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1978-1982: Sportive hangover

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At the start of the season 1978-1979, newcomers Walter Meeuws (transfer from Beerschot), Jan Ceulemans (from Lierse) and Peter Houtman (coming from Feyenoord) were presented to the Bruges fans. However, European elimination against Polish Krakow and some disappointing results in the Belgian league brought about the dismissal of Ernst Happel, and Beres and assistant coach Mathieu Bollen took over for the rest of the season. Club Brugge ended up in 6th position, which was just not good enough and did not win them a European ticket.

 

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New title after tactical switches

The season 1979-1980 saw Han Grijzenhout (ex-coach of neighbours Cercle Brugge) as the new head coach. Club opted for different game tactics, in which it played in a better organisation, and in which quantity (of points) came before quality (of what was shown on the pitch).  To obtain these tactics, Grijzenhout always made sure Club’s manpower in midfield was properly set up and in a solid organisation. With success, as Club won its sixth championship in its history. At the occasion of the last home game of the season, the blue and black supporters bade farewell to Raoul Lambert, after 22 years of loyal service.

1978-1982: Sportive hangover
1978-1982: Sportive hangover
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Another European defeat

September 1980: FC Basel defeats Club Brugge 0-1 at Olympia. This defeat is the immediate grounds that led to Grijzenhout’s dismissal, who was to be succeeded by Raymond Mertens. In his turn, he was replaced by Gilbert Gress. Club finished in 6th place at the end of the season, which was at that time good enough to get back in the European competition.

1978-1982: Sportive hangover
1978-1982: Sportive hangover
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The threat of relegation to second division

Club was very active on the transfer market at the start of the season 1981-1982. It bought just about a completely new team to replace its ‘established’ players. The club welcomed Van Binst (from Toulouse), Dardenne (from RWDM), Szymanovski (from Warschau), Ondrus (from Slovan Bratislava), Op de Beeck (from RC Mechelen), Wellens (from Standard), Walter Ceulemans (from Lierse), Nilsson (Vaxjoe Oësters) and Tjapko Teuben (from Ajax). Luxembourg coach Spitz Kohn was given the task to integrate all these newcomers into a solid whole, a task which proved to be insurmountable. 

 

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He was succeeded by Rik Coppens and finally it was assistant coach Raymond Mertens who had to make sure at the very last game of the season that Club Brugge would stay in first division. At the end of probably the worst and most nerve-wracking season of its history, Club Brugge had to face RWD Molenbeek at Olympia. Depending on the positive or negative outcome of the game, there were 14 different scenarios, ranging from relegation to staying in the first division, as two other teams, Winterslag and Beringen, were also in the danger zone. The Olympia Stadium was filled to the top, and match attendance reached great heights as 22,000 fans filled Olympia to see Club Brugge win 5-0. When the speaker announced the loss of Beringen, thus keeping Club in first division, the crowds went mad.  Massive celebrations broke out, and champagne was spilled in what proved to be a long night. It was like Club Brugge had become champions once again.