Posted in Uncategorized

Forwards are the Order of the Season

I switched up day to season of course. And they are. They always have been and always will be. Strikers will always and for ever be the need for every club anywhere and everywhere, and of course, that applies to Belgium. Whether it’s fresh faces or familiar faces, teams will acquire players, especially in the forward positions, and particular strikers will always be needed. Once you feel the small, quick striker is out of favour, they come back, to replace the tall, strong striker who heads everything. Then there’s the wide attacker who drifts in. The ‘false No.9’ which apparently Spain invented in Euro 2012 or whatever. There’s a partnership, no wait, one on their own, or gung ho with 3 up top with all different qualities.

Now onto my point. Yesterday saw a key striker who had a trial match on Saturday and passed the test. The club he has now joined stupidly signed him days after he clinically put them to the sword twice. Oostende have signed Beveren talisman Zinho Gano. I am truly gutted for Waasland Beveren who will have to rely on Olivier Myny and goals around the team, which isn’t a problem, but without Gano they’d be 4 goals worse off right now.

Eupen have signed Mbaye Leye after his release from Zulte Waregem. I and a good Belgian football fan predicted he’d go somewhere like Eupen. We both concurred that he’d be good for a young team, and the Senegalese Aspire Academy influence would probably come into play too. A three year deal which will most likely see the rest of his career out with the Pandas makes me think what else could progress from this deal long term after Leye’s playing days?

Then unfortunately you see the Golden Shoe winner of 2016 leave the league in Jose Izquierdo. I really wonder how Club Brugge fans feel losing such a quality player AND their title winning manager in the same season? I’ve actually just thought of that. Losing 2 key men from that dressing room and both leaders in their own way, on and off the pitch. The Colombian joining Brighton gives me mixed feelings. Firstly, in a positive light, he is deemed good enough for the Premier League, meaning players in Belgium, and there are, are considered Premier League quality. But in a negative light, he is deemed only good enough for Brighton (no offense) where technically, they were the 22nd best team in England last season, and second best in England’s 2nd tier. Same of course applies to Matt Ryan, but this is a striker post, so less said the better.

And of course, other signings have been made as these players must’ve been deemed surplus to requirements, or forced their way out, and players have been already signed into their place. Nicolas Verdier has common up top for Eupen too, with Henry Onyekuru going on loan to Anderlecht via Everton. The brilliant Dennis Bonaventure has come in along with Jeremy Perbet at Club Brugge and Zulte Waregem have signed Ivan Saponjic on loan from Benfica. Obviously other teams have invested in attack, but with this merry go round of strikers within the league or Europe, one move then sparks another.

Going back to the beginning of all of this, the Zinho Gano move to Oostende, probably filling the gap left behind by Nany Dimata, will mean there’s a place to fill at Beveren, meaning that’ll create funds or space at that club, and the domino effect will carry on until September the first. We all love a deal, especially when it’s a name, and I’d be excited if I were a Kustboy right now meaning they may just get their first points this weekend, although at Eupen, the likelihood is pretty big, even with Mbaye Leye.

To cap off, I’m glad that there are very good strikers in Belgium, meaning anyone can beat anyone, which has already been proved, and that if there is a chance, the likelihood of it being taken is greater than it missing, and goals is what fans want!

(All pictures courtesy of Getty Images)

Posted in Uncategorized

The Pro League on Twitter

I put Twitter in the title rather than social media because even though I have Facebook, I’ve never fully been a fan of I’m honest. I don’t have Instagram because I’m not a photographer, although if I had one for the team I support, I’d have a fair few pictures of away matches. But anyway, I use Twitter most because I find it the best way to communicate with clubs and players and fans whether it be through a tweet or direct message.

But I’ve had this sort of post for a while because I’m not sure certain clubs take full advantage of their Twitter account. Like I said, I’ve had this idea of this post for a while, but not to pick on any club, it’s up to them how they run their Twitter, I remember Waasland Beveren didn’t tweet for 6 days. You might as well call it a week.

