Paul Van Himst

Paul Van Himst (born 2 October 1943) is a retired Belgian football forward and a football manager. Now retired, he still supports R.S.C. Anderlecht, his former team.

Paul Van Himst
Personal information
Full name Paul Van Himst
Date of birth (1943-10-02) 2 October 1943
Place of birth Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Playing position Forward
Youth career
1951–1959 Anderlecht
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1975 Anderlecht 457 (233)
1975–1976 Molenbeek 21 (1)
1976–1977 Eendracht Aalst
National team
1960–1974 Belgium 81 (30)
Teams managed
1983–1986 Anderlecht
1987–1988 Molenbeek
1991–1996 Belgium
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


He was nicknamed Polle Gazon (Polle is Paul in Brussels dialect, and Gazon means lawn in Dutch and French) due to the large number of fouls committed on him. In 1964, he played in the Belgium-Netherlands match alongside 10 Anderlecht players after the substitution of goalkeeper Delhasse by Jean-Marie Trappeniers.

Van Himst won the Belgian championship 8 times, all of them with Anderlecht, a club for which he started playing his first professional season in 1959–60. With Anderlecht, he scored 233 goals in 457 matches (16 seasons). He then played for RWDM (another Brussels club) in 1975–76 and for Eendracht Aalst (then in the second division) in the following season.

Between 1960 and 1974, "Polle Gazon" scored 30 goals (in 81 matches) for the Belgian national team. This performance made him Belgium's second topscorer—along with Bernard Voorhoof—and the 10th most capped player for his country. He made his debut on 19 October 1960 in a match against Sweden and he was part of Belgium's team which qualified for the 1970 World Cup. Van Himst then helped Belgium reach third place at the Euro 1972. As a football manager, Van Himst has worked notably for Anderlecht and the national team which he led to the 1994 FIFA World Cup.


He holds the record of four times being awarded the Golden Shoe. In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was named the Golden Player of Belgium by the Belgian Football Association as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.[1]

He has been an ambassador for the Belgian/South-African NGO "Born In Africa" since 2005.


His wife, Arlette Neckebroeck, died on 4 December 2013.[2]


See also


Media related to Paul Van Himst at Wikimedia Commons

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