Some league members were hardly known even at the time and disappeared from sight long ago. Big league was good for such tiny clubs – it was the highest achievement, possible only because of the structure. However, it was more than questionable how much the country's football benefits from large league full of small small clubs, often not able to sustain professional teams for long.
Similar was the situation in Group B: AS Poissy (16th), US Noeux-les-Mines (17th), and Stade Malherbe Caen (18th) were relegated, but all of them gave up long ago. FC Limoges was securely sitting on 15th place with 5 points more than AS Poissy. Up to 6th place there was relative comfort without earning many points, yet, among the sedentary clubs was Stade Rennes, at 12th place, just relegated from First Division. Clubs like Rennes were perhaps more representative than the unknown little clubs: a rather large group of 'unsettled' clubs, moving up and down frequently. Unlike other countries, where the 'unsettled' are typically too strong for second division, but too weak for the first, the French clubs moved up and down differently: a club may finish high in the table one year, but suddenly perish the next. Then jump up again. Rennes played well only few years back, now it had difficulty competing with clubs like AS Poissy. At the same time recent members of second division were at the opposite end, deciding the French title. Yet, recently relegated clubs lived quite comfortably in second division – the competition was too weak to put them in real trouble. Dispersed in two groups, they had little competition and were inevitably bound to return to top flight. Thus, Group A gave the appearance of a race between three clubs, but SC Angers, just relegated, easily won.
Angers earned 49 points from 21 wins and 7 ties. They lost 6 games. Not exactly overwhelming winners, but it was enough – they finished 3 points ahead of the next pursuer.
Crouching : Brucato, Guillon, Felci, Augustin, Cassan, Gonfalone.
Angers slipped down, but were up again after a single season – they did not even change their squad, depending on two Yugoslavians – Vili Amersek, who came from Olimpija (Ljubljana) in 1976, and Miroslav Boskovic (not on the picture), who arrived from Partizan (belgrade) in 1975. Normally, Yugoslavian professionals were good and reliable, but those two were not exactly stars – yes, they helped Angers, but were getting old, and were not the kind of players able to elevate their club much higher. Angers was returning to top flight, but the possibility of coming back to second level was more than a possibility.
Second finished RCFC Besancon – three points behind Angers, but also three points ahead of 4th placed SC Toulon.
Now, for Besancon this was a success – unlike Angers, they were not regular first division club. Having a chance of going up was like a dream come true, but it was just a dream...
Crouching : Masson, Dralet, Sanchez, Bedouet, Martinez.
Anonimous, typically second-division squad, unable to really challenge Angers, let alone something stronger. At the end, Besancon did not get promotion, which was disappointing for their fans, but made FC Toulouse very happy: Besancon staying in the group meant only two clubs were relegated, not three. Besancon missed, Toulouse survived.
Group B was tougher: three clubs competed for promotion – Lille, relegated in 1976-77. and two Parisian clubs, eager to return to first division – Red Star and Paris FC. Four points divided success and failure at the end. Red Star failed – their relative weakness was largely in attack: they scored 58 goals during the season, but the competition scored over 70.
Paris FC finished second, missing direct promotion, but still having a chance.
Paris FC was relegated from First Divison in 1973 and finally were strong enough to try a return. If 'return' is the right word... for the young club with strange history, leading to scandals and a split, giving birth of Paris Saint Germain, probably lost even hatred for Paris SG, taking 'their' place among the best French clubs by now. Paris FC only hoped to establish themselves at top level and may be then they would think of some real development. So far, they failed in their first attempt. It was their second chance, which they did not miss – at the expense of Besancon. Going up... the club was hoping, but in vein. Hope was strong at the end of 1977-78 season.