Two French Cups, a stadium that can contain more than twice the municipal population, a name known internationally … Suffice to say that in Guingamp, as Bill Shankly said, “football is not a question of life or death is much more important than that! And yet, the love of the round ball cannot sum up on its own the identity of the most Stendhalian of Breton tribes.
Because, yes, the Guingampais has its own history! That of a small town born around the year 1000, on a “white field”, literal translation of its toponym in Breton. Medieval limits, the current commune preserves the borders and the population (7,000 inhabitants), while the agglomeration is close to 22,000 inhabitants. It also remains a rich architectural heritage, because, from the 12th century, Guingamp becomes an important commercial crossroads, privileged by the powerful family of Penthièvre.
The lock of Lower Brittany
During the War of the Succession in Brittany in the 14th century, the pretender to the duchy, Charles de Blois, granted the bourgeoisie numerous tax and legal privileges. Until the end of the Ancien Régime, the municipal assembly thus had powers equivalent to those of Nantes or Rennes, other Breton capitals. The bourgeois Guingampais thus have the right to do low justice, which, according to the sources of the time, is often resolved in the taverns of the rue du Trotrieux … In general, amicably, because, In other words, the Guingampais are friendly and love to settle conflicts over a pint.
At the end of the Middle Ages, Guingamp was also the military “lock” of Lower Brittany, hence several sieges which were to be the subject of famous gwerzioù. At the end of the 15th century, the city resisted the French troops under the rule of Captain Gouicquet. Adored by the inhabitants, the latter will be seen statufied several times, because the Guingampais has memory …
Then, from the 16th century, the city benefited from the development of the proto-industries of linen and fabrics. We built a pretty square in the Center in the shape of a Louis XV medallion, with, at the top, the Plomée fountain, a sort of Cybele in the Trégorroise fashion who, in recent years, has seen a few feasts nearby!
When Gianluigi Buffon sees the church of its goal …
The other symbol of the city is of course its basilica, an astonishing mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles. As Gianluigi Buffon, former PSG goalkeeper, confided: “Guingamp is the only stadium I know where when you shoot a 6-meter, you see the church! Because, let’s face it, in this period of dechristianization, the new Guingampais temple has moved somewhat to the outskirts of the city center, towards the Roudourou stadium.
It is also quite interesting to note that in about fifty years, red and black, colors associated with the secular club of the En-Avant, have totally eclipsed white and blue, the colors of the Virgin. and the other historic club in the city, the Stade Charles-de-Blois, of Catholic obedience. However, even the most trusted atheists in the area do not hesitate to burn a small candle to the Black Madonna of the Basilica during important matches. You can never be too careful!
For half a century, Guingamp has made a name for itself thanks to football. After an epic epic in the 1970s in the Coupe de France, the En Avant club rose to second, then, from the 1990s, among the elite of French football. Quite intelligently, the small town cultivated its image as a Gallic village, to the point of defeating the Rennes Goliath twice, during the 2009 and 2014 finals of the Coupe de France. Or to afford some big European clubs, like Dynamo Kiev.
It was the future international star, Didier Drogba, who, at the dawn of the 2000s, launched, after a victory over Rennes, the slogan: “The peasants are back! “Far from the coasts and cities without character, the Guingampais quietly continues to cultivate its” rural attitude “. During a derby, greeted with a “Welcome to Rennes”, the red kop responded to the return match with a “Welcome to Brittany”… Sure of his roots, the Trégorrois is happy to be teasing and facetious…
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