Gérard Houllier, forever the first
Gérard Houllier’s Paris Saint-Germain won its first French championship title during the 85-86 season. It would take 7 years before Paris won its second title in 1994.
An unusual occurrence before the arrival of the current owners of the Parisian club.
A man of the locker room
Gérard Houllier coached two teams in a span of 9 years: Le Touquet and US Nœux-les-Mines in the second division (1973-1982) before joining RC Lens in D1 in 1982. He finished 4th with the northern club, which qualified for the UEFA Cup.
A successful first season in the French football elite before having two average ones finishing 13th and 7th.
Then the 85-86 season came, the year when Gérard Houllier joined PSG. The president who brought him here was none other than Francis Borelli (1978-1991). Houllier’s first season at the head of the Parisian team was a success. He relied on leaders on and off the pitch: L. Fernandez (37 apps/9 goals); Dominique Rocheteau (35 apps/19 goals); Safet Susic (37 apps/10 goals) and Joël Bats who arrived the same year as his coach (38 apps in the Parisian nets for 33 conceded goals). Houllier controlled his locker room just as well as he was in control of the championship: he finished the season 3 points ahead of Nantes and 7 points ahead of the double reigning champions Bordeaux. His team finished with the best attack in the league with 66 goals.
The Parisians dominated the championship from start to finish. They managed a long series of invincibility along the way : 17 wins and 9 draws. Including significant victories over Nantes (1-0) and Bordeaux (2-1) at home.
A departure that made a difference
The following season was a grotesque Parisian stereotype. That is to say, a good season followed by a mediocre one, given expectations. During the 86-87 season, PSG finished 7th. That season, Bordeaux recovered their title. They finished 12 points clear of the Parisians.
Gérard Houllier would be sacked during the 87-88 season replaced by Erick Mombaerts.
He would remain a symbol of the success of Paris Saint-Germain in the 1980s. Gérard Houllier has for the first time in the history of the Parisian club won the French championship title. The first in his coaching career before succeeding again two decades later with Olympique Lyonnais in 2005 and 2006.
Translated by Geoffrey Chausset