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Alain Caveglia : "I felt like a supporter"

Published on 28 March 2020 at 6:00 AM
Alain Caveglia : « Je ressentais les choses comme un supporter »
On the occasion of his 52nd birthday, we were able to talk for almost an hour on the phone with Alain Caveglia, an idol for those in the stands in Lyon since the mid-90s. Confined to his home, he answered fourteen questions. Fourteen themes in homage to his favorite number and his favorite player, the Dutchman Johan Cruyff. The one in whom OL supporters recognized themselves even admitted to us: "I also recognized myself in them".

Hello Alain, how are you today and what are you doing?

I am very well. I’m in good health and my family too, that’s very important. I am in Normandy, confined to my home. On a professional level, I stopped my adventure with SM Caen in May 2019. I took a step back, I watched a lot of matches (except at this moment obviously) with pleasure, without the pressure of results. Of course, I will stay in football. I have a passion for it.


Do you remember your arrival at OL among the trainees?

Very well. I arrived in Minimes as a 2nd year. I had played at St Priest. I played in a tournament with OL at the end of the season and it was Mister Barde (note: who is still at the club) who asked me to come. It wasn’t a big change from the daily training except that OL was the region’s elite club and my favorite club -- the adventure had started.


The club of your heart, already?

Obviously. My father and brother took me to Gerland very early. My big memory is the 1980 derby, with a crazy finish. We were under the clock. Then I went to the stadium with the friends from Les Minguettes.


In 1987, you were 19 years old and you left OL. What are your memories of that and how did you feel at the time?

During my stay with OL's youth teams, someone who helped me a lot was Gérard Drevet (Editor's note: a teacher and former OL training center manager). I was a teenager and he brought a lot to me Then, I rubbed shoulders with great players, who became very good friends, and two incredible players: Laurent Sevcenko and Eric Spadiny. They were phenomenal, the best of their generation. Coming back to my departure, it is often said that the club did not want to keep me, which is not entirely true. I was playing in Division 3, with the reserves, and I wanted a professional contract. The thing was, at that time, contracts for young people (trainees) were very rare. At the same time, I had two offers (Chaumont and Gueugnon), so I left. I chose Gueugnon because it was close to Lyon and also because I knew some people well there (including Paco Bandera, the ex-OL striker from Les Minguettes). It was a different life, we were amateurs, even in Division 2. I worked during the day in the offices, then, at 4.30 pm, we trained. The second year, we had pro status, because it had become compulsory for teams at that level.


Gueugnon, Sochaux, Le Havre, and then, in June 1996, you were offered a transfer to OL. How did it happen ?

It's Bernard Lacombe who called me and asked me if I was interested in coming back to OL. I had several clubs that were interested in me but my choice was quickly made. At first I was very proud because I always said that I would come back. Then, during the friendly matches, I started to feel a lot of pressure. I was coming back to my city, to play in front of all my family and friends. Then, in my first home game against Strasbourg, it was a draw. Contrary to what one might think, there was never a feeling of revenge on my return, because OL wanted to keep me in the youth setup.

You talk a lot about the city of Lyon. One feels that this is important for you. Why ?

As a kid, I had two clubs that fascinated me: Barça with my idol Johan Cruyff (it was for him that I wore the number 14 and I gave this name to my son) and OL because it was my home. I listened to all the results on the radio when I was not at home. Lyon is my city. When I hear Anthony Lopes speak today, I feel a little bit like him. I was like the supporters. I had been in the same stands as them. It’s always said that they recognized themselves in me, but I too recognized myself in them. I felt like a supporter. I felt a bit on a mission, especially when I was captain. Being close was easier than today, without social media for example. Everything was done naturally. I had a privileged relationship with the Bad Gones, but it was not Alain Caveglia alone, it was the whole team that was close to the supporters.


We are going to talk about some European matches that stand out in the memory ... Bruges ...

This was the only hat-trick of my career, it was December 8 and it was qualification for the European Cup quarterfinals, which was something crazy for us and for OL. I was totally flying. And, for once, it was a revenge from the first leg. Twice I hit the post and I was angry with myself. Then there was Bologna. I’ve never felt such an incredible atmosphere as a footballer. I was convinced that we were going to qualify despite having lost 3-0 in the first leg. When we warmed up, we all had goosebumps. The fans were carrying us. At halftime, we lead 2-0 (sigh)s. Obviously, without the qualification at the end, it was a moment of regret but it is a memory like never before. We had a quarterfinal of the European Cup in our stadium in a great atmosphere, something that is unmissable.


And Marseille in May 1997?

It’s a very different context. It was the last game at OL for great friends and great players (Flo Maurice, Franck Gava, Marcelo, among others). We knew it in the locker room. We all wanted them to leave on a good note. Well, in fact, things did not start on a good note, but they ended on a super good note (OL won 8-0) (laughs). After that, we won the Intertoto Cup, and we had really fun trips. This was the start of OL’s European consistency.


Who is the best player you have played with?

At OL there were three: Flo Maurice, Franck Gava and Sonny Anderson. Three exceptional players.


And the funniest?

Luc Borrelli, always the joker, my roommate. Whatever happened, he was always in a good mood and he was making everyone happy.


The death of Luc in February 1999 was a painful moment ...

Yes. We're always talking about the sporting and emotional aspect of my time at OL. But we lost a great friend, a great person. It’s a moment that will be forever etched in me. Luc’s death was an absolutely gutting moment.


Your ideal OL XI?

Coupet Delmotte, Garde, Laville, Carteron Violeau Laigle Durix Gava, Flo Maurice, Sonny.


And you, Alain, where are you going??

Next to them ! My favorite position: number 10. I had my best seasons playing in the middle! But I'll tell you something: at the end of my career, I would have liked to step back into a deeper role in midfield, a bit like Daniel Bravo (Editor's note: an attacker who finished his career as a defensive midfielder) to have the game in front of me, even if I didn't have his drive!


It is certain that the passes would have been well distributed!

Yes, probably. Well, on the counter-attacks and in defense, we should have distributed a little as well ... (laughs) I want to add something else: To all Lyonnais, take care of yourself and your loved ones, stay at home. The situation is too important. We are all together and I believe that this period will allow more solidarity.