This summer, Belgian midfielder Steven Defour completed a move from Porto to Anderlecht, after three years in Portugal that saw him win a league title with an undefeated season before falling out of favor.
It was a transfer that seemed innocuous enough, a player simply searching for a move after seeing his playing time significantly reduced due to a myriad of reasons.
Well, there’s more to it than that. You see, Defour used to play for Standard Liege. For a good five years, actually. After making his professional debut with Genk, an 18-year-old Defour moved to Standard and made 153 appearances there before finding his way to Portugal.
Keep in mind: R.S.C. Anderlecht and Standard Liege hate each other. As rival Belgian giants, the two clubs have battled at the top of the Jupiler Pro League for years. In fact, the pair of clubs has accounted for every single league championship since 2005 except one.
So, suffice it to say, Standard fans didn’t take too kindly for their former midfield engine signing with their arch rivals. It made them angry. Angry enough to make a gruesome, three-story banner expressing their feelings towards Defour:
The banner reads “Red or Dead” and features Defour’s severed head in the clutches of a Jason-like reaper character. Yikes.
Well, that got Defour a little riled up. Already on a yellow card, the 26-year-old’s anger boiled over in the 54th minute when, during a stoppage in play, Defour booted the ball at Standard fans. The referee rewarded him with a sending off.
Since Defour was booked earlier in the match, it’s unclear whether the referee sent Defour straight off or disciplined him with a second yellow. A yellow card was never produced, but it would seem a very harsh straight red. Either way, the result is the same, and an exasperated Defour was sent to the showers early.
Of course, this egged on the Standard fans even more, but on the other end, visiting Anderlecht supporters began showing their displeasure by ripping out and throwing plastic seats. It would seem Belgians could use a therapy session or two to learn how to constructively express their feelings.
Standard won 2-0 and it was a tough day for poor Steven Defour. I guess he should have thought about that before signing with his old club’s arch rivals?
It’s been a crazy year over there in Belgium. Club Brugge, once a title hoarder but without one since 2004/05, is back on top. Standard is back in seventh, and relatively new club KV Kortrijk is in third – they’ve never finished higher than fourth.