Tonight the leader in football’s top class will be back in action. No, not Anderlecht, Club Brugge or Antwerp, but the friendly union from the heart of Brussels. Fans Juan, Thiago and Frank declare their love for the popular club.
‘Brussels union at its best’
The union appeals to a wide audience. Juan Bendjomia’s roots go back to Spain. “I have been a supporter of the union since I moved from Antwerp to Brussels. Thanks to the union I became a citizen of Brussels,” the Brussels parliamentarian tells his story.
“Because the union reflects Brussels. We confuse the French and the Dutch. The people of Brussels from Italy, Spain and Portugal support the union, just like the Europeans.”
“Finally, the club also has fans from Forest, Molenbeek or from the suburbs. Young and old, immigrants, immigrants, official … Brussels at its best!”
Juan is totally enjoying the success. “Not long ago we fought relegation in the second division, and now we dream of the title and the Champions League,” laughs the fan, who also had to explain his love for the union to the Spanish sports newspaper Marca.
“I didn’t think I would support a team other than Betis, but I see a lot of similarities. In Seville, the motto is: ‘Viva Betis, Monkey Perda!'” Long live Pettis, even if they lose.”
“This also applies to the union. We often win now, but when we swallow a target, we only sing louder.”
Pettis lives even when he loses. friendshipThis also applies to the union.
“Where else can you take a selfie with a player? In the Federation!”
Frank Segers has a butcher shop in St Gillies. He tells his story: “We are very proud that we were able to defeat the big guys in our country with our club.”
“The days before the match in the store, there was only one theme: The Federation. Everyone is quite optimistic. We don’t think we can lose this season.”
“We will keep our feet on the ground,” he says. “The song won’t last, we know that too. Sooner or later the Mazzu system will be found, but for now we’re there.”
The players also feel that Al Ittihad is a popular club. “They fraternize with the fans. Where can you still take a selfie with a footballer after the match? It might still be for me, even if we play in Europe.”
Thiago van der Heijn has been supporting the union for years. “Just for the love of football, this fairy tale can go on for quite some time. I believe in that too, although play-offs will certainly not be easy,” he believes.
“The atmosphere will always be there,” he says with a laugh. “Even when things go wrong, we keep singing. We’ve always done that, also in the lower classes. And at the higher levels, of course, it gets more resonance.”
Because success attracts more supporters. “In the third division we sang with 100 people, now we are in the stands with 8000 fans. Some older people might be bothered by that, I don’t. To me it simply means Union is doing well. Everyone is welcome here.”
Tiago laughs again: “Whether we’re a hipster? You can call us, ça va! Hipsters sound more positive than Cocks or Rats.”
Hipsters sound more positive than Cocks or Rats (laughs).
Union – OHL live on Sporza
Will the party remain in the union? Follow the match against Oud-Heverlee Leuven live on Sporza tonight: on our website, in our apps and on Sporza on Radio 1.
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