Twitter can be a powerful tool. A tool where you can expand your popularity and fanbase, which could bring in fans, sponsors, anything really?!? I’m just shocked that you have a top flight European league where Anderlecht are occasionally non stop tweeting, which I find positive and informative. They tweet about their youth, ladies team, online shop and they do it in a trilingual way. The only club to do that.

That’s not me having a dig at Club Brugge or Gent or Standard Liege…honestly its not. In fact, because these clubs primarily tweet in Dutch, it’s made me want to learn Dutch (to a point) to go with my adequate French and, without blowing my own trumpet, my very good Spanish (although Spanish isn’t useful in Belgium).

For me it’s even weird that clubs don’t give up to date match reports. Sometimes just a starting line up and an end result. I’m not after a gimmick. I’m not after stupid videos. But even just a tweet regarding maybe famous results from the past? Famous moments against upcoming opposition? The odd player interview or…I don’t know. All I know is that non league football clubs in England post more than Professional Belgian football clubs.

If anyone actually does read this, please feel free to tell me if I’m being harsh. I just love my football. Like the pictures I posted of Pafos FC stadium last week. I made a 4 mile round trip, walking, in 30+ degrees heat because I love football. I find it weird as well when I go to follow a player and my mum, honestly, has more Twitter followers than the player. I know Belgium’s population isn’t massive, and the majority of Belgians must support Anderlecht or Club Brugge if they don’t support their local club. Along with that, I realise not every fan has social media. Maybe I’m expecting more.

But possibly, for the commercial side, as well as providing information and highlights, why not make more of one of the biggest platforms on the internet. And it’s free!

Posted in Uncategorized

Back in Time: Lierse S.K. 1996/97

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 have been wondering what and who to write about recently. I want to continue with this on my blog because it mainly educates me, knowing who have been the forces in Belgian football history and what Belgian clubs have achieved at home and abroad. And for one brief moment 20 seasons ago (last season) Lierse were the best team in the land!

It has been over 35 years from their last title win, and they weren’t showing signs of winning another, seeing as their highest finish that decade up until the title success was 5th, two seasons in a row prior to the title victory. The thing is, this crop of players seemed to be different. That summer, manager Eric Gerets made some important signings. Signings which didn’t only add quality, but instilled their names within Lierse history beyond this title win. He brought in goalkeeper Stanley Menzo who proved to be an inspired signing from PSV Eindhoven and Eric van Meir, the young defender signed from Charleroi, who would prove to be a magnificent signing. He not only became top scorer, but would stay with the club in some capacity after retirement.

Beyond these 2 new recruits (that I’ve heard of) include Bob Peeters, Carl Hoefkens and Nico van Kerckhoven. All these players played their part in winning the league, especially Peeters and van Kerckhoven who played every match! But the season wasn’t looking too good to begin with. In fact, it was so poor, they only won 2 of their first 9 matches. One of them against Charleroi where they had 3 players sent off! Greets probably was looking at his team hoping to save them from relegation!

But as summer turned to winter, De Pallieters then won 7 of their next 9, losing and drawing one each, going into the second half of the season with something to build from, although I doubt the title was still a thought…? The year 1997 couldn’t have started better though. A tough trip away to face Club Brugge was ahead and Lierse were magnificent. Lierse were 3-0 up before the hour, proving that the winter break was just what they needed. After a mini revival from Blauw-Zwart, Lierse scored another through Zefilho to seal the win!

Lierse eventually lost one game to Sint Truiden, but that was it! Undefeated for the rest of the season, including an unbelievable 5-1 home victory over Anderlecht, with Lierse being 4-0 up at one point! A quite magnificent turnaround, losing 2 matches from the end of September. Lierse proved they were worthy champions in the end after the horrid start. Winning the league over last season’s champions Club Brugge by just two points, Eric Gerets success still remains legend, as we will unfortunately never know when the club will hit these heights again?!? First step will be promotion, then consolidation before maybe, just maybe, this famous club could be amongst the title contenders…?

