Stade Brestois 29 are helping make Brittany a bastion of French football — ligue1.com takes a closer look at the club perched on France's westernmost tip.
Founded in 1950 following the fusion of five local clubs, the club rose through the amateur ranks to the third tier by 1958, the second by 1970, and reached the top division of French football for the first time in 1979.
Brest enjoyed nine top-flight seasons between 1981 — when they won the Ligue 2 title, their only significant piece of silverware — and 1991 before financial difficulties hit. The club, which had secured a best-ever eighth-placed L1 finish in 1986/87, was declared bankrupt, and needed to restart the long climb back out of the doldrums. They were back in Ligue 2 by 2004 — helped by an emerging young talent named Franck Ribéry — and Ligue 1 in 2010.
Over the last decade, the club has spent most of its time in Ligue 2 following relegation in 2013. However, they returned to the top flight as second-tier runners-up in 2018/19, and — following a 14th-placed finish in their first season back in Ligue 1 — appear set to establish themselves as one of France's top 20 clubs.
While the club's badge has changed a number of times since 1950, Brest have always played in red and white. The colours derive from the city's former flag.
Club icon: Bruno Grougi
Over nine years — 2009 to 2018 — Grougi, an artful midfielder, was an integral part of the Brest side. Though born in Normandy, he became an adopted Breton, playing 307 competitive games for the club and scoring 53 goals, totals which put him second and third on SB29's all-time charts in those categories respectively. After retiring in 2018, Grougi has begun taking his coaching badges wih the support of the club, and he is currently one of first-team boss Olivier Dall'Oglio's assistants.
Stadium: Stade Francis-Le Blé
Opened in 1922 under the name Stade de l'Armoricaine, it is smaller than the homes of Brest's three main regional rivals: Rennes, Guingamp and Lorient. It had just 1,800 seats until 1980 when the club's success on the pitch led to expansion. It remains an 'old school' football stadium, based in the heart of the city, and even overlooked by nearby housing developments.
Ten famous former players
Jose Luis Brown (1986/87), Julio Cesar (1986/87), David Ginola (1990/91), Sergio Goycochea (1991), Stéphane Guivarc'h (1984-91), Bernard Lama (1990/91), Paul Le Guen (1983-89), Corentin Martins (1988-91), Franck Ribéry (2003/04), Ian Wallace (1984)
Did you know?
The '29' in the club's name refers to the number given by the French government to the département — the equivalent of a US state — of Finistere in which Brest is situated on France's westernmost point.