PSG is a successful French football team that competes in Ligue 1 and has won over 40 official honors, including ten league titles and one major European trophy. Their home stadium is Parc des Princes, and they have a rivalry with Olympique de Marseille. Founded in 1970, the 1990s were the most successful period in PSG history.
Since 2011, they have experienced a resurgence, winning numerous titles with increased financial backing. They are one of the most popular football clubs globally, with a red, blue, and white kit featuring the Eiffel Tower and a fleur-de-lis. Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, owns PSG through Qatar Sports Investments. PSG is the richest club in France, with an annual revenue of €654m, making it the fifth-highest in the world, and is worth $3.2bn, according to Forbes.
All You Need to Know about PSG History
This article will try to touch on many subjects regarding the club, such as PSG badge history, PSG Champions League history, PSG kit history, PSG logo history, PSG jersey history, PSG honors, PSG trophies history, PSG mascot history, PSG Stadiums, PSG Rivalries history, and PSG managers history.
PSG Jersey History & PSG Mascot History
PSG kit history dates back to its foundation, where the club aimed to represent not only the city of Paris but also the nearby royal town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. This is reflected in the team’s traditional colors of red, blue, and white, with red and blue representing the Parisian revolutionary figures Lafayette and Jean Sylvain Bailly, while white symbolizes French royalty and Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Now onto PSG logo history.
In PSG badge history, they have featured these colors, with the Eiffel Tower and fleur de lys representing Paris and Saint-Germain-en-Laye, respectively.
The club’s official mascot, Germain the Lynx, was introduced in 2010 during the Tournoi de Paris to celebrate the club’s 40th anniversary and can be seen donning the team’s traditional colors while entertaining fans in the stands or near the pitch with players during warm-up. Overall, PSG history is intertwined with the representation of both Paris and Saint-Germain-en-Laye through the use of their traditional colors and symbols.
PSG history is marked by several official and unofficial anthems and chants. “Allez Paris!” by Annie Cordy, recorded in 1971, was the club’s first official anthem. However, it was replaced by “Allez Paris-Saint-Germain!” in 1977, produced and released by Charles Talar, a historical PSG leader and music producer. The song’s chorus became a popular chant among PSG supporters. In 2010, a new version of “Allez Paris-Saint-Germain!” was recorded as part of the club’s 40th-anniversary celebrations, and it is the current official anthem.
Additionally, “O Ville Lumiere” is another well-known club anthem sung to the tune of “Flower of Scotland.” PSG supporters also have notable chants like “Le Parc est a nous,” “Ici, c’est Paris!,” and “Paris est magique!” which originated in the Boulogne and Auteuil stands during the 1990s.
These last two chants are also the club’s most iconic mottos. The fans also accompany the players’ entry into the field with “Who Said I Would” by Phill Collins, which has been a traditional anthem since 1992.
In the early days, Paris Saint-Germain played in various stadiums before settling at the Parc des Princes in 1974, which Paris FC had previously occupied. The team’s first game in the stadium was against Red Star in 1973. Since then, the stadium has become PSG’s permanent home ground, and the club’s academy teams train at the nearby Georges Lefèvre stadium in Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
PSG’s main training facility, the Camp des Loges, has been located in the same town since 1970 and was renamed Ooredoo Training Centre in 2013. However, in June 2023, PSG will move to its new training ground, the Paris Saint-Germain Training Center, which will bring together the male football, handball, and judo teams, as well as the football and handball academies.
Despite the move, the Camp des Loges will continue to be the training ground for the women’s football team and academy, ensuring a link to the club’s historic birthplace. Thus, PSG history is closely tied to its facilities and locations over the years.
PSG Fan Base
PSG history reveals that the football club initially lacked a large and passionate fanbase, prompting them to offer cheaper season tickets to young supporters in 1976. These supporters were placed in the Kop K, located in the K section of the Borelli stand at the Parc des Princes. However, after an increase in ticket prices, the Kop K supporters moved to the Boulogne stand in 1978, where the club’s first Italian-style ultra group, Boulogne Boys, was founded in 1985.
