The first ever football club in Troyes was created in 1900, as Union Sportive Troyenne (UST). In 1931, it merged with the AS Savinienne, a club from the suburbs of Troyes, to form the Association Sportive Troyenne et Savinienne (ASTS). The newly formed club became professional in 1935, and joined Ligue 2. The club reached Première Division in 1954/55, under the guidance of manager and former international player Roger Courtois (1952–1963), with players such as Abdelaziz Ben Tifour, Marcel Artelesa or Pierre Flamion. It constituted one of the more glorious time for the club, as they reached the Coupe de France final in 1956, against CS Sedan Ardennes, which they went on to lose 3-1. The same day, the youth team of the club won the Coupe Gambardella, the French Youth cup. That very same year, the club failed to keep its place in French top flight, and was back in Division 2. It finally succeed in reaching the Première Division again in 1960, but only lasted one season, and was relegated in 1961. The club had some financial difficulties, and had to leave professional football at the end of the 1962-1963 season, which they finished 17th out of 20. They continued four more seasons at regional level, under the guidance of former ASTS player Jacques Diebold, before disappearing.
Shortly after without any major club in Troyes, a new one was created in 1967, under the name Troyes Omnisports, still at regional level. It renamed itself Troyes Aube Football (TAF) in 1970 as it took back professional status, and was admitted to play in the Third Division. They were promoted to the Second Division after just one year. For their first season in Second division, under the lead of Pierre Flamion, they finished second, but failed to win promotion, as there were three Second division groups that season. They finished first next year, in 1973, and lost in the Champions final between the Champions of the two new groups against RC Lens. The club had its longest consecutive run in Ligue 1, as they stayed five consecutive seasons in the top flight, from 1973 to 1978. It was however a difficult spell, as it struggled each season against relegation. Pierre Flamion left in 1975, and was replaced by René Cédolin, former Stade Rennais manager. Its best position was 15th out of 20 in 1976-1977. Even though they had some very good players, such as striker Gérard Tonnel (1972–1975, 107 games, 69 goals in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2), right-back René Le Lamer (1973–1978), keeper Guy Formici (1970–1978) and Yougoslavian star, winger Ilija Petković (1973–1976). They were finally relegated in 1978, finishing 19th. They suffered back to back relegations finishing 17th in the second division & dropped to the third division. This led to the club becoming bankrupt & merging with Patronage Laïque de Troyes, yet it left Troyes without a professional Football Club yet again.
After the death of the second professional club from Troyes, some people tried to rebuild a new club, which could be able to come back to professional status. At first, in 1979, just after the disappearing of the TAF, they merged the amateurs teams the TAF with the Patronage Laïque de Troyes, creating the PL Foot, once again under the guidance of Jacques Diebold. The club only succeed to reach the Fourth division in 1984, but became relegated after just one season, finishing 17th. In order to build a more lasting club, Maurice Cacciaguerra, Angel Masoni and others decided to create the Association Troyes Aube Champagne (ATAC), taking the place of the PL Foot in Division d'Honneur, French sixth division, at regional level. The new club won the championship in its first season, and was promoted to Fourth division in 1987. After just three seasons, they finished first of the Fourth Division in 1990, and reached the Third Division. Despite being well listed during the next three seasons, the club failed to gain promotion to the Second division. Due to the reform of French football leagues in 1993, the club was transferred to the newly formed Nationale 2, the new fourth level of French football. New president Angel Masoni called Alain Perrin to take the lead of the team. He was to become the most successful manager ever in Troyes, and stayed nine years, from 1993 to 2002. In his first year, he won the Nationale 2, and ATAC was promoted to the Nationale 1 in 1994. The following year, Troyes finished 10th, before finishing 2nd in 1995-1996, and was promoted to Ligue 2: for the first time since 1979, Troyes were playing professional football. Troyes first season was very difficult, as they finshed 20th out of 22 teams, only keeping its place in Deuxième division due to the bankruptcy of FC Perpignan and FCO Charleville. The next two seasons were much more successful, they finished 5th in 1997-1998, and 3rd in 1998-1999, due to the presence of players more used to this level, such as Frédéric Adam, Richard Jeziersky, David Hamed, Samuel Boutal, fans favourite Slađan Đukić and local players, such as captain Mohammed Bradja. Troyes took the lead during the first part of the season. Even if the second part was more difficult, the team finished third, only on goal average, after a last win against AS Cannes. But most importantly Troyes was promoted to Ligue 1, 21 years after its last season at this level.
