History & honours

The Girondins football team’s story began in 1919 when they were formed as part of an “omnisports” club whose roots can be traced back to 1881, when the Société de gymnastique et de tir des Girondins was founded (hence the “1881” which features on the football club’s badge these days). They soon became known as Girondins Guyenne Sport (in reference to the 1924 merger with Guyenne Sports from the Saint-Augustin district of the city). 

The 1938-39 team line up for a photo (source: La Légende des Girondins).
In 1936, les Girondins merged with local rivals Bordeaux FC… and the following year became amateur champions of France. Now known as Girondins de Bordeaux Football Club (and their shirts freshly comprising their now-distinctive “V” design), they applied to turn professional. There had previously been two professional teams in the city, Sporting Club de la Bastidienne and Club Deportivo Espagnol de Bordeaux, who had merged to form a single team, FC Hispano-Bastidienne… but the experience had been short-lived. The Girondins therefore were keen to become the city’s single professional football team and in the 1937-38 season they managed just that, competing in group B of France’s second division.

In 1940, the club merged with Association Sportive du Port (an anchor was added to the club’s badge at the time, pictured right), although this was mainly because, in this wartime period, Girondins sportsmen were called on to operate as pompiers for the Port of Bordeaux. Meanwhile, back on the pitch itself, les Girondins won the French Cup in 1941 after a “series” of finals (the cup’s format had been somewhat disturbed by the country’s situation).

The Girondins continued their gradual sporting ascent and became French champions for the first time in 1950. Throughout the remainder of that decade they were twice Coupe de France finalists. They alternated between a stadium in the Chartrons quarter of Bordeaux and the municipality’s Lescure stadium until September 1958, when the club became the official primary users of Parc Lescure.

The 1960s, which began with a season spent in France’s second division, were trophy-less for the Girondins although they did finish up runners-up in the Championship three times and were on three further occasions the losing finalists in the Coupe de France. The club remained a bit-part player on the French football scene until the 1978 appointment of real estate magnate Claude Bez as chairman. This was to herald what is generally regarded as Bordeaux’s golden era, particularly from 1981 onwards when the football team broke away from the “omnisports” club to become a standalone entity.

A 1984-85 starting lineup including goalkeeper the late Dominique Dropsy, Patrick Battiston (back row, second from right) and, front row, from third right, Bernard Lacombe, Alain Giresse and Gernot Rohr, who later took over as coach (picture source: Sud Ouest via latribunedelescure.fr)
With promising coach Aimé Jacquet at the helm (he would later lead France to World Cup glory), the Girondins squad was built around internationals including Dominique Dropsy, Bernard Lacombe, Alain Giresse, Marius Trésor and Jean Tigana. The team became a dominant domestic force, winning league titles in 1984, 1985 and 1987, and the Coupe de France in 1986 and 1987. The Girondins also made good headway in Europe, making it as far as the Champions Cup semi-final in 1985 (losing to Juventus, who won the ill-fated Heysel final versus Liverpool) and the Cup-Winners Cup semi-final in 1987 (where they were knocked out by Lokomotiv Leipzig after a penalty shoot-out).

The following decade started badly with the team being demoted to the second division due to financial irregularities. The club did however work its way back up the ranks, and in 1995 qualified for the Intertoto Cup, which was set to provide a long and drawn-out back-door access to the following season’s UEFA Cup competition. With a backbone made up of rising French stars Bixente Lizarazu, Christophe Dugarry and one Zinedine Zidane, the club reached the final, which they lost over two legs to Bayern Munich. En route, they reversed a two-goal deficit against AC Milan in a quarter-final second leg that is still regarded as one of the club’s greatest nights. The 1990s closed with another championship title, secured by the team managed by Elie Baup in the dying minutes of the final match of the season, away at Paris Saint-Germain. The key players that year were Ali Bernarbia, Johan Micoud and prolific goalscorer Sylvain Wiltord. 

Zinedine Zidane and Christophe Dugarry in action against AC Milan in 1996 (picture source: francefootball.fr).
At the turn of the millennium, further success in the league proved elusive, but the team (which for three seasons included Portuguese marksman Pedro Pauleta) won the Coupe de la Ligue in 2002, 2007 and again in 2009. 2009 was also the year of the Girondins’ last championship title to date, driven by players including goalkeeper Ulrich Ramé, midfielder Yoann Gourcuff and forward Marouane Chamakh, who responded well to the instructions of coach Laurent Blanc. The following year, the Girondins reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where they were knocked out by Lyon.
The 2013 Coupe de France-winning squad (source sport24lefigaro.fr).
In the years since then, other than a Coupe de France title in 2013 (picture above after beating Evian 3-2) and the occasional Europa League run, Bordeaux have failed to re-establish themselves as a major force, despite the 2015 move to their new, modern stadium. Successive coaches Françis Gillot, Willy Sagnol, Jocelyn Gourvennec and Gustavo Poyet have struggled to take Bordeaux out of mid-table obscurity, much to the frustration of owners M6. Is another golden era on the horizon under the guidance of prodigal Brazilian manager Ricardo and his coach, the ever-loyal Eric Bedouet? Only time will tell…

Full honours 

  • French League champions
    1949-50, 1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1998-99, 2008-09
  • French League runners-up
    1951-52, 1964-65, 1965-66, 1968-69,1982-83, 1987-88, 1989-90, 2005-06, 2007-08
  • French Division 2 winners
    1991-92
  • Coupe de France
    1941, 1986, 1987, 2013
  • Coupe de France runners-up
    1943, 1952, 1955, 1964, 1968, 1969
  • Coupe de la Ligue
    2002, 2007, 2009
  • Coupe de la Ligue runners-up
    1997, 1998, 2010
  • French champions challenge winners
    1986
  • French champions challenge runners-up
    1968, 1985
  • Trophée des Champions
    2008, 2009
  • Trophée des Champions runners-up
    1999, 2013
  • Coupe Gambardella (youth cup)
    1976, 2013
  • Coupe Gambardella runners-up
    2008