Stade Malherbe Caen (French pronunciation: [stad malɛʁb kɑ̃]; commonly known as SM Caen, SMC, or simply Caen) is a French professional football team, based in the city of Caen in Normandy, that competes in the Ligue 2. The club was founded on 17 November 1913 by the merger of Club Malherbe Caennais and Club Sportif Caennais. The team takes its name from François de Malherbe, a 17th century poet from Caen.
|Full name||Stade Malherbe Caen|
Les Vikings (The Vikings)
|Founded||17 November 1913|
|Ground||Stade Michel d'Ornano|
|Head coach||Stéphane Moulin|
|2021–22||Ligue 2, 7th of 20|
For most of its history, SM Caen has been one of the main amateur clubs in France. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the rise of Stade Malherbe in the French football hierarchy. In 1985, Stade Malherbe adopted professional status. Three seasons later, it was promoted for the first time to first division. In 1992, a few months after being narrowly saved from bankruptcy, the club finished fifth in Division 1 and qualified for UEFA Cup. But it was relegated three years later. Despite a second division title won in 1996, SM Caen fell back into the anonymity of the second division.
Under the chairmanship of Jean-François Fortin, from 2002, and under the sporting direction of Patrick Rémy, Franck Dumas and then Patrice Garande, the Stade Malherbe has regained sporting success. The club was promoted in Ligue 1 several times, reached the Coupe de la Ligue final in 2005 and finished 7th in Ligue 1 in 2016. In 2018, while the club makes its 5th consecutive season in Ligue 1, a conflict erupted within the management team, causing the departure of chairman Jean-François Fortin and coach Patrice Garande. Caen was relegated to Ligue 2 in 2019. Facing financial troubles, it was bought by the American fund Oaktree Capital Management in 2020, which appointed Olivier Pickeu as new president.
SM Caen has been playing since 1993 at the Stade Michel d'Ornano. Before and since its foundation, the club played at Stade de Venoix, which is now used by the reserve team. It has geographical rivalries with Le Havre AC (sometimes called "Le derby normand") and Stade Rennais, its closest neighbour when the club was in Ligue 1.
Genesis (Before 1913)Edit
Many football clubs were constituted in Caen at the end of the 19th century : the Union sportive des étudiants de Caen, founded in 1892, the Union Athlétique du Lycée Malherbe (UALM), founded in 1892 or 1895 and the Club Sportif Caennais, founded in November 1899. These clubs participated in the early editions of the football championship organised by the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques.
In 1907, former members of UALM created the Club Malherbe Caennais, soon the best club in Lower Normandy. In 1909 and 1911, several friendlies matches were organised between a selection of players from Caen and the English club of St Albans City F.C.
First years and first professional adventure (1913–1947)Edit
The Stade Malherbe Caennais was officially founded on 17 November 1913 from the merger of Club Sportif Caennais and Club Malherbe Caennais. It was a multi-sport athletic club, which adopted the "Malherbe" and the striped jersey of the CMC, and the red and blue colours of CSC. The club had its own facilities – the Stade de Venoix – inherited from the CMC.
The football team of CMC, engaged in the league in Lower Normandy, changed its name just after the start of the season. By winning this competition, Stade Malherbe recorded their first title in its first year of existence. Having qualified for the finals of the 1914 USFSA Football Championship, Caen was eliminated in the 1/8 final by the Union sportive Servannaise : after a draw in the first game (3–3) it had to forfeit the second. World War I stopped the competitions. Thirty-nine members of the club were killed in the fighting, including former captain Eugène Lesomptier.
In 1919, the USFSA championship was replaced by regional championships organised by the French Football Federation, called Division d'Honneur. Stade Malherbe, reinforced by the move to Caen of the former French international Eugène Maës, won six times the championship of Lower Normandy between 1920 and 1928, but were unable to compete with the major Upper Normandy clubs, Le Havre AC and FC Rouen. Since 1919–20, Caen also participated in the Coupe de France but fell in round of 32 in 1921 and 1922. In 1929, the two Division d'Honneur leagues of Normandy were merged and Stade Malherbe was promoted the year after. Its best final standing was 5th in 1933.
In 1934, one year after FC Rouen and Le Havre AC, Stade Malherbe acquired professional status and reached the French Division 2. The club finished 11th out of 16 for the first season, then 6th in 1936 and 8th in 1937. But its financial situation deteriorated and Stade Malherbe left D2 in 1938, after four professional seasons.
An important amateur club (1948–1985)Edit
In 1948, Stade Malherbe joined the newly founded Championnat de France amateur [fr], the third level of French football. Soon considered as a "lord" in CFA, Caen was unable to win the championship, unlike their regional rival US Quevilly, despite successive calls to former French international players as coaches: Jules Vandooren, Jean Prouff, Andre Grillon, Jean Vincent and Oliver Celestin.
