Posted in Back in Time

Back in Time: KRC Genk 1997/98

With this weekend being the Croky Cup final, I thought I’d try my best to have a look at the very first one KRC Genk had under their current guise, which was twenty years ago this year! How quaint that De Smurfen have reached the cup final in their 30th anniversary season, with a manager who was involved in this memorable cup victory as a player. A huge game against Standard Liège this weekend, but there was an even bigger win back in ’98 against the champions of that season.

In fact, that season was actually pretty decent for Genk. Second in the league and were on the up, this cup win was the foundation for the success in the next season as the club were looking to create history beyond their former name. Both Genk and Club Brugge only had home matches leading up to the final, but it was clear who had the tougher run. Club Brugge were showing their superiority scoring 4, 5 and 6 in the lead up to their 3-2 aggregate win in the semi, whereas Genk were steadily progressing, beating Lierse and local rivals Sint-Truiden 3-1 going into the semi finals.

That semi final was a tough one. Tougher than the final. The two legs against Germinal Ekeren couldn’t separate either team as Genk progressed on away goals, getting a 2-2 draw. Ekeren were not only the holders but finished third in the league too, proving how difficult a draw Genk had throughout the run.

Going into the final, Club Brugge had been scintillating. Walking the league winning the title by eighteen points and were hopeful of completing the double. That’s the great thing about football, and especially cup finals. Genk came in, took their chances, and (through research) seemed to dominate. A quick fire brace by Souleymane Oulare before the half hour looked to have settled any nerves. If anything however, the most nervous player looked to be Dany Verlinden, spilling a long range effort for the opener, and not reacting quick enough to the third from Thordur Gudjonsson.

A 3-0 halftime lead in the cup final. Unbelievable! The only thing that could make it better is a fourth, which was scored by Jacky Peeters, who had half of Heysel to run into and coolly finish to settle anything there and then. A first cup win for KRC Genk, as the cups won by Waterschei Thor don’t count. For De Smurfen to win this weekend would be massive. A great turnaround in a Jekyll and Hyde season, brought about by Phillipe Clement, he’d love nothing more than to cap off his maiden season as a first team manager with a trophy. With Genk never losing a Beker van België final, it’s a good omen leading up to the game, especially with what happened with the 1999/2000 success over Standard!

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Back in Time: Standard Liège 1953/54

As we edge nearer to this weekend, I thought I’d try my best to look at a previous final from the past. Today, I’m looking at Standard Liège and their first Beker van België victory, all the way back from the 50s! This was the first final in nineteen years after a hiatus, and was also only the sixth victory in the cups long history, even though association football had been in Belgium since the late nineteenth century.

In the league, Standard didn’t have the best of times. Finishing thirteenth, they stayed out of the relegation zone by a single point. In such a tight league however, they were only four points off of Racing Mechelen in sixth, the team Les Rouches would defeat in the cup final. I guess like some seasons, although football was never as popular as it is now back then, you could spin that the players focused more on their cup exploits than in the league, I guess the negative is that the Cup Winners Cup or Fairs Cup weren’t ‘invented’ back then, although the Fairs Cup was created shortly after this cup win.

Looking at the cup run, Liège had a similar run to Mechelen in how their results panned out. Both getting a 5-1 in the first round, and then both winning 2-1 in the quarterfinals. The competition kicked off with a fine victory over R.F.C. Brugeois. As I mentioned, a 5-1 score line, almost the same as this years semi final first leg. The difference however is that unlike Brugge doing well this season, that Brugeois side weren’t in the top flight.

Moving on. A tight 2-1 result against Daring Club de Bruxelles followed. A team who’d go on to narrowly get relegated from the top flight that season. I say narrowly because of course, it was two points for a win back then. In today’s money, they’d have actually finished above Standard by one point! Heading into the semi finals, a derby between Standard Liège and Sêrésien (now Seraing) took place, where a magnificent 5-2 triumph sealed the the club from Sclessin’s first cup final trip to Brussels to face Racing Mechelen.

