BRUSSELS (AP) Player-coach Vincent Kompany is giving up some match-day duties for Anderlecht after a winless start in the Belgian league.
[ MORE: Mexico star Hirving Lozano joins Napoli’s Serie A title chase ]
Assistant coach Simon Davies says he will now take responsibility for tactical changes and substitutions, while Kompany will step up on the field as captain.
Kompany has overseen two draws and two losses, including a second-half slump at Kortrijk last weekend in a 4-2 loss. Anderlecht is 13th in the 16-team league.
[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines: Matchweek 3 ]
Davies says the new system starts at defending champion Genk on Friday.
The coach, who followed Kompany from Manchester City in the offseason, says “we need some stability” and adds his boss is “really going to concentrate on being the player on match day.”
Vincent Kompany named himself in the starting lineup for Anderlecht’s season-opening Belgian First Division A fixture and suffered his first defeat as the club’s player-manager.
[ MORE: Report: Bale to stay at Real Madrid after move to China canceled ]
Kompany was named new Anderlecht manager, along with duties as a first-team player, shortly after announcing he was leaving Manchester City at the conclusion of last season. Sunday’s game was Kompany’s first appearance for the club since he departed for Hamburg in 2006.
Anderlecht went ahead after 13 minutes, but conceded and equalizer just six minutes later and KV Oostende scored the game-winner in the 75th. Kompany played all 90 minutes.
[ MORE: Liverpool sign youngest-ever PL debutant from Fulham ]
Anderlecht’s fans welcomed Kompany back home with a banner that read “Left like a prince, came back like a king!” and scarves with his face and the message “Welcome home, Kompany” were sold inside the stadium.
With his re-debut — and first defeat — out of the way, the hard work and potentially harsh assessment period will begin very quickly for Kompany and Co.
Fans support their favorite soccer teams with shirts, scarves, and more apparel and merchandise.
Now, Belgium side Anderlecht is taking fandom to a new level: Food.
In an interesting marketing move, Anderlecht announced that it’s come out with its own version of mayonnaise that’s been dyed purple, the main color of the club (The team is called “The Purple and White” in French and Dutch). One of the most popular gameday snacks in Belgium are fries and mayonaise, according to an informal UEFA poll, and now, fans of Anderlecht can dip their fries into purple mayo!
Mayo is apparently so popular in Belgium that there are literally laws on the books governing its ingredients. The move to create a purple sauce comes from a continued business partnership with Brussels Ketjup, a national Belgian ketchup that has sponsored the team.
The purple mayo will be sold in stores around Brussels (where Anderlecht is located) and Belgium, and proceeds from the sales will go towards Child Focus, a pan-European foundation that helps missing and exploited children.
Could we see this come to the Premier League and the U.S.? Imagine red pies at Arsenal, Liverpool or Manchester United, or a bright green pie in Norwich.
What about green ketchup in Seattle for the Sounders, or orange fries at Houston Dynamo games.
It’s unlikely to happen – different colored ketchup from Heinz was a marketing failure – but it could be fun if it was ever tried again on a small scale, tied to a sporting event or team.
Perhaps we’ll be seeing Vincent Kompany downing some fries and purple mayo this fall.
Roberto Martinez is going to suit up a manager as Belgium fights to qualify for EURO 2020.
Okay, okay, that manager is Anderlecht player-manager Vincent Kompany, mere days removed from sealing a domestic treble for Manchester City.
[ MORE: Players to watch at U-20 World Cup ]
Kompany, 33, has been called up by Belgium for the first time since November. He has 87 caps with four goals for the Red Devils, and perhaps the nickname will be a little less awkward now that he’s not a member of the Premier League’s “noisy neighbors.”
Here’s what Martinez had to say about Kompany’s inclusion.
“In modern football it is not easy to combine the job of player and coach,” Martinez added. “In England they have a tradition of that but less and less because the job of coach has become enormously demanding. We must give him time. We will support him in everything he does.”
Belgium is in a qualifying group with Russia, Cyprus, Scotland, Kazakhstan, and San Marino, and should waltz into the tournament.
Vincent Kompany‘s going home in a big way.
The longtime Manchester City center back will return to Anderlecht this summer as player-manager, rejoining the club that raised him from an academy starlet to two-time Belgian top-flight champion.
“It’s the most passionate yet rational decision I’ve ever made,” Kompany wrote on Facebook. “As a footballer, I was born and raised at RSC Anderlecht. Since the age of 6, I have been one with that club. A history of 34 league titles, they are second to none.”
Kompany, 33, made his bones at Anderlecht with 103 appearances before spending two seasons at Hamburger SV.
That was enough to attract Man City’s attention in 2008, and the big center back rewarded the club with 13 pieces of silverware: Four Premier League crowns, three FA Cups, four League Cups, and a pair of Community Shields.
At Anderlecht, he succeeds Fred Rutten with the club 12 points back of a title. The 34-time Belgian champions haven’t won the league in two seasons.
Kompany isn’t just a footballing genius, he’s one of the most intelligent people in the game and earned his MBA while with City. It will be fascinating to follow his progress as a manager, and obviously it’s a big win for Anderlecht if he can stay fit on the field. The 87-times capped Belgian still performs for his national team, and it’s fair to say he’ll continue to be an icon at home.