Unfortunately, some of the KoB groups looked to British hooligans as role models, and violence quickly escalated, leading PSG owners Canal+ to encourage non-violent fans of the KoB stand to take their place in the Auteuil stand, which gave rise to the Virage Auteuil and its most notorious ultras, the Supras Auteuil.
However, a violent rivalry eventually emerged between the two stands, culminating in a fan’s death before a match against Olympique de Marseille in Paris in 2010. PSG President Robin Leproux subsequently instituted Plan Leproux, which banned supporters’ groups from the Parc des Princes and all PSG matches.
The move subdued the stadium’s atmosphere, but former Virage Auteuil supporters formed the Collectif Ultras Paris (CUP) in 2016 with the aim of returning to the stadium, which they eventually achieved in October of the same year. The ultra movement has also begun to re-emerge in the Boulogne stand, with new groups attempting to convince the club to relaunch the Kop of Boulogne.
PSG Rivalries History
When it comes to PSG history, one of the most notable aspects is the club’s intense rivalry with Olympique de Marseille. Known as Le Classique, matches between the two sides are always fiercely contested, and the rivalry is widely considered the biggest in France.
There are several reasons for this, but one of the most significant is the fact that PSG and OM are the two most successful clubs in French football history. They are also the only French teams to have won major European trophies, which has only served to heighten the intensity of their rivalry.
The roots of the PSG-OM rivalry can be traced back to the 1970s when the two sides were both trying to establish themselves as major forces in French football. At the time, there was little indication that the two clubs would become such bitter adversaries.
However, by the mid-1980s, PSG had won their first championship, and OM had been bought by the controversial businessman Bernard Tapie. These events would set the stage for a decade of intense rivalry between the two sides.
The first major flashpoint between PSG and OM occurred in the late 1980s when PSG accused OM and Tapie of fixing matches during the 1988-89 season. This accusation only served to inflame tensions between the two sides, and the rivalry continued to escalate throughout the 1990s.
During this time, PSG and OM were the two dominant teams in French football, with both sides backed by significant financial resources. This made for some truly epic battles on the pitch, and the rivalry between the two sides became one of the defining features of French football during this period.
Despite a dip in form for both clubs during the late 1990s and early 2000s, the PSG-OM rivalry remained as fierce as ever. In fact, some might argue that the rivalry became even more intense during this period as both clubs struggled to regain their former glories.
However, since the 2010s, the balance of power has shifted firmly in PSG’s favor. Thanks to the significant investment of their Qatari owners, PSG has become one of the wealthiest and most successful clubs in Europe, while OM has struggled to keep pace.
PSG Ownership History
In the early years of PSG history, the club was owned by its passionate supporters, boasting an impressive 20,000 members. A board of directors consisting of Guy Crescent, Pierre-Etienne Guyot, and Henri Patrelle managed the club’s affairs during this time. However, in 1973, a group of wealthy French businessmen led by Daniel Hechter and Francis Borelli bought the club, marking a significant turning point in PSG’s journey.
PSG changed hands several times after that, with Canal+ taking over in 1991 and Colony Capital in 2006. But it wasn’t until 2011 that PSG’s current owners, Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), took over. Since then, the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has been the sole owner of the club, making PSG the only state-owned football club in the world.
Under QSI’s ownership, PSG has become one of the wealthiest football clubs globally, spending over €1.3bn on player transfers since 2011. In PSG Champions League history, we see that the club’s massive expenditures have resulted in their domination of French football, but they have yet to clinch the coveted UEFA Champions League trophy.
One of the Most Wealthy
The team’s ambitions of winning the UCL were announced by QSI upon their arrival, and they have been backed by lucrative sponsorships and a star-studded roster that includes players like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Thanks to these high-profile signings, PSG has become the world’s seventh-most valuable football club, with a worth of $3.2bn, as reported by Forbes magazine. Additionally, the team has an annual turnover of €654m, making them the fifth-highest revenue-generating football club globally, according to Deloitte.
Despite their financial prowess, PSG’s massive expenditures have led to problems with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations. Nevertheless, the club’s strong financial position has been sustained by their Qatari owners, on-pitch success, and lucrative sponsorships with brands like Nike, Air Jordan, Accor, and Qatar Airways.