You’d think with it being a final, it’d be cagey. But like I said, football hasn’t always been like today. A magnificent 3-1 win occurred with all the goals coming in the first half. The deadlock was broken in the very first minute by Sébastien Jacquemyns. Playing in either defence or midfield, he had a brief stint at the club, but a memorable one in his two year stay. Eight minutes later, prolific midfielder Joseph Givard doubled the lead. In his eight years at the club, he managed this cup success, along with a league title four years later. Givard averaged a goal every 3.5 matches.

Jozef Mannaerts halved the deficit, before skipper and one club man Fernand Blaise put the icing on the cake just before half time. Spending his entire career at the club, Blaise only managed this cup win in his thirteen years. Scoring in the final, he has etched himself into Standard history as they went on to bigger and better things.

Winning their first final, Standard Liège have gone on to play in fifteen more finals, winning seven in total. The third most successful club in the cup in Belgium, and second in regards of appearances. They’ll equal Club Brugge’s appearance record this weekend, with the hope of adding another trophy to the cabinet.

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Back in Time: 1940 European Cup???

Because I’m bored, weird, whatever…I decided, armed with a pen, paper, Wikipedia and virtual dice, to do my own ‘Champions League’ with clubs who won their domestic leagues in the 1938/39 season. Some teams technically didn’t win it that season because Russia seemed to be all over the place, and there was a civil war in Spain, so I used the reigning champions from before the war began.

Amongst this there were some big clubs from their respective nations. Glasgow Rangers, AEK Athens, Schalke, Everton and a ‘group of death’ which included Porto, Ajax, Athletic Bilbao and Bologna! Amazing stuff when the draw was made in my lounge in a teacup, pulling out screwed up pieces of paper. The press were just upset knowing two big clubs wouldn’t make it past the group stages, but at least we all know it wasn’t fixed! And representing Belgium. Ahhh Belgium, the land I wanted to do oh so well in this were represented by 1938/39 champions R Beerschot A.C. A team no longer in existence, with their last guise coming as Germinal Beerschot and then Beerschot AC.

I decided to use the Champions League format rather than the classic straight to knockout it used to be. Of course, teams used to be invited in the beginning, instead of being domestic champions. Some of these may never have entered unless it was my way! They were thankful to come along, especially Beerschot, Sète from France (now in a national league), Voronezh from Russia (there is F.C. Fakel Voronezh, but not the same), BSK Beograd (now OFK) and Venus Bucureşti (4th tier now in Romania).

What that shows is that football does have a rich history all over the world, where it is cyclical. There’s heritage and at some point, random clubs dominated their domestic leagues. It is amazing, like Venus Bucureşti and Sète, where the former won five titles in the 30s, and the latter were the first French team to win the double!

But going into this prestigious, made up European Competition. Well, not made up. I mean the competition exists but back then, and the fact I…never mind. Two teams dominated the group stages in Beograd and Voronezh both gaining 14 points! The group of death with Porto, Ajax, Bilbao and Bologna was reasonably tight, with the Spaniards and Italians coming good. Incredible! In Group C, Everton finished third, above Bucureşti, but below Admira Wien and Danish minnows B 93!

Now. Group A. The group that peaked my interest included Beerschot amongst Beograd, who we already know had progressed, with Glasgow Rangers in there and IF Elfsborg of Sweden. After two draws against Elfsborg and Rangers, things took a wrong turn with three defeats on the bounce, before a final draw against Rangers saw them eliminated. A minus five goal difference with three points. Sounds almost too realistic if you look at Anderlecht in this season’s competition. Only Sète had a worse time of it, with one point and a negative nine goal difference.

Of course I played out the rest of the tournament because this would’ve been pointless otherwise. As I’m a Belgian football blogger, what would anybody gain from finding out that the winner wasn’t from Belgium? It’d mean nothing at all. Of course I know the winner, just wonder how many of you are interested?

