Tag Archives: Belgium

A Lost Theatre of Dreams – Bosuilstadion, Royal Antwerp F.C.

Bosuilstadion, Royal Antwerp Football Club

This is Bosuilstadion in Belgium, home to Royal Antwerp Football Club. It was once a grand home of European football, with a capacity close to 60,000 and the venue for West Germany’s 2-1 win over Belgium in the 1972 European Championship semi-final. It also hosted dozens of eagerly-anticipated friendlies between the Netherlands and Belgium, up until 1977.

Inside Royal Antwerp FC's stadium

Originally opened in 1923, amongst the fields of the Deurne district of Antwerp (a traditional home of aristocratic estates), it was expanded in the 1950s for national team use alongside the success of Royal Antwerp FC, who won the league in 1957. Royal Antwerp haven’t won the league since, though, and despite some flickers of form from time to time, they have flattered to deceive in terms of recapturing their former glory and the stadium has been largely neglected, now holding less than 17,000 fans.

Royal Antwerp FC

Renovation plans in the 1990s to revive the stadium as a host venue for the 2000 European Championship held jointly in Belgium and the Netherlands floundered, though one of the stands planned for the renovation – 3,000 seats, covered – was eventually built.

Royal Antwerp FC are best known now for the youth development partnership they began with Manchester United in the 1990s. Bosuilstadion, however, is hardly a theatre of dreams these days, as the photos from November 2011 below show.

Royal Antwerp FC Stadium

Royal Antwerp FC Stadium

Floodlight, Royal Antwerp FC Stadium

Dilapidated corner of RAFC stadium

Photo credits: jordi1880 (top three photos) and Dagelijksbrood on Flickr (bottom four photos).

Tifo Video: KV Mechelen, You Are Gold

Anderlecht

This week, our new tifo video series has shown displays from supporters in Australia, Northern Ireland and Sweden.

Now we make a short hop to Belgium to take a look at supporters of KV Mechelen, a team who have historically been close to becoming a dominant force in the Belgian league, but who have somehow often fallen short.

Two successful periods in the 1940s, including three domestic titles, was followed by decades of mediocrity and lower division football, until a further rise and championship in 1989, and even a European Cup Winners’ Cup title in 1988. The team then fell down the league again due to financial problems, returning to Belgium’s top flight Jupiler League in 2007

In this recent tifo display by their supporters against Belgium’s dominant force, Anderlecht, all sides of the stadium are involved in impressive uniform: the team’s colours are red and gold, and they have apparently adopted Spandau Ballet’s “Gold” as their anthem, so hence the gold theme.

World Cup 2018 Candidates: 1. The Benelux Countries

BeneluxThis is a first in a series on the hosting candidates for the 2018 World Cup.

Perhaps the least impressive of the three likely European bids (England and Russia being the others) at first glance, the Benelux bid should still be taken seriously.

After all, they have the delights of Total Football and Belgian beer going for them.

And as Belgian bid organiser Alain Courtois emphasised, rotating the World Cup around the major nations forever is no fun.

“We will face some big countries but we think we can get the support of small nations. It would give out a message that it is not just the same countries that organise such an event.”

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