Mitchell Game of @walow_pbfl takes a look at the British contingent over in Belgium helped by the influence of Leicester City.
For those of you who don't know, unless you drink Stella Artois; then you'll know, there is a town just east of Brussels called Leuven. A town synonymous with the alcoholic beverage and a town who wants their football club to get on the map too. A club that is actually just 16 years old, so it actually can't even drink the drink it's famous for! A football club small in size, but huge on expectations and dreams called OH Leuven.
Oud-Heverlee Leuven, like many clubs in Belgium, are a merger of two or more football clubs who may be financially in trouble and need to desperately stay afloat. In Leuven's case, they are a combination of three football clubs from the region, banding together to hopefully make one massive club to not only stay afloat, but hopefully compete in the Belgian Pro League in the process.
With this happening, OHL have actually done well in their short life span, actually playing in the top tier of Belgian football for a quarter of their existence, and this season they'll hope to get back up there, which is a possibility. In 2016, the club were taken over by a familiar name to Leicester City fans, as King Power took over the reigns at Den Dreef. Since they have come on board, they've slowly begun to make the club look more professional. Bringing over Leicester City groundsman, Belgian sports media outlet Sporza.be spent some time in the company of the English ground staff who explained the process of making the pitch more level, aiding with drainage and making the grass stronger with the artificial sunlight technology.
The British link doesn't stop there. King Power hired a familiar face last September in Nigel Pearson. The former Leicester City manager took over at a time when the club were actually doing okay, and some thought it was unfair to dismiss Dennis van Wijk, but Pearson has done well adjusting to Belgian football winning 50% of his matches in a tougher division than you'd think. A league which is frankly all over the place and you can gain Europa League access through the Playoff system Belgium have created. To summarise, yes, Leuven can still get promoted automatically if you do the maths, science, geography....
But Pearson isn't the only Brit over there. Elliot Moore was already there in Leuven on loan from The Foxes and has been pivotal to the success of the club thus far this season. Playing every minute of every match since he joined, he has bagged 2 league goals, as well as a cup goal, and has been solid defensively keeping six clean sheets in the Proximus League too. Personally, I think it's amazing experience. Better than playing Under-23 football in England and I'm sure he has learned so much in his time in Belgium. The final British player is Tony Watt. The film blogger/striker hasn't featured as much due to fitness and injury, but Tony seems to be enjoying his time at his third Belgian club, hopefully feeling more at home.
If promotion isn't to be this season, you'd fancy them next season for sure, and if consolation is somehow Europa League football next season, well anything can happen... Just ask Barcelona about Tony Watt.
*12/02/2018 - It was announced that Tony Watt had left OHL