The 1971–72 season was French football club Paris Saint-Germain's 1st professional season and their 1st season in the top-flight of French football, the Ligue 1. PSG was managed by Pierre Phelipon - in his second season since replacing Roger Quenolle. Despite harsh relations between Parisians and Sangermanois, Phelipon managed to make the club attain top-tier status by winning the Division 2. He quit at the end of the season. The club was chaired by Guy Créscent until Henri Patrelle took over. Paris Saint-Germain was present in the 1971–72 Division 1 and the 1971–72 Coupe de France. PSG played their home matches at the Stade de Paris. Paris Saint-Germain's average home gate for the 1971–72 season was 10,030. Guy Créscent assigned a clear goal for the team and Pierre Phelipon. He had pretty big ambitions for the capital club and declared that PSG started the season with the prospect of maintaining top-flight status. Promotion to France's top tier was welcomed by the City of Paris who offered to subsidize the club during four seasons under three conditions: PSG had to remain D1 status, the club had to eventually play at the Parc des Princes and two members of the Paris City Council had to be part of the club's Board of Directors.
On 22 June 1971, French sport newspaper, L'Équipe, announced in their daily edition the imminent transfer of Brazilian star Pelé to the capital club. Parisian President, Guy Créscent, confirmed the negotiations with Santos, owners of Pelé's transfer. On 5 July, Créscent went to Brazil to meet Pelé and convince him to join Paris Saint-Germain, newly promoted to Division 1. Créscent obtained Pelé's consent and Santos, besieged by financial difficulties, officially accepted the financial proposals of Paris. Créscent and Santos agreed a Pelé's transfer to Paris at the end of the season. However, a few days later, Pelé finally broke the Parisian dream after he decided to stay in Brazil for family reasons.
After the club turned professional, Paris Saint-Germain strengthen their squad with the signings of French goalkeeper Guy Delhumeau from Poitiers, Sylvain Léandri from Nice, French international Jean-Paul Rostagni from Bordeaux, Daniel Solas and Jean-Louis Léonetti from Angoulême, Claude Arribas from Nantes, English goalscorer Jantzen Derrick from Bristol City, French striker Daniel Horlaville from Quevilly and French forward Gérard Hallet from Montluçon. Meanwhile, Portuguese star Fernando Cruz signed by Paris Saint-Germain the previous season thanks to the insistence of the "Portuguese Association of Paris" left the club after an indifferent season. Meanwhile, Dominique Delplanque, Jean-Claude Fitte-Duval, Alain Garillière, Zivco Lukic and Thierry Carré all left the capital. In December 1971, during the winter transfer market, Joel Camargo, Brazilian international defender World Champion in 1970, signed for Paris Saint-Germain. During February 1972, despite being a highly regarded signing and less than three months after his arrival to the capital, Joel Camargo was dismissed. Author of two small appearances, he never entered in the plans of Pierre Phelipon.
On 24 May 1972, Paris Saint-Germain and Paris FC went separate ways.
The 1971-72 campaign was a modest effort, with the club finishing 16th in the league. However, the season was marked by the split the Parisians and the Sangermanois in May 1972. On 17 December 1971, new changes to the club's head were made before the split and saw the return of Henri Patrelle as President. On 21 December, the Paris City Council approved a motion to change the club's name to Paris Football Club and stated: "If this new requirement is not accepted by the club, there will not be no subsidy and no Parc des Princes." Approved during holiday season, the motion was mediated after its publication in the Gazette of the City of Paris on 24 January 1972. The Paris City Council demanded to the Sangermanois authorities to give a more "Parisien" name to the club and remove the reference to Saint-Germain, in exchange of 800,000 francs. The Sangermanois refused and President Patrelle offered his resignation if the name remained unchanged, but the Paris City Council confirmed its position through a letter to the club on 12 April 1972: "If by any chance the members of your association refuse the appellation to change the name to Paris Football Club, or if the parent organizations opposes to this amendment, or even if your club does not maintain D1 status after this season, the repayment of the installments financed by our subsidy will be made with your club."
The letter was an ultimatum to PSG, the LFP, and the FFF with 1 July 1972, being the expiration date. On 16 May 1972, after a heated debate in the general assembly, it was proposed a votation on this issue. The tension was such that the votes had to be counted several times. In the end the majority voted against changing the name. However, Paris authorities did not gave up. Three days after the vote the Paris authorities decided to go their separate ways. Paris FC merged with CA Montreuil and remained in the first division, while Paris Saint-Germain assumed amateur status and continued life in the third division. On 23 May, France Football published a two-page dossier on the issue "Paris, where are you? Patrelle declares himself sickened":
I leave disgusted. In this case we are very far from football. Too many political problems came in the way.
—Henri Patrelle, 23 May 1972
On 24 May 1972, the divorce between Paris FC and Paris SG was endorsed by the Board of PFC and initialed by Guyot, Crescent and Patrelle. The latter signed the agreement as "President of Paris Saint-Germain F.C.", while the two other signatories as "President and Vice-President of Paris FC":
Article 1: "The activity of the Professional Division will continue under a different legal form and under the name of Paris Football Club".
Article 3: "Paris Saint-Germain F.C. will retain his rights for the 1972-1973 season and all the amateur players dismissed during the 1971-72 season".
Article 10: "These rules will be applied only if the FFF and the GPF acknowledge this and grant the conditions requested."
