Whether you call it Stade Yves Du Manoir or Stade Olympique de Colombes, the stadium, which is owned by the Hauts-de-Seine Departmental Council, is where Racing 92 plays its home matches. It's one of the legendary stadiums in French sport and, for all sports lovers, is a place where great feats have been achieved.
Dedicated to sport since 1883 but built in its best-known form in 1924, the Stade Yves Du Manoir site was originally used for horse racing. It was a race course owned by the Société des Courses de Colombes and bought in 1907 by the Paris daily newspaper Le Matin. The race course was then turned into a stadium that hosted athletics, rugby and football competitions from 1907 and was renamed "Stade du Matin". It could hold up to 20,000 spectators.
Racing Club de France became the tenant of the Colombes facilities in 1920.
The choice of Paris to organise the 8th Olympic Games posed the question of a large stadium in Paris. After a number of projects, the Stade De Colombes site was chosen thanks to the influence of the Ciel et Blanc club, which undoubtedly played a role in its choice for the 1924 Summer Olympics. Colombes was chosen as the main Olympic stadium and funds were released to bring its capacity up to over 40,000 seats, despite an initial project for 100,000 seats. The architect Louis Faure-Dujarric, a former Racing player, designed the project.
Following the Olympic Games, the new complex was renamed in 1928 after a Racing rugby union player and member of the national junior squad, Yves du Manoir, who had just been killed in an air accident.
The Stade de Colombes also hosted a wide range of events and reached the height of its glory in 1938 with the Football World Cup and the European Athletics Championships. It was later the venue for the famous World Boxing Championship fight between Bouttier and Monzon in 1972, in front of 40,000 spectators.
The stadium was renovated and enlarged for the 1938 World Cup and could now hold over 60,000 spectators. The record attendance was for a European Cup quarter-final play-off between Ajax Amsterdam and Benfica Lisbon on 5 March 1969: 63,638 paying spectators. The 60,000 places were divided between two side stands, each with 10,000 places, and end terraces for 40,000 people.
The building of the new Parc des Princes, inaugurated in 1972, was a severe blow to the Stade de Colombes, which had undergone little renovation and minimum maintenance. From 1972, international football and rugby matches and the finals of the French Cup (football) took place at the Parc Des Princes.
Colombes underwent a second renovation in 1982, but this did nothing to turn the Olympic Stadium back into a Mecca for French sport.
In the 80s, Colombes was only mentioned as the venue for the great annual meetings of the Jehovah's witnesses and for a few football matches. The late 80s and early 90s saw the end of Colombes. From 1988, the stadium was no longer up to standard and standing places were prohibited. In 1993, the Marathon stand and most of the Argenteuil and Colombes terraces were demolished, turning Stade Yves Du Manoir from an international stadium into a regional stadium.
On 20 December 2002, the departmental council became the owner of the stadium and the site facilities. New projects were launched, but without success.
The 2000's went by relatively quietly until Jacky Lorenzetti arrived. Under his leadership, Racing 92 succeeded in bringing spectators back to Yves Du Manoir. To support Racing 92's promotion to the Top 14, Mr. Lorenzetti used his own money to finance the building of a 5,000-seater side stand and a 2,000-seater enclosure built on the ashes of the former Colombes terraces. In August 2009, the new Stade Yves Du Manoir was ready, with capacity up to 14,000 seats.
This respite was short-lived, as it proved impossible to renovate the Colombes site in depth and Racing was forced to move to its future.Arena at La Défense.
Colombes and football: :
- 79 matches for France between 1924 and 1975.
- 1st match: 1st June 1924, Olympic Games quarter final, France beat Uruguay 5-1.
- Record attendance: 21 October 1956, 62,145 spectators for the France-Russia match.
- 42 French Cup finals between 1924 and 1971.
Colombes and rugby :
- 87 matches for France between 1924 and 1972.
- 5 Nations Tournament matches, 2 Olympic Games final phases.
- Last match on 26 February 1972, France beat England 37-12.
Colombes and athletics :
1924 Olympic Games, 1938 European Championship... and 17 world records between 1924 and 1980