1950-1963: Foreign coaches

7 seasons second division

In 1950, Club Brugge parted ways with Louis Versyp as coach and went down the path led by foreign coaches for a while.  The use-by date of Scotsman Kennedy at De Klokke was soon reached: at the end of the season 1950-1951, the club could not avoid relegation to the second division, and sent Kennedy packing.  His successor, Felix Schavy, started in April 1951, and was Club Brugge’s head coach for six full seasons.  He never managed to get Club promoted to the highest level and left Club in 1957, only to be succeeded by the 33-year old Rumanian Norberto Höfling.

Norberto Höfling

Norberto Höfling had been a professional football player in Rumania, Russia, Hungary and Italy, and his professional take on the game paid off quite soon. In the season 1958-1959, his stance was crowned with a promotion to the first division. During his six-year passage at Club Brugge, he made the team smarter from a tactical point of view, made sure the team’s defense was better organised, and was the first to achieve a professional mentality in the team.

1950-1963: Foreign coaches
1950-1963: Foreign coaches
1950-1963: Foreign coaches
1950-1963: Foreign coaches

Fernand Goyvaerts: the 'enfant terrible' of Club Brugge

Club Brugge has never been known for its many special characters, but Fernand Goyvaerts can be seen as the exception that confirms the rule.  In the early fifties, he joined Club Brugge at the age of 14 and made his debut in the senior team as soon as two years later, first under the rule of coach Felix Schavy, a year later with Norberto Höfling as coach.  For seven years, the Rumanian and ‘Fernando’ were not the best of friends.  The Bruges audience was very pleased with the ‘enfant terrible’ they saw in Goyvaerts.  Fernand certainly knew a thing or two about pulling a joke and was without a doubt a match to the also illustrious Rik Coppens from Beerschot when it came to tricks and a bit of fun.  Goyvaerts was a whiz kid with great technical ability on the pitch, who as a small boy had dreamt of a career abroad, and, ‘thanks’ to the conflict with coach Höffling, saw his dreams realised sooner than he had hoped.  After Club Brugge, he joined Barcelona, Real Madrid, Elche and Nice.  The basis for his successful career was laid while playing football and generally messing about on the streets and beaches, through which he refined both his athleticism and his technique.

The De Clerck trilogy

The return of Club Brugge to the highest football level in 1959 did not go unnoticed, even when it came to the President’s function.   Succeeding his father Emiel De Clerck, André De Clerck was elected to the presidency of the club on 14 July 1959, thus replacing his father, who was promoted to Honorary President. André De Clerck was Club Brugge’s president until the season 1972-1973 and, having won the Belgian league title in that season, he in his turn conceded his place as President of Club Brugge to his son, Fernand. With Emiel and André, and now Fernand, the De Clerck trilogy was complete!

1950-1963: Foreign coaches
1950-1963: Foreign coaches

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