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 Joseph JURION 1957-1962 
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Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:59 am
Posts: 371
Name: Joseph Armand Jurion

Nickname: "Jef"


Country: :BEL: Belgium
Club: R.S.C. Anderlecht
Position: *AMF, SS, WF, SMF, CMF, DMF
Side: RF/RS
Age: 20-25 years (24/02/1937)

Height: 168 cm
Weight: 69 kg

Attack: 85
Defence: 57
Balance: 81
Stamina: 84
Top Speed: 83
Acceleration: 88
Response: 79
Agility: 97
Dribble Accuracy: 93
Dribble Speed: 85
Short Pass Accuracy: 91
Short Pass Speed: 78
Long Pass Accuracy: 90
Long Pass Speed: 81
Shot Accuracy: 79
Shot Power: 85
Shot Technique: 77
Free Kick Accuracy: 81
Curling: 78
Header: 65
Jump: 71
Technique: 90
Aggression: 83
Mentality: 81
Goalkeeper Skills: 50
Team Work: 84

Injury Tolerance: B
Condition/Fitness: 7
Weak Foot Accuracy: 6
Weak Foot Frequency: 6
Consistency: 7
Growth Type: Standard/Lasting

S02 - Passer
S05 - 1-touch Play
S18 - Turning Skills
P03 - Trickster
P05 - Mazing Run

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Dribbling - Tactical Dribbling - Playmaking - Passing - 1 Touch Pass

Attack/Defence Awareness Card: Attack Minded


Armand Jurion, or simply Jef, born in 1937 and the youngest in a family with nine kids, was one of Belgium's best players in the '50 and '60. Intelligent, strong, precise and correct. Those words describe him best: "People critised me because I kept the ball too long, but I didn't want to give a bad pass. I though it was better to wait for the right opportunity to give that pass", he said. His work was not appreciated by many, but by winning two Golden Shoes in '57 and '62 proved he was a brilliant player.

Jurion: "I played for Ruisbroek when I was still a young boy. Union, Anderlecht and Racing White showed interest. But only Anderlecht was really convinced of my qualities. Roosens and Steppé came to watch me play and I followed them on my bike, behind their car. Initially they came to see Noulle Deraeymaecker, a young striker of Ruisbroek. But I caught their attention and I signed a contract."

Being 17 years old, he made his debute as a right winger. "It was a cold November day. We won 2-4 against Olympic Charleroi. From day one I had a place in the starting line-up. The next game was against Union. Then against Racing Mechelen. Arsène Vaillant took the place of Mermans during that game. But he only remained in the team for that single match. I remember how angry he was." Mermans and Jurion couldn't really play together. Though during the first two years, Jurion had nothing to say. "I was a rookie. I didn't want to discuss with Mermans. But indeed, I didn't fit in. Sermon and Dewaele were totally different wingers and Mermans was used playing in a team with them. I was a real number 10, a playmaker. I played a different kind of football, though I was also able giving Mermans the high balls he prefered."

In that same year (1955), Jurion was selected for the national team and played against France. His direct opponent was Roger Marche, nicknamed 'the wild bore of the Ardennes'. A though player, but Jef overclassed him. Jef also gave the assist for Polyte Vanden Bosch who scored. In total, Jurion collected 64 A-Caps between '55 and '67. He played on 7 different positions and scored 9 goals. Meanhwile, the skinny player became a well trained athlete. Jef & Jef (Mermans and Jurion) played their last game together against Servette Genève. Jurion even gave an assist to Mermans in that gave. Mermans scored and thanked Jurion.

Jurion: "When Mermans left, it was up to me. Together with Hannon we conquered the midfield in Sinibaldi's 4-2-4 formation. We played attractive football and Sini was able to bring out the best of every player. Every transfer was well considered and reinforced the team. Verbiest and Puis were two newcommers. And of course also Jacky Stockman."

"In our team we had always the same players in the starting line-up. Sometimes that was difficult. There were clearly two groups of friends: the players and the substitutes. And then there was Fritz Vandenboer. He was a good friend of Eugène Steppé and scored a few goals now and then. He immediately thought he was the leader of our team. I told him loud and clear that I was the captain and no one else. Eventually he left for STVV. I remember I met with Fritz again in our game against STVV. We were losing 3-1 but we came back to 3-3. Thanks to Fritz, I played one of the best games of my carreer."

