The Hell of Stayen, anno 1996-1997

After Gunther Verjans another young talent left Stayen. Peter Van Houdt moved to Roda JC. As a successor, Patje boom-boom Goots was attracted. Marc Wuyts and Patrick Teppers also made their STVV debut. The season '96 -'97 can be briefly summarized: brilliant performances at Stayen against the five top teams. Anderlecht (4-0), Standard (2-0), Club Brugge (2-1), Mouscron (2-0) and Lierse (4-2) left the Hell of Stayen with the blush on the cheeks. It was striking that the Canaries could not extend this performance against the lesser gods. Consequence: until three match days before the end, STVV had to fight against the degradation. Not to mention the return of Guy Mangelschots to the trainer bank. He followed Freddy Smets halfway through the season.

Barry Hulshoff succeeded Guy Mangelschots as coach during the mid-season. Patje Goots left for Turnhout, Verhoene, Lecomte and the great talent Englebert came to Stayen. Coincidence or not, STVV missed the competition start again. After four out of eighteen the diesel was gradually coming to power, with the victory in Mouscron as a boost. The Slovenian international Rudonja and the Croatian Ljubobratovic were won as extra reinforcements.

On Tuesday, January 13, 1998, purple-white was once again allowed to drift away disappointed. STVV bowed Anderlecht out of the cup in the quarterfinals. Mladen Rudonja scored twice (2-1) and Stayen was back on stilts. Then things went less well. The performance and the game level deteriorated. Poll Peters succeeded Barry Hulshoff as trainer, and Marc Wuyts was banned after several conflicts to the B-core. The Canaries closed the competition '97 -'98 in a somewhat disappointing fifteenth place. Dusan Belic was voted the meritorious player of the year. Wouter Vrancken successfully transformed the step from youth to big boys..