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“If we Play-off 1 pick up, we may yet surprise’

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Interview Michel and Michael Verschueren about the past and future at Anderlecht

“If we Play-off 1 pick up, we may yet surprise’

His father wanted him Michel, but it was eventually Michael. As if he knew that his son later at Anderlecht in his footsteps would occur. For the time being, surprisingly little sporting success, but that is according to both Verschuerens only a matter of time. ‘Marc Coucke is a winner and will learn quickly.’

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Michael and Michel Verschueren in the family home in Grimbergen. Michael acts as the manager of Anderlecht in the footsteps of his father, a heavy inheritance. Bart Dewaele

Interview Michel and Michael Verschueren about the past and future at Anderlecht

“If we Play-off 1 pick up, we may yet surprise’

His father wanted him Michel, but it was eventually Michael. As if he knew that his son later at Anderlecht in his footsteps would occur. For the time being, surprisingly little sporting success, but that is according to both Verschuerens only a matter of time. ‘Marc Coucke is a winner and will learn quickly.’

Nico Tanghe

Grimbergen‘I have now been two nights so close. Not a minute’, sigh Michel Verschueren. “That defeat in Standard, close to the end of the contest… I pull me too much, I know. My wife and my son say to me: stop that. But I can’t change it.’

By that defeat is Anderlecht for the first time in 82 years at this stage of the competition and the top six failed, so that may even Play-off 1 in jeopardy. But that prevented Michel and Michael Verschueren, not for the first time a dubbelinterview in the Belgian media, at home in the parental house in Grimbergen. A grand mansion full of antique paintings and art that the allure of a small museum. A conscious choice is clear. For father Michel, who next month 88, wanted to be a potentially risky move in the snow rather avoid.

Not that ‘Mister Michel’ energy has, on the contrary. In normal weather conditions, “bolt.” he said every day to his ‘old bureauke’ in the football stadium of RSC Anderlecht, where he from 1980 to 2004, with the iron hand of the paste waved. “I get it sucked,” says the old Verschueren, with his typical candor.

Kara, the fake slow

Michel: “Anderlecht is in a difficult period, which also is normal after such a sale. New owner, new laws, all of that plays out. Just or not?


Today even more than in the past. Because recently his role as manager was taken over by his son Michael (48), which father Michel in the past wintermercato very intense, has followed. “Let me be clear: I aunt me with nothing. I have to Anderlecht already long time no more function. But the day that the transfer of that Bolasie only 43 seconds for the transferdeadline was closed, I asked him (pointing to Michael, red.) regular sms messages sent with the question: how far is it? Because the phone recording he does not do more. Also not when I call. To Michael me said: “Dad, it is too much: stop it.” Then I waited until I shortly after midnight the transfer on Twitter confirmed saw. Only then was I at peace.’

Michael himself, who arranged to halfzes get up to for work still play a game of tennis, there seems to be not really to worry. Even though the legacy is heavy. He followed his father not only as the manager of Anderlecht, but also as a director in the European federation of football clubs ECA. Where the young Verschueren now even the finance committee leads and high-level network with the directors of voetbalgrootmachten as Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester United. ‘And that, on its own strength. Democratically elected. He is not a child king’, emphasises his dad proud.

After which Mr Michel detailed the qualities of his son, sums up. ‘Michael is a true entrepreneur. He has previously successfully founded companies in the communication and the real estate sector and was ceo of the American marketing company Wunderman. But he is now busy, very busy… so busy that the last time what had grown apart’, you hear some regret in his voice.

Michel Verschueren: “There is now much more fake news.’ bas

But long does not. “You know what my slogan is? If you fun want to take, call you now and then one Verschueren’, he rolls immediately thereafter a mischievous look to his son, which they together in the laugh shooting. Or how the old Verschueren there in any conversation, effortlessly manages to break the ice. And preferably with one of his typical rhymes, where he is an avid Twitterer a patent on, ” 10.500 followers I already have on Twitter, still not bad for an old man like me? And always with positive tweets. Not like Trump, hey’, winks the silver fox.

Let’s start with the transfer. With Frank Arnesen and his address book as a new athletic director, were the expectations high. How hard is it to three real fortifications to be found in the wintermercato?

