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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old December 6th, 2008, 03:39 Thread Starter
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Belgian stadiums topic

A bit different from the topic only posting updates on new stadiums, but lets discuss the stadiums in general here.

I came to the idea for this topic after emailing with the webmaster of www.groundhopping.be, a brand new and growing website that shows images of grounds in Belgium from the 4de provinciale grounds to the biggest stadiums in the countries. It was great to chat with someone with the same hobby, as I also visit not only the real stadiums but also the cafeploegen and amateur teams' grounds, good to know I am not the only one crazy enough for that

Now in my opinion, as a fan of old stadiums that hardly changed compared to the old days and breathe history, I still think no stadium in Belgium can beat the Dudenpark of Union. That stadium is just almost perfect (I say almost because it would have been totally perfect if they had not replaced the stands behind the goals with a business seat ). But the old main stand and old terraces have hardly changed in 100 years and the canteen is like a cafe 100 years ago. No stadium in Belgium can beat that for me.

Other old stadiums I adore are the Crossingstadion in Schaarbeek (very poor condition now but it still looks fantastic and breathes history), the Stade des Trois Tilleuls/Drielindenstadion in Watermaal-Bosvoorde (second biggest stadium in Belgium although currently the provinciale club RRC Boitsfort attracts only 100 - 150 fans) and of course the Bosuil in Antwerpen.

I am less a fan of modern allseaters or modern stadiums in general, but I must say I do like the Vandenstockstadium, Sclessin and Mambourg. OK, they are modern, but they at least feel like a real football stadium. Stands close to the pitch, good acoustics, still real football decors even despite the modernness. I liked the old Olympia as well but the rebuilding has made it less attractive, while the RC Genk stadium looks a bit too much like an attempt to copy the stadiums of the longer established top teams.

In lower divisions, some stadiums or grounds I like (I visited over 1000 in Belgium and over 300 elsewhere, so hard to make a selection... but groundhopping trips that I never forgot included
UFC My - provinciale Liege
KSK Wenduine and Zeebrugge - idyllic locations with lovely environment
Standaard Muide Gent - I love the sight on the port from the stands
Maccabi Antwerp - very old and lovely main stand, and I love the Star of David logo on the entrance
KAS Eupen - nice panoramic views and nice cosy little stadium
Lyra - gotta love that old main stand and its wooden/reet roof
Virton - lovely view on the Ardennes hills, nice trip during summer and the porn film we watched on the supporters bus back home to Oostende was great as well
the old FC Antwerpen - the most remote stadium in Belgium, hidden in the docks of the port and at least 2 km away from the nearest house or pub... in the middle of nowhere really
Nieuw Ledeberg - in the swamps of the Gent suburbs and the first of many immigrants teams I visited

none of them is really that special for the average football fan, for me these hold something special due to the memories attached.




Which are your favourite stadiums in Belgium? You can include any level, from the top of the D1 to the local pub teams' grounds ....



PS I deliberately left out KVO's stadium for the sake of remaining neutral
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old December 6th, 2008, 20:22
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Visited just 20 so far in Belgium (with match), including the Dudenpark, which was truely great indeed .

Just like you I prefer the old ones, especially as in Holland these unfortunately doesn't exist anymore. Also, in general, for some reason I love the ones in Wallonia, recently I visited finally the Stade Bureaufosse which was a great experience as well.

So far I really like the Stade Pairay where I visited the derby between Seraing and RFC Ličge, the stand in Spa is beautifull, just as the little Heizel, Trois Tilleuls... and probably much, much more.

If you've got any more tips let me know.

ps, how can you have visited 1000 stadiums in Belgium, do you even have that much stadiums?
Do you also count them so you now know which one you still haven't been to? If so, which major ones?
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old December 7th, 2008, 04:06 Thread Starter
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I count in all grounds from pub teams to huge stadiums, knowing that every village in Belgium has at least 1 team it is not so hard to get to 1000 Of those 1000, about 300 or 400 were real stadiums and the rest were mostly provinciale teams or pub teams with just a grass field and a dressing room.

I did keep a list on my old hard drive which unfortunately crashed Of the big ones I know more or less by heart where I have been (actually, in the whole divisions 1 and 2 I have done every single ground except for the new one in Tournai and Namur, while in divisions 3A and 3B i did more than half of the grounds as well) and if I needed to make a list of all tiny grounds I been to it would be possible but take me several hours if not days to remember all the names without forgetting a single one.

Abroad I have done a large nr of Irish and Northern Irish stadiums, 30 or so Dutch ones (including amateur teams grounds), 13 Danish ones, about 15 German ones, almost all Istanbul grounds except for the amateur teams, and then the others are scattered across several other European countries.

Disagree though when you say there are no more old Dutch stadiums. What about the Wageningse Berg which may be unused now but it still exists? I also went to Kaalheide in Kerkrade, also still existing. Telstar has a relatively old stadium as well although I heard renovation plans existed.

England is another country I find simply boring stadiumwise if you look at all those modern allseaters in the highest leagues, though once below the 2 highest divisions it gets more interesting with several old stadiums and other gems. Scotland interests me a lot more though, lot more old stadiums and rarities I unfortunately only groundhopped in Glasgow but would love to see more Scottish stadiums. I loved Turkish stadiums, I also relatively like German grounds though like in England the true gems of German stadiums are below the Bundesliga.

Anyways, I am getting offtopic as this is about BELGIAN stadiums.
PS I like Le Pairay as well, although it was more fun when the old RFC Seresien (not to be confused with the new one) still existed. Now Le Pairay is like a refuge for teams with either no own stadium (RFC Liege) or no fanbase in their original area (the new Seresien)
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old December 7th, 2008, 14:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackedpleasures View Post
Disagree though when you say there are no more old Dutch stadiums. What about the Wageningse Berg which may be unused now but it still exists? I also went to Kaalheide in Kerkrade, also still existing. Telstar has a relatively old stadium as well although I heard renovation plans existed.
Wageningse Berg still exists indeed, at Kaalheide one large stand is demolished while at Telstar everything is demolished right now.

Only real old ones left are the stadiums in Haren close to Groningen (Be Quick 1887), the one from Baronie in Breda, although I believe the terracing is gone there. As for the rest DHC Delft got a nice one (Brasserskade) just as Elinkwijk in Utrecht, but that's it mainly talking about real stadiums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackedpleasures View Post
PS I like Le Pairay as well, although it was more fun when the old RFC Seresien (not to be confused with the new one) still existed. Now Le Pairay is like a refuge for teams with either no own stadium (RFC Liege) or no fanbase in their original area (the new Seresien)
What happened with the fans of the first RFC Seresien then?
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old December 7th, 2008, 14:59 Thread Starter
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The first RFC Seresien's fans... I am not sure to be honest. I think a bit like Germinal Ekeren's fans: scattered around since their club disappeared. I guess some RFC Seresien fans followed to Standard or made the move to RFC Liege when they played in Seraing, some will maybe have embraced the new RFC Seresien (which now plays in 3rd division but is really just the old Union Liege which moved location) and some others may have just given up on football or became neutral fans without a favourite club.

There has never been any club that was widely embraced as new club by the old RFC Seresien fans, so I guess they are scattered between several other clubs now. The attempt of Union Liege to get all those fans by changing their name and moving to Le Pairay has only partially worked out, the new RFC Seresien has a lot less fans than the original RFC Seresien.
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