Lille have a long-standing rivalry with its neighbours RC Lens. The two clubs regularly contest the Derby du Nord. Lille is presided over by Michel Seydoux, a French businessman and movie producer. Seydoux initially purchased shares of the club in January 2002 and, subsequently, gained majority control two years later.
Ironically, the LOSC was relegated for the first time in 1956 as the first ever final of the European Cup took place in Paris. From then on, the big club of the immediate post-war period became a mid-table club, and fighting for titles was replaced by the struggle to survive. In the late 1960s, after a long period of anonymity, and weighed down by a lack of facilities and resources, the glorious LOSC abandoned its professional status. It was feared that the club might disappear. However, some young leaders, such as Max Pommerolle, came and gave new impetus to the club. Nevertheless, the results remained erratic and the only titles that ignited the fans' passions were won in the Second Division.
1980-2000: Laying The Foundations For Future Success
In July 1980, the LOSC was the first French Club to opt for the status of a Mixed Economy Company, of which the City of Lille became the majority shareholder. A by-product of ensuring stability and durability was that this system did not allow an ambitious sports policy. The teams of Presidents Amyot, Deschot and Dewailly all struggled to compete with the top teams in the country. Jacques Amyot’s resignation in 1990 led to three more difficult years for the club which compromised its very existence. It took Bernard Lecomte’s arrival in 1993 to set the club finances on the road to recovery. After a final relegation in 1997, the team trained by Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodžić was soon promoted back to the elite, in the same year that French Football League was privatised.
Stade Pierre-Mauroy is the best stadium in FrancesNord-Pas-de-Calais. It was inaugurated in 2012. Originally named the Centre Olympique de Lille Est, the club's sporting venue is spread over five hectares and features three natural grass football pitches and one synthetic pitch, as well as a number of buildings including a medical centre and gymnasium. These attributes had seen the club house part of the LOSC Youth Academy here, before all the club's operations were moved to the Domaine de Luchin in Camphin-en-Pé.4
The Derby du Nord is a football match contested between French clubs RC Lens and Lille OSC, two of region's most successful clubs. The derby has the name despite Lille being the only club of the two situated in the department of Nord. Lens are situated in the western department of Pas-de-Calais. The name can also refer to matches involving Lille and Valenciennes as both clubs are located within Nord, however, the match historically refers to matches involving Lille and Lens. As a result, the Lille–Valenciennes match is sometimes referred to as Le Petit Derby du Nord. The two clubs first met in 1937 when Lille were playing under the Olympique Lillois emblem. Due to each club's close proximity towards each other being separated by only 40 kilometres (25 mi) and sociological differences between each club's supporters, a fierce rivalry developed. The Derby du Nord is underpinned by social and economic differences, since the city of Lens is known as an old, working-class, industrial city and Lille as a middle-class, modern, internationally-oriented one. Nowadays the matches, which can spark intense feelings on both sides, have gained prominence as they may determine berths in continental competitions.