Posted in Uncategorized

When Will Gent’s Season Start?

I was going to write this yesterday, but walking to Pafos FC stadium, plus I was tired last night, I’ve waited til this morning. It probably would’ve read better last night with ideas popping into my head, but that’s my fault. Anyway, back to the actual topic I’m writing about. KAA Gent have massively faulted so far this season.

Out of Europe losing out to Altach and ZERO points in the Pro League, I was looking at certain things which may be why they’re stuttering. I didn’t look very far mind but I thought are the transfers to blame? Jeremy Perbet has left…nope, I wouldn’t say him leaving is a problem.

Is it because Jacob Rinne has been in goal? Actually, that maybe a problem. No offence Jacob, but there’s a reason Lovre Kalinic is No. 1! Certain decisions made by the Swede have been costly, especially in Europe (unless I’m mistaken) so I think you can say the lack of your first choice goalkeeper can be a problem. Most clubs would say that in fairness.

Another thing is that Yuya Kubo hasn’t hit the ground running like last season. I said to someone very recently that I agreed with their comment of him potentially being a top scorer in Belgium this season, but he seems to slow down once at the club in his second season. Ask Young Boys. It’s definitely unfair to be critical of players after 2 league games, but Gent have had 4 competitive matches in total. Two matches in the Europa League in which that doesn’t just affect the club financially but on the pitch. That player Hein Vanhaezebrouck was eyeing up has now moved elsewhere because of lack of continental football.

Then again, it wouldn’t hurt Gent doing what Anderlecht and Club Brugge have done and cherry pick better players from Pro League clubs? Look at Mats Rits. Performing at Mechelen, De Buffalos next opponents, he can make a difference. If goals are the problem, why didn’t Gent look at Elton Acolatse seeing as relegated Westerlo lost their top 2 players to two Champions League clubs?

Obviously Gent didn’t have to go for Acolatse but you get my point. Be more prudent. Which brings me to the gaffer. I’m honestly not pointing fingers, although I can see it looks that way, but give it a couple more weeks, would he have been the first sacked if it wasn’t for STVV beating them to it?

I’m a firm believer that literally every point counts, and now Gent have to make up 6 on Brugge, Zulte and Charleroi and four points on Anderlecht. That’s the difference between the championship play offs and Europa League. The difference between Champions League qualifiers and Europa League qualifiers.

I could be as hard on Oostende as I am on Gent, but they have had a tougher start in the league (just) and definitely a tougher Europa League draw. Like I’ve said before, I have no agenda against any Pro League club. In fact, I like Gent because they knocked Tottenham out of Europe last season. But if Gent fans read this, let me know your feelings and what you believe or actually know and feel whats wrong?!

Posted in Uncategorized

Zulte Flexing their Muscles Early On

After finally having the chance to look at the highlights in the Pro League so far this weekend, Zulte Waregem, no matter how mediocre their opponents have been, have taken advantage of their relatively easy start and have impressed me. They’ve taken control and advantage in their matches sweeping STVV and Eupen away.

The last match of the Saturday fixtures saw ESSEVEE finally take all three points in the end. After a goalless first half, Sint Truiden lost Damien Dussaut to a second yellow card. Whether or not that actually made the difference in the outcome, we’ll never know. But what we do know is that Zulte Waregem immediately made their one man advantage count. Michael Heylen opened the scoring three minutes after that red card.

In all honesty, Zulte Waregem dominated all the best chances, and were clinical from set pieces. A soft handball which led to the penalty which sealed the match didn’t matter to Zulte fans, as Leya Isaka dispatched the penalty in a cool fashion. Six points, seven scored and none conceded, Francky Dury will take this fine start and hope to build off of it.

The first match of the day saw a 7 goal thriller…wait, erm…could say rout, but is 5-2 a rout? Anyway, Charleroi comfortably saw off Mouscron at the Stade Cannonier. I tweeted saying ‘3-0. Job done’ just before Bolongi snuck in a nervous penalty on the stroke of half time. But before that, an own goal from Bruno Godeau, a weird goal by Lukebakio and another penalty by Pollet looked to have wrapped the game up! But VAR came into play with the Mouscron penalty, although in real time I thought it was a penalty, the replay actually made it look less convincing.

