Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Depeneding on the point of view, 1974-75 was good year for Antwerpen, or not so good – 2nd in the championship and Cup finalists. Or may be only 2nd and only finalists? The club is the oldest Belgian club – founded in 1880 and the first one to officially register. Registration happened later, but holding number 1 is holding number 1: ‘member since …’ It is on their logo:
Or may be it is not:
The name is also ‘may be’: the club is named after the city, and the city is… Antwerp in Flemish; Antwerpen in Dutch; and Anvers in French. Pick any: Royal An… FC. By habit, I stick to the Dutch form. Ancient they were, but hardly successful – they won 4 titles and 1 Cup so far, but long go – the last trophy was won in 1957, a championship title. After that – nothing. Therefore, 1975 looked like almost getting something.
The team was not much to brag about: the former Belgian national goalkeeper Jean-Marie Trappeniers was perhaps the best known name. May be Jos Heyligen… he was included in the national team from 1972 to 1980, but played rarely. The plethora of foreigners was also unknown: Louis Pilot (Luxembourg), Ove Eklund (Sweden), Karl Kodat (Austria), Flemming Lund (Denmark). Two names are very well known today, but not in 1975 – Antwerpen was coached by Guy Thys, later coaching the impressive Belgian national team of the early 1980s. And since no Belgian team seemed completed without a Dutch at that time, there was a Dutch midfielder – someone called Louis van Gaal. Bayern fans may be happy to know about his playing career.