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  • By Alessandro Schiavone

Released by Arsenal and West Ham as a teenager, this Londoner finally wins his first trophy in Belgium

By Alessandro Schiavone at King Boudewijn Stadium in Brussels

Almost four years after joining Union Saint-Gilloise in the Belgian second-tier from Portsmouth, this once-Mister Nobody from London finally got his hands on a trophy with the Brussels club.

At the fifth time of trying across both domestic competitions over three years back in the top-flight, Barking-born Christian Burgess added to his medal collection. Because his Union side saw off reigning cup holders Royal Antwerp 1-0 thanks to Koki Machida's first-half goal.

It's the club's first major trophy since being crowned champions of Belgium back in 1935.

Union twice relinquished the Belgian Pro League title in the play-offs despite topping the league during the regular campaign in both 2022 and 2023. And history looks set to repeat itself with first and second Bruges or Anderlecht heavily favourites to win it this time around with only three games to go.

And Burgess played his part in Union's finest hours in 110 years after robustly repelling wave after wave of Antwerp attacks.

Bulletproof and confident, the 32-year-old dealt impeccably with everything that came his way, both aerially and on the surface.

Released by Arsenal and West Ban as a boy, he's had to roll up his sleeves and work his way up through the lower leagues.

But today it all paid off for Burgess who won his maiden major trophy.

And if the title contest between Anderlecht and Bruges ends in a draw Sunday week, it could be third time lucky for this club from south Brussels.

Because Union are ready to pounce and give others a taste of their own medicine.


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