17 July 2002 | à 00h40

History of the Stade Rennais

Created on March, 10th 1901, the Stade Rennais keeps on writing the most beautiful pages in its history. Finishing 4th of the 2004-2005 French Championship was the club's best ever result...

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La bande d’anciens étudiants à l’origine de la création du Stade Rennais
Photo Ouest-France

March 10th, 1901

A group of former students, including the likes of Ghis, Duschene, Jamin, Peter, Malfilatre, Audren or Langilier, creates the Stade Rennais, initially as a multisport club with football, athletics and hockey divisions. The club’s shirt colours - navy and sky blue stripes – are inspired by those from Le Havre Athletic Club (themselves inspired by the navy blue shirts from Oxford and sky blue shirts from Cambridge), the eldest of French clubs, founded in 1872.

March 24th, 1901

Two weeks after its foundation, the Stade Rennais played its first competitive game, against the FC Rennais, for a 6-0 defeat.

May 4th, 1904

The Stade Rennais and the FC Rennais merge to create a team able to rival with the Union Sportive Servannaise, based in Saint Malo. The Stade Rennais Université Club (SRUC) was born. This merging was also the ground for the design of a new shirt, red and black with a vertical stripe: The stripes are based on the Stade Rennais shirt and the black and red colours are taken from the FC Rennais shirt.

Claude Loire, Stade Rennais’ most illustrious historian, explains the origin of the shirt’s colours: “In the Middle-Age, Rennes was nicknamed the “red city” , in reference to the red schism of Ille et Vilaine. Black and Red were chosen since the FC Rennais, the oldest of both clubs, was founded by anarchist-syndicalist students. The shirt has got a double identity of laicism and catholicism, the red colour being a symbol of the republic while the black colour symbolizes a priest’s cassock ».

1905 to 1922

The Stade Rennais is performing well on the regional scene (three titles of Bretagne champion in 1906, 1908 and 1909, and three victories in the Ligue de l’Ouest de Football-Association (Western Football League) in 1919, 1920 and 1921) as well as on the national scene (winner of the Allied Forces Cup in 1917, finalist of the French Cup in 1922 and quarter-finalist in 1917, twice quarter-finalist of the USFSA France Championship and finalist of the inter-federal cup in 1917).

The team also leave their pitch in La Mabilais in September 1912, moving into the currently used Parc des Sports du Moulin du Compte, on the Route de Lorient.

1923 to 1963

From September 1929 until September 1932, following a conflict with the regional and national bodies, The Stade Rennais only played friendlies: 102 of them were played in 3 years, including 26 against foreign teams such as the Austria Vienna, Wacker, First Vienna, Sparta Prague, Slavia Prague or Budapest.

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L’équipe du Stade Rennais 1949-1950, 4e du championnat
Photo Ouest-France

In 1932, Walter Kaiser of Rennes was crowned as the top-goalscorer of the first professional France Championship.

On May 5 th, 1935, the Stade Rennais is taking part in its second French Cup final, after losing the first one to Red Star in 1922. The Stade Rennais meet the Olympique de Marseille in Colombes, but lose 3-0 in front of 30,000 spectators.

In 1937, Rennes is relegated and will remain 2 years in the Second Division.

In1949, coached by Guérin and Grumellon, the SRUC reach the 4th place in the First Divisions. After this, Rennes will go through a phase of promotions and relegations between the first and second division until the end of the fifties.

1964 to 1969

Coached by Jean Prouff, the Stade Rennais ends the league on its best ever position in the 1964-65 season. They finish 4th with the best attack in the first division.

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Yves Boutet, capitaine de l’équipe rennaise, porté en triomphe par Loncle et Pellegrini après avoir remporté la Coupe de France (1965)
Photo Ouest-France

The same year, the SRUC wins the Coupe de France for the first time, in 1965, after the two finals lost in 1922 and 1935. They beat Sedan 3-1 in the Parc des Princes, in a replay of the initial final, drawn 2-2.

In September 1965, Rennes plays the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup against the Dukla Prague: 2-0 defeat away, 0-0 draw in Brittany : Rennes is out on the first round.

