Erwin Vandendaele (March 9, 1943) conquered the Golden Shoe in 1971 as a centrale verdediger for Club Brugge. Though the player thanked this trophy to his roll as defensive midfielder in Goethals' national team. It was an exciting election. Paul Van Himst and Standard goalkeeper Christian Piot were favorite. After the first voting round, Van Himst was leading with 81 points more than Erwin Vandendaele. But in the second round, the Brugian got 204 votes and won with 40 points more than Van Himst.
"Where and how he played doesn't matter. He's a fantastic player on every position. He's sober and playing with ease, like all big football players", wrote Pulinx in the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
After Fernand Boone in '67, Vandendaele was the second player of Club Brugge to win the Golden Shoe. Brugge had become the third big club in Belgium, next to Anderlecht and Standard.
Vandendaele also played a well in 1971 and later that year he made a solid impression while playing for the national team where he had taken the position of midfielder. Vandendaele played well against Denmark (1-2), Scotland (1-0) and especially Portugal (1-1). In 1972, Belgium ended third on the European Championship. Vandendaele was in the team when Belgium won the game for the third place agains Hungary (2-1).
Vandendaele started his career at FC Gavere where he scored 23 goals. In 1964, Club Brugge paid 900.000 Francs (22.500 Euro) for him and there he eventually became the stronghold of the Brugian defense.
Vandendaele was a very solid player. He never lost the ball and had a great pass. He never did more effort than needed and never looked for difficult solutions. He had an exceptional ability to anticipate.
Brugge lost the title in 1972 on the last matchday to Anderlecht, but one year later he won it anyway. Though Vandendaele's style led to a dispute with trainer Ernst Happel. That's why he left the club for Anderlecht in '74. The Mauves paid 10 million Francs (250.000 €) for the defender. In Anderlecht, Vandendaele would experience his best years. In 1976n he won the Cup Winners' Cup against West Ham United (4-2). Captain Vandendaele missed the final due to an injury, but he was surely one of the players that had made the difference in other European games of that campaign.
Erwin Vandendaele was recovered in time to win the European Supercup. Anderlecht lost the first leg in München (2-1), but beat the big Bayern at home: 4-1! One year later, Vandendaele reached the final of the Cup Winners' Cup again, but lost this time against Hamburger S.V.
Vandendaele won four Belgian Cups: twice with Brugge (in '68 and '70) and twice with Anderlecht (in '75 and '76). He played 32 international games and scored once. On the World Cup of 1970 in Mexico, he was substitute. He made his international debute later that year against France (1-2). Vandendaele remained in the national team until '77. After Anderlecht, he played for Stade Reims and AA Gent and won the title in 1980 in the second division.