Tonight, journalists, coaches and past winners will decide who will be Belgium’s ‘Golden Boot’ for 2015. The award will be based on performances over the calendar year rather than a complete football season. That’s not universally liked but it’s a tradition.There is usually a clear favourite for the award and this year is no exception. In fact, this year there only seems to be one man in the running – Gent Captain Sven Kums. The creative midfielder was seen as a journeyman footballer until he was re-united with Gent coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck at the start of last season. With Kums in the driving seat, Gent took the title and the team has surpassed expectations by reaching the knock-out stages of the Champions League. Kums showed up well in the two games with Valencia and he has been consistently good in the league over the 12 months.
Like Dries Mertens, Kums is yet another player who did not make the grade at Anderlecht. He was at the Brussels club for 10 years from the age of eight but never managed a game in the first team. He was eventually loaned out to Lierse and Kortrijk, helping the latter to the second division title – with Kortrijk being coached by Vanhaezebrouck.
After a few years at Kortrijk, Kums moved to Heerenveen and then returned to Belgium to sign for Zulte Waregem where he stayed for a season. The rest is history as Vanhaezebrouck signed him for Gent and his form has been good enough to warrant a call-up by Marc Wilmots for the Belgium team.
The only other player realistically in the running is Gent striker Laurent Depoitre, also called up by Wilmots as a kind of Benteke-light. Gent keeper Matz Sels could take the goalkeeping award while I would give the Young Player’s award to Anderlecht’s Leander Dendoncker. He’s been consistent over the year and that is something you cannot say about team-mate Youri Tielemans. .
Last 10 “Gouden Schoen”/ “Soulier D’Or” winners
2005 Sergio Conceiçao – Standard Liege
2006 Mbark Boussoufa – Gent/Anderlecht
2007 Steven Defour – Standard Liege
2008 Axel Witsel – Standard Liege
2009 Milan Jovanovic – Standard Liege
2010 Mbark Boussoufa – Anderlecht
2011 Matias Suarez – Anderlecht
2012 Dieumerci Mbokani – Anderlecht
2013 Thorgan Hazard – Zulte Waregem
2014 Dennis Praet – Anderlecht
A few facts about the award
• Most points gained by winner of the ‘Golden Boot’: 509, Michel Preud’homme (KV Mechelen, 1987)
• Youngest ever winner: Paul Van Himst (Anderlecht, 1960) aged 17 years & 3 months.
• Club with the most winners of the award: Anderlecht (17 players – 23 awards), followed by Club Brugge (8, 10) and Standard Liege (8, 9).
• Oldest player to win: Lorenzo Staelens (Anderlecht, 1999) – aged 35 & 8 months.
• Most wins: Paul Van Himst (4), followed by Jan Ceulemans and Wilfried Van Moer (3 each).
• Largest winning margin: Vincent Kompany (by 403 points ahead of Luigi Pieroni in 2004).
• Only foreign players to have won twice: Par Zetterberg (1993 and 1997), Mbark Boussoufa (2006 and 2010).
• Last time that a player from Club Brugge won – 2002, Timmy Simons.