division. Their administrative crisis continued; the club had to undergo financial liquidation and then got relegated to amateur football. They progressively re-emerged, returning to the third division in 2013 and finally to Ligue 2 in 2016. Just one year later, they have now managed to climb their way back into Ligue 1.
2. They won the league in 1979
They conquered their first and only first division league title almost 40 years ago. Their ambition now is to reestablish themselves at the top tier. Strasbourg’s trophy case also has samples of the other two major trophies of French football: three Coupes de France and two Coupes de la Ligue.
3. Arsène Wenger used to be part of the club
Although he almost did not play with the first team, Arsène Wenger was part of the squad that won that league title in 1979. The current Arsenal manager joined Strasbourg, the team he supported as a kid, at the final stage of his playing career. He played for the reserves side, but was called up with the first team for some matches. At the time, his career was already moving towards the managerial side, and so Wenger became head of Strasbourg’s academy before eventually moving to Nancy, his first job as a first team coach.
4. They once knocked out AC Milan and FC Barcelona in the same season
The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup was a competition played between clubs from cities that hosted a fair. Since in the 1960s, the city of Strasbourg hosted a European Fair. In the 1964/65 edition of the Cup they beat Milan, Basel, and also Barcelona. Their progress was only stopped by Manchester United, who beat them in the quarterfinals by a lopsided 5-0.
5. Strasbourg is the seventh biggest city of France
Their more than 700,000 habitants make Strasbourg the seventh biggest city in the country. It is about time for such an important city to be represented again in the elite of French football. Strasbourg is the main urban area of the northeastern Region of Alsace, which is close to the German border. When the club was in financial struggle, they received money from the region by adding Alsace to their name; that is why the current name of the club is Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace.