Football Club de Grenoble: a Club Rich in History
FC Grenoble Rugby History and Highlights.
Founded over 130 years ago in 1892 in a merger between the main clubs in the area, Grenoble chose red and blue as its colors and has played at Stade des Alpes since the 2014-15 season.
Football Club de Grenoble won the French second division in 1951 and, just three years later, was crowned French champions after beating US Cognac 5-3. It remains Grenoble’s only French Championship title to this day.
1993 Title Controversy
In the 1992-93 French Rugby Union Championship Final, FC Grenoble came up against Castres Olympique, who was vying for its third title a good 43 years since its last.
FC Grenoble, led by Captain Herve Chaffardon, was leading Castres when a try from Olivier Brouzet was disallowed. Soon after, Castres Lock Gary Whetton was judged to have scored a try; however, it was actually Grenoble’s Franck Hueber who touched the ball down on his own try line.
There had been rumors of a scandal before the game, and this incident provoked a further reaction, with many believing there was a conspiracy at play, including FC Grenoble Head Coach Jacques Fouroux. It took 13 years, but the referee from that final, Daniel Salles, eventually admitted he had made a mistake in allowing the try.
FC Grenoble would lose the final at the Parc des Princes, 14-11, but the game would go down in history.
Grenoble has developed some fantastic players in the past and has been proud to see them grace the national stage for France.
Edmond Besset and Felix Lasserre both featured for FC Grenoble and France during the 1920s. At the time of his debut, Lasserre was the youngest French international, having made his debut at 19 facing Ireland. He made 15 appearances for the national team between 1914-24 and was considered one of the best players in the world at the time. He was also captain of the Olympic team participating in the 1924 French Olympic Games.
Edmond Vellat didn’t make many appearances for the national team, he did, in one specific match, make an impact that went down in the history books. It was in a 1927 Five Nations match against old foes England, a team they’d never defeated before in 16 attempts, the first of which dated back to 1906. Vellat scored the only try in a tight and ferocious tie, securing the 3-0 victory and France’s only win of the tournament.
The Modern Era
The club’s fans were left in disarray during the 2004-05 season as the Top 16 league reduced the number of teams from 16 to 14.
This meant the league increased the number of relegated teams by one, which included FC Grenoble, although they were 49 points behind 13th placed Pau, and many believed they were deserving of relegation. After their debts were revealed to be of in excess of €3 million, the team were relegated for the second year in a row to Federale 1.
The team managed to get back into Pro D2 at the first attempt and kept its status in the league the following season by a single point. As the years went on, Grenoble improved, and, just five years after returning to Pro D2, won promotion to Top 14 in 2012.
Grenoble was then relegated once again in the 2018-19 season, losing 19 games and only winning 5. The team was close to bouncing straight back, but with the COVID-19 breakout occurring and effectively canceling the season, Grenoble was forced to wait at least another year to return to the pinnacle of French rugby.