From Raymond Goethals to Thorsten Fink: Sint-Truiden celebrate 100 years of existence

On the 23rd of February 1924, Sint-Truiden as a football club came into existence. As with many Belgian sides, the club can trace their history back to a merger between two clubs. FC Union and FC Goldstar, two clubs from Sint-Truiden, came together to form the club know today as Koninklijke Sint-Truidense Voetbalvereniging.

Over the past 100 years, the club have had reasonable success given their size. In 1966 they finished as runners up in the Belgian First Division under the management of a certain Raymond Goethals. The Belgian head coach joined the club in 1959 and after that successful season went on to coach the Belgian national team, qualifying them for the 1970 World Cup. He also won the second ever UEFA Champions League final with Marseille in 1993.

Sint-Truiden remained a first division side until relegation in 1974. They returned in 1987 and for the most part have been ever present since. Between 2012 and 2015 they were a second-tier side until Yannick Ferrara won promotion in 2015. Since then the side have remained in the Pro League, with their best finish being seventh in the 2018/2019 season under Marc Brys.

One major part of the sides recent history has been the ownership of the club by Japanese based internet company in 2017. Since then, the side have brought in a number of Japanese players, such as Shinji Kagawa and current veteran forward Shinji Okazaki. It has provided a platform for players from the J League to move to Europe and develop their game.

In terms of club records and legends, few will likely be able to catch Peter Delorge in terms of appearances. the Belgian midfielder, born in Sint-Truiden, made his debut for the club in 1999 and only left at the end of the 2013/14 season. He made an incredible 442 appearances for the club, scoring 13 goals.

Rwanda forward Désiré M’Bonabucya still leads the side in terms of goals, with 62 in 158 games. In today’s game where players move clubs more often, the striker’s record is unlikely to be broken. M’Bonabucya spent seven seasons with the club, with the most goals he managed in a single season being 17 during the 2001/2002 campaign.

This season, the side have celebrated the centenary by playing some of the most exciting football in the league. Under German head coach Thorsten Fink, the side have blooded plenty of youngsters from the academy with a handful of young Japanese stars.

On Saturday they will face Westerlo and will celebrate 100 years of existence. Given how many Belgian clubs have come and gone in that period, it is a remarkable achievement for the side.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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