Le Mans FC
|Full name||Le Mans Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Le Mans FC|
Les Sang et Or (The Blood and Golds)
|Founded||12 June 1985|
|2019–20||Ligue 2, 19th (relegated)|
Le Mans Football Club (French pronunciation: [ləmɑ̃]; commonly referred to as Le Mans FC, formerly referred as Le Muc) is a French association football club based in Le Mans. The club was founded in 1985 as a result of a merger under the name Le Mans Union Club 72. In 2010, Le Mans changed its name to Le Mans FC to coincide with the re-modeling of the club, which includes moving into a new stadium, MMArena, which opened in January 2011. The stadium is based in the interior of the famous circuit in the city.
Le Mans Sports Club were founded in 1900, but it was not until 1908 that a football club existed within it. In 1910, Le Mans qualified for the Championnat de la France in 1910, but were heavily overturned by Saint-Servan. Gaining a huge reputation up to World War I, Le Mans SC plunged into obscurity by World War II before joining the war league in 1942.
The football section of Union Sportive du Mans was founded in 1903.
The current club was formed as a result of a merger between Union Sportive du Mans and Le Mans Sports Club, on 12 June 1985. Upon its foundation, former football player Bernard Deferrez was installed as manager. Le Mans UC spent the majority of its infancy in Ligue 2. In the 2003–04 season, the club achieved promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time, but were immediately relegated. Le Mans returned to the first division for the 2005–06 season and successfully remained in the league for the next four seasons. The club suffered relegated back to Ligue 2 in the 2009–10 season. Midway through the campaign, on 2 December 2009, Le Mans announced that it was changing its name from Le Mans Union Club 72 to Le Mans FC.
Le Mans moved to the MMArena midway through the 2010–11 season, comfortably in the promotion spots for a return to Ligue 1, but a bad run sees them finish 4th, missing promotion on goal difference. The failure to achieve promotion is costly, as the club sees its payroll limited by the DNCG. Many players leave, and relegation is only narrowly avoided. The club survives by appeal an attempt by DNCG to relegate them to Championnat National. The following season they are relegated on the field, and a long summer of legal battles sees them liquidated and reforming in Maine (province) Division d'Honneur as an amateur club.
Promotion to Championnat de France Amateur 2 was achieved at the first attempt, and promotion from that division was only narrowly missed in 2014–15 and 2015–16. At the third attempt, promotion to the new Championnat National 2 was obtained in 2016–17, when Le Mans finished as one of the best runners up in the competition. Le Mans was promoted for the second season in a row winning Group D and being promoted to the 2018–19 Championnat National, the club would achieve a third consecutive promotion after successfully overcoming Gazélec Ajaccio in the Ligue 2 relegation play-off final with a 3-2 aggregate score, swapping places with the Corsican club who, only three years before had been members of the top-flight themselves.
The club were in 19th place in Ligue 2 when the season was terminated early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the club supporting an LFP proposal which would have seen Ligue 2 operate temporarily with 22 clubs, meaning they would stay in the division, the FFF ruled on 27 May 2020 that they were to be relegated to Championnat National.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Below are the notable former players who have represented Le Mans and its predecessors in league and international competition since the club's foundation in 1985. To appear in the section below, a player must have played in at least 100 official matches for the club.
For a complete list of Le Mans players, see Category:Le Mans FC players
- Mony Braustein (1945–46)
- ? (1946–47)
- Émile Rummelhardt (1947–51)
- Gaston Choulet (1951–52)
- Gabriel Corsaletti (1952–53)
- Camille Libar (1953–57)
- André Grillon (1957–64)
- René Dereuddre (1964–76)
- Alain Laurier (1976–79)
- Michel Rodriguez (1979–81)
- André Guttierez (1981–85)
- Bernard Deferrez (1985–86)
- Christian Gourcuff (Jun 86 – Jan 89)
- Christian Létard (Jan 1989 – Jan 94)
- Thierry Froger (Jan 1994 – May 97)
- Slavo Muslin (Jun 1997 – Nov 97)
- Marc Westerloppe (Nov 1997 – Nov 2000)
- Alain Pascalou (Nov 2000 – Dec 2000)
- Thierry Goudet (Dec 2000 – Feb 2004)
- Daniel Jeandupeux (Feb 2004 – Dec 2004)
- Frédéric Hantz (Dec 2004–07)
- Rudi Garcia (2007–08)
- Yves Bertucci (2008–09)
- Daniel Jeandupeux (2009)
- Arnaud Cormier (2009)
- Paulo Duarte (2009)
- Arnaud Cormier (2009–2011)
- Denis Zanko (2011–2013)
- Régis Beunardeau (2013)
- Stéphane Guédet (2013–2014)
- Alexandre Clément (2014–2015)
- Richard Déziré (2015–2020)
- Réginald Ray (2020)
- Didier Ollé-Nicolle (2020–)
- Division d'Honneur Ouest
- Winners (2): 1961, 1965
- Division d'Honneur Maine
- Winners (1): 2014
- Coupe Gambardella
- Winners (1): 2004
- Le MUC 72 devient LEMANS FC Archived 4 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- "L'épopée Sang et OR" (in French). Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Actualité – LE MANS FC est en Ligue 2 !". www.lemansfc.fr. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
- "La Ligue 2 avec 22 clubs refusée par la FFF" (in French). foot-national.com. 27 May 2020.
- "Arrivée de Frédéric Veseli" [Arrival of Frédéric Veseli] (in French). Le Mans FC. 4 February 2020. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
- "Le Mans FC squad". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
- "Le Mans - Ray : "Enclencher une nouvelle dynamique"" (in French). foot-national.com. 2 March 2020.
- "Le Mans : Reginald Ray s'en va (off)" (in French). foot-national.com. 28 May 2020.
- "National. Le Mans FC a trouvé son entraineur" (in French). footamateur.fr. 1 June 2020.