Anderlecht is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. There are several historically and architecturally distinct districts within the Anderlecht municipality. The first traces of human activity on the right bank of the Zenne date from the Stone Age and Bronze Age. The remnants of a Roman villa and of a Frankish necropolis were also found on the territory of Anderlecht.
The first mention of the name Anderlecht, however, dates only from 1047 under the forms Anrelech, then Andrelet (1111), Andreler (1148), and Anderlech (1186). At that time, this community was already home to a chapter of canons and to two feudal manors, those of the powerful lords of Aa and of Anderlecht. In 1356, Louis of Male, Count of Flanders fought against Brussels on the territory of Anderlecht, in the so-called Battle of Scheut, supposedly over a monetary matter. Although he defeated his sister-in-law, Joanna, Duchess of Brabant, and briefly took her title, she regained it the following year with the help of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor. In 1393, Joanna’s charter made Anderlecht a part of Brussels.
The club was founded as Sporting Club Anderlechtois in 1908 by some football fans at the Concordia café (rue d'Aumale). In 1917 moved to what is now Astrid Park, to a new stadium originally named Émile Versé Stadium. In 1983, the stadium was completely rebuilt and renamed Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.
Tony Parks and Graham Roberts
I recall travelling in and out of Brussels on a day trip. Our lunchtime flight was from Gatwick and we had a few hours in the centre of Brussels before heading off to the stadium. The match was fairly even but Spurs would have been the happier of the two teams having taken the lead through a Paul Miller strike. With the away goal in the bag, it was with optimism that many of those attending the 2nd leg at White Hart Lane a fortnight later looked forward to the match. However, it took an equaliser from Graham Roberts to take the tie to extra time, setting up the dramatic penalty shoot out that propelled keeper Tony Parks into the Spurs record books. It was his save from the last of the ten penalties that gave Spurs the victory that won the UEFA Cup for the second time.
I do not have any photographic evidence to support the appearance of the ground a the time of my initial visit. Therefore the following piece has been included to show what the ground looks like now.
RSC Anderlecht 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1 - UEFA Cup, Group Stage - 6 December 2007
|St Pancras International|
Twenty three years on from that initial visit, accompanied by Ciderman and the Pittsburgh Steeler, I caught the 08:05 Eurostar service from St Pancras International. The new high speed service took just one hour and 51 minutes to reach Brussels Midi and was certainly a welcome change from waiting around at airports.
Any thoughts of sightseeing were put to rest by the heavy rain that fell all day and we were restricted to sitting in a variety of bars to take refuge from the adverse weather conditions. It was in one such bar that I became reacquainted with Leffe.
A Dimitar Berbatov penalty after 71 minutes cancelled out Bart Goor’s opener for Anderlecht five minutes earlier. The result ensured that Spurs progressed through to the last 32 of the competition although their form in the matches had been very erratic.
The stadium has changed significantly since that earlier visit and has a very modern feel to it. There is still some terracing but under UEFA rules this was not used for the match. Although we were allocated numbered seats it was rather disappointing to discover that we could “sit anywhere”. This caused a lot of confusion and overcrowding. A rather lazy continental approach to crowd safety and not for the first time.
|Dicky Mussels - seen in Brussels|
Special mention should go to the playing surface, which, despite a relentless soaking, held up very well and was probably the only constant factor throughout the match. The stadium is very close to a couple of metro stations but as we found, it is also walkable from the area around Midi station where we were staying.
Unlike in 1984, RSC Anderlecht did not issue an official programme for this match.