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Le Havre AC

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Le Havre
Full nameHavre Athletic Club
Nickname(s)Le Club Doyen (The Dean Club)
Les Ciel et Marine (The Sky-and-Navy)[1]
Founded1884; 140 years ago (1884) (sports club)
1894; 130 years ago (1894) (football section)
GroundStade Océane
PresidentVincent Volpe
ManagerLuka Elsner
LeagueLigue 1
2023–24Ligue 1, 15th of 18
WebsiteClub website
Current season
HAC in Tournoi de paques 1913

Le Havre Athletic Club (French pronunciation: [lə ɑvʁ]) is a French professional association football club based in Le Havre, Normandy. The football club was founded in 1894 as a section of the sports club of the same name, founded in 1884. Le Havre plays in Ligue 1, the first tier of French football, after securing promotion from Ligue 2 as winners of the 2022–23 season, and plays its home matches at the Stade Océane.

Le Havre made its football debut in France's first championship in 1899 and, on its debut, became the first French club outside Paris to win the league. The club won the league the following season in 1900. Le Havre has yet to win the current first division of French football, Ligue 1, yet they won the second division, Ligue 2, for a record of six times. The club's highest honour to date was winning the Coupe de France in 1959.

The main rivalries of Le Havre are the "Derby Normand" with SM Caen and an always heated clash with Lens, located in the region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais.


Contrary to what the club has long claimed, Le Havre AC was not founded in 1872. It was in 1884 that a group of British residents formed Le Havre Athlétique, which played a hybrid form of football, a cross between rugby and association football, called "combination". Association football began being played in Le Havre in 1894.[3][4]

In 1899, Le Havre became the first club from outside Paris to become French football champions. At the time the championship was organised by the USFSA. After being awarded a win over Iris Club Lillois in the semi-final by walkover, they were awarded the title after also receiving a walkover in the final against Club Français.[5] They would also win the following year, with the final being a "re-match" of the forfeited 1899 final.

The club is famous for its notable youth investment program which develops and nurtures young talent,[citation needed] with the vision of using them in the first team if they show enough promise. A vast amount of good young talent has gone on to make an impact at international level including Benjamin Mendy, Ibrahim Ba, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Lassana Diarra, Riyad Mahrez, Steve Mandanda, Vikash Dhorasoo, Paul Pogba and Dimitri Payet.

The club was on the receiving end of some high-profile illegal transfers, by which Charles N'Zogbia, Matthias Lepiller and Paul Pogba were signed by other clubs, allegedly without the proper compensation being paid.[citation needed] The first two were arbitrated by FIFA, who ordered Newcastle United and Fiorentina to pay training compensation.

In the 2022–23 Ligue 2, Le Havre finished top of the league table to win their sixth title in the division and secure promotion to the Ligue 1 for the first time since 2008.[6]

Club culture[edit]

Le Havre is known as 'les ciel et marine' in France, which translates as 'the sky and navy blues'. These colours were chosen by the club's English founders as they were those of their alma maters, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge: the anthem of the club is played to the melody of "God Save the Queen" to mark the English origins of the club:

"A jamais le premier
de tous les clubs français
ô H.A.C.
Fiers de tes origines
Fils d'Oxford et Cambridge
deux couleurs font notre prestige
Ciel et marine!"

English translation:

"The first ever
of all French clubs
The H.A.C
Proud of your roots
Son of Oxford and Cambridge
two colours make our prestige
(the colours of the) sky and the sea!"


Current squad[edit]

As of 2 February 2024[7]
No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK France FRA Mathieu Gorgelin
4 DF France FRA Gautier Lloris
5 MF Morocco MAR Oussama Targhalline
6 DF France FRA Étienne Youte Kinkoue
7 DF Hungary HUN Loïc Négo
8 MF Morocco MAR Yassine Kechta
9 FW Guinea GUI Mohamed Bayo (on loan from Lille)
11 FW United States USA Emmanuel Sabbi
13 FW France FRA Steve Ngoura
14 MF Russia RUS Daler Kuzyayev
17 DF Morocco MAR Oualid El Hajjam
19 MF Senegal SEN Rassoul Ndiaye
20 FW France FRA Élysée Logbo
No. Pos. Nation Player
21 FW France FRA Antoine Joujou
22 DF French Guiana GUF Yoann Salmier
23 FW Guadeloupe GLP Josué Casimir
24 DF France FRA Cheick Doumbia
25 MF France FRA Alois Confais
26 MF Cameroon CMR Simon Ebonog
27 DF Ivory Coast CIV Christopher Opéri (vice-captain)
28 MF Ghana GHA André Ayew
29 FW France FRA Samuel Grandsir
30 GK France FRA Arthur Desmas
93 DF Senegal SEN Arouna Sangante (captain)
94 MF Guinea GUI Abdoulaye Touré (3rd captain)

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
GK Ivory Coast CIV Mohamed Koné (at Dunkerque until 30 June 2024)
DF France FRA Djamal Moussadek (at Villefranche until 30 June 2024)
FW Mauritania MTN Pape Ibnou Ba (at Concarneau until 30 June 2024)
FW Guinea GUI Kandet Diawara (at Concarneau until 30 June 2024)
No. Pos. Nation Player
FW Senegal SEN Issa Soumaré (at Auxerre until 30 June 2024)
FW Morocco MAR Nassim Chadli (at Concarneau until 30 June 2024)
FW Democratic Republic of the Congo COD Yann Kitala (at Almere City until 30 June 2024)


  • Nationals
  • Friendlies
  • USFSA Championnat
    • Winners (3): 1899, 1900, 1919
  • Challenge international du Nord
    • Winners (1): 1900
  • Coupe Nationale
    • Winners (2): 1918, 1919

Club staff[edit]

Name and Nationality Position
Vincent Volpe United States President
Christopher Sargent United States Vice-President
Steve O'Connor United States Technical director
Ashton Smith United States Sporting director
Bruce Fallon United States Sports coordinator
Luka Elsner Slovenia Manager
Borut Pavlovič Slovenia Assistant manager
Nejc Čorič Slovenia First-team coach
Ljubomir Mladenovič Slovenia Goalkeeper coach
Rajko Čurčič Slovenia Video analyst
Janez Drulovič Slovenia Video analyst
Miha Andrijanovič Slovenia Video analyst
Jure Marijanovič Slovenia Doctor
Gojko Murič Slovenia Academy Goalkeeping Co-ordinator
Andraž Kačaniklič Slovenia Academy manager

Managerial history[edit]


  1. ^ "#35 – Le Havre AC : Ciel et Marine" (in French). Footnickname. 4 May 2020. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Stade Océane". Archived from the original on 7 January 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  3. ^ Charitas, Pascal (2011). "La combination au Havre Athletic Club (1872–1914) : les «origines» du football-rugby ?". Études Normandes. 60 (1): 20. doi:10.3406/etnor.2011.1833.
  4. ^ Archives municipales du Fort de Tourneville (Le Havre), statuts du HAC, fonds de Sanvic, R3 1 L.2.
  5. ^ "France – List of Champions". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 3 February 2023. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  6. ^ "Official | Le Havre promoted to Ligue 1". Get French Football News. 2 June 2023.
  7. ^ "Effectif". Le Havre AC. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2022.
  8. ^ "France – Trainers of First and Second Division Clubs on RSSSF". Archived from the original on 31 May 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2007.
  9. ^ "Le Havre : Paul Le Guen manager général et entraîneur (off)" (in French). foot-national.com. 29 May 2019. Archived from the original on 1 June 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.

External links[edit]