Troyes first season in Ligue 1 in 1999/2000 they finished in 14th place, meaning that it avoided relegation. At the end of the season, the name ATAC was changed to ESTAC due to the complaints of a French discount supermarket chain having the same name. The glory days came the next two seasons, as they twice finished seventh, qualifying them for the first time in their history to the Intertoto Cup in 2001 and 2002. In 2001, with the likes of future international player Jérôme Rothen, Rafik Saïfi, Tony Heurtebis, Fabio Celestini or Nicolas Goussé they defeated Newcastle United in an epic Intertoto Cup second leg final, which finished 4-4 at Saint James Park. After a first round qualification in UEFA Cup over Slovakian MFK Ruzomberok (6-1; 0-1), they played against Leeds United, and despite having won the second leg 3-2, having lost the first 3-1, failed to qualify to the third round. Next year, they beat Spanish side Villareal CF, and qualified to the UEFA Cup, but the result was voided due to the disqualification of David Vairelles, who only played a few minutes. UEFA disqualified ESTAC, and Villareal took their place instead. At the end of the season, despite the sacking of new manager Jacky Bonnevay and the nomination of Faruk Hadzibegic in January, Troyes finished bottom of the Ligue 1, and was relegated to Ligue 2.
Avoiding bankruptcy, thanks to the take over of new President Thierry Gomez, they finished 10th next season. In 2004 Jean-Marc Furlan, who had spectacular results in Coupe de France with amateur side Libourne Saint-Seurin, was appointed manager. In his first season at the club, he secured promotion, as the club finished third, Due to the great performances of two young strikers on loan, Sébastien Grax from AS Monaco and Bafétimbi Gomis from AS Saint-Etienne. The club played some attractive football, in the style of former manager Alain Perrin. The club maintained itself in Ligue 1 in 2005-2006, but failed the following season (2006–07), finishing in 18th position. Furlan left at the end of the season, and Denis Troch became the new manager. As he failed to win promotion, taking only 4 points in the last 11 games of the season, he was sacked at the end of the season, where Troyes finished 6th, despite being in the top three during the majority of the season. Ludovic Batelli was appointed next season, but had to struggle against relegation. He was sacked in April 2009, but caretaker manager, Claude Robin, Troyes director of formation, couldn't avoid relegation.
Once again in financial difficulties, Thierry Gomez stepped up as president, letting place to Daniel Masoni, son of former president Angel Masoni. He called Patrick Rémy who succeeded in taking Troyes back to Ligue 2, finishing third in the Championnat National in 2010. After a disagreement with president Masoni, Remy quit in June 2010, and Jean-Marc Furlan came back. The club stayed in Ligue 2 in the 2010-2011 season, finishing 16th. After a slow start at the beginning of the new season, results improved as the season went on. Things improved greatly & Troyes found themselves challenging for promotion. They achieved this in the 37th game of the season, with a win over AS Monaco, on 11 May 2012. Crucial wins over arch-rivals Sedan, with a goal in the last minute of right back youngster Djibril Sidibé, or over Clermont a few weeks later, who was third at the time, allowed Troyes to climb in the top three. Producing one of the most exciting football of the league, with players such as Marcos or Mounir Obbadi, a strong defence led by Rincón, Julien Outrebon, Matthieu Saunier and Stephen Drouin with the left back Fabrice N'Sakala and right back Djibril Sidibé, both products of the Academy, or midfielders Julien Faussurier and captain Eloge Enza Yamissi actually did what nobody expected at the beginning of the season. They had a really strong second half of the season, with only 4 defeats, 5 draws and 10 victories (only one loss in the 10 last games of the season). They are back in Ligue 1 five years after their last stint, and just two season after playing in the third division.
For a complete list of former Troyes AC players with a Wikipedia article, see here.
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