Vincent Kompany did it all as a player.
His career was satisfactorily book-ended by spells at Anderlecht and during an 11-year stint at Manchester City, he went on to captain a team of serial winners that won four Premier League titles and 12 titles in total.
He was also part of the Belgian team that finished third at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Barring the most incredible collapse, he is now three wins away from securing the first league title of his early managerial career with Championship leaders Burnley.
But what experiences in his life away from the pitch have made him the person he is today?
In an exclusive interview with Downing Street’s former director of communications and strategy and Burnley fan Alistair Campbell, Kompany discusses his legacy, the less tolerant climate in his native Belgium, leadership, Pep Guardiola’s influence on his professional mindset and more. ..
After his father leaves the Congo for a new life in Belgium…
“My father was a young student in the Congo with opinions against the Mobutu regime, one of the most bloodthirsty dictators in Africa or in the world. He protested the regime as a student, and students were killed. It was a It got to a point where instead of putting them in jail, they were interned in military camps because it would make the international community look bad.
“Finally, he found a way, which was to go to Belgium, to the family we already had, and that’s where he met my mother. I feel Belgian, but I also feel Congolese.”
On life lessons from his parents…
“My mother was a union leader. In terms of personality, she has always stood up against injustice and so has my father. Leadership has always been part of his character, but I think it’s more about just doing the right thing and trying.” is about.” Say what is right.
“We say what we think, but always in a way where we think we can collaborate, so it’s not a matter of being the loudest, it’s a matter of trying to get the right answer.”
On racial integration in Belgium…
“It’s certainly worse than England. But then again, if you take it on a European scale, they’re not the worst in class, I think it’s fair to say. I have a white mother and a black father.” ” , but I grew up Black because that’s how I was viewed and judged.
“The biggest takeaway from where I grew up is that it doesn’t necessarily matter if someone yells at you – it’s not something that would hurt me. I realized that lack of opportunities was far more dangerous. Simple things like looking for apartments under different names because they won’t let you rent, as well as job opportunities and opportunities to go to certain schools. Then you live in this place you have to try to find a way To live is constantly judged.
“My mother was a worker for the unemployment office in Brussels and she was white, blonde, blue-eyed and her first statement to us was ‘Kid, you have to work twice as hard as anybody else. Job’. That was the brutal reality, so when you start with that knowledge, it gives you that extra flexibility. But my way of being is never resentment, it’s more about fighting – and of course if you work twice as hard, you get twice as good.”
What does it mean to be a leader?
“There are many ways to be a leader, but I think my type of leadership is to seek the right answer rather than impose my own. I will have to impose some things, but it will be a collection of other people’s ideas and opinions.” and experiencing and placing it in an environment where it can flourish.
“There are very few ways to become my enemy, but if you are cheating, if you are cheating at work, then you have a bigger problem than me. If you are honest, you can make any number of mistakes.” You are trained as you want, you can be contacted, then I think you are on your way to rise.”
On Pep changing his approach to the game…
“He found a language for football that I understood and from there I could start writing my story. He made football closer to being purposeful than it had ever been for me. It means that if You have the right positions, if you control the right positions, if you make the right angles, if you attack the right areas, you have a great chance of one, to hurt the opponents and two, to overcome the strength of your opponents. Reduce.
“This approach to chess suited my thinking, but I’ve never had it before. I had amazing coaches and managers who taught me a lot of things at first, but not the strategic side of the game. I think most players get It is. That’s its power. Once you’ve experienced it, it’s hard to think any other way.
“We’re not really talking about style, we’re talking about spaces, actions and reactions. The good thing is when you lose 6-0 like we did against Man City immediately you start thinking about what they did and how we can solve it next time. It gives you a starting point to improve and that’s one way that’s been important to me.”
Season exceeded expectations…
“I don’t think any of us expected it to go so well. Points are one thing, but I think the way we got those results and the way we established ourselves in the division . I signed a five-year contract. contract, so we knew we definitely had to rebuild; we knew an existing core of the team was leaving, we knew we had to bring in new players who would to create new value and assets, just to make sure we can be self-sufficient.
“Within two or three years, there was a whole plan to make sure we put ourselves in a position where we could give ourselves a chance to be promoted. Things moved a little quicker than that. The idea was to see what we could achieve.” Do it.” We are doing it now, but not at this time.”
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