Stade Malherbe made itself known essentially by repeated feats in Coupe de France in the 1950s : French champion Stade de Reims (2–1) and top teams Racing Club de France (3–2) and RC Lens were defeated in January 1953, 1956 and 1961. In 1958, Caen pushed FC Nantes to play five games to decide: the first three games resulting in 0–0 draws, the fourth was stopped, the fifth saw Nantes win 1–0. Through its success Caen won the "Challenge France-Football" rewarding the best amateur team in Coupe de France in 1956 and 1961. Undermined by the instability of its coaches and presidents and a precarious financial health, Stade Malherbe weakened gradually and was relegated twice (in 1962 and 1965) into Division d'Honneur, but regained its place in CFA.
In 1970, the CFA was removed and the Division 2 was enlarged to 48 teams. During the 1970s, Caen evolved between D3 and D2, where it failed to stabilise. Jacques Mouilleron became coach in 1973. In 1975, the club won its first national title: the West group of Division 3. Stade Malherbe was named best amateur club by France-Football and Jean-Paul Bouffandeau and Jean-Paul Pottier were named French amateur players of the year in 1975 and 1976. 3 years later, Caen fell back to D3.
From D2 to the European Cup (1985–1993)Edit
SM Caen has been a professional football club since 1985. The stated objective of Mankowski was to bring Caen into the first division. He helped the team improve, first in defence then in attack. Caen finished sixth in D2 in 1986 and second in 1987, with notable scorers Philippe Prieur and Éric Pécout. Caen made the stade de Venoix an unbeatable place but bowed out in front of AS Cannes in the playoffs. Caen succeeded in the playoffs following season, defeating Olympique Lyonnais and Chamois Niortais F.C., relegated from D1.
In 1988 Stade Malherbe made Division 1. Despite many departures, including coach Mankowski (replaced by Robert Nouzaret) and six first losses, Caen stayed up, one point ahead of RC Strasbourg, with the advent of a promising striker Fabrice Divert. Stade Malherbe confirmed, not without difficulties, its performance the following season.
With a new coach, Daniel Jeandupeux, the team was largely restructured. In 1990–91, Caen took its place in the first half of Division 1, thanks to the excellent results obtained in Venoix. However, the press revealed in late 1991 that the club was close to bankruptcy. Regional businesses and local government bailed out the club, which led to a brilliant 1991–92 season. Stade Malherbe finished fifth and qualified for the first (and so far only) time for the UEFA Cup. Stéphane Paille scored 15 goals during the season. For the first round of the 1992–93 UEFA Cup, Caen had to face up to Real Zaragoza. Caen won 3–2 in the 1st leg but lost 2–0 in Spain. Despite the goals of Xavier Gravelaine, SM Caen finished the season in a relatively disappointing eleventh rank.
Between First and Second Division (since 1993)Edit
In the 2003–04 season, Caen finished 2nd in Ligue 2, gaining promotion to Ligue 1. They were relegated on the last day of the 2004–05 Ligue 1 season, finishing in 18th place despite some positive results, including a surprise 3–2 away win at Marseille. But the main highlight of their season was making it into the final of the Coupe de la Ligue for the first time in their history. Their chance at a major trophy eluded them however, as they lost 2–1 to Strasbourg in the final.
On 25 May 2007, SM Caen obtained promotion to Ligue 1 after a victory in last game at Libourne (1–2). In the 2008–09 season, the team was once again relegated to Ligue 2 after losing 1–0 at home to Bordeaux, but won championship next season and thus came back to Ligue 1.
In the 2010–11 season, Caen got off to a highly impressive start by defeating defending champions Marseille 2–1 away on the first day of the season, then following it up with a 3–2 home win over the previous season's Champions League semi-finalists Lyon.
In the 2013–14 season, Caen were in Ligue 2, but won promotion to Ligue 1 for the 2014–15 season. As part of their promotion battle, they drew a crucial match with Nîmes in May 2014. This 1–1 result was also very favourable to Nîmes who were battling to avoid relegation. This result raised suspicions, and in November 2014, Caen chairman Fortin was arrested, amongst several others, on suspicion of match fixing. Finally, he was cleared in March 2015. For the 2016–17 and 2017–18 seasons, Caen avoided relegation to Ligue 2 on both occasions by securing a draw on the final day of the season against Paris Saint-Germain.
In the 2018–19 season, Caen were relegated on the final day of the campaign after losing to Bordeaux 1–0. Caen needed to win the match and hope that results elsewhere would go in their favour. The relegation ended Caen's five-year stay in the top division.
|National||Regional, Youth and International|
* denotes promotion without winning the championship.
Club crest and coloursEdit
Club Malherbe Caennais wore a black and white vertical stripes jersey, while Club Sportif Caennais used blue and red horizontal stripes. Following the merger of two clubs in 1913, the officials decided to mix colours and symbols by adopting the CMC vertical stripes and CSC colours.
Stade Malherbe used for almost fifty years the same diamond shaped logo, designed for the first professional period in 1934.
