Clermont Foot 63 were the first club to appoint a female coach in men's professional football in France, sport a legendary Gaulish king who fought Julius Caesar on their badge, and are emerging from the shadow of the town's rugby team to play their first Ligue 1 Uber Eats season — ligue1.com gives you the rundown on the top-flight newcomers.
Founded in 1984 following the fusion of two local clubs, Clermont Foot 63 had never played in the top flight of French football until the 2021/22 Ligue 1 Uber Eats season. Prior to that, the club's greatest achievement came in the 1996/97 campaign when the team — then in French football's fourth tier — produced an incredible comeback from 4-1 down to beat Paris Saint-Germain on penalties in an iconic Last 16 Coupe de France tie. That provided the platform for their first promotion to Ligue 2 in 2002, and though they dropped back into the third division in 2006, they bounced back immediately before eventually — 13 years later — discovering the élite. They had come close twice to promotion before: finishing sixth under Michel Der Zakarian in 2009/10, and 5th with the same coach in 2011/12 having ended the first half of that season top of the table.
The change of name from Clermont Foot Auvergne 63 to simply Clermont Foot 63 in June 2013 heralded an historic move from the club as they appointed the first female coach in men's football in France. Helena Costa was due to take charge for the 2014/15 season only to finally decide against taking up the job; instead another woman, former France international Corinne Diacre, became boss before current coach Pascal Gastien took charge in summer 2017, guiding them to runners-up spot in 2020/21 to earn promotion to Ligue 1 Uber Eats for the first time.
The team play in red and blue. They contrast with the yellow and blue colours of the town's rugby team, which is among the best rugby union teams in Europe.
Club icon: Christophe Chastang
The forward scored 150 goals for the club during nearly 12 seasons in the 1990s and the early years of the millenium. He was part of the squad that defeated PSG in the Coupe de France, but featured in just three Ligue 2 matches in his career, scoring the majority of his goals in the third and fourth tiers.
Stadium: Stade Gabriel-Montpied
The stadium is named after a former Resistance member and Clermont mayor, and was opened in 1995. The design of its 'eye'-shaped stand was inspired by Limerick's Thomond Park, though the original plans included two stands. One of its three uncovered stands is called 'Volcan' — Volcano — in reference to the dormant volcanoes that are dotted around Auvergne, the region in which Clermont-Ferrand lies. Work has begun on increasing the stadium's capacity.
Famous former players
Ludovic Ajorque (2016-18), Romain Alessandrini (2010-12), Sylvain Armand (1999-2000), Yacine Brahimi (2009/10), Pierrick Capelle (2012-15), Fabien Centonze (2016-18), Serge Chiesa (1986-89), Bernard Diomède (2005-06), Jocelyn Gourvennec (2005-06), Romain Saïss (2011-13)
Did you know?
The knight on the club's badge is Vercingétorix, the king of the Gaules, whose statue stands in the centre of the town. He is famed for fighting — and then dying at the order of — Julius Caesar after organising a revolt against the Roman Empire. It is on Vercingétorix's shield that Vitalstatistix, the chieftain of the village in the Asterix cartoons, is carried.