January 16 – In a latest boardroom shuffle, Wouter Vandenhaute has taken a step back at Anderlecht, downgrading his role as chairman to non-executive chairman following weeks of turbulence and fan pressure at the Brussels-based club.
Recent disappointing results led to the exit of coach Felice Mazzu and the soap opera around the ‘in or out’ saga of youth manager Jean Kindermans, who has long been key to Anderlecht’s successful youth academy. This in turn led to Vandenhaute’s decision to reduce his role within the club.
In a long statement, Vandenhaute said he should have done more to keep Vincent Kompany (now at Burnley), stressed that the club is still limited financially from doing big business in the transfer market and admitted that he should have communicated better with the fans over his vision for the clubs.
Fans had demanded Vandenhaute resign. In a statement, he said: “I hear that some of our supporters accuse me of a lack of vision. I fear that I have to come to the conclusion that I have not communicated properly, insufficiently or even not at all.
“That is my fault and my responsibility. Because for me that vision of Anderlecht is clear. We must be a club that brings beautiful and modern football, that wins its matches, with young players, with young coaches,” he said.
“I want us to be a club that is broadly embedded in society. That is also one of the reasons why we are so committed to women’s football. I think we should also be a club that takes its supporters very seriously. If I have used the word ‘culture change’ in the past, it does not mean at all that we want to touch Anderlecht’s DNA. That has nothing to do with that. We should not touch that DNA.”
Even so, Vandenhaute becomes the latest chairman to fail at Anderlecht. Three years ago, owner Marc Coucke took a step back as chairman as Anderlecht kept sliding due to poor transfer policies and financial mismanagement. The Kindermans case led to an internal crisis at the club as well.
In a statement, the club said: “The Board of Directors regrets the commotion that has arisen around Jean Kindermans in recent days. The board members unequivocally endorse the importance of the youth academy for the club and the merits of Jean Kindermans, as well as the need to continue to innovate.”
Kindermans will ultimately remain at club. Kenneth Bornauw and Jesper Fredberg will lead daily operations. A future role for former CEO Peter Verbeke has not been defined yet.
At the weekend, Anderlecht escaped with a 1-1 draw away at Club Brugge following an own goal by Brandon Mechele.
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