At half time a Mouscron fan tweeted me saying ‘3 goals from 2 shots’ which is true, but I wasn’t sure if that was sarcasm or bitterness at the abject performance? But things didn’t get better for Mouscron as Lukebakio and Dessoleil sealed the win by the hour. Poor goalkeeping by Nicolas Penneteau allowed a 25 yard strike go through him by Govea Garcia but that was that really! Another team on maximum points in Les Zèbres.

Beveren welcomed Mechelen in a match of well taken goals, but poor defensive errors did help. Three unmark strikes til, in my opinion, a poor free kick which went all the way in saw a 2-2 draw.

Ryota Morioka with a goal in either half could’ve been effective if Beveren could hold onto a lead, but Mats Rits saw that Mechelen would remain undefeated with an excellent run seeing nobody pick him up, striking home the finish nice and swiftly, before his late free kick was over hit, but Merveille Goblet didn’t seem to deal with it at all. His reaction showed his disappointment.

Both teams end with 2 matches and 2 draws to their name. Waasland Beveren are probably the happier regarding the opposition, and Mechelen may feel likewise with how the matches planned out!

Kortrijk took their first three points with a home win over Lokeren. A 13th minute winner by Christophe Lepoint settled the match at the Guldensporenstadion. Lokeren still without a point or a goal, I really believed with their transfer business they would do better, but it is still early days. However, 5 goals conceded and none scored in 2 matches could be a problem of this form continues!

Lastly, Friday night saw one of the matches of the season so far in terms of fixture, with Standard Liege hosting Genk! And Genk took the lead through Siebe Scrijvers with a fine solo effort, sneaking the finish in at the front post. Standard had to show grit as this was the second game in a row where they’d fallen behind, and that character showed in the second half. Another weird goal, with weak goalkeeping saw Edmilson score just after half time, until a fine effort from Paul-Jose Mpoku lashed in a fine winner on the night.

Genk haven’t gotten into gear so far,and a slow start is what ruined their season last term, so Albert Stuivenberg will hope to get things going sooner rather than later!

Posted in Uncategorized

Talking for the Sake of It

I felt that I rather wanted to write tonight rather than need to. Football isn’t how it used to be for me. And it’s echoed by everyone, well, most here in England. Football is money money money! When you see Manchester City spend £200 million this summer already and majority of that on full backs, one of whom hasn’t even got a plethora of international caps, it makes you wonder when will the bubble burst?

I shouldn’t compare the Pro League with the Premier League I know. When I went to Lokeren, the press officer did say ‘whatever you do, dont make comparisons with the Premier League‘ when I arrived at the Daknamstadion. I didn’t. I did however compare it to lower league clubs in England, where the club I’m most local to, a League 1 side, has the same capacity as Lokeren, and they’re nowhere near the biggest club in League 1. 

Watching the Pro League has made me realise that football is beyond the money. The only problem however is the lack of support at some matches. You do have fantastic stadia in Belgium, with fantastic support. But some clubs are let down by their fans when the matches aren’t sold out. Okay, the population of the country is a third of what it is here AND football is a religion in England. It’s also a fad to some people where it has now become ‘trendy’ to associate yourself with a football club. With the Pro League though, I’ve dived in two footed and when my mum, who I do go to football with, asks me about certain things in the Premier League, I tend to know about what’s currently happening in Belgium, amongst the broken French I know and Dutch that I definitely don’t know looking at the news!

But less of that and more of this. My opinion (which may count for nothing to some people) and I think that, and wait for it, Anderlecht will win the league again. There I’ve said it. If anyone asks me, and nobody actually does because England doesn’t particular take notice of any leagues other than their own, I look at Les Mauves and just see quality. Losing one player basically and having the depth to fight in league and cup. Of course the players aren’t going to be content with being squad players, like Hamdi Harbaoui and Diego Capel who’ll want regular football. Maybe the obvious reason for why Franck Acheampong left?

