Letter from Liege

A recent pre-season preview of Standard on the Benefoot website caused a stir, not just because of its negative outlook, but because it suggested that Charlton, and Ujpest, were benefitting from investment at Standard’ s expense. Specifically “Luzon could definitely do with Yoni Buyens in midfield and Igor Vetokele should really be firing the goals in at Sclessin and not The Valley, hence the outrage of the supporters.”

So we asked our regular Belgian contributor Douglas de Coninck (journalist with de Morgen and Standard fan) for his view.

It’s fair to say Douglas doesn’t agree with the thrust of the Benefoot article. He writes that “Igor Vetokele expressed very clearly that he didn't want to go back to Belgium competition. He wouldn't have accepted Standard de Liège.”. As for Yoni Buyens, “Message boards have hinted at personal (non-football) issues in the camp which - if verified - might explain why Standard felt it advisable to let Yoni Buyens have time away from Liege.” Since the Benefoot article appeared, Standard have signed Tony Watt, whom Douglas says “seems to be a decent replacement for Batshuayi. If we were allowed to make a choice between Watt and Vetokele, most fans would have prefered Tony Watt.”

“There's 32 days left, and Luzon is doing what each coach needs to be doing at this stage.
We need an extra striker (Anelka?) and a midfielder.
With younger players (Mpoku, Arslanagic, Bia, De Sart, Lumanza) getting stronger, I have the feeling that not so very much is needed to have a better squad than a year ago.
There's no need to panic. There are no good arguments to say that top players go to Charlton instead of Standard de Liège.” It’s fair to say that Douglas does not believe George Tucudean represents a “good argument”!

The opening game seems to support Douglas’ optimistic view. The local derby with Charleroi ended 3-0 in Standard’s favour and Douglas rated it as the best performance for a year.

While on the surface it might be tempting to welcome the idea that Charlton are a higher priority than Standard, it is surely better if the fans of all network clubs feel that RD’s ownership is moving them forward. If we all get better, the pool of players we can move within the network obviously gets better too. Let’s hope Douglas’ view turns out to be right. Allez les Rouches!