Union Saint-Gilloise, the centenary neighborhood club that went from the second division to touch a European semifinal

Union Saint-Gilloise, the centenary neighborhood club that went from the second division to touch a European semifinal

2023-04-22 22:26:54

Conceding a goal in minute 2 of the match did not dampen Royale Union Saint-Gilloise’s hopes of seeing a dream come true: reaching the Europa League semi-final for the first time in more than half a century. “Ici, ici, c’est Saint Gilles”, the audience began to chant after Victor Boniface’s shot struck the crossbar of Bayer Leverkusen’s goal. The Union Saint-Gilloise had just scored the 1-3 that allowed their diverse fans to continue dreaming of continuing in the European competition after a draw in the first leg. But Xabi Alonso’s fourth put an end to that dream for the hundred-year-old club, which slipped into the UEFA competition after winning the regular season the previous year after being promoted from the second division.

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But this is not a sports Time.news but rather the story of how a team from a Belgian neighborhood has put a sprint in recent years that has allowed them to stand up to the country’s greats and measure themselves against other important clubs in Europe with a much smaller budget.

The origins of Union Saint-Gilloise are humble. It was founded in 1897 by a group of friends in the Belgian commune of Saint-Gilles, which in the middle of the last century was the neighborhood par excellence that welcomed Spanish and Italian emigrants who were looking for a better future in the north of the continent. The beginning of the team’s career was meteoric with promotion to the first division in the 1900-1901 season.

His path has been plagued with ups and downs and, after a decline in his performance in the following decades, in the early 1930s he was champion three times and did not know defeat in 60 consecutive games. However, World War II marked a before and after. While the clubs around them turned professional, Union-Saint Gilloise fell behind. The journey through the desert has lasted almost 80 years, with exceptions such as the semifinal dispute of the extinct Fairs Cup 58-60. On that occasion, the European dream was cut short against Birmingham.

The ultimate turning point came in 2018 at the hands of Tony Bloom, a professional poker player who added the club to his assets, including Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion. After 48 years, Saint-Gilloise returned to the first division in 2021 and set a new record by winning the Belgian regular league against teams with much higher budgets. That was how he slipped into the European competition.

“Union SG has not stopped giving the bell this season in the Europa League, and they have done it again by standing up to Leverkusen and wresting a creditable draw in Germany. In general, the Belgian side have not found it difficult to score, as they have scored two or more goals in six of their last eight games in this competition. With the support of their fans, Karel Geraerts’ men hope to continue making history and keep their dream of going to the semi-finals alive”, summed up UEFA before the second leg played on Thursday.

Blue and yellow flooded the streets surrounding Lotto Park, the stadium of the Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht, the rival that had to cede the field for the matches of the European competition. And it is that, the conditions of the Joseph Marien, where La Roja played in the 1920 Olympics, do not meet the standards of UEFA, which requires that all attendees have a seat in the stands.

The bars in the area also welcomed the fans hours before the match. The music accompanied the party washed down with Jupiler beer, which is the one sponsored by the Belgian league, and fans of different ages – many young people – waited in orderly lines to buy hot dogs, hamburgers and fries. The club also made its August with the sale of merchandising of a historic meeting.

The Saint-Gilloise fans have also changed. It is no longer made up only of economic emigrants from the middle of the 20th century, but has welcomed a profile hipster who now lives in Saint Gilles and representatives of the so-called bubble from Brussels who have been encouraged to follow a team that has its own beer, 1897. For many, it is an opportunity to socialize. “It’s very home from home,” says one of the people who has gone to one of the second division games.

“Zero one”, hesitated a group of Anderlecht to the Union Saint Gilloise supporters who were crowding at the gate of the stadium when the game had just started. Moussa Diaby’s goal kept them away from the semifinal. The dream barely lasted a few more minutes and, shortly before the game ended, they began to leave the stadium towards the center of the capital. Union Saint Gilloise has a chance to make amends this Sunday, when the last game of the regular season is played before the play off.

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Diseases can often become noticeable through changes in the mouth. The warning signs should be taken seriously. This is also where the body’s first, mostly inconspicuous signals appear, which are considered bad harbingers of oral cancer. But signs of illness elsewhere are also conceivable.

Their meaning is not always immediately obvious. Experts agree that there are initial symptoms in the mouth that can indicate an increased risk of a heart attack.

Periodontitis as a trigger for heart attacks – experts believe there are a few reasons

As the German Society for Periodontology (DG PARO) explains on their website, periodontitis as well as vascular and heart diseases are closely linked. If periodontitis remains untreated, more bacteria can enter the bloodstream, even during everyday activities such as chewing and brushing your teeth. Anyone who has the predisposition to this is at risk of developing an inflammation of the inner lining of the heart in the worst case scenario.

The interesting thing about this connection, both also have common risk factors. The experts not only include things like smoking, but also genetic variants, so-called polymorphisms.

According to the report, such a predisposition to periodontitis does not generally lead to the disease, but it can significantly increase the risk. A severe inflammatory reaction caused by bacteria in plaque can always be a warning sign.

Lower risk of heart attack – experts recommend better oral hygiene

Anyone who suffers from one of the illnesses will not notice much of it at first. Problems only arise when you are at an advanced stage. But there are seven warning signs in the mouth that you should definitely pay attention to.

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Basically, healthy gums and healthy teeth are important for the well-being of the whole body, as the DG PARO writes. It goes on to say: “Inflammatory diseases in the oral cavity can affect the entire organism. This is because bacteria or inflammatory substances enter the bloodstream from the oral cavity.”

The experts therefore warn that “a healthy lifestyle combined with thorough oral hygiene and regular check-ups or treatment visits to the dentist can significantly reduce the risks of periodontitis and tooth loss.” And regular self-checks can also help to recognize the first symptoms of an increased risk of heart attack.

Seven warning signs to self-test – what you should pay attention to

According to the Society for Periodontology Seven warning signs in the mouth that you should definitely not ignore as soon as they occur. What do you have to pay attention to?

Red and swollen gums Frequent bleeding from the gums, for example when brushing your teeth or when chewing The gums recede, the teeth appear longer Sensitive teeth (tooth necks) Teeth become loose and can migrate Persistent bad breath and/or unpleasant taste in the mouth Pus escapes from the gum pockets

It should be noted that cardiovascular diseases and their consequences are still the second most common cause of death worldwide and the most common cause of death in industrialized nations. Traditionally, risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood lipids, diabetes mellitus, obesity, lack of exercise, age and family history of cardiovascular diseases are considered responsible for the development of vascular changes and their secondary diseases. There is a reason why periodontitis is at the top of the list.

Chronic inflammation is more likely to lead to a heart attack

According to DG PARO, chronic inflammation is one of the most important factors when it comes to the risk of a heart attack. Periodontitis is therefore such a chronic inflammation. It also ensures that it spreads widely throughout the body and is “a significant cause of the penetration of bacteria into the blood vessels.”

The problem with research is that you can’t determine exactly what causal role periodontitis has in cardiovascular disease because there are “many common genetic and behavioral risk factors,” according to the report.

For the experts, the only fact is that “successful treatment of periodontitis also produces effects in the bloodstream and vessels.” According to current information, the result is a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.

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