Anderlecht’s Dream to reach Stockholm

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 In the quarterfinals of the UEFA Europe League which will be played tomorrow,two Belgian clubs will feature-the smaller KRC Genk and Belgium’s premier club-RSC Anderlecht which will play one of the biggest matches in club’s long and successful history against the Red Devils of Manchester United with Jose Mourinho at the bench and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the field.The Purple-Whites from the Brussels which is one of the centers of European and World politics,not to mention the capital of Belgium have waited for a long time for such a crucial match which would relaunch them among Europe’s elite clubs and back to the glory days when they played a very significant role in European football.Founded on the 27th of May 1908 at the Concordia Cafe in the municipality of Anderlecht,the Purple-Whites experienced their first success in 1921 when they were promoted into Belgian First Division,however they survived barely their first season in the First Division only to be relegated back into the Second Division the following season and in the following decade until the mid-1930s the purple-whites had a reputation of a yo-yo club bouncing between the First and Second division until in 1935 they were promoted back in the First Division and from that time they were never relegated back into the Second Division ever again and the purple-whites began to stabilize and become a decent football club.But it wasn’t until after WWII that the purple-whites would become a force in Belgian and later European football.Starting with coach George Perrino which coached the purple-whites in the first two post-WWII years and striker Joseph Mermans who signed for the club in 1942 and would go to score 339 goals in the purple-white shirt which he wore until 1957,they won their first title in 1947,but it was under English manager Bill Gormile in the 1950s that the purple-whites would go to dominate the Belgian First Division by winning 5 titles between 1950 and 1959 and they in that period established themselves as Belgium’s premier club.Besides that they continued to dominated Belgian football in the 1960s under French coach Pierre Sinebaldi which side was so dominant that in a friendly match against the Oranje all eleven players of the Belgian Red Devils on the field were from Anderlecht,the purple-whites in Europe hadn’t any significant success.It wasn’t until 1970 that the purple-whites would see a European final when they made it to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final which they lost to Arsenal 6-3 on aggregate score.But it wasn’t until 1976 that they would taste European glory when they won their first European trophy-the UEFA Cup Winners Cup against West Ham United 4-2 at the Heysel Stadium in front of their home crowd and they made it to two more finals in the two following seasons,in 1977 they lost against Hamburg 2-0 in the final in Amsterdam and they won another Cup Winners Cup in 1978 when they beat Rapid Wien 4-0 in Paris and that happened in a period when the purple-whites were in crisis in the Belgian Frist Division where for a whole decade from 1975 to 1984 would only win one single title and with a squad which featured the legendary Dutch striker Rob Resenbrink who spent at the club for 9 years (1971-1980) before finishing his career in the United States.Also both in 1976 and 1978 they won the UEFA Super Cup when first they defeated a Bayern Munich side which featured Beckenbauer,Muller,Rummenigge and Hoeness and then a Liverpool side which featured Souness and Dalgish.That period was the golden era for the purple-whites besides they suffered a huge crisis on the domestic front,but when it came to Europe,the purple-whites have put themselves on the European map.In 1983 after a successful run in the European Champions Cup a season earlier when they reached the semifinals,they won their last European trophy the UEFA Cup against Benfica.After that the purple-whites experienced less success on the European front,a semifinal appearance in the 1986 European Champions Cup and a final appearance in the Cup Winners Cup in 1990 which they lost 2-0 to Sampdoria.But now after 27 years of waiting tomorrow night at Maundy Thursday the purple-whites have a right to dream again to reach a final of the UEFA Europe League which this year will be in Stockholm and repeat the magic of 1983 which gave them their last European trophy to date.After passing the group stage as second in the group with a point behind Saint-Etienne and surviving the round of 32 where they passed the Russians of Zenit St.Petersburg and defeating with two 1-0 victories the Cypriots of APOEL,all comes down on the match with the Red Devils to go even futher and for Rene Weiller’s men if they pass the Red Devils only sky will be the limit to return to the days of European glory and once again bring a European trophy to Brussels.

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