On 20 June 1972, the conditions were granted and the text was ratified following the federal green light given on 12 June. On 16 May, the texts were discussed at the Extraordinary General Assembly and then published in the issue 8 of the monthly magazine "Paris Saint-Germain Football Club" renamed "Paris Football Club" after May 1972. After the split was made official, Guyot and Crescent promised that Paris FC would be "a great team for the capital". Meanwhile, Jean Djorkaeff, PSG's captain for two seasons, was reticent to the club's split:
It was good in Saint-Germain, we felt at home ... When we became Paris FC, we felt as lost children.
Despite all the internal troubles concerning the split, the junior ranks enjoyed a very successful season. On 28 June 1972, the reserve team won the Coupe de Paris after beating Malakoff in the final by marker of 2-1. Under the watchful eye of Daniel Hechter and Just Fontaine, Paris Saint-Germain won their first trophy, 24 hours after signing the contract that formalized the arrival of new leaders in Paris. Meanwhile, the youth side reached the semi-finals of the Coupe Gambardella. Meanwhile, PSG's female section emerged in the summer of 1971 following the decision of the French Football Federation to create a women's football championship. For the 1971-1972 season, 33 women were sign by the club. PSG's first season was a success as the ladies finished runners-up in the Division d'Honneur de Paris.
Le Coq Sportif manufactured the kits for Paris Saint-Germain and Aucun continued to be the club's main sponsor. Le Coq Sportif has been the official kit provider of Paris Saint-Germain since 1970. During this campaign, Paris Saint-Germain maintained last season's home and away kits. The first strip design of the fledgling Paris Saint-Germain in 1970 stayed the same for this season. The shirt was mainly solid red. The collar and ends of the sleeves were blue and white. The shorts were white, while the socks were mainly blue. Just as last season, the away kit was a predominantly white shirt decorated with two fine red and blue vertical bands. The shorts and socks are white. The shirts had the club badge on the top-left and the Le Coq Sportif logo on the top-right.
Before the start of the season, newly promoted Paris Saint-Germain disputed only one match in their pre-season campaign. On 8 August 1971, Paris Saint-Germain opened their pre-season with a friendly match against Red Star at the Stade de Paris, Saint-Ouen. During this campaign, Paris Saint-Germain would eventually played their home matches at this stadium. The game marked Paris Saint-Germain's first Parisian derby. Under the view of 10,000 spectators, the highly contested fixture saw the triumph of Red Star by marker of 2-1. The match was a preview of what would be a great rivalry during this season as both clubs were in Division 1. Ironically, Paris Saint-Germain would finish one spot ahead of Red Star in the league table.
Paris Saint-Germain began their league campaign on the road taking on Angers at the Stade Jean Bouin in the first day of the 1971–72 Division 1. The fixture marked Paris Saint-Germain's first official match in Division 1 and its first defeat in the top-flight of French football. After consecutive victories over Nancy and Lille which sent the club to 6th in the table, the best position of the season, "Les Parisiens" were brought back to earth as Nantes scored a half-dozen goals and recorded Paris Saint-Germain's worst defeat in its history. On 13 October 1971, Paris Saint-Germain disputed its first Parisian derby against Red Star at the Stade de Paris, which hosted home matches from both clubs. The fixture saw an excellent display from "Les Rouge-et-Bleu" as Michel Prost and Jean-Claude Bras scored a brace each to boost them to a crushing 4-1 defeat. On 12 December, the first edition of Le Classique was held in Marseille at the Stade Vélodrome. Despite the rivalry did not began until two decades later, the "Classico"'s first encounter was a highly contested one. The situation of both clubs was two world aparts. While Olympique de Marseille was living its first period of domination in French football, Paris Saint-Germain celebrated its first birthday in the top-flight after winning the Division 2. Under the view of 18,798 spectators and driven by playmaker Roger Magnusson, Marseille enjoyed a good start in the opening period, frequently threatening to get in behind Paris Saint-Germain's defense with the movement of league top-scorer Josip Skoblar. After ten minutes of excruciating pressure, Bernard Bosquier opened the score for Marseille and, minutes later, Skoblar doubled the lead. The match appear controlled by "Les Marseillais" but, just before the break, Joseph Bonnel's own goal gave Paris Saint-Germain some oxygen. However, early in the second half, Didier Couécou restored Marseille's two-goal lead and seemed to have killed the match. Nevertheless, captained by pair of ex-OM Jean Djorkaeff and Jean-Pierre Destrumelle, Paris Saint-Germain did not bowed their head and Michel Prost pulled one back with twenty minutes left. The drama built towards the end of the match, when a flurry of chances for both sides might have turned the match either way. But, in the end, it was Marseille who claimed victory after Skoblar scored his second goal of the night in the final minutes. At the end of the season, "Les Phocéens" were proclaimed League and French Cup champions. Despite finishing in 16th place, Paris FC and Paris Saint-Germain split, with the first merging with CA Montreuil and remaining in the top-flight, while Paris Saint-Germain assumed amateur status and continued life in the third tier of French football, the Championnat National.
^ abParis Saint-Germain maintained the category after finishing 16th in the league. The season, however, was marked by the split between the Parisians and the Sangermanois in May 1972. Paris FC merged with CA Montreuil and remained in the first division, while PSG assumed amateur status and continued life in the third division.
^Paris Football Club, N°8 de juin 1972, p.9. Le PV de l'assemblée générale du 16 mai 1972 précise que 33 féminines sont licenciées au club et une équipe sénior féminine est inscrite en championnat de Paris. Le club comptait quelques licenciées féminines avant la saison 1971-1972 comme l'indique le PV de l'assemblée générale du 4 juin 1971, publié dans Paris St-Germain, N°1 de septembre 1971, p.13, mais il n'y avait pas d'équipe féminine.