Sochaux, the miraculous, lives again in the Coupe de France

For FC Sochaux-Montbéliard (FCSM), the Coupe de France has the scent of a glorious time

Sochaux, the miraculous, lives again in the Coupe de France

For FC Sochaux-Montbéliard (FCSM), the Coupe de France has the scent of a glorious time. Now a resident of National (third division), the Doubiste team welcomes, Tuesday February 6 at 8:45 p.m., a Ligue 1 team, Stade Rennais, in the round of 16 of the “Old Lady” of French football. And the Bretons have been warned: during the previous rounds, Sochaux had already eliminated Lorient and Reims, with a formidable grinta. Because beyond the classic “magic” wrought by the Coupe de France, the FCSM has come a long way.

Ninth in Ligue 2 during the 2022-2023 season, this emblematic club of French football had been abandoned by its owner, the Chinese real estate group Nenking, on the verge of filing for bankruptcy. The club was then demoted, for the first time in its almost century-old history, to National by the national management control department, and feared disappearing.

Supported by local authorities, some investors from the region and a group of supporters who took part in the capital and governance of the club – the “Sociochaux” – the Doubist club financed this season and is completing the financing for 2024-2025, according to its general director, Pierre Wantiez. The ex-retiree is at the initiative, with the now president Jean-Claude Plessis, of the rescue operation. The return of this duo to the management of the club – they managed it together between 2000 and 2008 – brings back good memories for Sochaliens: together, they won the Coupe de France in 2007, the club's last major title.

“We know where we’re going and how we’re going to do it.”

To save their club, the supporters alone raised 780,000 euros from 11,000 contributors, an average of just over 70 euros per person. In the wake of this summer of all dangers, the Cubs have found color again. In the championship, FCSM currently occupies fourth position, five points from the second and last place in Ligue 2, and almost beat Red Star (2-2), leader, who only equalized in the final moments, Friday February 2.

With nearly 10,000 spectators on average since the start of the season, “the Bonal stadium is becoming “the place to be” again,” assured Pierre Wantiez to Agence-France- Press, to the point of being National's busiest venue. Top-level performances, especially since the Sochaux squad was rebuilt urgently and with limited resources, less than six months ago, in August 2023.

After being the victim, has the FCSM found a counter-model to football business and its jungle of investment funds and multi-owner billionaires? Sold in 2015 by its founder and historic shareholder, Peugeot, FC Sochaux-Montbéliard almost disappeared, and seems to be reborn at the start of the year. “We know where we’re going and how we’re going to do it. The fact remains that this club has the lifestyle of a Ligue 1 club, with the revenues of a National club, i.e. revenues divided by twenty,” concludes Pierre Wantiez. If its economic situation remains fragile, the club intends to extend its adventure in the Coupe de France, and add a third Ligue 1 club to its roster this season, against Rennes.