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Back in Time: Jean-Marie Pfaff 

Lastly in my trio of goalkeepers this week is probably, if not definitely the best of the bunch. All 3 goalkeepers had something in common. They all only conceded 24 goals in the seventies, but this one went on to achieve massive success. 

Jean-Marie Pfaff started off his career at KSK Beveren where he would spend 10 years at the club. Ten years where he would achieve massive success close towards the end of the decade. Before his title winning season, the first ever in KSK Beveren’s existence, he would help the team to the Belgian Cup, as well as picking up the Golden Shoe too in 1978. 

In his title winning season, he most definitely aided in the clubs success by helping out defensively. It was so impressive that he would become the national goalkeeper for Euro 1980. Along with that, and moving ahead, he would remain the Belgian number one at 4 successive tournaments, including two world cups! 

Once the World Cup in Spain 82 was over, he would make a major move abroad to Germany, joining Bavarian giants Bayern Munich. Whilst in Germany he would once again earn major successes individually and within the team. Winning 3 Bundesliga titles and 2 German cups in his 6 years with Bayern, he would also win the inaugural World’s Best Goalkeeper award in 1987. 

After that spell he moved back to Belgium with Lierse for one season, before ending his career in Turkey with Trabzonspor. A glittering career where he was consistently one of the best goalkeepers in the world for around a decade. After football he went on to manage Oostende in 1998/99 and looking back he has had quite an eclectic life.

In 1982, he nearly drowned at the World Cup after a journalist pushed the Belgian into a swimming pool, not knowing he couldn’t actually swim. He also had his own reality show involving his family for 10 years this millennium. But the world class keeper will never be forgotten for how good he was. So good, Pele voted him amongst the Top 125 Living Footballers, and with that honour, it all began in small humble surroundings in Beveren.
All pictures courtesy of Getty Images

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Back in Time: Nico de Bree

After yesterday’s helping with me talking about former Standard Liege goalkeeper Christian Piot, I go to another goalkeeper who also only conceded 24 goals in a season in the Belgian top flight. The difference between the 2 is that in that season, he didn’t pick up a winners medal for his troubles.

Another thing the pair didn’t have in common, is not just nationality, but Nico de Bree played for 7 clubs in his career with many ups and downs! Starting off at Elinkwijk (then merging with 2 other clubs to create what we call Utrecht) he then moved to NEC Nijmegen, where he helped the club to promotion to the Eredivisie! With that he then spent a decade south of Holland, moving to Belgium where he had a mixed time with success and failure.

Moving to the capital, Nico signed for Racing White Daring, until they also merged to create RWD Molenbeek where his name will live on forever. The big Dutchman helped in the clubs major historical triumph as they won the league for the first and only time in their history! A huge achievement and one where it didn’t go unnoticed. With that success, Anderlecht, RWDM’s neighbours poached him to replace compatriot Jan Ruiter. However, he could never replicate that league triumph with Les Mauves, but on a personal note, he did do well goalkeeping wise and defensively as Anderlecht finished second twice in succession, and once whilst keeping 16 clean sheets (to my knowledge) and winning the Cup Winners Cup too, the whole point of this brief acknowledgment of how difficult a goalkeepers life can be.

As the seventies became the eighties, his 8 year stint in the capital came to an end with uneventful spells at Winterslag and then Beerschot, with Winterslag being the most successful reaching the UEFA Cup. The rollercoaster ended with a move back to Holland with DS’79 (now better known as Dordrecht) where he won the league in his first season, moving the club back into the Eredivisie, much like what he did with NEC. But a bitter end as the goalkeeper saw relegation in his final season as a professional footballer.

Never gaining a cap for his country, at one point you could possibly class him as the best goalkeeper in Belgium, winning a title, winning continental honours, joining potentially the biggest club at the time and conceding the fewest goals in a league campaign in 7 years. Not too shabby really with his final season being the only real sour note.

