Joseph Mermans


Date of birth: 16 February 1922

Place of birth: Merksem, Belgium

Date of death: 20 January 1996

Place of death: Wildert, Belgium

Playing position: Striker

 

 

Joseph Mermans, usually referred to as Jef Mermans (nicknamed "The Bomber") was a footballstriker from Belgium, who played much of his career at Anderlecht, with whom he won 7 Belgian Championship titles and finished top scorer of this competition 3 times.

Mermans played 56 matches with the Belgium national football team, 2 of which in the 1954 FIFA World Cup. He is also the 4th top scorer ever for the Belgium national team with 27 goals.

 

 

Early career

In the early 1930s, the young Mermans tried his luck at Tubantia F.A.C. a small club in the Antwerp suburb. Five years later, Mermans entered the first team. His progress caught attention of the federal coach and Jef was selected for a Belgium B squad match against Luxembourg in January 1939. At this point, he received twice in two years a proposal to play in the Beerschot team, but Tubantia Borgerhout refused.

A member of the Anderlecht staff arrived at Borgerhout in 1942 with a blank check that was filled in with the record sum of 125,000 Belgian francs in a quarter of an hour.

 

Anderlecht career

On his arrival at Anderlecht, the Championship was quite erratic due to the World War II, but he helped Anderlecht in becoming a regular team. In 1947, Mermans was the key player in the conquest of the first Anderlecht title in first division as he scored 38 goals. At the peak of his career, Anderlecht received offers from A.S. Roma, Torino Calcio, Atalanta Bergamo, Real Madrid, S.S. Lazio and Atlético Madrid but refused them all.

 

Late career

In 1957, the Bomber, as he was called for his powerful strikes, left Anderlecht for the small K. Olse Merksem club in his native town. With him, the club promoted from 3rdto 2nd division and even finished 4th in 1960 for its first season at this level. Later on, the club was renamed Olse Mermans to celebrate the player.

 

Palmarès

Belgian championship: 7

Anderlecht: 1946-1947, 1948-1949, 1949-1950, 1950-1951, 1953-1954, 1954-1955, 1955-1956.

 

Years Team Apps Goals
1932-1937 Tubantia FAC (Youth)    
1937-1942 Tubantia FAC     
1942-1957 Anderlecht  384 339
1957-1960 Merksem SC    
Total   384 339
       
National team      
1945-1956 Belgium 56 27