But when I look at other teams I actually feel Standard Liege could be the closest contenders. New manager. Fresh ideas. Good recruitment. No European football. It looks good. Their first few matches is a real acid test as the opposition are very good in the opening 8 matches. The only reason I put them ahead of Club Brugge, Gent, Genk and Zulte Waregem is because they all have European football (apart from Genk) and that could make or break their season. Brugge out of the Champions League early on could put a dampener on the season early on. Gent haven’t brought in enough in my opinion. Genk as well haven’t recruited enough and Zulte Waregem have personally brought quality in, but juggling the Europa League with the Pro League may be tough?

I know I’ve left out Charleroi and Oostende but I think the 5 I have already mentioned could be within the Championship Play Off come March. Lokeren could be the 6th team with their solid signings, and Rùnar Kristinsson has assessed the league now and could surprise some this coming season. I maybe totally wrong, and the likelihood that I am could be high. These are just predictions which I may reel out from time to time! But who knows in Belgium? Over the course of recent history, Anderlecht have dominated with a spluttering of teams who look promising like Gent, Genk, Club Brugge and Standard. René Weiler just seems too focussed when it gets down to it and uses his squad well.

Posted in Uncategorized

Who Will Keep the Cleanest Sheet?

Last Friday, I decided to discuss, with nobody, who would be potent the strongest in attack as a team and individually. Looking at each team’s attack, it’ll look likely that Anderlecht could well be the strongest along with Club Brugge. The same could be said between the sticks with Frank Boeckx and either Ludovic Butelle, Ethan Horvath and Guillaume Hubert. The reason why I’ve picked all 3 possibilities is because Butelle of course was ever present until Horvath came in during the Play Offs and performed superbly. Hubert is a new signing from Standard and probably didn’t sign to sit on the bench.

Courtesy of Getty Images

But along with those 4, much like the strikers, there are more than capable goalkeepers who could follow Courtois and Mignolet to pastures new. But not all goalkeepers are the reason for keeping clean sheets. The defence in front of them tends to be as I because they prevent shots, crosses and headers coming in on the goalkeeper. In England, Arsenal had a great goalkeeper in David Seaman in the past and Petr Cech at Chelsea have kept records for goals not conceded in a season. One thing in common, they had fantastic defenders in front of them.

That goes for now as well. For example, Hendrik Van Crombrugge is a very good goalkeeper in my opinion, but unfortunately, and Diawandou Diagne agreed, defensively Eupen are just not good at all. Will Genk perform as well without Mathew Ryan this coming season? Mouscron have the same problem with Logan Bailly being their only goalkeeper, apparently, and Lokeren will need to replace Copa Barry too. 

Goalkeepers are the toughest position to replace or look after as it’s the costliest position. Nicolas Penneteau and Colin Coosemans had extremely good seasons individually last term keeping 25 clean sheets in the league combined. Hopefully they’ll be able to replicate that form this season, which will be tough! Along with them, we will get to see a full season out of Lovre Kalinic at Gent and a favourite of mine who somehow never fully hit the heights, Guillermo Ochoa. The Mexican who signed recently for Standard Liege could help the team progress better than last season. I remember writing a piece where if the team who scored first went on to win the match, Standard Liege would’ve actually finished top! So clean sheets are a major issue for Les Rouches, along with seeing out matches.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Within this post I’ve purposely named goalkeepers as they are the most underrated position in my opinion, along with full backs in football. They are the players who receive specialist coaching and equipment and can win you as many points as a striker or attacking midfielder. They deserve a huge amount of credit and mentions! There is a list of real quality keepers within the Belgian Pro League who may, unfortunately, not see out the season or may be bought come next summer. As long as that doesn’t disrupt teams too much, which it most probably will, then we could see some real quality performances!

Posted in Uncategorized

The Taureau d’Or Race is on! 