As I have stated, will never be forgotten by RWDM fans and will be considered a legend in that part of Belgium before moving to Anderlecht. He sadly past away in Vienna last year, leaving his legacy in the Belgian top flight through the seventies when Belgian clubs could compete on a European stage.

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Back in Time: Christian Piot 

My back in times usually talk about a triumphant title win or spirited European campaign. But one of my previous BIT’s was about Francis Severyns and I thought why not celebrate an individual? The same individuals that made these clubs successful whether temporarily or over a longer scale.

This week I thought I’d talk about goalkeepers. I went back to the 1970s and looked to see which clubs conceded the least along this decade and 3 clubs conceded the same amount of goals, with one goalkeeper doing it twice right at the start in title winning seasons! 

Christian Piot was a young goalkeeper at lowly FC Ougrée in Belgium, when he was spotted by René Hauss for Standard Liege in 1969. The problem at the time is that Piot had a slight dilemma. Unlike now where when you’re a footballer, that’s it! But money was around then and the young goalkeeper used his hands to save shots rather than cut meat…as a butcher.

And what a great choice he made, winning 3 consecutive league titles with Les Rouches and conceding just 24 goals in 1969/70 and 1970/71! Replacing Jean Nicolay, many had their doubts about the youngster, but he rapidly progressed and was called up to the national side for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. He was called up in place of another Jean, this time Jean Trappeniers. 

With a marvellous start to his career he won 3 titles, called up to a world cup, win the Belgian Golden Shoe in 1972, where he also represented his country in the European Championships, helping the Red Devils to a 3rd place finish too. Thereafter he helped Standard to cup finals, but that was mainly it. Competing in 305 matches for his one and only club, along with 40 matches for his country he also managed 9 goals for Standard (all penalties I think). 

When you think about, his career was a rollercoaster, but mainly of good times. Winning caps, titles and records as well as personal accolades, bagging goals and all in a career where….he could’ve been behind a counter serving meat (not that’s there’s definitely nothing wrong with that). Spending his career in Liege, he went on to coach and manage at Standard and RFC Liege. Recently turning 70 he will live on as a fine goalkeeper!

Posted in Back in Time, Manager Profile

Back in Time: Bill Gormlie

I’ve decided to blog random bits of history, whether it be about the Belgian Pro League, the second tier, European competition or The Belgian Cup (Beker van Belgie). The reason I’ve thought up this segment is not only to educate myself about the past, but to anyone who reads this, if anyone actually does, and to see that Belgian football isn’t about 1 or 2 teams, or the odd great player produced quite regularly actually, and that teams in the past competed and that the impossible is sometimes possible.

After this week in the Belgian top flight, I thought I’d look at the longest serving manager in Anderlecht history. I’m guessing his the longest serving as he has managed the most amount of matches, along with the fact he has won the most league titles for the club. Bill Gormlie was a remarkable coach in that he did what most Englishmen won’t do. He went abroad!

Born in 1911 in Liverpool, he went on to play as a goalkeeper for Blackburn Rovers and Northampton Town. But he really excelled as a manager. He originally became manager of the Belgian National team in 1947 around the age of 37 which would never happen now if you think of it. His first match was a derby against the Dutch. The problem at the time is the Belgian FA didn’t want to participate in the 1950 World Cup, so no qualifiers were played.

Because of that, maybe that was the reason he split his role with the national side, as he took charge of Anderlecht in 1950! He quit the role of Belgium manager in 1953, leaving them in a good position at the time as they’d defeated Finland and Sweden, helping them towards the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland. But as I were saying, he took charge of Anderlecht until 1959.

In those years he won 5 titles, winning one in his first season, following on the good work of Irishman Ernest Churchill Smith. In that first season however, Les Mauves won the league on goal difference and only winning 13 matches out of 30! Remarkable. It then took 3 seasons til his next title, but after the 1953/54 season, Anderlecht were ruthless. 

