Fear of a plane crash, reading the speedometer of cars… the crazy anecdotes of Guy Roux in his documentary

Fear of a plane crash, reading the speedometer of cars... the crazy anecdotes of Guy Roux in his documentary

The documentary “Guy Roux, a history of France” was released this Thursday on the Amazon Prime Video platform. For the occasion, the legendary coach of AJ Auxerre gave an interview to RMC Sport in which he distills anecdotes, each more crisp than the next.

What motivated you to make this documentary?

I have time, that’s the first thing! (laughs) Secondly, I did a lot of cinema, I did about twenty commercials during my coaching career, facilitated by the Guignols too. I also made two films: one for L’Equipe TV and another for Canal+. They were smaller films, with less ambition. But they were cool movies. There, I am offered to make a real film, with a director and all the means you can have to make a good film lasting an hour and a half. I accepted, I told myself that it would keep me busy. It was a cultural element of modern life.

Would it be possible today to start from such a low base and have such a career?

What is perhaps not said much in the film is that I was not alone. With me, there were three exceptional men. If they are not there… They are exceptional in their intelligence and their leniency towards me when things were going badly. They were also very hardworking: Mr. Jean-Claude Hamel, who is no longer there, and, who are still there, Gérard Bourgouin and Jean-Pierre Soisson. These three men, plus me, made a force that gradually became irresistible, since it took us to a European Cup semi-final, four quarter-finals – more than Paris Saint-Germain – and good championships.

It would be hard to imagine seeing such a close-knit trio at the moment…

You are almost right… but it never existed! Coaches fired when they were misclassified, it existed in 1930 when we created professionalism. And even before! When things go wrong, there has always been the door.

In the documentary, we learn that you always had your two guards travel in two different planes, in the event of a crash…

I didn’t know that Lionel Charbonnier or anyone had noticed it. I had never told anyone, especially not the two guards! There were the two planes and we oriented… It wasn’t strict, they put themselves a little as they wanted. But I had facilitated this organization for them so that the club would not disappear if the plane did not arrive…

Explain to us a little this fear of the plane crash…

Airplane accidents are very rare. There are accidents every day with small passenger planes, but passenger planes very rarely have accidents. The proof is that we talk about these accidents… So when, in addition, it’s a football team, you have to talk to me about great guys for us to think about it. I’m going on vacation on the same plane as my children and grandchildren, and I’m almost a bit reluctant. I wouldn’t get on the same plane as my son!

To find out if your players were going clubbing, you had the help of some people at the tolls…

It is very simple. In the first part of my career, there were no questions. It was complicated, you had to take the National 6 or the National 7. We were on the way from Paris to Nice, so when the big vacation departures took place, Auxerre was bottled up and people were doing business with travellers. This is no longer the case, now they pass on the highway. At the time, there was the highway but it was not automated, there were ladies who took the tickets and charged for the returns too. They already knew the players, who were famous because we played in the first division. And then they had the registration numbers, so they gave me the list the next morning. But it was not the majority, there were two or three, in each generation, who were tempted. They also very often had Mondays off, so they could go to Paris or Troyes, where there were nice shops.

There is also this moment when you read the meters of the players’ cars to find out if they were going out in the evening…

That’s before! That’s when we were in the honor division. There were no clubs, there were popular balls. In the Yonne, there were one or two orchestras more famous than the others. At 8 p.m., while the player was having dinner, I went to read his car meter and wrote it down in a notebook. I came back at 7am and looked at the mileage. If there were 54 km, it was because they had been to Saint-Florentin, 27 km away!

The documentary brings out a paternalistic image of you. Would you like to pass something else?

I didn’t want to make anything stand out. It is a work of a group of men, in particular of the director. It was he who did what he wanted and, looking, we see what comes out of it. There could be things that seem inaccurate to me, but I didn’t say anything, I didn’t give my opinion on the script. Neither before nor after! I did not police the rushes. I did what was asked of me. Sometimes I didn’t like it but I did it anyway. When people say I’m a paternalist, I know it’s true. But that’s how I am… I like people! I would rather walk outside than stay at home. During the pandemic, I was walking a big one-mile circle every morning. At the end of the pandemic, after the two years, I knew all the dogs, all the ladies and all the men

Interview by Timothée Maymon

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