Association de la Jeunesse Auxerroise ([a.sɔ.sja.sjɔ̃ də la ʒœ.nɛs osɛʁ]; commonly known as AJ Auxerre or simply Auxerre) is a French football club based in the commune of Auxerre in Burgundy. The club was founded in 1905 and currently plays in Ligue 2, the second division of French football. Auxerre plays its home matches at the Stade l'Abbé-Deschamps on the banks of the Yonne River. The team is managed by former football player Jean-Luc Vannuchi and captained by centre-back Sébastien Puygrenier.
Auxerre was founded in 1905 and made its debut in the first division of French football in the 1980–81 season and have remained a fixture in the league until 2011–12 season. The club has won the Ligue 1 title once, in the 1995–96 season. Two years prior, Auxerre achieved its first major honour by winning the Coupe de France in 1994. The club has since added three more Coupe de France titles, which ties the club for fifth-best among teams who have won the trophy.
Auxerre have unearthed several talented players in its existence. The club has most notably served as a springboard for several prominent French football players such as Eric Cantona, Laurent Blanc, Philippe Mexès, Basile Boli, and Djibril Cissé, among others. All six players became French internationals with Blanc playing on the teams that won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000. From 1961 to 2005, the club was predominantly coached by Guy Roux. This included an uninterrupted period when Roux was in charge for 36 years between 1964 and 2000.
The club Association de la Jeunesse Auxerroise was founded in 1905, by the priest Father Ernest Abbé Deschamps. The club success, becoming a force in the Catholic league F.G.S.P.F. In 1908, the club even reached the F.G.S.P.F. French Championship final, losing 8–1 however. At the end of the First World War, the club was expelled from its ground. Father Deschamps acquired several pieces of land along the Yonne on the Vaux road, which later formed the Abbé Deschamps Stadium.
Auxerre made its first steps in Division 1 on 24 July 1980 against Bastia in Toulon. Auxerre lost the match 2–0. On 20 November 1980, Andrzej Szarmach signed for Auxerre having received consent from the Polish Football Association. He started two days later at home against Lyon and scored the first of his ninety-four goals in Division 1. AJA's first season in Division 1 was remarkable for two particular performances: on 13 December 1980, at Parc des Princes against Paris Saint-Germain (3–2), and then on 7 April 1981, at Stade Marcel Saupin against FC Nantes for a 1–0 win, notable as Nantes had not lost a home game for five years and 92 games (between 15 April 1976 and 7 April 1981). In the next two seasons, AJA finished fifteenth and eighth respectively.
During the 1983–1984 season, AJA climbed for the first time onto the podium in finishing third. Patrice Garande finished top scorer with twenty-one goals. A few weeks later, Garande won the gold medal at the Olympics in Los Angeles with the French Olympic football team while Joël Bats and Jean-Marc Ferreri were part of the victorious French team at UEFA Euro 1984. That summer, Auxerre recruited Michel N'Gom. An international prospect, he left Paris Saint-Germain. During pre-season, he scored five goals in ten games. On the last weekend before the start of the season, he visited his former teammates in Paris. Tragically, he died following a traffic accident on 12 August 1984. To pay tribute, one of the stands at Abbé Deschamps bears his name. The 1984–1985 season saw Auxerre in European competition for the first time in its history by participating in the UEFA Cup, albeit with an unfavourable first round draw with Sporting Clube de Portugal. On 19 September 1984 at Estádio José Alvalade, AJA took its bow in European football with a 2–0 defeat. The return leg took place on 3 October 1984. AJA managed to retrieve the two goal deficit with a double by Szarmach, but eventually succumbed with two goals in extra time. However, by virtue of the victory of AS Monaco in the Coupe de France, AJA qualified for the UEFA Cup the year after also.