In that season, they scraped the league by a single point, but then the next, not only did they win the league by 3 points, they also managed qualification for the European Cup. They repeated the feat the next season before he won his last league title in his last season as manager in 1958/59. Five league titles in 9 full seasons is fantastic. 

Unfortunately for Gormlie, he couldn’t take his league form into Europe. Okay we know Real Madrid ran Europe then…much like they do now. Anyway, the inaugural European Cup saw Anderlecht lose 10-4 to Vörös Kobogó (I know) and were out immediately. The next season was no better after the Belgians were, frankly, demolished by Manchester United 12-0 on aggregate, the second leg being 10-0! The season after Bill Gormlie was let go, Anderlecht still disappointed on the European stage as the went out to Glasgow Rangers in the first stage again.

Bill Gormlie laid the foundations, and carried on good work from those before him too to be fair, for Anderlecht’s domination to this day. He helped in their history to shape the club in some way. He did do ground-breaking stuff, such as beating Arsenal in 1954 at Highbury, the first foreign side to achieve this. He was credited in finding Paul Van Himst, one of Belgian football’s greatest players. To only manage in Europe and succeed doesn’t happen often, especially for Englishmen, so this is one story which many won’t know, and maybe should know. 

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Back in Time: Cercle Brugge 1929/30

I’ve decided to blog random bits of history, whether it be about the Belgian Pro League, the second tier, European competition or The Belgian Cup (Beker van Belgie). The reason I’ve thought up this segment is not only to educate myself about the past, but to anyone who reads this, if anyone actually does, and to see that Belgian football isn’t about 1 or 2 teams, or the odd great player produced quite regularly actually, and that teams in the past competed and that the impossible is sometimes possible.

After the weekend Cercle had, I didn’t know whether this would cheer them up as they were champions of Belgium, and they have been three times, or it’ll upset them knowing there was once better times in an era the majority of fans never existed in. A time where, in 3 calender years, Cercle Brugge were the best in Belgium twice.

To actually dig out information on this team was difficult. There are of course sites where facts are, or what I’ve decided as facts, but it was actually typing in the correct words on any search engine to find this information. Not just simply ‘Cercle Brugge 1929/30’. But once I found out, other than the basic search which isn’t difficult to find, Cercle’s last ever season as champions was a tight one, winning the league by one point from Antwerp! And the league, in the surface, looks weird compared to nowadays. Not just because there were just 14 teams, but a points tally of 37 points from 26 games never looks impressive. Obviously I know back then it was just 2 points for a win.

What could make this win better is the turn of form from the 20s to the 30s, picking up around 50% more points in the run in, and what was most vital was the away win against Antwerp four matchdays from the end. If that were to even be a draw, the Great Old would’ve won the league on goal difference! What may also cheer up Cercle fans, is that they took 3 out of 4 points off of rivals Club Brugge, where Blauw-Zwart finished 6th back then, 10 points off of Cercle!

But what I do love about these posts, when I look back then, is loyalty to the clubs they played for. Finding information on players is never easy, especially from nearly 100 years ago, but out of the players I have found, they either just played for Cercle, played over ten years (or 20 years for a couple of them) or represented the club in other ways too. Looking down my list, it’s hard to say who is the bigger ‘legend’ but starting with Louis Baes. The defender spent 15 years at Cercle as a player and was twice coach too. Florimand Vanhalme also coached the club twice, as well as played 320 matches and scoring 33 goals in a 20 year span.

You also have Robert Braet who was a goalkeeper who started at 18 in the first team, played 20 years too at the club, is 6th in the all time list of appearances AND became chairman between 1967-1970. He also was the best in the country as he represented Belgium at the 1938 World Cup. Then you have four strikers, although Roger Proot had a lot in common with Braet, in that he doubled up as a goalkeeper. Proot spent 13 years at the club, winning 2 leagues and a cup as well as top scorer in 1931 and 1933. Alphonse Decorte also shared the top scorer at the club in 33, as well as winning the accolade in 1932, spending the entirety of his career at Cercle Brugge too.