Let’s go back to the very beginning of the club and work our way up to the point where it stands these days.
The Birth of the Club
In the early 1970s, a group of businessmen had an idea to create a top football team in Paris, which eventually led to the merger of Paris FC and Stade Saint-Germain. With the financial backing of Paris FC and the sporting infrastructure of Stade Saint-Germain, the new team was named Paris Saint-Germain and was founded on June 17, 1970, with Guyot as the club’s first president.
PSG quickly gained popularity among French football fans, and in their inaugural season, they won the Division 2 title and earned a promotion to Division 1. However, despite their success on the pitch, the club faced financial difficulties, eventually leading to a split in June 1972. The Paris City Council offered to pay PSG’s debt and save their place in the elite in exchange for the club adopting a more Parisian name, “Paris Football Club,” but this proposal was not accepted by everyone involved.
The disagreement resulted in Crescent’s resignation as club president and the split of the club. Paris FC was re-formed, and PSG was administratively relegated to Division 3, losing their professional status in the process. This event marked a significant moment in PSG history, as the club had to rebuild and work its way back up the ranks to regain its status as a top-tier team in French football.
The Club’s Return
To understand PSG history, it is crucial to note that it was under the leadership of Daniel Hechter as chairman of the management committee that the club started soaring in June 1973, an interesting fact in PSG managers history. Hechter did not only provide financial support to the club, but he also designed the iconic home kit. He then made a groundbreaking move in French football by appointing Just Fontaine, a French legend, as the sporting director.
PSG finished second in Group B, qualifying for the promotion play-offs against Valenciennes, and they recorded an impressive 4-2 comeback at the Parc des Princes, regaining their professional status abandoned two years earlier. During this campaign, PSG played their first game at the Parc des Princes, winning 3-1 against Red Star.
Under Hechter’s leadership, the Parisians established themselves in Division 1, attracting several renowned players, though they failed to win any silverware in the 1970s. Following Hechter’s life ban from football by the French Football Federation in January 1978, Francis Borelli, who had been vice-president until then, became the new boss of the club.
A Brief Rise to Glory
PSG history has seen many highs and lows, with some memorable moments. Regarding PSG honors, in 1982, under the management of Georges Peyroche, PSG won their first significant honor by clinching the French Cup, with Dominique Rocheteau scoring an unexpected equalizer in the final seconds of the match against Saint-Etienne. The victory opened the doors to Europe, where PSG reached the quarterfinals of the 1982-83 European Cup Winners’ Cup.
PSG continued their success in the domestic scene, finishing in 3rd place and winning the Coupe de France in 1983, but Peyroche left the club at the end of the campaign. Three years later, under the guidance of Gérard Houllier, PSG claimed their maiden league crown in 1985-86, thanks to the likes of Joel Bats, Luis Fernandez, and Safet Susic.
However, their follow-up was not as glorious, finishing the league in 7th place, suffering an early exit from the French Cup, and being knocked out by Vítkovice in the first round of a disappointing European Cup debut. The club briefly bounced back, fighting for the 1988-89 league crown with Marseille, before going into decline.
The Golden Era
Canal+’s takeover of Paris Saint-Germain in 1991 brought about a significant change in PSG history. The television giants eliminated the club’s massive debt and appointed Michel Denisot as club president, giving the team access to serious investment.
Canal+ raised the club’s budget from 90 to 120 million francs and hired renowned coach Artur Jorge to lead the team. PSG embarked on a spending spree, signing talented players such as Ricardo, Valdo, Paul Le Guen, Laurent Fournier, Patrick Colleter, and prolific striker George Weah.
During the 1992-93 season, PSG entered into a fierce rivalry with Marseille, as both teams competed for the French Division 1 crown. Despite losing both games against Marseille, PSG finished as runners-up. In the second match between the two clubs, which took place just three days after Marseille won the 1992-93 UEFA Champions League, Marseille was found guilty of match-fixing in what became known as the French football bribery scandal. As a result, Marseille was stripped of their title, and PSG was offered the championship, but they refused it to avoid angering their subscribers in Marseille.