Michael: “It is not difficult for good players to find, for affordable players. Because if a player performs well and so immediately applicable, shoot his price during the winter immediately the height. Fortunately, there are always opportunities in the market. Peter Zulj for example, last year the best player in the Austrian league, was in the summer not away at Sturm Graz, because the price on his head much too high (10 million euros). Then six months later with an unhappy player, making the price now is much lower and we now have to Anderlecht could make it.”

You got on a rental basis also have Kara back from Nantes and Bolasie of Everton. Both with an option to buy. But are both still fit? Especially Kara seemed to be against Standard is more difficult to move than in the past.

Michael: ‘Who is with me transfers want must no longer rely on agency commissions of 20 percent or more’


Michael: “Well, Kara is a fake slow, eh. That has nothing to do with a conditional disadvantage, but with a lack of matchritme. I think Kara each match will only get better.’

And his knee? Is that healthy?

Michael: “He has a cartilage defect, but that prevented him not to perform.’

Michel: ‘Zetterberg has with us ten years with a cartilage defect played and Frank Arnesen at the time.”

Also Bolasie is according to the critics, a sporting gamble. Also he is coming back from a severe knee injury.

Michael Verschueren; ” I feel that the fans nervous.’ bas

Michael: ‘Bolasie is technically perfectly in order. We have extensive medical check in London, and I will give you on a note: there will be still many wonder about the qualities of that boy.”

There Was financial enough money to during this mercato really need to save? Chairman Marc Coucke would work on a capital increase of 30 to 35 million.

Michael: ‘There lay the knot is not. We sit with a big heart and wanted that core, especially not greater. For any player that we attracted, it was especially important that there are also players left. That balancing act is always busy. There is still interest from the American MLS for two of our players and we are also looking for a solution for Vranjes.’

Were there players that you really wanted to get that Anderlecht to min found?

Michael: “no, Not really. We have talked with the Argentine striker Facundo Ferreyra, but by the time they received an offer from Espanyol Barcelona, he chose the Spanish league over Anderlecht.’

‘Ge have laid upon me’

How did you do that, Mr Michel? It Was for you at that time, not easier for top players to Anderlecht to get than it is now?

Michel: “I benzeker that Bayat in the matchfixing has played no role. He has to be smart’


Michel: ‘those were different times, eh. Anderlecht had a great reputation. If I were a player called, came directly. And as a manager of Anderlecht, I could still afford to me with everything in the club to moeien. There was then barely 20 man with us.”

‘Now many prefer to go abroad. Everything is now much more complex and larger. You are now in the digital world, where everything is much faster and everyone knows everything. In addition, Anderlecht are now in a difficult period, which also is normal after such a sale. New owner, new laws, all of that plays out. Just or not?(looks at his son)

Michael: ‘In many cases, yes

That is a must for the season yet can be handled with a good scouting? When you are at the time, Jan Koller pulled out, had previously also five players who are above him on the list were a transfer is denied?

Michel: “That’s right. I have him at the time achieved for the 125 million Belgian francs and sold to Dortmund for 500 million francs, which Roger Lambrecht, the president of Lokeren, be angry at me. Ge have laid upon me, “he said to me. But I said to him: no, Roger, if he had not played, he had never so much money raised. That kind of deals are now much more difficult. Everyone scout now the whole year round, making the competition for each player is much larger.’

What about the agency commissions on transfers? The prof league, and Marc Coucke were trying to make their commissions within the limits. Is that this mercato was successful?

Michael: “Yes. There were in any transfer or lease for each two spelersagenten involved: a local agent and one of the player. Who both had 5 percent. Who is with me transfers want must no longer rely on agency commissions of 20 percent or more.”

Nevertheless, you are still required to Mogi Bayat to work with the transfer of Kara. How difficult was that?

Michael: ‘Bayat has the interests of Nantes represented, not ours. I’m going to give you the details save. It was business.’

Michel: (picks in) ‘As I am about Bayat something should say … I know that family for years. And I am sure that he will be in the matchfixing has played no role. He has to be smart. Maybe he has financial and tax level, however, illegal structures have been set up, but I know the file is not good enough.’

Bayat would have boasted that he was the degradatiestrijd in Belgium single-handedly decided. Are you sure he went down?

