Against Metz, FC Rouen (FCR) did not miss an opportunity. Three shots on target, as many goals, to eliminate, on January 6, the boarder from Lorraine in the first division in 32es of the Coupe de France final. A nice snub to history. Because the Norman club is rather a specialist in missed opportunities. "This club could have been in the top 10 in the history of French football, but each time it missed the right train", summarizes Matthieu Gudefin, who chairs the Federation of Red Butts, an association "FCR lovers".
Instead, the seinomarin club, which must face Angers in 16es final Sunday, January 19 (at 5:15 p.m.), plays in National 2, the fourth hexagonal division. And failed to disappear. "FC Rouen is a phoenix", enthuses the supporter.
The history of this club, which celebrated the past 120 years of its existence, "No shortage of jolts", agrees Fabrice Tardy, its president. Founded at the end of the XIXe century it flourishes in the middle of the XXe century. In the 1930s, five local players represented Rouen on the French team, and the Red Devils settled in the heart of French football, alternating between the first and second divisions.
In 1995, 1997 and 2013, the FCR files for bankruptcy
Before falling abruptly. Three times, in 1995, 1997 and 2013, the FCR files for bankruptcy. And left, seven years ago, in the Honor Division, the sixth national level, and the lowest level ever reached by the club.
"We have hit rock bottom", breath Matthieu Gudefin, Red ass since the opening of a Panini album, small. "We could have, if not been repeatedly wiped off the map of French football, notes the President of Rouen, who has patiently relieved the club since 2013. But people's visceral attachment to our colors has allowed us to set off again. "
Only popular enthusiasm has kept the club from sinking when "We wanted to kill him"insists David Giguel, who played under the scapular jersey before coaching the club. Understand, merge it with the US Quevilly, ambitious rival of the metropolis – and author of several remarkable courses in Coupe de France.
Refusal of "this takeover bid on FC Rouen"
Launched in 2015 at the behest of the city and the Queville president, this association aimed to create a large pennant team, intermingling the two badges, but called Quevilly Rouen Métropole (QRM).
An appellation that goes wrong with the Red Butts, who fear the erasure of more than a century of history. Don't talk to Fabrice Tardy about "fusion". "At most, there was an engagement, and it ended badly", says the president of the Red Devils.
If their first teams merge, the two clubs keep the rest of their structure. However, in Rouen, "The public votes", says David Giguel. Refusing "This takeover bid for FC Rouen", supporters gather in the stands in the Honor Division, "Sometimes as much as QRM, yet in Ligue 2", recalls Matthieu Gudefin. And achieve their goals in 2017, their club regaining its independence.
"We have a professional audience"
"The city's club is FC Rouen!, hammered David Giguel after qualifying against Metz. We wanted to absorb it, kill it, but it was not possible. " And to recall the complicated conditions in which the club works, more really at home in its stadium, named after the historic president of FC Rouen.
"Here, we are in an amateur club but we have a professional audience", sums up midfielder Fred Dembi, first goalscorer of the Red Devils against Metz (suspended in 16e after taking off his jersey, to pay homage to Nathaël Julan, a young Guingamp player who died in a road accident). To the point that the Federation of Red Butts raised more than 40,000 euros in an online kitty to take shares in the club's simplified joint stock company (SAS) up to 6%.
Seeing the city's pennant club reborn delighted its former residents. "This Cup epic is a reward for all those who fought in difficult times", greets Roger Hitoto, “Pure red devil, trained at the club” at the turn of the 1990s before leaving for Lille, after the fall of the FCR. The former Congolese international highlights the thoroughness and professionalism of the coach, with whom he trained.
Serious candidate for the rise in National
If his journey in the Cup puts him in the spotlight, FC Rouen has had an impeccable season in the league. Saturday January 11, between ring road and boulevards des maréchaux, on the borders of 13e district of Paris, the Rouennais seriously disposed of FC Gobelins (1-2), and accentuated their lead at the head of their pool of Nationale 2.
Serious candidate for the rise in National, although promoted, the club could come across its rival rival from Lille next season. "We want to slowly rebuild", insists the president. Before thinking of finding " its place " – according to supporters – in the metropolis and French football, the Rouen phoenix intends to enjoy its adventure in the Coupe de France.