Meet Alain Crespo: Legendary RCT teacher

When we look at the Avenue of the Legends at the entrance to the Mayol Stadium, we do not see the name of Alain Crespo, and yet. As a 68-year-old, an educator at the rugby school, he has been taking care of the children in Toulon for 38 years now.

We find him on a Wednesday morning at Léo-Lagrange Stadium during training with the young people in the district. His calmness, his benevolence, his experience make him unique. The kids challenge him, throw themselves into his legs, he gives love and he receives it from “his children!” At the end of his education, he takes the time to tell how this long story in the heart of RCT began.

A flag on the Champs-Élysées

“I was recruited in 1974, RCT noticed me when I went to see the cadets who played the final of the French Championships at the Parc des Princes in Paris, at the start of the big final between Béziers and Narbonne. I was went on the Champs-Élysées with my Toulon flag, the RCT team bus stopped next to me, they took me on board with them and I never left the bridge again.

As a 21-year-old, Alain Crespo becomes secretary of the minimums (category M14 now). He occupies all the possible and conceivable positions at the rugby school. He accompanies the tours, takes care of the licenses, makes contact with the clubs, washes jerseys late at night. Employed in the arsenal, he ends his days in the club until kl. “Sometimes I left the office at 11pm and got up the next day at 6am.”

Training in progress

Return to Leo-Lagrange. It’s the trip to the M6 ​​at RCT that Alain Crespo takes care of, to come and cling to him while his parents and grandparents come to greet him warmly. On the edge of the court, the educator always sees with passion “his babies” during their warm-up. Astonished by these kids who are already giving it their all.

“There is still a great development in terms of the game, the quality of the training, the exercises offered. For the children, at the sporting level, it is a very good thing, it has developed a lot. The French Rugby Federation and the club offer many tools to improve our training and develop our little ones. For me, this is the most important thing. “

Half-bar licenses

Despite this intact enthusiasm, he is worried about the future. There has been a loss of 50% of licensees in four years throughout the department. “The first reason is the lack of supervision: If we do not guide young people well, we lose them. Training is Wednesday afternoon and many people work, it is complicated to get time off. The second is the reduction in the funds that the club allocates to the rugby school .

Alain, nostalgic, remembers past presidents of RCT like Vigouroux and Agostini who were “most involved” in rugby school: “We asked them for a service, financially or otherwise, they always listened.” And today? “It’s something else, it’s a different world, but it’s the same everywhere.”

Young people need to play tournaments away from home to get out of their comfort zone, evolve and discover other teams. For Alain Crespo, “the future great champions, we see them in difficulty outside.”

“Two exceptional players”

Moved, he tells how from an early age he discovered children, whom he trained very young, and who became masters: “For me, there were two who were exceptional: Pierre Mignoni and Jonathan Wisniewski. They breathed rugby, they lived rugby. For us, they are the two excellent players at the rugby school, and we are so proud of their careers. Afterwards, we had others incredible players like Éric Dasalmartini, Califano, de Rougemont, Carbonel, etc.

Over the years, Alain Crespo has managed dozens of future great masters, he has seen them grow and develop from near and far: “In the beginning, when I started, I trained the fathers, then I got the sons, and now I’m starting to have the grandchildren (laughs).

Mayol remains Mayol

Since the 1998-1999 season, Alain Crespo has a new feature in RCT: He takes care of the ball boys at Mayol Stadium. A true love affair with the sanctuary. For him, the supporters have character as the team loses, growls Lafontan and Delangre. As soon as the team wins, the stadium ignites.

Young people dream of playing there and they fight to be able to be ball boys. Mayol remains Mayol. He remembers: “Florent Vanverberghe (today in Castres) started with us as a 6-year-old. His dream was to play for Mayol. Already as a child he had to put the newspapers on the seats in the stadium. Too bad we let go of this little one among so many others. “

hard goodbye

His disappointment is great when we talk about all the young people he has seen grow up and who are abandoned, him who is the symbol of loyalty to this club, him who introduced hundreds or even thousands of them to the taste passion of the oval ball. and RCT.

The same young people who go on a career in other clubs either by personal choice or by the club’s choice … Fatherly and resigned, Alain seems to come to terms with it: “We prefer them to stay with us, but if they have better opportunities elsewhere, we are happy for them and we prefer them to succeed, even if it is far from home. Fortunately, the Carbonel son promised me that he would come back. . “

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