Lastly, you have a couple of strikers who left their mark on Cercle Brugge. Firstly, Michel Vanderbauwhede, who spent 12 years at the club,also winning 2 leagues and a cup. He is fourth on the all time goalscorers list. And finally, Arthur Ruysschaert spent 18 years at Cercle and is the only player to be in the top 10 Cercle players regarding goals and appearances! He later became a youth coach and interim coach.

This club will live forever at the club as possibly the last to ever win the league for the club. Football is ciclical and maybe one day, Cercle will come!e again, but until then, the 7-1 at the weekend will need to be revenged this coming weekend as the club strive to get back to the top flight!

Posted in Back in Time

Back in Time: Francis Severeyns

I’ve decided to blog random bits of history, whether it be about the Belgian Pro League, the second tier, European competition or The Belgian Cup (Beker van Belgie). The reason I’ve thought up this segment is not only to educate myself about the past, but to anyone who reads this, if anyone actually does, and to see that Belgian football isn’t about 1 or 2 teams, or the odd great player produced quite regularly actually, and that teams in the past competed and that the impossible is sometimes possible.

I should really put this down as a club thing. Clubs who have done extremely well in the past whether it be in the cup, or Europe, or league. But…this time, I have decided to pick a player. I came across a player who most clubs in the Pro League will know as well European clubs and lower league clubs. Francis Severeyns!

To continually write about Club Brugge and Anderlecht is, no offence, dull. It’s full to whoever may read my blog on a regular basis (if anyone does) and it’s dull for me. It’s the equivalent of constantly writing about Liverpool and Manchester United. But I digress. Francis Severeyns, also known as Cisse, came through the ranks at Royal Antwerp in 1984, signed originally from Westmalle as a youngster. Primarily, I’ve written about Cisse because I thought I’d kick of my Back in Time with a 7/8 finish in the year, but stumbled across a goalscorer, who, was always the bridesmaid and never the bride.

Courtesy of Getty Images

In a generation full of top Belgian strikers, Francis Severeyns managed to play for the Red Devils 7 times and managed to bag a goal in the process. Taking that into the clubs he played for, he did have a decent goalscoring record. In his first spell at Antwerp, his best personal performance was a goal haul of 24 goals when the Great Old finished 3rd in the 1987/88 season, striking up a good partnership Marc Van Den Linden. That season helped the club qualify for the UEFA Cup.

With his impress start to his career, his major disappointment followed where Serie A came calling. Possibly the league to join in the 80s and 90s which is a huge compliment. Unfortunately, the Italian Job ended horrendously, with Pisa finishing second bottom, and, going by my research, no goals were scored by Severeyns. Where does he go from there? Well, he was a lucky boy, to an extent, when Mechelen signed him! Yes! The Belgian Champions sent him a huge lifeline.

After that, De Kakkers did well, finishing 3rd, 2nd and 4th in Severeyns three seasons, trying to build a relationship with John Bosman. Those finishes meant the Cisse always had European football. After his mini spell there, which was reasonably good at a club level, scoring nearly a goal every 3 matches, he rejoined Antwerp. In some ways, coming home.

Again, this is where the bridesmaid comment comes in, as they’d won the Beker van Belgie the year before he joined. Meaning clubs had success the year before he joined! But that first season the club reached the Cup Winners Cup final, losing out to an impressive Parma team. Francis Severeyns even managed a goal in that final before the Italians won 3-1! Domestically, Severeyns managed 19 goals (joint 5th) and sparked up a good relationship with Alexandre Czerniatynski (I quadruple checked that). The club began a descend down the table, actually finishing just outside the relegation places in the 1994/95 season, until picking themselves up the season he left, finishing 6th, ensuring an Intertoto Cup place.

