I was thinking recently whilst writing about Belgian football and after seeing a transfer I wondered…how many Brits have turned up in the Pro League? But instead of British, more Englishman who have made the briefest of trips across to Belgium and no matter how long or short the stint was, I wanted to look into this.
Now, we all know English players rarely leave our island, which is fair, but I love other cultures and countries. There’s no surprise that the amount of big names will be sparse through the prestige of the Belgian Premier Division in world football, and the lack of money, but everyone who wants a career could maybe forge one here. Along with that, English is widely spoken, you’re not a million miles away and Belgium is a lovely country too.
So on to the research. It is tough to find out judging by maybe what I’ve looked up and where, but it’s proved that not many in all honesty have arrived in Belgium, and along with that, unsuccessfully too. Belgium is usually a place where English players have either gone on loan to a feeder club or have tried to revitalise their careers.
It’s a league in which journeyman from England go as a wage until their next venture. You do have some success stories, like former Club Brugge player Roger Davies, who had the briefest of brief spells, yet came away as a champion and footballer of the year! He also played for a number of clubs along the way too I may add.
If we focus on the here and now there are currently two Englishman plying their trade I’m Belgium. One player in Jordan Mustoe, who was probably sick of loan deals in the English lower leagues and maybe realised there’s football outside of England and joined Westerlo in 2015. To be honest, all I can say is good luck to him! The other player is Gary Martin. Much more well travelled, his has done well overseas, especially in Iceland, and joined Lokeren in the recent transfer window. I’m sure he’ll already feel at home under boss Runar Kristinsson, where they’ve already been together in Iceland and Norway. Again, I can’t help but say fair play. His been successful wherever he has been and I’m sure he will hope that’ll continue in mainland Europe!
In ending, The Pro League in the near future will primarily be home to fantastic youngsters and the odd big player moving over, along with maybe players wanting work permits, but maybe if some youngsters in Britain want top flight football abroad, there’s definitely nothing wrong with Belgium!