Tonight league leaders Lille OSC travel south to Paris knowing that if they avoid defeat they will be crowned champions of France, for the first time since 1954. After winning the Coupe de France last weekend in the Stade de France it would be fitting if the double was secured in the same city, however defeat to Antoine Kombouare’s PSG side and a Marseille win would see the title race go to the last day of the season. Just like it did back in 1954.

Lille went into Week 32 of the 1953/54 season joint top with both Stade de Reims and Bordeaux on 43 points. Toulouse were the outsiders on 39. Goal difference was as tight as the points, only two goals separated the top three sides.

1.Lille OSC 43 pts
2.Stade de Reims 43 pts
3.Bordeaux 43 pts
4.Toulouse FC 39pts

Both Reims and Bordeaux won their games. FCGB only needed a single goal to see off Saint-Etienne and Reims did enough to get a 2-1 win over Monaco. Over at the Stade Henri Jooris at was the away side that fought their way back into the title race as Toulouse beat Lille 1-0 to shock the home fans, was their chance to lift the title over?

Former Lille midfielder and now manager André Cheuva had the difficult task of picking up his men for the huge match against Stade de Reims, if results went Reims way they could be crowned champions. Even back in the 50’s the fixture computers (abacas) threw up a tantalising end to the season. Not only were 1st playing 3rd but 2nd were also playing 4th as Bordeaux travelled to Toulouse.

TFC who were four points off the top before their win at Lille dealt a huge blow to Bordeaux with a 3-1 home win. The win put them two points behind Reims and Bordeaux and level with Lille, with only two points for a win it would take a massive goal swing for TFC to be crowned champions. Reims had the chance to take a two point lead with one game left but the home team would come up short. Les Dogues jumped back to the top of the table with a superb 3-0 victory. It would all go down to the last day.

1.Lille OSC 45 pts
2.Stade de Reims 45 pts
3.Bordeaux 45 pts
4.Toulouse 43 pts

Above from left to right: J. SIX - Fichel - VAN GOOL - DELHAYE - GODON. Middle: CHEUVA - J. SCHMIDT - RIVET - DAMBRIN - Lachot - DUBRUCHE - LAGOON. Bottom: WALZACK - Guillermain - Demerville - Taisne - DOUIS

At the Stade Chabans-Delmas it was a win or bust match between Bordeaux and Stade de Reims, Toulouse travelled to FC Sete and Lille played host to FC Nancy. Sete held Toulouse to a point. The tense match at Bordeaux saw both sides cancel each other out and the each had to settle for a point. It was over to Lille. The home side did not let their fans down. Goals from Jean Vincent and Strapp Douis gave Lille a resounding 3-0 win over Nancy. The title was theirs, the home fans stayed and cheered as the northerners lifted the Ligue 1 title for the first time in eight years.

1.Lille OSC 47 pts (Champions)
2.Stade de Reims 46 pts
3.Bordeaux 46 pts
4.Toulouse 44 pts

It would be great to end this piece on a positive note and say that Lille went on to dominate the French top division for years to come. In 1955 Lille did lift the Coupe de France but finished 16th in the league, in the next season they finished in the drop zone and were relegated to the second division. Dark days followed for the Lillois and they wouldn’t return to the top-flight until 1964.

Lille fans across the world will be hoping that if the title is brought back to the Stade Lille Metropole this season that the future will be a lot brighter this time around.

ALLEZ LILLE O S C

 

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