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|Full name||Racing Club de Lens|
|Nickname(s)||Les Sang et Or|
|Website||Club home page|
Racing Club de Lens (French pronunciation: [ʁasiŋ klœb də lɑ̃s]; commonly referred to as RC Lens or simply Lens) is a French association football club based in the northern city of Lens in the Pas-de-Calais department. Its nickname, sang et or (English: blood and gold), comes from its traditional colours of red and gold. Their primary rivals are their northern neighbors Lille OSC, with whom they contest the Derby du Nord.
- 1 History
- 2 Honours
- 3 Records
- 4 Presidents
- 5 Managers
- 6 Notable players
- 7 Current Staff (2008–2009)
- 8 Former players
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The birth of a club
1905, Lens. On the place Verte (the actual place de la République), students are playing football. They do not yet know that they are writing the first lines of the history of the Racing Club de Lens. Why this name? Football was invented in England, so it was good to have a club with an Anglo-Saxon name. Moreover, the youth of that time were following the Racing Club de Roubaix and the Racing Club de France.
The first board was formed by the parents of those teenagers under the name of Racing club lensois, before the club would officially be registered under the name Racing Club de Lens in 1906. The club originally played in green, as the club was born on the place Verte, and the black, for the omnipresence of coal mining in the region.
During World War I, the club’s activities were silenced, before restarting in 1919. Lens was then playing in sky blue.
Of blood and gold
It was in 1924 that the red and gold colours appeared. The legend says that Mr Moglia, president of the club from 1923 to 1930, chose the colours of the Spanish flag after someone from the club remarked that the ruins of the Saint-Léger church they happened to be walking by that night were the last remains of the Spanish occupation in 1648. People also say that the colours come from the coal mines: the red for the blood of the miners and the gold for the coal which was valuable at the time.
It was also in 1924 that the club was authorized to play at the newly built municipal stadium Raoul Briquet (nowadays Léo Lagrange). The first match with the new colours was played for the inauguration of the stadium.
In 1926, the British footballer Kid Fenton was the first star who played for Lens. He stayed there 8 seasons. It was also the year the first supporters group was formed, and – finally – Lens first capture of the Championnat d’Artois.
In 1929, Lens won the North championship and won promotion for the first time to the Division d’Honneur of the Ligue du Nord with the clubs of the Olympique Lillois, RC Roubaix, Excelsior Athlétic Club de Roubaix and the AC Amiens.
In the Artois League, the club gained renown and in 1932, the club inaugurated the stade Félix Bollaert.
The first victories
In 1937 gains access to the first division by finishing first of the second with players such as Stanis and Spechtl. Lens even managed to reach the last 16 of the French Cup, but the team is knocked out by the Red Star (final score, 3–2).
In 1943, the RC Lens won the first division of the Northern Zone, thanks to Stanis who scored 43 goals in 30 games. A year earlier, in a French Cup match he scored 17 goals, which is still today the world record.
After World War II, Lens finished 6th in the 1945/46 season, but they are relegated the following year. In 1948, the club played its first French Cup final, which was lost 3–2 against the LOSC.
In 1962, the mines are shut down and the club is at stake as most of the players were miners. Between 1956 and 1968, survival is hard. Nevertheless, in 1964, Lens finished third and the best goal scorer was Ahmed Oudjani with 30 goals. Another famous player joins Lens: Georges Lech. However, Lens is relegated in 1968.
The following year, the mine’s administrators let go of Lens, and it is the end of professional football at the Stade Bollaert. Lens is once again an amateur club, one year after its relegation.
The good years and the fall
And the better days arrive in 1960: the town council bets on the Racing Club de Lens. Lens’ mayor, André Delelis, wants to see the club continue thrilling the fans. With the future president, Jean Bondoux, the mayor brings together volunteers and subscriptions in order to make the club survive. Moreover the city recovers the stadium from the closing mine industry.
In 1972, Lens reaches the semi-finals of the French Cup and the arrival of 2 Polish players helps the club to the 1st division. In 1975, Lens reaches once more the final of the French Cup against the AS Saint-Étienne. But “les Verts” win the game 2–0, with an anthology goal by Jean-Michel Larqué.
Lens’ progresses continue and after finishing 2nd in the League behind Nantes, they qualify themselves to the UEFA Cup. They knock out Malmö FF, and above all, the Lazio Roma, after an away defeat (2–0), they won 6–0 at the Stade Félix Bollaert after extra-time. Unfortunately, after this rare exploit for a French club, they are eliminated by the East German side Magdeburg. Worse, the club goes back to the 2nd division in 1978.
In 1988, a local businessman takes over the club, with the help of Serge Doré. Little by little, the club will transform itself into an enterprise and it will open itself to investors.
In 1993 and 1994, the RC Lens plays in the top of the League and the team qualifies for the UEFA Cup twice in a row. Lens even reaches the semi final of the French Cup after knocking out the Paris Saint Germain at the Parc des Princes, but the team fails against Montpellier.
