Founded in 1908, the club first reached the highest level in Belgian football in 1921–22 and have been playing in the first division continuously since 1935–36. They won their first major trophy after World War II with a championship win in 1946–47. Since then, they have never finished outside the top six of the Belgian first division. They are ranked 12th amongst all-time UEFA club competition winners, tenth in the International Federation of Football History & Statistics continental Clubs of the 20th Century European ranking and were 41st in the 2012 UEFA team rankings. In 1986, they achieved their best UEFA ranking with a joint first place with Juventus.
Anderlecht have been playing their matches in the Astrid Park in the municipality of Anderlecht since 1917. Their current stadium, Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, was first opened in 1983, and replaced the former Emile Versé Stadium. They play in purple and white outfits. They have long-standing rivalries with Club Brugge and Standard Liège and previously with FC Brussels.
Founded as Sporting Club Anderlechtois on 27 May 1908 by a dozen football lovers at the Concordia café (located in the Rue d'Aumale/Aumalestraat in the municipality of Anderlecht), the club beat Institut Saint-Georges in their first match, 11–8. They joined the official competition in 1909–10, starting at the lowest level in the Belgian football league system, then the third provincial division. In 1912–13, they gained promotion to the second-higher level of football, then named the Promotion. After only one season at that level, the championships were suspended due to World War I, and resumed in 1919–20. With the popularity of the team increasing, Anderlecht had moved to a new stadium in the Astrid Park in 1917 (then known as Meir Park). They baptized the stadium Stade Emile Versé in honor of the club's first major patron, the industrialist Emile Versé.
At the end of the 1920–21 season, Anderlecht were promoted to the first division for the first time in their history. In the next 14 seasons, Anderlecht were relegated four times (1923, 1926, 1928 and 1931) and promoted four times (1924, 1927, 1929, 1935), earning themselves the mockery of local rival clubs Union Saint-Gilloise and Daring Club de Bruxelles, who nicknamed them the "lift club". In 1933, 25 years after their formation, the club changed their name to Royal Sporting Club Anderlechtois. Since their promotion in 1935, Anderlecht has remained at the top level of football. With Jef Mermans, a striker signed from K Tubantia FC in 1942 for a record fee of 125,000 Belgian francs, Anderlecht won their first league title in 1947. Their success increased in the following years as they won six more titles between 1949–50 and 1955–56 (winning three consecutive titles twice) and two more in 1958–59 and 1961–62. In the 1960s, under the coaching of Pierre Sinibaldi and then of Andreas Beres, the club even won five titles in a row (from 1963–64 to 1967–68), which is still a Belgian league record. The star of this team was Paul Van Himst, topscorer in 1965, 1967 and 1969 and Belgian Golden Shoe winner in 1960, 1961, 1965 and 1974.
Anderlecht played in the first European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1955–56, and lost both legs of their tie against Vörös Lobogo. They had to wait until the 1962–63 season to win their first European tie, with a 1–0 victory over Real Madrid, which followed a 3–3 draw in Spain. For the first time, they advanced to the second round, where they beat CSKA Sofia before losing to Dundee in the quarter-finals. In the 1969–70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, Anderlecht lost in the final against Arsenal. Between 1975 and 1984, Anderlecht only won one championship but they achieved considerable European success: they won the 1975–76 and 1977–78 European Cup Winners' Cups against West Ham United and Austria Wien respectively, as well as the two subsequent European Super Cups.