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Racing Club de Lens (Football club, France)

RCL

Last modified: 2012-04-09 by ivan sache
Keywords: pas-de-calais | football | lens | letters: rcl (white) | lamp: miner (black) | fleurs-de-lis: 2 (white) | tower (white) | cross (red) | cross (white) |
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[Flag of RCL]

Official flag of RCL - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011


See also:


Presentation of RCL

The Racing Club de Lens (RCL, unofficial website) was formed in 1906 in the coal-mining town of Lens, located in the Black Country (pays noir). The club was named for two main clubs of the time, Racing Club de France and Racing Club de Roubaix. Suppressed during the First World War, the club was refounded with American support. In 1924, the club adopted its famous colors, "blood and gold" (sang et or); the local tradition says that the President of the club, Mr. Moglia, selected these colors when passing by the town's church, built by the Spaniards in 1648.
The RCL adopted the professional status in 1934, while most of the players were coal miners. Upgraded in 1937 to the First League, the RCL won the North Zone championship in 1943 and 1944. From 1949 to 1968, the RCL played 20 consecutive seasons in the First League. In 1969, the closure of the Lens colliery caused the abandon of the professional status and the near extinction of the club; the RCL was eventually saved by André Delelis, the Mayor of Lens, who transferred the club and its stadium under municipal government. The RCL played again in the First League in 1974-1978 and 1979-1989.
The 1990s was the RCL's Golden Decade. Back to the First League in 1991, the club won the championship in 1998 and the League's Cup in 1999; it was then coached by Daniel Leclerc aka "The Druid", an emblematic player of the club (1971-1983). The FCL ranked second in the championship in 2002. The club is now experiencing hard times in the Second League.

The RCL played twice the final of the French Cup, losing 0-2 to Saint-Étienne in 1976 and 1-2 to Paris-Saint-Germain in 1998. The club played twice in the Champions' League, defeating Arsenal in Wembley (0-1) in 1998, being the first French club to win in Wembley, and Milan AC (2-1) in 2002. In the UEFA Cup, RC Lens won in 1977 a legendary victory against Lazio Rome (6-0, with four goals scored during the extra-time and four goals scored by the whimsical Didier Six); in 2002, they defeated Porto (1-0), being still now the only French club to have won over a team coached by José Mourinho.

The RCL plays in the Félix-Bollaert stadium, named for the President of the Board of the Lens Colliery, which built the stadium in 1932. Built on the model of English stadiums, that is, with no angle stands, the stadium was used for the 1984 Euro and the 1998 World Cup. "Bollaert" is the only French stadium where the "kop" supporter's stand is located on a lateral side of the stadium and not behind the goals or in the angles. The unofficial supporters' song is Les corons, a tribute to the miners (coron is the local name of the workers' estates in the mining towns). The author of the song, Pierre Bachelet, died in 2005; in the next match played at Bollaert against Lens, the supporters sang Les corons just before the start of the second half-time as a tribute to Bachelet, a very impressive tradition which has been preserved until today (video, video).

Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011


Official flag of RCL

The official flag of the RCL is red with the shield of the club in the middle.
The shield of the RCL is diagonally divided red-yellow, with the white letters "RCL" in the red part and a black miner's lamp placed in front of a white castle flanked by two white fleurs-de-lis in the yellow part. The white triangular chief of the shield is charged with "Depuis 1906" ("Since 1906") above the name of the club in black capital letters.

The tower and the fleurs-de-lis come from the municipal arms of Lens (municipal website), "Azure a castle or surrounded by two fleurs-de-lis of the same". The tower appeared on a municipal seal dated 1228, the fleurs-de-lis being added around 1400. The official design of the arms, credited to Robert Louis, was officially adopted on 5 November 1951.
The tower and the fleurs-de-lis were added to the shield of the RCL when the club was placed under municipal government.

Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011


RCL supporters' flags

The supporters of the RCL use various flags with combinations of the club's colors. Among the flags consistently seen on TV images and on photos available on the unofficial club's website are:

[Flag of RCL]

RCL supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011

- a yellow flag with a red stripe at the top and the bottom and a thin black stripe under and above the red stripes, but separated from them by a thin yellow stripe.

[Flag of RCL]

RCL supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011

- a yellow flag with a red stripe at the top and at the bottom of the flag

[Flag of RCL]

RCL supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011

- a flag vertically divided red-white-pale yellow

[Flag of RCL]

RCL supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011

- a yellow flag with a thin red cross

[Flag of RCL]

RCL supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011

- a flag vertically divided red-pale yellow

[Flag of RCL]

RCL supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011

- a square flag quartered red-yellow-red-yellow by a thin white cross

[Flag of RCL]

RCL supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011

- a flag horizontally divided red-yellow-black-yellow-red

[Flag of RCL]

RCL supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011

- a flag horizontally divided by a white stripe, the upper part vertically divided yellow-red-yellow, the lower part counter-colored

[Flag of RCL]

RCL supporter's flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011

- a red flag with three yellow horizontal stripes and three vertical stripes, blue-white-red, along the hoist.

Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011


"Flag of Hope"

[Flag of Hope]

"Flag of Hope" - Image by Ivan Sache, 14 August 2002

On 7 January 2001, before the match RCL-Nîmes Olympique, the "Flag of Hope" was presented by the RCL supporter's group Les Gaulois d'Or (The Golden Gauls). Coming from the small village of Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, the Golden Gauls designed this giant flag (7.60 m x 6.80 m, 51.68 sq. m) for the Teléthon Charity Day, with the help of the local Sewing Club, proving that even a small village could make a giant contribution to the Telethon.
The flag is constituted of 19 rows and 17 columns of alternating yellow and red squares. The squares in the four corners are yellow.

Ivan Sache, 17 December 2005