Fear of a plane crash, reading car speedometers… Guy Roux’s crazy anecdotes in his documentary

Fear of a plane crash, reading car speedometers... Guy Roux's crazy anecdotes in his documentary

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

What motivated you to make this documentary?

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

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

What is perhaps not said much in the film is that he was not alone. With me were three exceptional men. If they’re not… They’re exceptional in their intelligence and their forbearance with me when things went wrong. They were also very hard-working: Mr. Jean-Claude Hamel, who is no longer here, and, who are still here, Gérard Bourgouin and Jean-Pierre Soisson. These three men, plus me, made a force that little by little became irresistible, as 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 right now…

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

In the documentary, we found out that you always had your two guards traveling on two different planes, in case of an accident…

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

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

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

To find out if your players were going to clubs, you enlisted the help of some people at the tolls…

It’s very simple. In the early part of my career, there were no questions. It was complicated, you had to take the National 6 or the National 7. We were going from Paris to Nice, so when the big holiday departures took place, Auxerre was bottled up and people were doing business with the travellers. Not anymore, now they pass by the road. At that time there was the highway but it was not automated, there were ladies who took out the tickets and collected the returns as well. 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, it was two or three, in each generation, who were tempted. They also often had Mondays off so they could go to Paris or Troyes, where there were nice shops.

There’s also that moment where you read the meters on the players’ cars to see if they were going out for the night…

That’s before! It was then that we were in the honor division. There were no clubs, there were popular dances. In the Yonne there were one or two orchestras more famous than the others. At 8:00 p.m., while the player was having dinner, I went to read the meter on his car and wrote it down in a notebook. I came back at 7am and looked at the mileage. If it was 54 km, it was because they had been in Saint-Florentin, 27 km away!

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

I didn’t want to highlight anything. It is a work of a group of men, in particular the director. It was he who did what he wanted and, looking, we see what comes out of it. There may be things that seem inaccurate to me, but I did not say anything, I did not give my opinion on the script. Neither before nor after! I did not control the rushes. I did what I was asked. Sometimes I didn’t like it but I did it anyway. When people say I’m paternalistic, I know it’s true. But that’s just me… I like people! I’d 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 two years, I knew all the dogs, all the ladies and all the men.

Timothée Maymon Interview

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