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AS Nancy-Lorraine: all you need to know

Publish on 10/05/2020 at 23:14 - S. TELFORD

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Founded by a football-revolutionary and the club that gave world football Michel Platini, AS Nancy-Lorraine's place in the sport's history is secure, even if they no longer enjoy top-flight status…

AS Nancy-Lorraine: all you need to know

 

Founded by a football-revolutionary and the club that gave world football Michel Platini, AS Nancy-Lorraine's place in the sport's history is secure, even if they no longer enjoy top-flight status…

 

History

 

Nancy - or Association Sportive Nancy-Lorraine to give them their full name - were founded in 1967, when local man Claude Cuny petitioned the community to get behind the notion of a professional football club in the area.

 

Cuny had been part of FC Nancy, a precursor club founded in 1901 who had made it to two Coupe de France finals but collapsed in 1965. Tired of not seeing football in the town, he took some measures in the intervening years that may seem commonplace now but were revolutionary then.

 

After sending 18,000 letters to draw interest in the new side Cuny organised friendlies and, after raising enough money, turned the club professional ahead of the 1967/68 season. Three campaigns later and Nancy were promoted to the old French Division 1.

 

Platini, France

 

Michel Platini may be best remembered as an attacking midfielder with AS Saint-Etienne, Juventus and France - if not for his later tenure as UEFA president - but he began his career with Nancy in 1972 and scored the winning goal as ASNL went one better than FC Nancy in 1978, beating OGC Nice 1-0 to lift the Coupe de France.

 

Platini left for ASSE in 1979 and the nucleus of that successful side followed for much of the next 1980s. Shorn of the stars of old, Nancy became a yo-yo team, bouncing between the top two divisions for much of the time since, although there have been notable highs.

 

Uruguayan striker Pablo Correa concluded his career with Nancy - after 28 goals in 119 games - in 2000, and after a couple of years on the coaching staff was appointed as manager in 2002. He led them to promotion in 2005 and a Coupe de la Ligue final in 2006, which they won, again beating Nice, this time 2-1.

 

The following year was the first of two UEFA Cup campaigns Les Chardons would enjoy in three seasons, with Correa impressing in his first spell at the helm. Indeed, in 2007/08, Nancy had only missed out on qualifying for the UEFA Champions League by two points. The 30 goals conceded that term were a league best matching the club record from 1976/77.

 

Correa left for Evian-Thonon-Gaillard in January 2012 only to return in October 2013 but their long collaboration came to an end in the summer of 2017 after Nancy were relegated to Domino's Ligue 2, and they have remained there since.

 

Club icon: Michel Platini

 

Platini, Nancy 

 

Born in Jœuf, an hour's drive north of Tomblaine where Nancy play their home matches, Platini joined the club as a 17-year-old in 1972 and was well on the way to becoming a legend of the game when he left seven years and 98 goals in 181 games later.

 

A free-kick specialist who operated as an attacking midfielder, Platini won the first of his 72 France caps midway through his spell at Nancy. A hero for club and country, Platini hit his prime in the 1980s, winning the UEFA European Championhip with France in 1984 and the Ballon d'Or as the world's best player for three consecutive years either side.

 

Pele and Diego Maradona were among the players who played at Platini's testimonial in Nancy in 1988. The former was effusive in his praise. "He didn't run a lot like Cruyff and didn't depend on his physique, but I liked how he was the brain organising things on the pitch," he said. "He was a player who used his head in the broader sense. The way he shone with France and Juventus, and his capacity for taking free-kicks, made him the European footballer of the 1980s."

 

Club colours

 

Today, Nancy line up with red and white striped jerseys, red shorts and white socks, although there used to be a dash more blue involved.

 

Cuny was also an early adopter of sponsors, and the first ever ASNL programme carried the branding of Total, the French oil and gas company. The kit, accordingly, was red, white and blue.

 

When short sleeves were introduced in 1978, the two red armbands became two vertical stripes on the body, which have multiplied over the years to look more like the red and white flag in the top left of the Nancy coat of arms.

 

With the thistle at the centre of that image also a symbol of Lorraine, the badge that adorns the shirt is rather more self-explanatory, as is Nancy's nickname - Les Chardons.

 

Stadium: Stade Marcel Picot p83/85

Capacity: 20,087

 

Stade Marcel Picot

 

Nancy play their football at the 20,087-capacity Stade Marcel Picot in Tomblaine, east of the city close to the Nancy-Essey Airport. FC Nancy played at the old "University Stadium" from 1935 and the stadium took their former president's name in 1968.

 

Rebuilt in 2003, the Stade Marcel Picot was, between 2010 and 2016, one of the few French stadiums equipped with artificial turf before reverting to grass. A further expansion planned for UEFA Euro 2016 never came to fruition.

 

Other former stars:

 

As well as Platini and Correa, other former Nancy stars include former defender Roger Lemerre, who later led France to Euro 2000 glory as manager, strikers and Tonys Vairelles and Cascarino, the latter of whom is the club's third-top scorer all-time.

 

Top of that particular list is Youssouf Hadji - elder brother of fellow former Morocco star Mustapha - he hung up his boots in 2018 having plundered 91 goals in three separate spells with the club.

 

The most famous active player to have played for Nancy is Clément Lenglet. The Barcelona and France international centre-back spent seven years with the club, graduating from their youth academy and helping them to promotion - and with it their fifth Ligue 2 title - in 2016.

 

Did you know?

 

The Nancy academy which produced Lenglet also happens to be the oldest youth academy in France. Friendlies, sponsors, youth academies - there's no question that Cuny was a visionary!

 

Nancy may not be to the taste of FC Metz, with whom they contest the Derby Lorrain, but they do have a fan friendship with Saarbrücken, with the most committed fans from either side of the Franco-German border attending each other's games since 1998.