Man United opponents Saint Etienne have an outstanding history

They still hold the record for French league titles

Saint Etienne, Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Ligue 1

A general view of the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, home of Saint-Etienne. Picture by Nick Potts PA Archive/PA Images

As Manchester United prepare for a Europa League clash against Saint Etienne, much of the attention has focused on the fact that Paul Pogba will be going up against his brother Florentin.

Florentin, who is a Guinea international defender, has been at Saint Etienne for five years but neither he nor his twin Mathias have had the opportunity to face their younger and more well known sibling at this level of competition.

As a subplot that at least adds a little bit of intrigue in a match which Man United manager Jose Mourinho probably views as a slight inconvenience given his concerns over fixture pile-up.

But one thing that really should catch the eye is just how glorious Saint Etienne's own history is. It's not quite the level of a Manchester United that has three European Cups/Champions League titles to its name.

That being said, the club from central France came very close to becoming the first French club to win a European Cup in 1976 when they got all the way to a final.

They faced a Bayern Munich side which had won the past two European Cups and still had the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller and goalkeeper Sepp Maier withn their ranks.

In the end, the final at Hampden Park had little in it as Franz Roth winner on 57 minutes was enough to separate the sides and ultimately deny Saint Etienne their place on the list of clubs that have got to the top of European club football's mountain top.

Saint Etienne's Florentin Pogba during the press conference at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture by Martin Rickett PA Wire/PA Images

These days they are experiencing something of a renaissance of sorts although the upper midtable finishes do not match what they did domestically during the high point of the 1960s and 1970s.

In an era when the France national team struggled, Saint Etienne were winning Ligue 1 three years in a row from the 1973-74 season (when Manchester United were relegated from the English First Division) to the 1975-76 campaign, coupled with Coupe de France triumphs in two of those seasons as well as 1976-77.

The previous decade was when Saint Etienne had achieved preeminence, becoming the French club of the swinging '60s.

From the start of 1963 to the end of the 1969-70 season, Saint Etienne won the French league on five occasions to add to the one they had achieved in 1957. Three French Cups also arrived during that decade.

A general view of the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, home of Saint-Etienne. Picture by Nick Potts PA Archive/PA Images

Unfortunately, the glory years wouldn't last for the club with France legend Michel Platini, who arrived in 1979, helping them to the league in 1980-81 with a personal haul of 20 goals. 

It wasn't until four years ago that they would even win another trophy, triumphing in the French League Cup in 2013 during their return to prominence. 

But mostly down to their achievements in the '60s and '70s, Saint Etienne are still the club with the most French league titles of all time with 10 in total, one ahead of Marseille and four clear of a Paris Saint Germain who are likely to match them in or around 2020.