I felt I had the need to write this piece. It’s not exactly news or anything specific about any team. It’s just my thoughts on the Pro League and how…erm…unappreciated it is in someway. Let’s look at last season’s Pro League. From 1 through to 9 (and sorry if this is boring) it went like this:
Anderlecht Club Brugge Gent Oostende Charleroi Zulte Waregem Mechelen Genk Standard Liege
If I’m incorrect please get in touch. I enjoy conversation. Anyway, if my memory serves me correctly that’s nine football clubs in Belgians top flight who are capable of winning the league. Some more than others are likely of actually succeeding, namely Anderlecht and Club Brugge, but last season, majority of this clubs took points off of eachother. It then boils down, and this is a cliché, that in a title race, it’s about taking points off of everyone else rather than those around you.
The only problem with that is, if it really was a simple as suggesting these nine are real, honest contenders, then it works the other way, as 48 points are on offer here amongst your competitors, meaning you’d only need 13 points from the ‘bottom’ seven to copy Anderlecht’s regular season tally from last season.
But let’s get away from figures. The whole point here is that, realistically, is there another league in Europe, and a top league, not the Albanian or Estonian or whoever else, although I’m sure Skenderbrau overhaul everyone in Albania, who can say we have over half of a league full of title challengers? Even those televised in England. Premier League may have 7 if they’re lucky, Italy has maybe 6 as best, and then Juventus win. Holland have maybe just 3, and they’re of similar level to Belgium. Portugal – 3, Scotland – 1, Germany – 3 maybe? And I could go on. But majority of league have pretenders to the thrown and the usual suspect ends up with the trophy.
But the Belgian Premier League has no place on English television unless you become a subscriber to another channel on a satellite television. The beauty is that I write this because, and to people who have read my blogs previously, I love football and enjoy going to Belgium. I’m going to paraphrase Tim Vickery who is the go to South American expert in England who, I think, lives in Brazil, and that’s that he said when he first saw Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo and both Juninho’s (the Middlesbrough one and Lyon one) he felt like Christopher Columbus discovering and seeing all these talents before anyone else knew them.
The same in some way applies to Belgium. Obviously, I knew Henry Onyekuru before he moved to Everton. The one tweet I tweeted once he joined had over 600 views in that hour. Nobody knows who he is unless they look on YouTube. Henrik Dalsgaard who has gone to Brentford. I knew he was quality, as many knew in Belgium and Denmark, but I’m sure Brentford fans are looking to see whether or not his actually good. There’s of course many more and seeing and hearing about these top players before they spread their wings and fly away gives me joy, as well as sadness because I’ve said many times, who likes to see the best players leave the league?
End of the day, this league is extremely competitive and can one or 2 teams show that courage and express themselves and challenge for the league, Beker van Belgie or for Europe? We’ll find out who’ll be progressing or digressing in just 8 days…