Jef wasn't an easy person. The Hungarian Sandor Karsay and the Spaniard Jorge Cayuela testified about that. But Jurion has his own oppinion. "Karsay was a powerful midfielder. He was on test when we played against Racing Paris. He had to play on the wing, but that wasn't his best position. I noticed he wasn't able to give any decent centres, so I never gave him a pass. I refused to give a ball from which I knew it would have gone lost. Cayuela was a striker with a hard shot. One evening he was always trying with efforts from 25 meters distance. I was getting nervous and said: either you pass the ball to me, either it will soon be over for you here. He didn't last long in Anderlecht. At the end of my carreer I heard some one was making more money than me. I didn't give him any pass anymore. 'If you make more money, than come and get the ball yourself', I said. I explained myself in front of the direction board. I didn't want more, but at least as much as the others..."

Jef also critised his trainers. "Against Beerschot we were playing in Sinibaldi's formation. But the Hungarian Belin was defending very well. This forced Hanon and myself into other positions and that confused our defenders. So I took action and made Verbiest, our right back, switch positions. At half time the score was 0-0 and trainer Sinibaldi asked: Verbiest, since when are you playing on another position? But, Jef made me, he replied. We won that game (0-1) and Sinibaldi never complained about it. The same happened against Antwerp where Wilfried Van Moer brought our defenders into trouble. My changes to the team's formation lead us to victory."

In Anderlecht's first European game, against Voros Lobogo in 1955, Jurion was already in the team. Though he got his nickname, 'Mister Europe', only in '63 when he scored a brilliant goal against Real Madrid C.F. "We were the first non-Spanish team to eliminate them in the first round of a European competition. After the 3-3 in Madrid, we played for 65.000 people in Brussels. We were careful, but with only 15 minutes to play, Orlans gave me a pass and I scored. Goal! In the next round, I scored twice against C.D.N.A. Sofia. I remember a Bulgarian player called me an Indian. 'Then you are a cowboy', I replied when we left the field. Later, the team doctor Jean Bauwens hugged me and said: Jef, you are Mister Europe! That name lasted. And we should have won the European title that year. But it went wrong against Dundee. We lost 1-4, but it should have been 6-0. The only had four chances. Three years later we demonstrated against Real Madrid, but we missed a lot of chances. So we only won 1-0. In the second leg, the referee was clearly bribed. Later on he was found guilty in the Barberan case. He gave a penalty for nothing to Real, disapproved one of our goals and gave Cornelis a red card. The result was 4-2. I scored one of those goals."

He's also very famous for his game with the national team against Bulgaria. "In Sofia we lost 3-0. In Belgium we won 5-0. We had to play a test match later on against that same Bulgaria. I suspected the Bulgarians to be drugged. They were a lot stronger than us and we lost 2-1. I was furious and kept on saying they should be tested for drugs..."

After 14 seasons and 9 titles, the club organised a special game for him in '64 against F.C. Barcelona (4-2). His last season for Anderlecht came in '67. He got injured against Charleroi and spent five weeks in a cast. "At the end of the season we were one point behind the leaders. They forced me to play and promissed me a free transfer if we took the title after all. But the chairman broke his promiss. The board didn't agree. A few days after winning the title, we played a friendly game against A.C. Milan. I wasn't in the mood and refuse to travel to Milan. Chairman Roosens was furious and announced the end of my carreer and the start of the era Van Himst. La Gantoise paid 1,3 milion francs for me. Let me conclude by saying that it took Anderlecht four years before winning a new title after I left." After La Gantoise, he became a trainer for Lokeren, Beveren and La Louvière. At the moment, Jef is a business man in the football world.


Of all the great footballers in history, precious few have been known for wearing glasses. Edgar Davids became iconic for his specialised goggles following the glaucoma he suffered. Off the pitch David Beckham flirted with them around the time he embraced sarongs and his wife’s underwear. Lilian Thuram’s adoption of glasses following his playing career was branded an attempt to mimic Malcolm X by Patrice Evra. Nobby Stiles of course wore glasses as thick as milk bottle bottoms off the field, but coped with contact lenses on it.

The perils of wearing glasses on the pitch were best illustrated in the famously tempestuous Intercontinental Cup of 1970. Having achieved a 2-2 draw in Buenos Aires, Feyenoord returned to Rotterdam to face an Estudiantes side known (perhaps unfairly) more for their uncompromising tackles than their quality of play. When defender Joop van Daele put Feyenoord into an early lead Oscar Malbernat snatched the glasses off his face and crushed them into the ground.

Perhaps the one player (other than Davids) most noted as an on-field glasses wearer was Belgian schemer Jef Jurion. Yet what was remarkable about Jurion was not merely his chosen eye wear but also his versatility. Rarely has there been a player who featured in more positions during his career, especially at the highest level.

