At OL Park,
On Tuesday evening there were hardly any Lucas Paqueta or Maxence Caqueret shirts among the 22,901 spectators present at Parc OL. Instead there were some rather flocked pieces with the names of Patrice Carteron, Bryan Bergougnoux and Juninho. Because before watching in disillusionment the last home game of this season in Ligue 1, Saturday (21:00) against FC Nantes), the Lyon fans had “an enchanted interlude” in Décines (Rhône). In other words, a Heroes match which, above all, made it possible to raise 482,490 euros for Unicef and OL Fondation, especially to come to the aid of the children who were victims of the war in Ukraine.
Seven months after its Marseille version, this game of Heroes led by Sonny Anderson brought together the players of the OL team, champion of France in 2002, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the first of seven consecutive coronations in Ligue 1. E “Sonnygoal” he did things well to try to make Lyon fans smile, frustrated by the current 8th place in the league and by the slap in the Europa League against West Ham (0-3).
Former great footballers linked to the videographers of the Unicef team
Before this gala match played against a fierce Team Unicef (Lehmann, Van Buyten, Mendieta, Nasri, Giuly … but also the Belgian rapper Roméo Elvis, the comedian Paul Mirabel and the videographers Michou and Inoxtag), the forward 51-year-old The Brazilian had promised the Bad Gones he would score “as usual” on the north corner side before celebrating with the fans. Delightfully served by Swedish midfielder Kim Källström, Sonny Anderson kept his word by scoring the only goal of the match (1-0, 70th). “It’s my first goal in this stadium”, smiles the former OL captain, who had scored for the Gerland team from 1999 to 2003 to allow the club to change size.
An era that still fascinates OL fans as much as the curve launched almost from kick-off on Tuesday the chorus “He’s the French champion of the OL. If this team catches you …., to make you ch …, them we will make them win. “A chorus of other times that Céline and Stéphanie (43) loved to find, subscribers to Bad Gones since the late 90s, and which on Tuesday evening came with their boys to Décines. They do not hide the enthusiasm:” It is extraordinary to see our former players like Cavegoal, Anderson, Cris, Edmilson, Caçapa. It plunges us directly into nostalgia. They have not changed, even if they have gained some weight. “
“It was with them that I learned to love football”
This is not the case with Jean-Marc Chanelet, sharp on his right, Eric Carrière or Michael Essien, the monstrous former OL then Chelsea midfielder. If they regret that this match did not take place in Gerland, Lucie and Jérémy (30) confide: “Let’s have fun tonight because we didn’t have the opportunity to do it in this bad season of the OL”. Arriving in his old Juninho jersey, whose crowding struggles to withstand the years, Jérémy continues to praise the players who won titles in 2002. “It is with them that I learned to love football,” Célian slips by their side.
Before raging against their distant successors? “We remember that OL made us love him 20 years ago, says Mickaël from the Thirties, also present on Tuesday in Décines with friends Coralie and Gabriel. We were in Gerland on the night of the title, in May 2002 against Lens (3-1) and it was by far our best moment in sport. There the titles are far away, apart from Gambardella. “
“This Hero Match Can’t Erase Everything”
Simple, the last trophy OL won remains the Coupe de France against Quevilly (1-0), just 10 years ago. “We are all sad when there are difficult results like this season, explains Kim Kallström (in Lyon from 2006 to 2012). I had high hopes for the Europa League, which could have brought a lot to the club. 10 years without a title, it is sure that it is a long time and that it creates a lack. But in my day PSG didn’t have the means of Qatar, which changed the face of the championship. And when you spend 35 years in charge of a football team like M.Aulas, it is normal for there to be ups and downs, right? “
Since taking power in 1987, JMA has rarely found its first team this low in the spring. Last week’s debacle in Metz (3-2) is even synonymous with a second season without the European Cup in the last three years. Could darkness be sidelined on Tuesday at Parc OL? “This game of Heroes can’t erase everything, but all the better if it brings some joy to the fans tonight,” notes Sidney Govou.
“A collective spirit of camaraderie”
How did Jacques Santini’s players approach this exhibition match? “Whatever happens, we told ourselves we had to win tonight,” announces Sonny Anderson, captain of this famous first French champion title in 2002. “We could see that even if the body doesn’t respond not as fast as before, the victory is always in us “, reassures former central defender Claudio Caçapa, now assistant to Peter Bosz. For Florent Malouda, “winning culture is normally part of the club’s DNA. This is why there is a lot of frustration at the moment given the inconstancy of the team.
Finally, what was the real recipe for this unbeatable OL on the roof of Ligue 1 for seven seasons, compared to the one that is about to wrap up its arguably worst season of the 21st century? Former left midfielder or midfielder Christophe Delmotte, now coach of Valenciennes (Ligue 2) has little explanation for him.
The great thing is that the group was formed gradually, with only two or three changes per season. OL’s most successful teams came after 2004. There was a lot of collective spirit of camaraderie, with brave players. He helped us, in difficult games, to take us to the limit of overcoming ourselves, well beyond what we could do. Sonny then others cheered us up. It is the collective foundations that have allowed us to have these titles. “
“Everyone has to get along wonderfully”
Admired by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, OL’s “exceptional dominance of the 2000s” once again showed “locker room cohesion” on Tuesday night. Honor to striker Sonny Anderson for concluding this fun evening.
“When you always have the anger to win, you don’t lose, you slip. Our group of friends had a great time 20 years ago and it was the same thing there. He builds a family. We need to understand together what it means to win. It is particularly important that the club get along well with the fans, as well as the fans with the players. For a family to move forward, everyone has to get along wonderfully. On this point the club has ample room for improvement to be activated by the beginning of next season.