In 1998, “les Sang et Or” will write their best page of their history under Daniel Leclercq (“the Druid”): French Champions, League Cup semi-finalist and finalist of the French Cup against the PSG (2–1 defeat). Like a symbol, it is a player who started his career in Lens, Yohan Lachor, who scored in Auxerre the goal which gave Lens the title, in front of Metz. Still under the "Druid", Lens will win its 2nd major title in 1999 with the League Cup against Metz, with a goal from Daniel Moreira. That year, in the UEFA Champions League, Lens will also become the only club to have beaten Arsenal at Wembley (1–0, with a goal from Mickaël Debève), but they were knocked out.
The next season, Daniel Leclercq was fired, but Lens will still reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup. François Brisson’s men were eliminated by Arsenal, but they had before beaten Kaiserslautern (4–1 win in Germany), Atlético Madrid and the Celta Vigo. For the 2002/2003 season, Joël Muller was named head coach. Lens finished second that season and qualified for its 2nd UEFA Champions League campaign. However, the club finished 8th the next two years.
During the 2006/2007, the Sang et Or finish the first part of the season 2nd, behind Lyon. But due to chaotic 2nd part, they only finished 5th.
A few days later, Francis Gillot resigned, probably due to the fact that the club didn’t qualify for the UEFA Champions League. The 5 June 2007, Guy Roux made his come back, which would only last 3 months, as he resigned during the game RC Strasbourg-RC Lens (lost 2–1).
Jean-Pierre Papin took over, but Lens could make up no ground through the season, finishing 18th, 2 points behind Toulouse, and were relegated to Ligue 2 for next season. Lens finished the season with just 40 points, winning only 9 times in 38 matches. Strasbourg and Metz are also relegated.
After a slow start in their only year in the Ligue 2 they manage to finish as leader the first half of the season. Getting 13 out of 15 points in their first five games of the second half, everything looked set for a quick return to the first league. After only taking 5 points of the next six games, the race was open again. Lens became the champions and returned to the highest division in 2009. In 2011 they dropped to Ligue 2 again.
Although Lens have remained in Ligue 2 since their relegation in 2011, their world class academy has gained prominence through the success of its graduates. Most notable of which is Raphaël Varane, who has cemented a place in the back line of Real Madrid and France with his splendid blend of tenacity, composure and athleticism. Fellow Lens academy graduates include AS Monaco's midfield enforcer Geoffrey Kondogbia, long time Tottenham left back Benoît Assou-Ekotto, maverick trequartista Adel Taarabt, promising Ivorian full back Serge Aurier, West Ham's Mohamed Diamé and Crystal Palace's Jimmy Kébé. An exciting future lies in wait for the likes of Alexandre Coeff, Thorgan Hazard, Timothée Kolodziejczak, Gaël Kakuta, Mehdi Abeid and Ange-Freddy Plumain.
- Semi-finalists: 2000
- Record league win : 10–2 (v. RC Paris,1963–1964).
- Record European Cup win : 0–7 (v. Avenir-Beggen, 1995–1996).
- The European exploit : v. Lazio Roma (6–0 after extra time, 2 November 1977).
- Most goals in a single match : 16, Stefan Dembicki (Stanis), which is a world record, (v. Auby Asturies, French Cup, 13 December 1942). Final score: 32–0.
- Most league appearances with Lens : 497, Eric Sikora and 377, Bernard Placzek.
- Most league goals in a season : 30, Ahmed Oudjani (1963–1964) and 20, Roger Boli (1993–1994).
- Top scorer : 94, Ahmed Oudjani.
- Highest attendance at a home match : 48 912, (v. Marseille, Ligue 1, 15 February 1992) at Stade Félix-Bollaert. Lens won 2–1.
Former coaches include two ex France coaches: Gérard Houllier (1982–85) managed France between July 1992 and November 1993, and Roger Lemerre (second half of the 1996–97 season, then as assistant coach 1997–98), who managed France between July 1998 and July 2002.
As of 20 January, 2014. Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Current Staff (2008–2009)
|Name||Position||Date of Birth||Place of Birth||Nationality|
|Jean-Louis Garcia||Head Coach||20 September 1962||Ollioules|
|Jocelyn Blanchard||Technical Director||28 May 1972||Béthune|
|Manuel Nogueira||Assistant||9 June 1969||Longwy|
|Jean-Pierre Lauricella||Assistant (goal keepers)||4 February 1965||Charbonnier-les-Mines|
Three Lens players won the gold medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games: defender Didier Sénac, as well as strikers François Brisson and Daniel Xuereb who scored a goal apiece in France's triumph over Brazil 2–0 in the final at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in front of a 103,000 crowd.
For a complete list of RC Lens players, see Category:RC Lens players
|Name||Position||Caps with Lens||Total Caps|
|5||Alou Diarra *||Midfielder||11||12|
|9||Tony Vairelles *||Forward||3||8|
|25||Raphaël Varane *||Defender||0||2|
* Still playing.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to RC Lens.|
- (French) Official website