FC Nantes, also known as “Les Canaris” (The Canaries) or “La Maison Jaune” (The Yellow House) is a French football club based in Nantes, France. Founded on 21 April 1943, the club was a merger of five existing local Nantes clubs during the Second World War. Théodore Retureau played an instrumental role in the creation of the club, having been a member of Nantes’ first ever football club. His vision was to create a major club in the city of Nantes which would compete on the national level.
FC Nantes is known for its iconic yellow and green jersey colours, which is where their nickname “Les Canaris” originates. The club adopted the colours of the original Nantes crest, which featured a yellow and green shield with a ship and a castle on it. The origins of these colours can be traced back to medieval France. At the time, yellow symbolised the city’s loyalty to the monarchy, while green represented municipal pride.
The retro Nantes jersey has gone through various changes over the years, but what remained consistent is the bold yellows and the addition of green accents. At different periods, the club has experimented with various styles, including green and yellow stripes, vertically or horizontally.
In 2008, the club celebrated its 65th anniversary by releasing a special edition retro Nantes jersey. This limited edition jersey showcased the classic yellow base, with a green collar, a button-up neck, and a green applique of the club’s emblem in the form of a small canary on the left side. This iconic design paid homage to the club’s rich history and has since become a collector’s item for fans and football enthusiasts alike.
The club has played in various stadiums throughout Nantes in its early years, starting with Stade Malakoff, Stade Marcel Saupin, and the Stade Le Guillou before moving to their permanent home in 1937, the Stade de la Beaujoire-Louis Fonteneau, commonly referred to as La Beaujoire. The stadium has a seating capacity of approximately 37,473 spectators and has been the setting for numerous historical moments in the club’s history.
La Beaujoire has not only hosted domestic league matches for FC Nantes but has also been a stage for major international games, particularly during the 1984 European Championship and the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
In recent years, the City of Nantes has unveiled plans to build a new stadium, the YelloPark, set to replace La Beaujoire. The timeline for the completion of the modern stadium is yet to be officially determined.
Throughout the club’s existence, several notable players have graced FC Nantes with their footballing prowess. These players have become club legends and wrote their names in the heart of Nantes’ supporters for their contributions to the club’s successes.
– Philippe Gondet: A Nantes native, Gondet is regarded as one of the most prolific goal scorers in the club’s history. He began playing for the team in 1963 and is best remembered for his hat-trick in the title-deciding match against Valenciennes during the 1965 season. Gondet also played a crucial role in Nantes’ success in 1966 by scoring 36 goals, a French top-flight record at the time.
– Henri Michel: A midfielder by trade, Michel was the epitome of consistency and loyalty to the club, having spent his entire playing career at Nantes. In his time at the club, he won three league titles, including a domestic double in 1965. His leadership and impeccable performances earned him the nickname of ‘The King’ from the Nantes fans.
– Vahid Halilhodzic: The Yugoslav striker joined the club in 1981 and quickly became an essential part of the squad. Halilhodzic exhibited a keen eye for goal and scored 93 league goals over four seasons. In the 1982-1983 season, he was Ligue 1’s top goalscorer with 27 goals, helping secure the club’s fourth league title.
The history of the retro Nantes jersey is intertwined with the achievements and talents of countless players who’ve had the honour of wearing the Nantes colours. The club’s iconic kit design, impressive stadium and rich history all contribute to the ongoing legacy of FC Nantes and its position as a well-reputed French football club. The retro Nantes jersey, with its bold colours, symbolises not only the club’s identity but also the pride and passion invested by the loyal supporters and former players.