But the now experienced Belgian moved to Austria with Tirol Innsbruck. An average season all in all where the club finished 6th, which is mid table in the Austrian Bundesliga, and the club also went out of Europe early to Celtic. This was to be his final stint abroad as he returned to Belgium in the form of Germinal Beerschot. 

Courtesy of Getty Images

Three seasons with the historic club were followed by his last season in top flight at Westerlo in 2001/02. Thereafter, he played football for the love of football, playing in the Belgian lower leagues, before return to his home club KV Westmalle, where he is now the manager. 

This is unique in that I don’t often write about former players of yesteryear, but a player who had the courage to play abroad is one thing, along with being at clubs in a successful era in their history, without actually winning a medal of his own. A fantastic career with I’m sure many stories, with no silverware to boast for it! I wonder if the second coming in the form of management will happen for Francis Severeyns?

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Back in Time: RSC Anderlecht 1946/47

I’ve decided to blog random bits of history, whether it be about the Belgian Pro League, the second tier, European competition or The Belgian Cup (Beker van Belgie). The reason I’ve thought up this segment is not only to educate myself about the past, but to anyone who reads this, if anyone actually does, and to see that Belgian football isn’t about 1 or 2 teams, or the odd great player produced quite regularly actually, and that teams in the past competed and that the impossible is sometimes possible.

With this club winning their 34th Belgian Pro League title this season, I thought I’d go all the way back to their very first title win. This issue of Back in Time sort of commemorates the 70th anniversary, and let’s just say, Les Mauves haven’t looked back since. The difference between this season here and this season now is that the league has ended today, but back then the league wasn’t settled til the very last match of the season, which took place in late June! 

Yes, late June. Luckily there wasn’t an international tournament that season! The Emile Versé stadium was the destination where Anderlecht became the 4th different team from the capital to win a top flight league title. Did the second world war help? Who knows, well, I’m sure somebody will know, but teams like Union Saint Gilloise and Germinal Beerschot who were prior champions leading up to World War 2 just weren’t the same, whereas Anderlecht dominated Belgian league football for the rest of the forties, the fifties AND the sixties!

Players that season were phenomenal. For example, you wouldn’t mind having this as a classic 5 aside. With Henri ‘Rie’ Meert in goal, winning 8 titles in 18 years at the club, he was consistent for both club and country. Then you had Jean Valet defending who won 5 titles in 15 years. François de Wael and Victor Erroelen in midfield with the exceptional Joseph Mermans up front. If he was around now, with his goalscoring record, he’d be worth a fair bit of money with an unbelievable record for Anderlecht and with his total finishing at 39 goals in 34 matches this title winning season!

There were other superb players around these five, arranged by Frenchman Georges Perino, but the great thing is that through recruitment and tactics, Anderlecht kicked on and this was the imputus. As a fair few of these players were at the club before the second world war, meaning the fruits of their labour were finally awarded, along with their fantastic loyalty to the club.

Going back to the league, Anderlecht finished 2 points above R. Olympic CC in the league with a better win record and a fantastic goal difference. With 112 goals scored by the club, that works out over 3 goals scored per match! And there were plenty of derbies too, with 5 clubs representing Brussels as well this season. The biggest win that season was a 7-0 home win over Sint Niklaassche SK, who were one of five teams who were relegated in this 19 team league, with Club Brugge (R FC Brugeois) finishing bottom of the pile!

With this league title being so vital for the club, and I say vital because in the 70 years in between, Les Mauves have won 34. If my maths is correct, although it isn’t difficult, that’s a squeak under a title every 2 seasons since. To achieve that is an unbelievable achievement. Teams have come and stayed like Club Brugge, but others have come and gone, like Mechelen and Standard Liege who look like they want to continue a challenge at various points, but it’s never sustained, and now you have Gent and Genk in the present day who want to try and create their own dynasty, which will need a hell of a lot of building!