Seventy-year-old chairman Jos De Beuckelaer of KFC Sint-Lenaarts remains in the saddle: “Unseen energy crisis is not the right time to pass the torch” (Brecht)

He has been on the board of KFC Sint-Lenaarts for forty-two years. The last twenty-five years as chairman. “Actually, I never wanted to be chairman”, he looks back on his seventieth birthday. “I once played with the veterans of KFC and then worked as a bulk transport driver. At one point they asked me to join the board.”

He took that step in 1980 and hasn’t left since. It didn’t matter much though. “Sint-Lenaarts then played in the fourth provincial division, but was in need of money. At the first board meeting it was already stated that all ten members had to invest one hundred thousand Belgian francs in the club,” recalls De Beuckelaer.

KFC Sint-Lenaarts won 3-2 against Wellen on Saturday evening. — © Elke Lamens

one hundred thousand euros

“I then went on a sponsorship hunt and got the money together. After a year, the club was financially back on top. I was soon asked to become chairman, but I pushed that boat away from me for a long time. It was impossible to combine with my work.”

Twenty-five years ago he did it anyway, making him the longest-serving president of a football club in the region today. Under his presidency, KFC Sint-Lenaarts climbed from the provincial to the national division. Today it plays in fourth amateur.

“I can’t handle my loss well,” he chuckles. His ambition is to keep the club at this level, “even though it costs more money to play in the national than in the provincial division. Winning is expensive, but I still want KFC to keep winning.”

The current energy crisis may thwart that ambition. “In the forty years that I have been on the board, I have never experienced anything like this. This is five times worse than the corona crisis. Then everything came to a standstill, not now, but we are facing exciting financial times. To survive this season, we need 100,000 euros to pay the increased energy bills.”

For his seventieth birthday, fan Peter Janssens baked a large cake with old photos of Jos. He also made sure that Jos received more than 140 birthday cards. — © RR

Fusion is not an option

In order to collect that money, he puts forward various solutions: on the one hand limiting costs and on the other hand increasing revenues. “Show less, train earlier and no more subscriptions for family members of the highest players. In addition, we will have to organize more activities and involve all four hundred members in order to get more money in the drawer.”

He also points the finger at the municipal authorities. “In the neighboring municipalities, the clubs receive financial support from the municipality for the maintenance of the site and so on. It cannot be done here.”

Can a merger with K Brecht bring SK solace? “That plan was on the table twelve years ago, but has been resolutely brushed aside. I don’t see it working today either. However, together we could bear the costs for, among other things, maintenance of the sites and energy. But I’m afraid this is still not an option.”

The chairman therefore faces challenging times, even at the age of seventy. “I have always said that I would retire as chairman at the age of seventy. But with this unprecedented crisis, now is not the right time to saddle someone new with this. It does give extra time to look for a successor who can allocate enough time for it. I am working on it full-time, but I am also chairman, secretary and treasurer. Who can combine that with a job and a family?”

(Any Lamens)

Tags: Seventyyearold chairman Jos Beuckelaer KFC SintLenaarts remains saddle Unseen energy crisis time pass torch Brecht

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