Daniel Leclercq

Daniel Leclercq (4 September 1949 – 22 November 2019) was a French football defender and manager. He played 440 matches from 1967 to 1984 for US Valenciennes, Olympique de Marseille and RC Lens. He later managed clubs from 1986 to 2017. He remains the only manager to have led RC Lens to the Ligue 1 championship.[1]

Daniel Leclercq
Daniel Leclercq.jpg
Leclerq in 2011
Personal information
Date of birth (1949-09-04)4 September 1949
Place of birth Trith-Saint-Léger, France
Date of death 22 November 2019(2019-11-22) (aged 70)
Place of death Martinique, France
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Position(s) Defender
Youth career
1961–1967 Valenciennes
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1967–1970 Valenciennes 30 (3)
1970–1974 Marseille 75 (4)
1971–1972Angoulême (loan) 14 (4)
1974–1983 Lens 289 (27)
1983–1984 Valenciennes 33 (2)
Total 441 (40)
Teams managed
1986–1987 Valenciennes
1997–1999 Lens
2001 La Louvière
2003–2005 Valenciennes
2009–2016 Arleux-Fechain
2017 Douai
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


Leclercq was born 4 September 1949 in Trith-Saint-Léger, France and came up in the youth system of Valenciennes. Nicknamed le «Druide» (The Druid) for his long white hair, he played central defender for his entire career. In 1967, he made his first appearance in Ligue 1 with Valenciennes.

In 1970, he began a stint with Olympique de Marseille. In Marseille, he was part of a squad that won the Ligue 1 championship in the 1970–71 and 1971–72 seasons.[2]

He also celebrated a championship in the 1972 Coupe de France and the 1972 Trophée des Champions.

In 1974, he began his long association with RC Lens. He played nine of his 17 seasons with the club, appearing in 289 matches and scored 27 goals. After leaving Lens, he played one more season with his hometown club, Valenciennes before retiring.

He obtained his first assignment as a manager with Valenciennes in 1986, serving for one season. In 1997, he was hired at Lens where he found his greatest success. In the 1997–1998 season, he managed the club to its only Ligue 1 championship, beating FC Metz on goal differential. His club also reached the 1998 Coupe de France Final where it fell to Paris Saint-Germain F.C. 2–1. In the 1998–99 UEFA Champions League, Lens played in the group stage of the tournament. Although it did not advance to the knockout round, the French squad defeated Arsenal F.C. on the road at Wembley Stadium.[3] He achieved one more honor in 1999, winning the 1999 Coupe de la Ligue before leaving the team.[1] He left Lens after his championship run and returned to Valenciennes for two more seasons in 2003.

He served as the technical director for Lens from 2008 to 2011.[2] In 2009, he took on the managerial job at amateur club Arleux-Fechain through 2016. He spent one season with non-league SC Douai in 2017.

Leclercq died in Martinique on 22 November 2019 from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 70.[2][4]


  1. ^ a b "le «Druide» Daniel Leclercq, ancien entrainuer du RC Lens et VA, est mort". Le Voix du Nord (in French). 22 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Ancien entraîneur du RC Lens, champion de France en 1998, Daniel Leclercq est décédé". France Football (in French). 22 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Il y a 20 ans, le RC Lens faisait tomber Arsenal à Wembley". Lensois (in French). 25 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Daniel Leclercq, entraîneur champion de France avec Lens en 1998, est mort". L’Equipe (in French). 22 November 2019.

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