“With me, AJA would not have gone down to L2”, assures Guy Roux

“With me, AJA would not have gone down to L2”, assures Guy Roux

A ray of sunlight crosses the clear water of the Molitor pool, where you can see, not without envy, some privileged individuals chaining the lengths. Behind us, a large room, a slightly smaller oval table, Guy Roux and a well-known valve. “Vladimir Putin is waiting for us at the other end, right? “The former coach of AJ Auxerre still knows how to joke and boasts that he has all the head. Enough to ensure, from the height of his 83 years, the media tour that precedes the broadcast on Prime Video of the documentary “Guy Roux, a history of France”.

Obviously for a luminary who likes to tell stories and does so with some skill. Telling stories as is no longer done, with, anyway, an uncontrollable propensity for nonsense. But amid a sea of ​​stories about his childhood, Radio London and General de Gaulle, there was plenty of room for a little football.

What did you like about the idea of ​​making this documentary?

First, my nature. I am a communicator, I have always been expansive. I spoke very early. I have my expressions, not always Catholic of course, but I have always spoken quite correctly in French. My grandfather told me not to swear. He told me that you had to find expressions with the right words if you wanted to hurt. He served me a lot in my profession as a footballer and coach. Instead of shouting “oh referee, penalty”, I said “Mr referee, what are you doing with Law 12? And they were upset about it.

You also had a long career in the media.

The media have always fascinated me, I don’t know why. Communication has always been a part of my life. When I became an insurance agent, because you had to make a good living when I was a young manager of a club that had no money, I was in the young economic chamber for those under 40 years of age. There we brought a guy specialized in public speaking who had taught us to speak according to the number of people and the configuration of the room we were in.

How do you talk to players in a locker room?

I had arranged the locker room in a U-shape with the painting behind me but with a certain distance to have them all in view. All that to say that this experience allowed me to have a technical training as if I had gone to school. And then my appearance in the media allowed me to hone that even further. Also, in the end, I have a media career longer than that of a football coach.

Which one did you prefer?

Oh both. What I like is football.

Guy Roux inspired the greatest, even the Smurfs – CHRISTOPHE SAIDI / SIPA

What would I have given, Guy Roux’s coach in 2022?

By now, I wouldn’t have gone down to Ligue 2. I did 25 seasons in D1, including one interspersed with what today would be called burnout. In 25 years, if you average the places I finished, that’s 5.60 over 18 or 20 teams. So mathematically he would never have let the club go where it went. 16 years ago I stopped, they were catastrophic years.

Did it hurt you to see AJA out of L1 for a decade?

Yes of course. Especially since no one gave me any gifts when I left. When he was in office he had absolute technical and media power and that generated a lot of envy. So when I left, they made me pay for it. I was completely fired when I would have liked to be consulted more often. Instead, I had to watch them helplessly make mistakes.

For example ?

Take the wrong trainer. I won’t say a name because he’s still working, poor thing. But from my point of view, he was a coach who was leading us straight to disaster. Or a bad president who doesn’t know how to count, or political mistakes like going to war with the mayor. I think I would have had a better judgment on that. Well, I must say I was lucky in my time, me. I have known two presidents: one for one year, the other for 41 years. This president was Mr. Hamel. He was a hard worker who loved the club.

And what do you think of the current management?

I think the club is very well run. It is run by a Chinese industrialist whose figure is not well known. They say there are billions… He makes cans of coke and beer for the whole world. He had not come for two years due to the pandemic, but recently he returned to Auxerre and it was thanks to him that they returned. He is involved. At first, of course, it was just capital.

And besides, for the record, I was still the one they came to see before they bought the club. There was a meeting on the Champs-Élysées, at a lawyer’s house. He asked me: “How much does it take to stay in the second division?” “. I give him a number. Then, they ask me how long it takes to go up to L1. I give another number. So to qualify for the European Cup, there I said that you had to count 100 million more. And then, to win the Cup of Europe, I told him: “The United Arab Emirates has been trying for 20 years with the maximum amount of money and cannot. »

Your AJ Auxerre was a bit of the opposite. Not many resources, but a strong structure, over which you had control.

Sometimes we neglect the structural side when we shape clubs. The AJ Auxerre was a small patronage of priests who played in cassocks with children in vacant lots or in a public square in Auxerre. The year I took over, there was an annual budget of 70,000 francs and four teams. Today there are 28 teams and a budget of 32 million euros. It was built little by little. And I, in the midst of that, always thought about my training. When I was at DH, when I earned 600 francs a month and when my insurer had zero clients, it was hard.

I put a small ticket in a box every week and at the end of the year I went to a foreign club. I went to Kyiv, Hamburg, Milan, to Barça in the Cruyff era. There I asked questions, as I had the good head of a very nice young man, I was always well received. I don’t speak very bad German, bad English and I don’t speak Russian or Spanish. But I found people who spoke French. They were trips that I prepared throughout the year and that helped me in the development of methods. But I ended up developing mine as well.

Like what ?

The day before the European Cup matches I told my players: “We are going to do the stupidest exercise there is. Let’s make heads. “I put two players, one at 18m, the other in the central circle and the first had to send a long ball that the second had to head. I wanted my players to have a taste for dueling, because in Europe, when you play 1.92m Great Danes and Swedes, you had no choice but to go all out.

Going back to the structural aspect, you had been a forerunner in certain aspects, in particular in terms of player recovery, with this private plane that allowed you to return faster after traveling.

(Cuts) And before that, we had a sleeping car to travel. They told me I was crazy, that it was too expensive for the club, that I had to take a classic bus, but we told it as reasonably as possible. And then the players were amateurs at the time. They were working the next day, so they had to sleep. It had to be taken into account. When the plane was there, the expenses were calculated even more carefully.

That’s also why I spied on my players and absolutely didn’t want them to go to nightclubs. We were spending too much money on the recovery for them to be able to screw up our efforts!

With today’s networks, it would have been too easy for you to keep an eye on your players, wouldn’t it?

Social networks were invented in Auxerre (laughs)! I had my own networks. He knew the people who worked at the highway toll, he had informants. But I didn’t just use it for my players. He had an obsession: he did not want a single referee to be attacked in Auxerre. Alors j’ai mis en place ma milice personnelle, des videurs de boîte de nuit, des mecs qui faisaient du kick boxing, qui ne frappaient pas au visage pour ne pas laisser de traces, mais repoussaient avec la paume ou le pied sur le thorax , if. At the final whistle, there were two running towards the furthest linesman to protect him. It was like this

It’s been a few years since you left, and we have this curious impression that your aura still hangs over the club. How do the successor coaches live it?

We are on the seventh or eighth coach since I left. It all took time to fade.

And what do you think of Jean-Marc Furlan?

He’s fine. He is a very professional coach, with a lot of character. Not long ago we had an argument during which I told him that [l’AJA] he lost a lot of points taking out his best players 5-10 minutes from the end of the match. In my opinion, the best players should not be replaced. To which he replied, “Don’t worry about it. What matters to me is having 17-18 players that last the season. If I do what you tell me, I will lose 7 due to injury.

And he was right! We went up, so he was right. And I’m so glad he was right, I was jubilant. The club is in very good hands with Jean-Marc. But now everything is more difficult with the presence of the club-states that inject capital, even in Auxerre. But it is a turn that had to be taken, such is life.

#AJA #assures #Guy #Roux

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