Note: This weekly series will look for teams outside of the top flights of European football to find true underdog stories of clubs well below the radar. Clubs will be featured based on performance in the various tournaments that happen concurrently with the league seasons, or even strong runs in some of the leagues that dot the European football landscape. Chances are, these clubs will be years away from finding a home at the top flights of football – if they are ever able to get there – but it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve attention from time to time. If you happen upon a team that you think might qualify, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter @GuruEbby or @SportMuseNet!
Full Name: Paris Football Club
Location: Paris, France
Team Colors: Royal Blue
Ground: Stade Charléty
Current League: Ligue 2 (Tier 2 in France)
Reason For Notice
With minimal non-league action happening across England this week, I decided to find a club that had an interesting story, preferably one that was outside of England.
Paris FC caught my attention because of the circumstances surrounding their founding, as well as their inability to compete in Ligue 1 for nearly 40 years. Paris Saint-Germain gets a lot of notice as the football club in Paris, while Paris FC has struggled since inception to compete against that club for supremacy in the French capital.
Among major European football clubs, Paris FC is a relatively young club, tracing their founding to 1969. They were launched in an attempt to return professional football to Paris, and had grand intentions of competing in the top flight of French football by the following season. To accelerate the process, Paris FC merged with Stade Saint-Germain, forming Paris Saint-Germain.
With PSG originally playing about 12 miles north of Paris, the mayor of Paris wanted a club closer to the city. Therefore, Paris FC started a few years after the merger, maintaining the professional level players and the status in Ligue 1. Paris Saint-Germain was relegated to the third division and given the amateur players that belonged to the club.
In 1983, Paris FC merged with Racing Club de France, and Paris FC was administratively relegated to the fourth division. They bounced around the lower professional divisions for most of the next two decades, and reached a low point when they were relegated to the Championnat de France amateur (now known as Championnat National 2) in 2000. They were re-promoted to Ligue 2 in 2014-2015 after a successful season in Championnat National (Tier 3), but it was another one season stay.
After one more season in the Championnat National, they were promoted again to Ligue 2 in 2017 after a third place finish. Last season, they managed to stay up in Ligue 2 with an 8th-place finish, and even stayed competitive for promotion for part of the season. Through 15 matches this season, Paris FC is 7-5-3 (26 points) and one point out of the final playoff spot.
On Friday, Paris FC will play Valenciennes on the road, a club currently below them on the league table, and next week will host Clermont. Both matches should give them an opportunity to improve on their current league position.
Like most other UEFA federations, France also has two domestic competitions, a domestic cup open to all French football clubs, as well as the league cup,which is open to only the top two tiers of French football. Unfortunately, Paris FC was eliminated from both competitions, losing in the first round of the league cup to fellow Ligue 2 club Ajaccio back in August, and in the 7th round of the domestic cup to Iris Club de Croix, a team from Tier 4.
Update on Last Week’s Club
Last week, I profiled National League South club Slough Town FC after they found some success in the first round of the FA Cup. Their second round match will be on 2 December at home against League One club Gillingham, and are one of five clubs – including fellow Small Club Southport County – from Tier 6 still in the competition. Slough was also hoping to move on in the FA Trophy competition, but they lost this past weekend to league-mate Weston-super-Mare.
With all the non-league competitions, they don’t play another league match until 8 December, so they will hope to improve on their current 13th-place standing and begin to catch up to the rest of the league in total matches played; while most clubs have played 18 matches, Slough has only played in 16, hampering their ability to compete in the league.
Until next time…