Now that Beerschot will return to the highest level - 1A - in the 2020-2021 season, we decided to go back in time before each league game. Today, we turn the spotlight to a direct confrontation from times gone by: ' de jaren stillekes'...
Today: Antwerp - Beerschot from the 2003-2004 season
‘GNOME’ EDDY WINS THE DERBY
It was not just the clear 0-4 victory in the Bosuil Stadium that goes down in history. It was also the whole story around it that ensures that the Antwerp-Beerschot derby of 21 September 2003 will go down in history as "unforgettable, amazingly fun and unique". It was actually a plastic gnome that motivated our ‘Mannekes’ and inspired us to obtain that important victory. A tactical masterstroke by trainer Marc Brys and team manager Eric Verhoeven.
Let’s go back to those days once more... Our coach stormed into the Kiel dressing room during the Monday morning training of the derby week and told his players that he had heard from a good source that Antwerp thought that we were only "a small team". He even added that they ridiculed our side. Now, with Camara, Reigel, Dickson and Snelders, our ‘Mannekes’ did fall short by a couple of centimetres in height compared to the Antwerp players' core, but still... Anyway, Brys' trick worked: all players immediately believed the story and the determination to achieve a good result grew by the hour.
On match day, Marc Brys proceeded with the next part of his plan. Upon arrival at the Bosuil Stadium, Eric Verhoeven was the first one to jump out of the players' bus, snuck into the visitors' locker room and placed a plastic gnome (one of the seven dwarfs of Snow White – the one that wears a purple hat and has those big jumbo ears) right in the middle of dressing room. A little later, when the ‘Mannekes’ stepped into the cloakroom and noticed that little gnome, Brys immediately grabbed it and made it appear that someone from the home team had put it there. "See that I was right," he roared and kicked the gnome against the dressing room wall. "Show them that we're not a small team...!", he told his boys.
The Beerschot players required no more motivation, let alone guidelines. They started the game in overdrive and numerous feats of fine football later they had locked up the game before the end of the first half. After 45 minutes, the score sign already showed 0-3, due to goals from Mohamed Camara and two goals by our Brazilian goal-getter Victor Simoes. The celebrated Antwerp side was blown away and outclassed all over the pitch by the little ‘Mannekes’ that played like warriors. When Steve Cooreman scored number four early in the second half, the visitors' box exploded with joy. The players started to partake in 'gallery play'; completely outshining the ‘Great Old’..
As icing on the cake, the entire Beerschot delegation celebrated the big victory with a perfectly orchestrated Gnome dance on the Bosuil Stadium turf. Marc Brys and Eric Verhoeven had the last laugh. And I like to think that Gnome Eddy had a good giggle as well. The plan had worked. Mission accomplished!
SUNDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2003 - BOSUIL STADIUM DEURNE
ANTWERP - BEERSCHOT 0 - 4
GOALS: 15' Camara 0-1, 32' Victor 0-2, 37' Victor 0-3, 56' Cooreman 0-4
ANTWERP: Feys, Ouon (70' Gomez), Leleu, Evens, Pinxten, Cissé, Bernath (83' Ribus), Bukran (42' Mamam), Heath, Goots, Sishuba
BEERSCHOT: Luciano, Bodor, Hoefkens, Van Dooren, Reigel, Haagdoren (86' P. Monteyne), Cooreman, Dickson (90' Thompson), Camara, Snelders, Victor (72' Messoudi)
YELLOW CARDS: Haagdoren, Cooreman, Cissé, Snelders
That Antwerp-Beerschot game was also the last major league match in the first division to be played at the Bosuil Stadium. This Sunday, - seventeen years later - the Great Old and the ‘Mannekes’ will finally face each other again in Deurne Noord. Red-white will start at half past two. Perhaps with a penchant for vengeance; but we have high hopes that we will be able to take the win again.
Text: Danny Geerts