In PSG trophies history, it is noted that the 1990s is widely regarded as PSG’s golden era, during which the club won nine trophies and reached five consecutive European semi-finals. Under the guidance of coach Luis Fernandez, PSG won their first UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup title in 1996, becoming the youngest club in history to win a European title at just 26 years of existence.
PSG also finished as runners-up in the 1996 UEFA Super Cup and 1997 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Final. On the domestic front, PSG won their second league title, three French Cups, two French League Cups, and two French Super Cups.
PSG struggled to rescale the heights they achieved in the 1990s despite having star players such as Ronaldinho and Pauleta at the start of the 21st century. While the club did win five more trophies, including three French Cups (one against arch-rivals Marseille in 2006), one French League Cup, and one UEFA Intertoto Cup, they became better known for lurching from one high-profile crisis to another.
Years of mismanagement led to a massive financial loss of €65 million in 2003, which prompted Canal+ to fire Luis Fernandez as coach and Laurent Perpere as president. Vahid Halilhodzic became the new coach, and Francis Graille took over as the new president. However, the club’s form dwindled as they slipped further down the table. Eventually, a split from Canal+ became inevitable.
In 2006, the French premium television channel sold the club to Colony Capital. Despite the change in ownership, the situation only got worse for PSG, and they spent the 2006–07 and 2007–08 campaigns staving off relegations.
The latter was particularly dramatic, marred by poor results and fan violence. Paris avoided the drop in the final match after a 2–1 win at Sochaux. The hero of that night was Ivorian striker Amara Diane, who scored both goals. Despite not enjoying the star status of other current or past PSG greats, most Parisian fans still consider Diane a legend.
This difficult period was a stark contrast to the glory days of the 1990s when PSG won nine trophies and reached five consecutive European semi-finals. However, the club’s fortunes were about to change with the arrival of Qatari investment in 2011, which would transform PSG into one of the world’s wealthiest and most successful clubs.
Turning Rich Overnight
Qatar Sports Investments’ purchase of Paris Saint-Germain in 2011 marked a significant turning point for the club. With Nasser Al-Khelaifi as club president and Leonardo as sporting director, PSG underwent a summer transfer spree that included big-money signings such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Javier Pastore. Despite winning the Ligue 1 title and making regular appearances in the Champions League knockout stages, PSG struggled to make a deep run in the competition.
The club broke the transfer record in 2017 by signing Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, which paid immediate dividends with the domestic quadruple. However, PSG continued to struggle in Europe, and Unai Emery was replaced by Thomas Tuchel, who guided PSG to the Champions League final in 2019-20 but was eventually dismissed in December 2020 due to a deteriorating relationship with the club’s hierarchy.
On January 2, 2021, the former PSG player Mauricio Pochettino was appointed as the new head coach, and PSG continued their good form in the Champions League by making their second consecutive UCL semi-final appearance but failed to retain the Ligue 1 title, finishing one point behind Lille.
A Huge Transfer
PSG completed one of the most historic transfer windows in football history during the 2021 summer transfer season, which included the signing of Lionel Messi and the free transfers of Georginio Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos, and Gianluigi Donnarumma.
PSG later reclaimed the Ligue 1 title for the record 10th time but fell short in the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid in the round of 16. The uncertainty surrounding Kylian Mbappe’s future prompted La Liga officials to file a complaint to UEFA regarding PSG’s accumulating losses in the previous years, despite Mbappe’s contract extension with PSG until 2025.
Club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi promised mega-changes heading into the next season due to the club’s lack of European success and direction. During the pre-season for the 2022-23 season, PSG embarked on an ambitious rebuild with a change in club ethos and the hiring of transfer market expert Luis Campos. This was followed by the sacking of first-team coach Pochettino and the hiring of Christophe Galtier.
PSG also implemented a new transfer policy of “no bling-bling” and signed new players, including Nuno Mendes, Vitinha, Hugo Ekitike, and Nordi Mukiele, while transfer listing older players who were not committed to the project.
Despite all the setbacks, PSG remains one of the most ambitious and well-funded clubs in the world, and they will undoubtedly continue to make waves in both France and Europe in the years to come.