While there is a lot of constructing going on, Belgium also had some really authentic and beautiful old stadiums. Stadiums that hadn't changed a bit in 80 years and breathe the atmosphere of the glory days.
I am a groundhopper and visited over 1300 football fields and stadiums in my life, and while I enjoyed some of the modern stadiums (for example Anderlecht, Standard and Charleroi have modern stadiums but they still have a really nice look and feeling) , my big love are the authentic old stadiums like Union and Antwerp have. In those stadiums you still breathe the history and tradition of the club. They have something unique and special, like an old cathedral or an old manor that has not lost its beauty after all those years.
Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to one of our oldest stadiums once again.
Armenonville, the former stadium of VG Oostende, is now forever a part of history
As big as the rivalry between KV and VG Oostende may be, the groundhopper in myself has to recognise that VGO had a beautiful old stadium. Its main stand, with its wooden roff and wooden benches, was fantastic. It hadn't changed a bit in many decades, and was a nice memory of the glory days of the club.
And now it is gone forever. The hospital next door needed to enlarge and the stadium stood in its way. As VGO was not allowed to play there anymore (they now share Albertparkstadium with us), the stadium was a logical victim to disappear and make place for a new hospital wing. Although the city may look at this from a business angle and be right to do so, for groundhoppers and fans of old stadiums (like me) it is always painful to say goodbye to a stadium we considered beautiful and unique. Even as a fan of the big rivals of VG Oostende, I am sad to see Armenonville go. And I have only 1 thing that makes me somewhat feel better, and that is the knowledge that I still had the chance to visit the stadium while it existed, as I was there the last time shortly before I emigrated. It is gone forever now, but at least I have been there.
I also visited De Klokke (Club Brugge's old stadium) and Noorderlaan (Winterslag's old stadium) a few months before they were demolished.
Although both were an absolute ruin (at De Klokke there were parts of the roof fallen down on the stand, drug injection needles in the canteen, sheep on the field, and more traces of decay) I still recognised something glorious in these stadiums. The decay could not hide the fact that you could still see what a beautiful stadiums they once were.
Also here, there is nothing but memories, and I can only be happy to have been there before they were gone. Too bad I never saw Rocourt before it disappeared.
And more old glories may be about to leave. The Crossingstadium in Schaerbeek has been declared unsafe completely (the last remaining safe stand has now also been declared unsafe after the 3 other stands had already been closed for the public for years) and the two local clubs FC Kosova and RC Schaerbeek have been forced to look for a new home ground. Seems the Crossingstadium will be the next historical stadium that will disappear.
The number of really old and authentic stadiums in Belgium is shrinking, but we have at least a few survivors. The Bosuil still has its main stand untouched, the Dudenpark of Union still has its main stand and its main terrace untouched (I think it never changed a bit for about 80 years now), the Drie Linden is still there, ...
But that's about it.
May this topic be a tribute and memory to the beautiful stadiums we once had and that are no longer amongst us. I will search some pictures the coming days.
But one thing I must say, even despite the rivaly between VG and KV Oostende: Armenonville was a beautiful stadium and I am really sad to see it is gone. Gone, but never forgotten.