Jean-Baptiste Forray publisher At the heart of the great downgrade. Peugeot-Sochaux lost pride published by Cerf. A journalistic investigation and a literary dive that tells the story of a club and the great era of French industry, up to the ravages of relocation and the sale of FC Sochaux-Montbéliard to a Chinese group that did not know how to run this institution, for the greatest sorrow in a world of work which was felt abandoned by all.
When Peugeot announced the sale of FC Sochaux in 2015, Lions lovers cried betrayal. Peugeot gave up football, which was very / too popular, for tennis and Roland-Garros, which was much more elitist.
With the internationalization of the group, football took up less space, and the glorious hours at Bonal Stadium (20,000 seats) did not move the management of the group, which sold the club in 2015 for little money. In his book At the heart of the great downgrade. Peugeot-Sochaux lost prideJean-Baptiste Forray, Vice Editor of The Gazette of the Commons, brilliantly tells the story of a car factory and a football club. In a melancholy tale, Jean-Baptiste Forray depicts a region where winters are harsh but hearts are warm.
42,000 workers in big years
The sale of the club, a catastrophic event, only confirmed the decline of an industry, a city, a legend. FC Sochaux-Montbéliard remains one of the founding clubs of the French First Division (season 1932-1933), and its history has united an entire region for decades.
The Sochaux factory has about 7,000 employees, and when activity was at its peak, 42,000 workers shifted 24 hours a day to produce the fine flower of the automotive industry at the largest factory in Europe in the 1970s. Peugeot owned everything at the time. : factories, homes, supermarkets. A paternalistic community that sent workers’ children to summer camps to discover the joys of the mountains or the sea Lion, at a discount of nearly 20% offered by the boss.
“ Football is a sport that does not fit well with our values »
The time of the group’s internationalization has made us forget the epic of the Bonal Stadium Lions in the glorious hours of class struggle, with a club symbol on working class France. The book opens with statements from Isabel Salas Mendez, director of “sponsorship” and partnerships, at the microphone in Europe 1 one evening in 2019. When the journalist asked him what was going to happen to FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, she gave him the following answer: Football is a sport that does not go too well with our values. It conveys popular values, whereas we try to move upmarket. “Stick in the back.
Against the backdrop of unbridled globalization, Peugeot is cutting the last umbilical cord that connects workers with their bosses. FC Sochaux, created in 1928 at the instigation of the Peugeot family, is no longer a necessity, it is now considered a waste. It goes in the trash, like a bad bumper that has not passed the quality control.
FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, however, has two French championship titles to its name, won in 1935 and 1938, two French cup tournaments won in 1937 and 2007 and a League Cup achieved in 2004. Its best result in European competitions is a semi-final in the UEFA Cup in 1980- 1981 edition. Sons of workers, like Benoît Pedretti, put on crampons from childhood to go through the gym and become professionals.
Today, the city of Sochaux and the Montbéliard metropolitan area are largely poor. ” The French car industry, once a major exporter, is now the European champion in relocation. It leaves four to five times fewer cars from its assembly lines than across the Rhine writes Jean-Baptiste Forray in his conclusion. Since his arrival at the helm of Peugeot in 2013, Carlos Tavares, now head of the multinational car group Stellantis, as a result of the merger between the PSA group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has laid off 16,200 jobs on French soil.
The Ligue 2 championship is over, FC Sochaux (5th) kicks off a new competition consisting only of ax matches, with finally a ticket to advance to Ligue 1. The adventure begins in Paris, at Charlety Stadium on the 17th. May. And all the “yellow and blue” of the heart are crossing fingers for this return to the first division expected after this 8th season in a row in Ligue 2.