On November 11th, 1965, the attendance record Route de Lorient is beaten, with 28,148 spectators for the derby against Nantes.

In 1967, the SRUC reaches the last four in the Coupe de France. A 0-0 draw against Sochaux, an a defeat in the replay: Rennes will have to wait a bit longer before reaching the 4th cup final in their history…

1970 to 1986

In 1970, the Stade Rennais exits in semi-finals of the Coupe de France against Saint-Etienne, losing 1-0 in Brittany before drawing the return leg, 1-1.

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Louis Cardiet, seul Rennais à avoir remporté les deux coupes, brandissant le précieux trophée (1971)
Photo Ouest-France

In 1971, Rennes win the Coupe de France for the second time in their history: despite a 1-0 defeat to Marseille on the semi-final’s 1st leg, they win the return leg 2-1 after extra time to eventually qualify through the penalty shootouts! In Paris, for the final, the Stade Rennais beats the Olympique Lyonnais 1-0. Brittany’s capital celebrates, and an estimated 60,000 supporters gather on the Town Hall’s square to see their players present the trophy.

Rennes enter the European Cup Winner’s Cup again, against the Glasgow Rangers, for the same result as in their previous participation: a draw (1-1 in the first leg) and a defeat (1-0 in the return leg)

On May 23rd, 1972, the Stade Rennais Université Club (SRUC) takes its current name, becoming the Stade Rennais Football Club (SRFC).

In 1975, after 17 years of presence in the top flight, the SRFC is relegated in the Second Division, starting a new era of Ups and Downs between the first two divisions, along with serious financial trouble.

1986 : Rennes reaches another Coupe de France semi-final, but falls to Marseille, losing 1-0 on the first leg before drawing 1-1 in the return leg.

Since 1987

July 1998: François Pinault (4th wealthiest person in France and owner of Gucci, Christie’s or Puma among others) becomes the primary shareholder of the Stade Rennais with 66, 66% of the Club’s capital.

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Shabani Nonda et Christophe Leroux après le but égalisateur inscrit par le joueur du Burundi lors de Rennes-Juventus (2-2), Route de Lorient
Photo RaiSport

August 1999: During his first season as Rennes manager, Paul Le Guen reaches the 5th place in the league. Rennes consequently qualifies for the UEFA Intertoto Cup and reach the final. They are drawn against Zinedine Zidane’s Juventus Turin: Defeated 2-0 in Italy, they draw 2-2 in the return leg.

September 1st, 2001: The Stade Rennais celebrates its 100th birthday with a night of celebrations in the Route de Lorient: A game between Rennes’ former players, followed with the century’s game between Rennes and the Senegal national team (2-1), unveiling of the “team of the century, and an audio-visual show remembering Stade Rennais’ history, before a final fireworks display.

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La joie des jeunes rennais après leur victoire en Coupe Gambardella (2003)
Photo Fédération Française de Fooball

May 2003: Rennes junior team wins the Gambardella Cup (U19 edition of the Coupe de France). 30 years after a generation including Christian Gourcuff, Jean-Luc Arribart and Pierrick Hiard, a brilliant future seemed promised to players such as Jacques Faty, Yoann Gourcuff, Gregory Bourillon or Arnold M’Vuemba…

On August 18th, 2004, the Stade de la Route de Lorient, fully renovated, host the France national team, for Raymond Domenech’s first game as head coach of “Les Bleus”. France manages a 1-1 draw against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

On May 28th, 2005, the Stade Rennais, despite a final defeat against Paris Saint Germain (1-0), finishes on 4th position in the French 2004-2005 Championship – Their best ever result – and qualifies for the UEFA Cup.

On September 15th and 29th, 2005, Rennes was opposed to Osasuna in the UEFA Cup’s first round. After a 3-1 home victory, the “Rouge et Noir” managed a draw (0-0) against Pampelune and qualified for the group phase. Four defeats in as many games followed, against the VfB Stuttgart (0-2 in Rennes), Rapid Bucarest (2-0 in Bucarest), Shakthar Donetsk (0-1 in Rennes) and the PAOK Thessaloniki (1-5 in Greece), pushing the Stade Rennais toward an inglorious exit.

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