Michel: “I want to be with you, no war. But there is now much more fake news than in the past. The press is these days for a large part of commerce. Agree?’

‘You will find it is quite normal that Bayat and other stakeholders in the voetbalschandaal 45 days in pretrial have been? I think that is exaggerated. I understand that there is tax clarity should come around black money and commissions. But these are not gangsters?’

Everyone now waits for the revealing of Dejan Veljkovic. What do you think? Is the worst over, or should that still to come?

(in chorus): ‘nobody knows.’

Is this similar to the affair-Bellemans from the 80’s?

Michel: “Maybe, yes. Also, when set, that the whole of the football world on its head. I remember very well that the tax office with a man or eight on a Monday morning, suddenly at my desk and asked me: mister Verschueren, where is the black greenhouse? I said Black cash? Never not seen. Which they my office, searched and nothing found.’

“Come,” they said afterwards. We go to your home in Grimbergen. (let a silence fall) Michael was fortunately not at home, because he was at boarding school in Melle. There they have nothing found. And so they sent me to my father-in-law in Strombeek, where I normally only at Christmas.’

“What are you doing here, Michel?, responded my father-in-law surprised. Which, they said, the tax authorities were, and they asked him whether he paper of Anderlecht. I only have one paper, ” he said. Which the eyes of the tax officials started to sparkle. But they were to rap: my father-in-law grabbed his bag and took prompt are stadionabonnement above.” (laughs out loud)

Some political parties want the voetbalschandalen now use the opportunity to tinker with the fiscal and parafiscal advantages of the professional clubs.

Michael: “We should not forget that the previous financial arrangements have come to investments in infrastructure and youth groups. As long as there is also in the new scheme will be a platform for the professional clubs to make it possible, I am open to change. How that technically, it is now the subject of negotiations between the prof league, and the ministries concerned.’

The mayonnaise does not

Back to the sporty. Did you not expect more from the arrival of a wealthy new owner, as Marc Coucke?

Michel: “There is a big difference between a zakenimperium lead, a football club and lead. At first you need control, the second much less. Who had previously thought we would lose against clubs like Mouscron and Cercle Bruges?’

Where is it according to you went wrong?

Michel: “It is a confluence of circumstances. The mayonnaise between the players of Oostende and Anderlecht, for example, has simply not caught. But Marc has also done much in this regard. How he the stadium has been retrofitted. Chapeau! Ten on ten! I myself was skeptical, but he has done a perfect job.’

How does Coucke to the poor sporting results? That must be him immensely frustrating?

Michael: ‘Marc is not frustrated. He is a winner and will learn quickly. That some players level not get, is a disappointment. But Marc is looking hard for solutions – better scouting, more experienced people, new projects in other countries – and remains very ambitious. He wants more than just a champion to play in Belgium”.

Fortunately, there is still the youth. With Amuzu, Lokonga, Bornauw, Saelemaekers, Doku, Verschaeren have all six of the young people tasted the first team. How well is this explained?

Michel: ‘Yari Verschaeren is very good. For me, the best of this batch. And Doku, which is still a year younger, has a lot of qualities.’

Michael: “That supertalenten. And that level is now at Anderlecht and standard. Forget Kayembe also not or Siebe Dewaele.’

How ambitious should Anderlecht this season? Play-off 1, or not, European football seems to be the highest attainable.

Michel: ‘Everything is now. We have stupidly lost in Gent, had in Genk need to win and have Standard in the first half really hurt. They have deserved to win, but normally a game that is always at the 1-1 finish.’

(confident) “We will, however, Play-off 1, there. But we have to try to than European football, because that would be the first time in more than 40 years that we don’t. And that works for me on my moral.’

Michael: “I feel that the fans nervous. We still have six matches. And that will be six finals. Fortunately attracts everyone at Anderlecht on the quality of the game. We have still three difficult matches against Zulte Waregem, royal Antwerp and Club Brugge, while a competitor if Sint-Truiden at the end of a difficult calendar.”

Michel: ‘We have to try to at least third to end at the end of the competition”

Michael: ‘I dare to be more hope. If we Play-off 1 pick up, we would still be able to surprise. Then we have nothing more to lose and is the pressure at the competition. In such a scenario is much as possible. Just look at the Standard of last season.’

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