Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Purple haze

Saturday 13 February 2016, Anderlecht 3 Zulte-Waregem 0, Belgian Pro League - Stade Constant Vanden Stock

Most popular club in Belgium or most loathed? Not sure but what it seemed to me was a club that is supported by the locals in this part of Brussels - it is a modern stadium, plenty of VIP seats and executive boxes but outside the ground it has a real 'football feel' not one you may now get at certain clubs in the UK - tourists, people arriving at last minute and leaving the area as soon as the game is over - at Anderlecht the fans arrived early, drank and ate outside the ground, plenty of local pubs running outside bars and so cheap beer, Frites with Mayo and various types of sausage.

The atmosphere outside was so good that few fans seemed in a hurry to enter the ground so it did mean a a rush in the last few minutes before the game started not helped by the increase in security that faces all public events in Brussels since the events last year in Paris.

Inside, I was impressed by the ground, the beer, the food but not the atmosphere - not helped with the 'ultras' split in two groups at either end of the ground and the noisy away fans cramped into a small section behind a corner flag.

An easy win for the home team in the end and Anderlecht will finish near the top at the end of the season but you could see they do miss some of the Belgian top players who now call London, Liverpool or Manchester home, and till they return not sure they will see many full crowds at the Vanden Stock - but then again the plus side is you can always get a ticket and you will be surrounded by local 'purple' fans not glory seeking big club followers!

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