GUINGAMP, France – En Avant de Guingamp (the name means "Forward, Guingamp") competes with one of the smallest budgets in France's top division, just 25 million euros (US$28.5 million). Here's how:
SHAREHOLDERS: 85 shareholders, all local business people, own Guingamp, none holding more than a 3-percent share. That means the club isn't destabilized if one of them goes bust. The shareholders provide nearly 70 percent of Guingamp's sponsorship revenue.
"We don't have the Emir of Qatar, Russians, Thais. We only have little Bretons," Guingamp president Bertrand Desplat said in an Associated Press interview. "When you add together 85 small and middling companies, well, you start to really get something. Union is strength."
LOYAL FANS: Although the Brittany town has just 7,300 inhabitants, its Roudourou stadium holds 18,000 people and operates at near-full capacity. The average attendance for league games last season was 15,000 and is a shade under that so far this season. The team has 10,500 season-ticket holders, drawing people from surrounding towns, villages and fishing ports with few other entertainment options.
"There are a lot less people in churches than at the Roudourou," said Desplat. "I'd say it is 'Guingamp 1, the church 0.'"
SELL PLAYERS: Selling players funds growth and new facilities. "Every year, we tell ourselves our best player will be leaving," said Desplat. Club officials say scouts from Arsenal and other Premier League teams are already sizing up Claudio Beauvue, Guingamp's leading scorer this season, bought in 2013 from second division side Chateauroux, for a reported 300,000 euros.
"300,000 is already too much money," said Desplat. "I would have preferred that he came from our academy for zero euros."
But the president might throw financial caution to the wind for Manchester United's captain.
"If you know Wayne Rooney, please pass on this message," he said. "My dream would be that Wayne Rooney plays for En Avant de Guingamp. Tell him that, I beg of you. Tell him. Even at age 45, he can come here and play as a No. 10, No. 9, whatever position he wants."
"For me, he's a player who embodies En Avant de Guingamp," he said. "He's got a bad character, fighting spirit, talent. He'd be perfect here."