They used to play near a graveyard, specialise in discovering young talent, and are Manchester United's quarter-final opponents; UEFA.com gives Belgian giants Anderlecht their due.
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Anderlecht are hoping to dust off their European-trophy winning tradition as they go head-to-head with Manchester United in the quarter-finals. UEFA.com celebrates the Brussels club's many purple patches.
Nicknames: Les Mauves (the purples), Paarswit (purple-and-whites)
UEFA club competition honours
• European Cup Winners' Cup: 2 (1976, 1978)
• UEFA Cup: 1 (1983)
• UEFA Super Cup: 2 (1976, 1978)
Domestic honours (most recent triumph in brackets)
• League title: 33 (2014)
• Belgian Cup: 9 (2008)
• Anderlecht were founded in a pub. Football enthusiasts from the Anderlecht district came together at Café Concordia on 29 May 1908, eager to form a team to emulate the success of the Léopold Club from the neighbouring borough of Uccle. They had beaten English side Queens Park Rangers in an exhibition game – an achievement comparable to winning the UEFA Champions League during football's 'flat-cap' era.
• Their first home stadium was a bit spooky. Located about a kilometre from their current home, but only accessible via a narrow winding road, which even neighbours would have found tough to pick out, the venue was described as being "next to the graveyard" on the club's early membership cards.
• They have a certain regal quality. Anderlecht's colours are in honour of Elisabeth of Bavaria, Queen of Belgium from 1909–34, whose royal carriage was decked out in purple and white on a visit to the area. The R in their full name, RSC Anderlecht, also stands for royal.
• They are the most successful team in Belgian football, with 33 league titles. However, it took them a while to get going; local giants Racing Club, Daring Club and Union Saint-Gilloise looked down on Anderlecht in the early days, but once they won their first national championship, in 1947, there was no stopping them.
• Anderlecht paid what was the biggest fee in Belgian football, 125,000 francs, to sign Jef 'The Bomber' Mermans in 1942. That investment paid off, as he won seven titles with them and scored 338 goals in 384 league matches. "Anderlecht were about more then 90 minutes on the pitch, they a real family," he remembered. "My father died after a World War II bomb hit our home. We lost everything but RSCA and their fans did everything to help."
• They are a genuine family club. Former player and then-brewer Constant Vanden Stock became their chairman in 1971, presiding over European success in that decade, and eventually giving his name to Anderlecht's home stadium. His son Roger succeeded him in 1996. Roger's wife Kiki and daughters Claire and Julie run the Anderlecht club shop. "This is our little corner," Claire once said. "[My father] has no say here."
• Anderlecht have their own Ryan Giggs. Picked up as a 16-year-old, Olivier Deschacht was converted from winger to full-back at Anderlecht, making his debut in December 2001. Now 36, he has claimed seven Belgian championships, and said: "I want to stay at Anderlecht until the end of my career. After that, I will have another 50 years to sit at home."
• Former Anderlecht forward Paul Van Himst was elected Belgium's golden player as part of UEFA's jubilee celebrations in 2004. A hero at Anderlecht from 1959–75, he also starred (as 'Michael Fileu') alongside Pelé, Bobby Moore, Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine in the king of the football films, 1981's Escape To Victory.
• Anderlecht made a (television) star of Romelu Lukaku. The striker made his breakthrough aged 16 in 2009, while still a pupil at Sint Guido Instituut – a secondary school near the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. A reality TV series, De School van Lukaku (Lukaku's School), documented the lives of 'Big Rom' and his classmates in October 2010.
• Blooding young players is an Anderlecht speciality. Lukaku became the UEFA Europa League's youngest ever scorer, striking twice – aged 16 years and 218 days – in a 17 December 2009 win against Ajax. The club's Ghanaian playmaker Nii Lamptey remains the youngest scorer in any senior UEFA club competition, registering in a 3-2 defeat by Roma in the UEFA Cup aged 16 years and 100 days on 20 March 1991.