Troyes are members of the City Football Group. As such, they were scheduled to host CFG flagship club Manchester City in a pre-season friendly in late July, but had to cancel the match after new quarantine rules were imposed in England for travellers arriving from France. Troyes became CFG’s 4th European club last year, after Manchester City in England, Girona FC in Spain and Lommel SK in Belgium. ES Troyes AC, often referred to as ESTAC, was founded in 1986 in Troyes. Their best period was in the early 2000’s, when they twice finished 7th in Ligue 1, also qualifying for the Intertoto Cup in 2001 and 2002, ending up winning the cup in 2001. After some prolific years, the club were relegated again, and found themselves in financial difficulties as well. In the past 10 years, Troyes have been yo-yoing between the top two tiers, winning promotion to Ligue 1 three times.
The CFG network now provides immediate support – Troyes loaned Manchester City’s 20-year-old right back Issa Kabore and Lommel’s Bulgarian teenager midfielder Filip Krastev. Further signings are mainly to strengthen the midfield, including two more senior joiners, Rominigue Kouamé from champions Lille and Renaud Ripart from Nîmes. Troyes also boast an academy system that produced the likes of current Monaco defender Djibril Sidibé or Angers goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni; a more recent academy product is 21-year-old winger Bryan Mbeumo, who now plays at EPL newcomer Brentford FC.
Clermont Foot 63 have been promoted to the Ligue 1 for the 1st time in their history, after finishing 2nd in Ligue 2 in the past season. The roots of the club from the city of Clermont-Ferrand, one of the oldest cities in France, date back to 1911, while the current entity was created in 1990 as the result of a merger.
The club's current success has been largely attributed to head coach Pascal Gastien, who has been managing the team since 2017. They are also largely dependent on goals from their star player, 23-year-old forward Mohamed Bayo, who has recorded 23 goals and 7 assists in 48 matches for the club.
Interestingly, in 2014 Clermont became the 1st French professional men’s football team to appoint a female manager, Helena Costa.