Jurion began his career at Anderlecht in 1953 and success came to him almost immediately. Physically slight (even for a 17 year old) the young Jurion was placed on the right-wing, away from the physicality of central midfield. On the flanks the youngster was able to demonstrate the elusive dribbling ability for which he would become famous. Although not blisteringly quick, he had a superb ability to deceive opponents with a drop of the shoulder or a body swerve which saw him find space time after time. At the suggestion of his club Jurion tried to adapt to contact lenses, but found that they hurt his eyes, and so wore a specially adapted pair of glasses.

At Anderlecht the unquestioned figure head was Jef Mermans, a physically powerful striker who had earned himself the nickname “The Bomber”. With Jurion on the right wing and Mermans playing through the centre, Anderlecht had a winning formula, for the youngster provided the crosses which the veteran could finish off. It proved a successful time for the club and Jurion captured Belgian league titles in his first two seasons with the senior team.

Jurion’s performances at club level soon brought him to international attention and he made his debut against France on Christmas Day 1955. At this time though, Jurion struggled to maintain the consistency that would mark his later years. For the national team Jurion’s versatility became a real asset as he was asked to fill in at multiple positions. Within his first few years he featured at his usual right-wing, inside-forward, and half-back. Wherever he was asked to play he acquitted himself well and came to be an easy solution to whatever problems the team might have. In 1959 he was even asked to fill in at centre-forward after Rik Coppens was injured prior to a 2-2 draw with France.

It was in 1960 that Jurion’s position at club level first began to change. When Frenchman Pierre Sinibaldi replaced English manager Bill Gormlie, the club looked to make a tactical switch. The 1958 World Cup had seen Brazil triumph using a 4-2-4 formation and Sinibaldi was keen to follow suit. Anderlecht’s previous success had been found under the WM system of three at the back, but Sinibaldi saw four central defenders as the way forward.

One of the key things the new manager also wanted to alter was the role of Jurion. A player of his talents was considered to be wasted out on the right-flank where his contributions would be intermittent at best. Instead Sinibaldi wanted Jurion to be involved as often as he could. Jurion moved to the inside-right position but was asked to play from deep. In effect he had switched from winger to playmaker.

The change in role brought out the best in him. He had already been voted Belgian player of the year in 1957, but now, along with Paul Van Himst, he became the outstanding individual talent in the country. Sinibaldi had always admired the quick and neat passing which Jurion had demonstrated in his early years, but he encouraged him to play a more expansive game and to broaden his range of passing. Jurion had the vision to spot difficult passes, now his manager was keen for him to attempt them.

Jurion’s scholarly appearance may have suggested that he was unsuited to the more physical aspects of the game. Admittedly his glasses prevented him from attacking aerial balls with the gusto that some might have shown, but the intelligence of his game meant that he rarely needed to use strength or size. For Jurion’s positioning and particularly his shielding of the ball meant that it was very difficult for opponents to dispossess him legally.

Sinibaldi’s results were not immediately felt on the team, but by 1962 Anderlecht were league champions yet again. That success meant entry to the European Cup where they faced Real Madrid in the first round. The record of Los Merengues was a truly frightening one at that stage. With Di Stefan0, Puskas and Gento still in the side they had been finalists the previous season and had won five of the first seven European Cups. A 3-3 draw at the Chamartin stadium had vindicated the decision to attack in the most challenging circumstances. The second leg remained a stalemate with 85 minutes gone until Jurion launched a rasping drive from 25 yards out to settle the tie.

He had now arrived as one of Europe’s premier players. That opinion was vindicated soon after as Jurion finished fifth in the voting for the France Football Ballon d’Or. Given that Belgium had not participated in the 1962 World Cup (Josef Masopust, Karl-Heinz Schnellinger and Dragoslav Sekularac who finished ahead of him all starred in Chile), it was a startling achievement.

The good times at Anderlecht just kept on coming and although their European Cup run dented their hopes in the 1962-3 season, the club (and Jurion) won four consecutive league titles in the years following that. At 31 Jurion moved to Gent to take on a job as player-coach and in the twilight of his career spent time with Lokeren. Although he never again enjoyed the success he had with Anderlecht, Jurion remained a technically fine player whose calm in the centre of midfielder never left him.

Jurion was, in many ways, prototypical of the Belgian players who would carry the team to unprecedented success in the 1980s and 90s. Both Wilfried Van Moer and Enzo Scifo demonstrated the intelligence on the ball, the ability to hold off opponents and to spot a pass that marked Jurion out as one of the best midfielders of his age. Neither though combined the full range of talents that Jurion had, nor were able to perform so consistently or display the versatility that set Jurion apart from his rivals. It was more than just the wearing of glasses that made Jurion unique.

Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:32 pm

Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:29 pm
Posts: 670

Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:31 pm
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