In 1989, a new logo was designed, with a longship floating on the waves, a nod to the Viking origin of Normandy, and three arrows of the city of Caen. It was used in various versions for eighteen seasons, including within a shield in the 2006–07 season. In 2007, officials present a new logo. The new logo reflects the identity of the club, closely linked to the Norman period of William the Conqueror: the flag of Normandy, which is actually the historical Norman flag of the Two Lions, can be often seen in the Kop Normandy. In 2013, the official anthem of SM Caen "Normands, fiers et conquérants!" was made with a marked reference to the Norman identity:
- "Représenter la Normandie est un honneur
- Derrière nos léopards nous chanterons en cœur!
- Décrire cette belle région
- Doit se faire à l'unisson
- Nous sommes Normands, fiers et conquérant!
- Portons les couleurs du Stade Malherbe de Caen,
- et c'est à d'Ornano que nous allons chantant
- Nous sommes de la même famille,
- Tous unis à domicile,
- Nous sommes Normands fiers et conquérants!"
- "Represent Normandy is an honour,
- We are gonna support our leopards with our chants,
- Describe this beautiful region
- must unite us together
- We are Normans, proud and conquerors!
- We wear the colours of SM Caen
- And we go singing to d'Ornano
- We are from the same family,
- All united in a home,
- We are Normans, proud and conquerors!"
Stade de Venoix was the club's home from 1913, although the first stand was built only in 1925, until 1993. Venoix could hold over 15,000 spectators at its peak, and now has a capacity of 5,000.
In 1993 a new 21,500-capacity stadium was built, named Stade Michel d'Ornano. The new stadium is around 500 meters away from the Stade de Venoix.
As of 31 August 2022.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loanEdit
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Notable former playersEdit
- Kennet Andersson
- Mathieu Bodmer
- Luc Borrelli
- Benoît Costil
- Damien Da Silva
- Stéphane Dedebant
- Franck Dumas
- Youssef El-Arabi
- Julien Féret
- William Gallas
- Edwin Gorter
- Yoan Gouffran
- Raphaël Guerreiro
- Ngolo Kanté
- Thomas Lemar
- Bernard Mendy
- Aleksandr Mostovoi
- Benjamin Nivet
- Stéphane Paille
- Graham Rix
- Jérôme Rothen
- Emiliano Sala
- Jérémy Sorbon
- Grégory Tafforeau
- Pascal Théault
- Ronald Zubar
|Most capped players|
|Xavier Gravelaine||3 (1992–93)|
|Fabrice Divert||1 (1990)|
|Steve Savidan||1 (2008)|
last update : summer 2010
(only D2, D1 and cups matches)
|1972 – Dec 72||Bernard Lelong|
|Dec 1972||Guy Lunel (interim)|
|Dec 1972 – Nov 73||Émile Rummelhardt|
|Nov 1973–79||Jacques Mouilleron|
|1988 – Dec 89||Robert Nouzaret|
|Dec 1989–94||Daniel Jeandupeux|
|1997 – Nov 97||Gabriel Calderon|
|Nov 1997||Daniel Jeandupeux (interim)|
|Nov 1997 – Sept 00||Pascal Théault|
|Sept 2000||Christophe Desbouillons (interim)|
|Sept 2000–01||Jean-Louis Gasset|
|2002 – 5 May 2005||Patrick Remy|
|May 2005||Franck Dumas (interim)|
|2005–09||Franck Dumas &|
|2009–12||Franck Dumas &|
|1992||UEFA Intertoto Cup||Group stage||Lyngby BK||1–0||1–2||2nd|
|1992–93||UEFA Cup||First Round||Real Zaragoza||3–2||0–2||3–4|
- "#73 – SM Caen : Malherbe" (in French). Footnickname. 17 May 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
- "Communiqué de Oaktree et Pierre Antoine Capton (Statement by Oaktree and Pierre-Antoine Capton)". Stade Malherbe Caen. 7 September 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
- "From birth to Division 1". Stade Malherbe Caen. Archived from the original on 12 September 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "Palmarès USFSA". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "Caen ... before 1940". City of Caen – Town Hall. Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "France – List of Regional Champions 1919–1932 : Normandie". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "Marseille arrests and match-fixing probe rock French football". France 24. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
- "Presidents of two French clubs arrested on match-fixing suspicions". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
- Pretot, Julien (17 March 2015). "Nimes to be relegated for attempted match fixing". Reuters. Retrieved 1 December 2015.[dead link]
- "Ligue 1: Depay hat trick sees Lyon into UCL". 19 May 2018.
- "Ligue1.com - Rodelin masterminds Caen escape". www.ligue1.com. Archived from the original on 23 May 2017.
- "Caen relegated after bordeaux defeat". Ligue 1. Archived from the original on 26 May 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
- Effectif Caen – Equipe Pro
- "Caen : Le nouveau coach nommé (off)" (in French). foot-national.com. 9 June 2019.
- "Caen : Rui Almeida suspendu de ses fonctions" (in French). foot-national.com. 28 September 2019.
- "Caen : Pascal Dupraz nouvel entraîneur (off)" (in French). foot-national.com. 1 October 2019.
- "Départ de Pascal Dupraz du Stade Malherbe Caen". Stade Malherbe Caen (in French). 23 March 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
- "Caen : Stéphane Moulin nouvel entraîneur (off)" (in French). foot-national.com. 4 June 2021.