Lens mourn passing of legendary coach Leclercq
Daniel Leclercq, the legendary coach of the Racing Club de Lens side that won the French title in 1998, has died at the age of 70.
Leclercq spent almost a decade as a player for Lens and also notably turned out for Olympique de Marseille. Nicknamed "The Druid" for his distinctive long, white hair, as a defender he was part of the OM squad that won the title in 1971, but he is best remembered for the job he did in the dugout in Lens.
A native of France's far north, Leclercq became Lens coach in 1997 and led Les Sang et Or to their first, and to date only, league title in his first season in charge with a squad containing the likes of Marc-Vivien Foé, Tony Vairelles and Vladimír Šmicer.
He then oversaw their triumph in the Coupe de la Ligue in the following campaign before departing - those remain the only major trophies Lens have won.
"It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of one of our own. Player, coach and emblematic figure of the club, Daniel Leclercq will forever remain in our memories," Lens said in a statement on their website.
Marseille also paid tribute on their website to Leclercq, who died of a pulmonary embolism while in Martinique.