The 1985 offseason saw Joël Bats join Paris Saint-Germain. Auxerre recruited Bruno Martini as his successor. In the UEFA Cup, AJA were drawn against A.C. Milan. In the first leg, Auxerre won 3–1. Both teams missed a penalty and Paolo Maldini made his debut in European competition. In the return match, AJA lost 3–0 and was therefore eliminated. Seventh in the league and quarter-finalist in the French cup, AJA did not manage a third straight season in Europe. Auxerre finished fourth in 1986–1987, and was once again eliminated in the first round of the UEFA Cup the following season with a 2–0 away defeat to Panathinaikos too much to overcome in the return leg (which Auxerre won 3–2). The 1988–1989 season saw AJA finish fifth in the league and reach the semi-finals of the Coupe de France before elimination by Olympique de Marseille, the future winner of the event. With fifth place in the league, AJA made the UEFA Cup and there made its first decent run. During the preliminary round, AJA managed its first victory. Beaten 0–1 at home by Dinamo Zagreb, it registered 3–1 in Yugoslavia and qualified for the first round proper. Auxerre beat successively Albanians Apolonia Fier, Finns RoPS and Olympiacos of Greece before being eliminated in the quarterfinals by Fiorentina. In parallel with this, AJA managed sixth place in the league. During the summer of 1990, the AJA sold Basile Boli and recruited Enzo Scifo, Alain Roche and Zbigniew Kaczmarek. Auxerre finished in third place after leading the championship for two weeks.
In 1991–1992, Auxerre was eliminated in the second round of the UEFA Cup by Liverpool and then finished fourth in Division 1. That summer, the AJA sold Alain Roche and Jean-Marc Ferreri while recruiting Frank Verlaat and Gerald Baticle. Auxerre then journeyed again into UEFA. Auxerre eliminated Lokomotiv Plovdiv and the newly formed FC Copenhagen. In the third round, AJA eliminated Standard Liege. In the quarterfinals, AJA faced Ajax, the defending champion and undefeated in the European Cup for two years. Before facing Ajax, Auxerre had suffered five consecutive league defeats. Auxerre managed a 4–2 home win. In the second leg Ajax could only manage a 1–0 win and so Auxerre had qualified for the semifinals, to face Borussia Dortmund. In the first leg in Germany, AJA lost 2 goals to 0. A fiercely contested second leg levelled the aggregate score, but Auxerre were finally eliminated on penalties.
While finishing sixth in the championship, Auxerre again qualified for the UEFA Cup after the VA-OM case. But unlike the epic run of the previous season, AJA was eliminated in the first round by Tenerife. AJA made progress in the league, with a third-place finish, but notably captured its first major trophy, the French cup. Having made it past the lower division teams in the early rounds, AJA eliminated Nantes in the semifinals before winning 3 goals to 0 at Parc des Princes in the final against Montpellier. The following season, Auxerre finished fourth in the league and was a quarter-finalist of the Cup Winners' Cup: Auxerre was eliminated by Arsenal in the Abbe-Deschamps (1–0) having achieved a 1–1 draw at Highbury.
On 13 May 2012, Auxerre's 32-year stay in the top division came to an end after a 3–0 away defeat at the hands of Marseille. The following season, Auxerre finished a disappointing 9th place along with a negative goal difference of −2. The next season was no better for AJA, after they finished a lowly 16th position. Although not resulting in promotion the 2014–15 Ligue 2 season was better for the Burgundy based side as they finished 9th in Ligue 2 and finishing runners up in the 2015 Coupe de France Final after losing to Paris-Saint Germain at the Stade de France in front of an attendance of 80,000.
As of 2 September 2016.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Below is the starting 11 of historic football players who have played at Auxerre in league and international competition since the club's foundation in 1905 as voted by the club's supporters.Bruno Martini
Director of Sport: Christophe Grosso
Head coach: Cédric Daury
Director of Youth: Bernard Mangin
Champions (1): 1995–96
Champions (1) : 1979–80
Coupe de France
Champions (4) : 1994, 1996, 2003, 2005
Runners-up (2) : 1979, 2015
Champions (7) : 1982, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2014
Runners-up (2) : 1991, 2007
Division d'Honneur (Burgundy)
Champions (1) : 1970
Runners-up (1) : 1909
FGSPF Burgundy Championnat
Champions (9): 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914
Winners (2): 1997, 2006 (joint winner)
Runners-up(2) : 2000
Coppa delle Alpi
Champions (1) : 1985, 1987