After coming close to climbing to the National League A in 1972, Vevey-Sports ended up reaching the 1st division during the 1973-1974 financial year after a crazy suspense during the last match of the season against Lucerne. On June 1, Vevey receives the Central Swiss team in an overheated stadium with nearly 7,000 spectators. The team led by the experienced Ernst Tippelt and led by coach Antoine Cuissard lost 1-0 against the Lucernois. To validate his ticket without going through a support match, Vevey must then wait 10 minutes in front of the totomat to know the result of the Granges-Bienne match. Finally, the two formations share the stake (2-2) and the party can begin in the streets of Vevey.
6,700 spectators lined the stands at Copet for the LNB finalissima between Vevey and Lucerne on June 1, 1974. [STR – Keystone]
Yves Débonnaire was already aligned a few times in the 1st Vevey-Sports team when he was 17 years old. Iconic player of the club, he then made his debut in LNA in stride. He scored his first goal in the top flight during a match against Sion in March 1975. He played with the “Yellow and Blue” until 1985 before joining the ranks of FC Sion. He is therefore well placed to take a look at this beautiful period in Vevey.
“We came up in 1974 with experienced players and a resounding transfer in Claudio Sulser. But we couldn’t hold on. Relegation hurt a lot. I remember a decisive game against Mendrisio Star to stay in LNB. The club then changed its vision by focusing on young people. Paul Garbani arrived in 1978 and gradually the team was structured to rise again in LNA in 1981, with almost only players homegrown“.
The duo Paul Rinsoz-Paul Garbani at the helm
Long-time actor and observer of Vevey life, Yves Christen gravitated around Vevey-Sports from the arrival of Blazevic and subsequently occupied a place on the club committee. For the former trustee of Vevey and national councilor, it is the trio “local players-public worker-support of companies”, which allowed the city to blaze in football but also at the same time in basketball with the double Cup-Championship in 1984.
“We were lucky enough to come across the other Paul, namely Paul Garbani. He had a philosophy of life that appealed to Paul Rinsoz. The best period was that of the two Pauls (between 1978 and 1985) because they lived for football, it was a real passion for them. They wanted creative football “, details Yves Christen (79 years old).
A success with players from the region
“And then, it was really players from the region who created this success. Yves Débonnaire lived opposite the stadium, Patrick Gavillet was a school principal in Vevey, Christian Matthey was the son of the cheese maker, Jean-François Henry was also from the corner and goalkeeper Mario Malnati is from Ticino but he eventually became more Veveysan than the Veveysans“, specifies the one who piloted the city from 1990 to 2001.
Paul Garbani knew how to find young talents and help them progress with more experienced players. In this logic, Maurizo Jacobacci arrived in Vevey in 1983 at the age of 20 after having started his career at Young Boys. “Paul called me and I knew that by coming to Vevey there was the possibility of having more playing time and of being a starter in LNA. Paul was a kind of daddy, always kind. It was also the first time that I was able to leave the family cocoon and discover a new region. In addition, I found it a chance to flourish alongside the Malnati, Küng, Débonnaire or Diserens“.
Less time to make a decision
The current FC Lugano coach would later have a successful career by joining Neuchâtel Xamax in 1984. What has changed the most in the game compared to the period when he played with the Vevey-Sports jersey? “It is certainly cognitive speed. There is less time today to control the ball, especially in midfield. You have to constantly anticipate and know what you want to do with the ball before receiving it “, notes the one who does not fail to evoke his stay in Vevey when he meets Yves Débonnaire or Stéphane De Siebenthal.
“But it must be said that we presented good football in Vevey. We had players like Patrick Gavillet and André Bonato who defended well. On the offensive side, Yves and Hans Franz had great technique “, ajoute Maurizio Jacobacci.
Points at home but few outside
Vevey-Sports played in the LNA from 1981 to 1987. It should be noted that the enlargement of Ligue A to 16 teams during this same period has allowed teams with semi-pro status like Vevey to challenge GC every weekend. , Zurich, Servette or Lausanne.
“It was at home that we scribbled our points. When we went to GC or Servette, we knew we were going to take 4 goals “, launches Gérard Castella with a smile. The Genevan had his first experience as an LNA coach by training Vevey for a year (1985-1986). He arrived at the Copet stadium to succeed Paul Garbani, who left for Servette for become Jean-Marc Guillou’s assistant. “It was an incredible opportunity to coach in 1st division being 32 years old and having just graduated. Even if it was difficult, there is pride in having managed to save himself at the end of an extremely complicated season.“.
September 1985, a very difficult time
As a baptism of fire, Gérard Castella could indeed have hoped for better. Paul Rinsoz retired from the presidency at the beginning of 1986 for health reasons. Therefore, the club will be deprived of its main financial support. In addition, the whole team is marked by the “Chapuisat-Favre Affair” in connection with the fault of Gabet Chapuisat on Lucien Favre during the match of September 13, 1985 between Servette and Vevey. Following this event, Paul Rinsoz decides to part ways with Gabet Chapuisat with immediate effect, thus depriving Vevey of its best player at the moment.
“The Chapuisat-Favre Affair was awful for me. It was the worst moment of my coaching career. Gabet, I liked him a lot. He was my teammate at Lausanne-Sport where we won the Swiss Cup together in 1981. We were often in the same room when traveling abroad or during training camps.“, specifies Gérard Castella (67 years old).
The locker room holds thanks to the leaders
“Although I tried to argue with the president, I had no say in this decision. I was presented with a fait accompli. Mr. Rinsoz told me that it was his responsibility and not mine. I know Gabet was angry with me but I couldn’t do anything“, continues the man who is now responsible for training at Young Boys.
Thanks to the presence in the locker room of leaders Bonato, Gavillet and Schürmann, Gérard Castella manages not to panic and to keep control of the team to preserve it in LNA. However, he will not continue the adventure because the ambitions of the club, revised downwards, were no longer compatible with his philosophy. “Even before the start of the championship, I was told: the goal for 1987 is to play in the LNB. For my part, I could not agree with this speech. And then, I also wanted to get closer to my family in Geneva after the birth of my son.“.
Sporty and economical blues
The second part of the 1980s marks the end of the flourishing period of “VS”. Coach Guy Mathez will take the helm of the team for a year between 1986 and 1987. Vevey-Sports will then be relegated to the 2nd division and will even fall to the 2nd league in 1991. Subsequently, he will remain in 1st league until 2004 and then went bankrupt a year later.
A tumble experienced in parallel with the difficulties of the Vevey economic fabric from 1989. The unemployment rate reached 13% in 1993 after the end of the activities of the Mechanical Construction Workshops and Rinsoz-Ormond. Fortunately, under the leadership of Ernesto Bertarelli, the Rinsoz plant quickly found a new role with the arrival of Serono and the development of biotechnology.