Well…not quite just…anyway, to the blog post at hand. Belgium has a mix of quality strikers for the league and across Europe. There is a trifecta of strikers at the top clubs and with a full season for some of them, if they remain injury free, this could be a close one! 

Courtesy of Getty Images

However, Anderlecht hold the upper hand when it comes to goalscorers currently in the Pro League. The pairing of Henry Onyekuru and Lukasz Teodorczyk up front could be deadly. Forty four goals in the league between them last season is nerve wracking for any defence this coming season.

Then you have Jelle Vossen, Jeremy Perbet and Wesley at Club Brugge who’ll be looking to get amongst the goals. The signing of Perbet could be the difference between top and second this season for BlauwZwart. The problem for the chasing pack is that Gent, Charleroi, Oostende and Zulte Waregem have lost attackers, or in the case of ESSEVEE, haven’t exactly strengthened in that department in comparison to the others.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Standard Liege have managed to keep hold of Orlando Sa and Ishak Belfodil so far which is fantastic for Les Rouches in their own bid for the title, or at least European football. And along with holding onto players, Mbwana Samatta has stayed at Genk which is a big boost too.

Other contenders include Teddy Chevalier, which looks unlikely, and Eric Ocansey will have to step up to the plate for Eupen. You also have Igor Vetokele at STVV! The only other possibility right now could be Zinho Gano at Beveren, but his inconsistency could go against him. There’s a clutch of top strikers at each club so goals could be on the agenda this season, but one club in particular is hoarding them.

Courtesy of Getty Images

To sign off, let’s not forget Lokeren as a club who have an insurmountable amount of strikers. I’ve counted 11 strikers at the club. I may be wrong but they have the chance to field a starting line up of strikers.

Posted in Matches in Brief, Uncategorized

How Will the Competition Fair?

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.

Courtesy of Getty Images

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. 

Courtesy of Getty Images

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?

Courtesy of Getty Images

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…

Posted in Uncategorized

Waas Going on at Beveren?

Recently I’ve been looking more at clubs rather than signings. I didn’t exactly scrap the ‘Brief Transfer Roundup (insert Roman numeral)’ and simply put it on hold to look more at the clubs who aren’t exactly strengthening and maybe should be looking to progress rather than potentially digress.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Beveren this pre season, and post season for that matter, have been less than convincing in the transfer market. Signing 3 players in 6 weeks isn’t a bad thing, but with an average season last time, maybe they’re settling or hoping to consolidate their league position in the top flight. I’m not one to tell a club how to run their business as firstly, I’m not in their position, secondly, I don’t see players on a daily basis, and thirdly, who knows what their targets actually are? 

With Phillipe Clement installed as the new gaffer, it could be a tough task ahead of him this season as his never managed a team in the top flight, working his way through the Club Brugge staff to assistant, which is easier at a bigger club with bigger players, ambition and under Michel Preud’homme, it would be easier in general. Beveren can’t lure the players as well as Brugge and the budgets will be different. I’m sure he is relishing the task ahead and I am half surprised Cedomir Janevski went because they ended the play offs a hell of a lot better than how they started, although I did suggest his job may be under threat back in April. 

Back to the playing staff, the main positives from my point of view is that the club haven’t had a big amount of players leave the club, meaning that it’s not as if they have a huge turnaround of players and the squad will seem more settled than clubs around losing 10 players and then signing 12. Another positive in a weird way is the acquisition of the Japanese midfielder Ryota Morioka from Wroclaw on a three year deal. The first Japanese to play for Beveren, and, will boost the clubs interest in Asia (hopefully). With a couple of Japanese internationals now in the Pro League, interest in the league and maybe revenue could boost the finances of the club and could see even more players come this way?

Courtesy of Getty Images

After my Royal Antwerp post the other day, they went and signed 4 players, so possibly a similar situation may occur, but as long as Clement feels the squad has enough depth, quality and understanding, maybe 4th from bottom can be achieved. At least that’s progress?