The table arrangement and team atmosphere management as title trump card: the (fun) revolution in the Anderlecht dressing room

The table arrangement and team atmosphere management as title trump card: the (fun) revolution in the Anderlecht dressing room
The table arrangement and team atmosphere management as title trump card: the (fun) revolution in the Anderlecht dressing room
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It’s nice (again) to be an Anderlecht player. Ask Neerpede about the secrets of the successful season and the group spirit soon comes up. Over the past year, a close-knit collective has been forged in the Purple & White dressing room that will go through fire for each other. Thanks to an experienced group of chefs, egoless stars and the table arrangement.

Did you also notice them on Sunday?

The morning after the hard-fought victory against Antwerp, Anderlecht appeared with an extensive delegation at the start of the Tour of Flanders.

Captain and notorious cycling enthusiast Jan Vertonghen visibly enjoyed the company of teammates Yari Verschaeren, Colin Coosemans and several staff members. Each and every one of them happily accepted the invitation from chairman and Flanders Classics owner Wouter Vandenhaute.

However, you would suspect that in the dressing rooms of most teams they are now a bit tired of each other. And I would rather spend the day after the match with the family than with my football colleagues.

At Anderlecht they think differently about that.

Yari Verschaeren at the start of the Tour on Sunday.

Curling and traffic jam fun

“The solidarity within the group of players has never been greater than now,” assures someone who should know.

Naturally, the excellent results this season play a major role in this. But the Purple & White can also be heard that it is also the merit of several pioneers in the dressing rooms.

Jan Vertonghen, Mats Rits and Colin Coosemans, among others, are the patrons of the atmosphere management team. In recent months they have organized several activities to strengthen mutual ties.

Before the trip to the Tour of Flanders, there was already the classic afternoon of laser shooting, but Anderlecht also ventured to a well-received curling session in Zemst. And did you know that a group including Vertonghen traveled by bus to Ajax – Brighton in November? Due to traffic jams, the group missed more than an hour of the match, but that did not detract from the fun in the least.

We all want to go that extra mile for each other through mutual friendships.

Anderlecht player

These are activities that – in addition to, for example, a family quiz organized by the club – are completely without obligation, but are very much appreciated. They often arise spontaneously. For example, Thorgan Hazard once released the balloon to have something to eat together and the response was overwhelming.

“Things like that forge a real group,” notes one player. “We all want to go that extra mile for each other through mutual friendships.”

No distinction is made between players and staff – everyone is welcome. Although trainer Brian Riemer prefers to let everyone do their thing without interfering.

What would you be like as a coach with such a dream group?

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Jan Vertonghen.

Big names without ego

The layout of the dressing room also means that Anderlecht has a very strong collective this season.

It is impossible to ignore the fact that the people of Brussels have many natural and experienced leaders.

Jan Vertonghen obviously comes first. But there are also Kasper Schmeichel, Thomas Delaney, Mats Rits and Colin Coosemans.

The latter may be a bit out of place due to his sporting supporting role, but at Neerpede Coosemans is an indispensable pawn due to his social skills and positivity.

In the Kompany era there were far fewer boys who dared to open their mouths when things were not going well. Or did it the wrong way.

Due to the relatively flat hierarchy in the dressing room, everyone – even the young people – dares to state things clearly.

In addition, the above-mentioned leaders have great status, but not an unhealthy ego – in football the two more often than not go hand in hand.

In the past there were celebrities – think of Wesley Hoedt, for example – who had to feel/make themselves important. There are no such outliers anymore.

Is it running great? Then no one will feel the need to take the cake.

Are things going badly? Then no scapegoat is sought either.

Due to the relatively flat hierarchy in the dressing room, everyone – even the young people – dares to state things clearly. After all, criticism is not considered a personal attack.

“Because players know it is done with the right intention,” said a staff member. “Everyone realizes that the team comes first.”

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An atmospheric image of the quiz on winter internship, with Colin Coosemans as the main helmsman.

Remarkable table arrangement

One for all, all for one.

Much less than in recent years, you get the feeling at Anderlecht that there are passers-by without ambition. Everyone plays with the aim of giving the record champion his shine back.

Even mercenaries like Ludwig Augustinsson and Thomas Delaney – they are extra driven by a sense of honor after losing their starting place elsewhere.

Finally, an observation about the core of purple-white.

A number of clear ‘movements’ can be distinguished: the Neerpede boys, the experienced Flemish, the Scandinavians and some Spanish speakers. It is by no means a mixture of 25 different nationalities.

“Moreover, the groups mix well together,” he said. “They are not separate islands.”

A remarkable table arrangement during dinner may have something to do with that.

At Anderlecht you don’t have to wait until everyone is present before the meal can start. It ensures that players choose the dining table where someone is already sitting instead of always sitting together with the same 8. Today Hazard sits next to Vazquez, tomorrow next to Delaney.

Could the word title be used more and more often in the meantime?

Related:

The article is in Dutch

Tags: table arrangement team atmosphere management title trump card fun revolution Anderlecht dressing room

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