Ann Maerten: “I’d like to add another 20 years”.
Today we put a real Westel icon in the spotlight. Ann Maerten works day after day for 20 years at our Kemphanen. Time for an interview, we thought, with the person who doesn’t like to be in the spotlight.
How did you end up here?
I had just graduated and had enrolled in various temporary employment agencies, because I wanted to get started as soon as possible. One day I got a phone call asking if I wasn’t interested in a position at the secretariat of KVC Westerlo. I had to replace someone who was pregnant, and look 20 years later I’m still here and I’m GC of the club, of which I’m quite proud. At the time, I was mainly involved in competition organisation and ticketing. Gradually I added the bookkeeping.
How were your first weeks?
I was well taken care of by Minou Mais, the then head of the secretariat. She introduced me to the organisation of a football club. After 8 months of intensive cooperation, she said goodbye to the club and I ran the secretariat on my own for many years. A perfect school! It’s funny because when I think back now I was younger than most of the players who were there then, I think of Rudi Janssens, Mario Verheyen, Marc Schaessens, Frank Dauwen, the current assistant coach Vedran Pelic and etc… and now I myself am a lot older than the players who are in the current core. The nice thing was that those “older” players also immediately included me in the group. They regularly came to the secretariat to drink their coffee and have a chat. That was still possible at the time. Things were more social than they are now. It was a really sweet raid. I will never forget my very first match. That was a match in the Kuipje against Club Brugge. Sunday 29 October 2000 is etched in my memory. 10000 spectators were present then. Club Brugge led the ranking and came here to win 0-2, after 2 goals in the last 10 minutes. The further course of that season was also special. Westerlo won the Belgian Cup!
Gradually, did you delve into all the licence files?
That’s right! I put a lot of time and energy into that. That’s why I am a perfectionist. This is a quality, but sometimes it can also work against yourself. I work day and night to get these files in order. European licence, Belgian licence, Financial Fair Play, we go from one file to another. The nice thing about it is that the hard work is rewarded every season by obtaining the licences. I have also already been told that we are one of the few clubs that submit all the dossiers on time and in full. It does bother me, however, that clubs whose dossiers are not in order are still excluded every year by the BAS.
What was your best sporting moment?
We won the Cup, we played a second Cup final, we won PO2, but the best part still remains the championship title in the second division of 2014. At that time, every match in the tub was “full house”. Achieving something like that with limited resources, that’s just exceptional. Also the moment we were received at the city hall, unforgettable! For the whole crowd that was there, they gave me the micro in my hands and I had to play. That’s not my thing at all, but I don’t think I could say anything wrong, because everyone was overjoyed.
What does the future bring?
Since the arrival of the new investor, Mr Oktay, our club has made great strides. We are becoming more professional every day. You can see that something beautiful is blossoming and that it is a long-term project. So I would like to add another 20 years! I do hope that we will get out of the 1B competition format as soon as possible. You feel that the supporters have less experience with this. And again a full Tub where we hear it EN ALLEMAAL SAMEN time and again, that’s what we’re doing it for!