From talks of European football to relegation in less than 12 months: Lyon and Crystal Palace owner’s Brussels gamble backfires

After an embarrassing 2-0 defeat to already relegated Eupen, RWDM were relegated after just one season in the Belgian Pro League. The Brussels based side needed to beat the Pandas and hope that Kortrijk lost to Charleroi. The result they needed happened, with Kortrijk going down 3-1 to the Zebras. However, RWDM were unable to beat Eupen and have been relegated.

Many will now point to the clubs President John Textor. The Crystal Palace and Lyon owner made a number of moves in the summer, including installing himself as the clubs President and sacking Vincent Euvrard despite promotion just days before the start of the season. The club also focused most of their transfers on players from with Textor’s footballing portfolio, mainly Botafogo. Just a few came with real Pro League experience, but in the end the side showed little fight as the going got tough.

Cláudio Caçapa replaced Euvrard but was himself sacked in February. Bruno Irles then had a brief spell in charge before he too was shown the door. Yannick Ferrera was given the task of keeping the side in the division, and despite some improvements in a handful of games was unable to steady the ship.

During the summer upheaval, the owner talks about laying the foundations for a future in European football competitions. The pre-requisite was becoming a consistent first division side. This season showed that, after the decisions made, the foundations were not put in place to realise that goal. RWDM fans were left frustrated by the lack of what they perceived to be coherence and fight shown by the players on a consistent basis.

RWDM have the tools for a quick return, but it may take some reflection from Textor and other decision makers to realise what mistakes were made and how to avoid making them again.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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