Top 1000: the best players in the French championship (560-551)

Yvan Lebourgeois
Caen (1988-1995)

In Caen, his name is exclusively associated with Stade Malherbe. He is Yvan Lebourgeois, emblem of the SMC and third most capped player of the club with 391 games (including 200 in the first division). Born in Calvados, this needy devotees a major part of his life to the Rouge et Bleu, after training at ASPTT Caen, of course.

Far from eyeing a career as a footballer, the one who was then an apprentice butcher was launched into the professional bath late in life, at the age of 23, in 1984: “Before, I played in D4, at the PTT Caen. In the morning, I worked as a butcher. I started my days at 5 o’clock, he detailed for West France. This is where Pierre Mankowski, the Caen coach, spotted me. » He then began as an attacker, with a very stocky physique (1.81 meters for 80 kilos), within a team under construction, who had come to play the outsiders in D2. Consecration was finally achieved in the spring of 1988, when Malherbe won the first accession in its history. The elite opens up to the Normans and Lebourgeois, suddenly replaced in central defense by the new coach, Daniel Jeandupeux. A radical professional deformation, alongside his sidekick Franck Dumas, which allows the Swiss army knife to discover its most beautiful facet: “I was the local guy, a bit like Titi Deroin. I was playing in front of my friends, my family, it was great. » Intractable behind, Lebourgeois and his family chained good performances, until reaching the summits during a memorable year 1992. Fifth in D1, Caen qualifies for the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

A 32e final against Real Zaragoza (3-2 victory at Venoix, 2-0 defeat at La Romareda: 4-3 for Zaragoza overall) and memories for the Libero: “In 1992, the team held on. A guy like Paille was class. We still had a group of friends. For me, who was not destined to live a career like that, these were unforgettable moments. Especially in Venoix. A small Furiani, where the opponent was afraid to come. I saw 13,000, 14,000 people in that stadium. Security level, it was serious. » The story of a career and this record of appearances, held for 25 years therefore (it will be surpassed by Anthony Deroin in 2010, with 406 games, himself beaten by Nicolas Seube in 2013: 520 games), but also of a sacred character, for this embodied leader: “In 1995, we were finally relegated. Anderson, Simba, Etamé… These three had ruined the season for us, especially Kenneth Anderson. He had made an extraordinary World Cup, the club had not let him go. He did not play, we were on the verge of coming to blows in training. It was my worst year at Malherbe. » What precipitate the end of his career at the highest level two years later and keep him away from football for good. To become a municipal bus driver, as he told us in 2012: “No, it didn’t tell me much to continue in football, I knew a little about the mentality and I preferred to opt for something completely different. People in football are nice up front and they murder you behind the back. It wasn’t really my thing, plus I came into football really by chance and I wanted to change, it really didn’t mean anything to me at all to continue in this environment. » The middle, he has in any case not forgotten Yvan Lebourgeois.


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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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