Steppé, Eugène

Eugène Steppé was a man full of good ideas. As secretary-general, he was a perfect organizer and he was able to make and maintain national and international contacts. He was also involved in the modernisation of the stadium. He once had the idea to bring the Beatles to Anderlecht to gove a show before the game. He changed his mind, probably because of the price. Though he was well known for the fireworks he organised in the stadium.

In 1955, he was sent to Paris, to the Hotel Ambassador, where the Europacup was given shape by European club leaders. Twelve years later, he gave a remarkable speech in Monaco concerning that Europacup.

Eugène Steppé was born (June 3, 1918) and raised in Anderlecht. He joined the club in 1935 and was appointed to secretary-general on August 2, 1952. He immediately organised 'The Cup of the Three Capitals Theo Verbeeck', in which Anderlecht (Brussels), Arsenal (London) and Racing Club de Paris (Paris) participated. He also cooperated with the newspaper Le Soir and the city of Brussels. That way, he founded the 'Festival of Brussels', in which Austria Wien, Tottenham Hotspur, Anderlecht, Honved Budapest and West Bromwich Albion played games against each other in the Heysel Stadium.

In December '56, he organised a Christmas even in the Ancienne Belgique for 450 youth players, a group of Hungarian refugees and Prince Alexander. In 1961, King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola even attended the clash against Standard. In 1967, British princess Margareth visited Anderlecht's stadium.

Led by Roosens and Steppé, Anderlecht participated in 1961 for the first time on the 'Grand Tournoi International de Paris', a prestigious tournament. French newspapers wrote about Paul Van Himst and named him the white Pele. In 1964 and 1966 the Mauves won the tournament (against Borussia Dortmund and Paris-Sedan).

In 1963, Steppé invited Annie Cordy to promote 'Anderlecht Sports', a new club magazine. He also came up with the idea to organise gala matches for players with a loyal state of service. Martin Lippens was the first lucky one when he played his gala match for 35.000 spectators against a European selection. Rik Coppens and Fernand Goyvaerts (Barcelona), Joseph Ujlaki (RC Paris), Moulijn and Wiersma (Feyenoord), Hanappi (Rapid Wien), Santisteban (Real Madrid) and Panatinaikov (CDNA Sofia) were part of that European selection. The game ended in a 3-3 draw.

In the next season, Steppé started a campaign to discover the champion in all of us. A companion had to find out who was talented and in which sport some one was good.

A few months later, Eugène Steppé let taxi vans pick up the fans around the stadium and sold tickets on the van. When Steppé wanted to reach the Anderlecht fans that lived outside Brussels, he was opposed by other clubs. Steppé wanted to build training centers accross the country, but Roger Petit of Standard Luik, wasn't happy about a further 'Anderlechtisation' of the Belgian football. He refered to a game of the national team where Belgium played with nothing but Anderlecht players (and defeated Holland).

In '64, he founded Sportingello, a boarding school for young Anderlecht players. The intention was to bring kids from all accross Europe to Brussels and give them free accommodation and education.

And Steppé was also a very cunning man. In '65, Anderlecht had to play against Derry City, but the field was in an unacceptable state. Steppé proposed to play just one single game in Brussels and let the result count for both first and second leg. Anderlecht won 9-0, but the UEFA wasn't very happy about that initiative and fined Anderlecht. But that wasn't a problem at all, because Anderlecht advanced one round and met Real Madrid.

One year after player Laurent Verbiest was killed in an accident, Steppé organised a benefit match against Ajax Amsterdam. Meanwhile he was organising a touching farewell for physiotherapist Jean Bauwens who had served the club for 33 years.

A bit later, he came up with the 'A kiss for all Purple'. It was a game between all Anderlecht teams, the hockey teams, rugby teams, football teams, etc... The revenues went to the sport with the least resources.

In 1970, Steppé left Anderlecht for Racing White, where he met former Anderlecht director Jacques Lamote In 1972, Steppé became chairman of Olympic, but he soon returned to Brussels, to RWDM. Olympique Marseille was also interested in his services, but Eugène Steppé decided to return to Anderlecht in January 1975...