Jette Boys (Royal SCUP Dieleghem Jette)

Sporting Club Union et Progrès (SCUP) Jette were formed in 1922 and were one of a myriad of clubs in the area which included Avenir Jette, La Jettoise, Excelsior Jette, Saint-Anne Jette, Dieleghem Jette, Union and Progrès Jette, and Sporting Club Jettois. None of the clubs had registered with the Belgian FA so SC Jettois and Union et Progrès did this in 1926 and were awarded the matricules of 474 and 493 respectively. Less than a year later these two clubs came together under the Sporting Club matricule.

The newly named SCUP were initially fairly successful rising up out of the provisional leagues in the national leagues (third tier) for the first time in 1931. However, as the Second World War broke out the club had returned to the Brabant league. The post War years saw success return to Jette and following a substantial reorganisation of Belgian football they won promotion from the new Vierde Klasse (fourth tier) to the third in 1954/55. The rest of the century was fairly uneventful for SCUP Jette as they spent the majority of their life in provincial football interspersed with the odd spell in the national leagues.

In 2002 the club merged with old rivals Étoile Dieleghem, and the fused club became Royal SCUP Dieleghem Jette. However, the club slipped down into the second level of the Brabant League in 2008 but eventually got themselves together to win the division, and with it promotion back to Division One, for the 2016/17 campaign.

Today’s game sees them play FC Kosova Scharbeek, a club formed in 1991 and using the excellent Stade Chazal, the former home of the defunct US Albert Schaerbeek. It’s only the second round of league fixtures and Kosova opened their campaign with a 3-0 home defeat to Sporting Bruxelles whilst Jette drew 2-2 at Stockel.

It is something of a surprise then when Kosova stormed into a two goal lead and in all honesty could have had more in the opening period. Jette pulled one back when a Kosova defender unfortunately stood on the ball in his penalty area and toppled over landing on the ball with his hand. Kosova though just didn’t turn up for the second half and Jette ran in three unanswered goals to rise to second in the fledgling league table.

The stadium in the Avenue de l’Exposition was built in 1953 under the auspices of Corneille Slachmuylder, the forward thinking Alderman for Sport in the area. There is a homely clubhouse on the left as you enter the ground and this area also houses the changing rooms. The Basilica of Koekelberg looms over the roof of the clubhouse. To the right begins a vast semi circle of superb terracing with a small stand in the middle which has been renovated to have three rows of modern plastic bucket seats. These days Jette share the main pitch with BX Brussels, the club owned since 2013 by Vincent Kompany.

Behind the main stand is a set of steps leading to the B team ground which has an artificial surface. Amazingly there is also a huge amount of terracing at the far end and this sweeps around down half of one side as well. It really is extraordinary. Initially this ground was used by Royal Avenir FAC de Jette who are the oldest football club in the town. Avenir were formed in April 1921 in the back room of a small printing shop owned by Corneille De Clercq, Jette’s first socialist councillor. Nowadays the second pitch is used by Jette’s multiple youth teams and also for games in the ABSSA, a Brussels amateur league.

Built on a simply audacious scale for the level of football in Jette its size is reflective of the post war boom in attendances at football matches. Sadly nowadays a crowd into three figures is fast becoming a rarity for RSD Jette. The Stade Communal de Jette, however, more than merits a place in pantheon of great Belgian football grounds.

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Sunday September 10th 2017 – Brabant Provincial League Div.1

RSD Jette 4 (Kalulika pen 18, Matos 66,71, Gharbi 81)

Kosova Schaerbeek 2 (Salihu pen 8, Libonge 12)

Att:83 Admission €5, free teamsheet

Gallery

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Underneath the Linden Trees (RRC Boitsfort)

The simply magnificent Stade des Trois Tilleuls is the largest club stadium in all of Belgium with a capacity of 40,000 yet currently plays host to modest sixth tier club Royal Racing Club Boitsfort of Division 2A of the Brabant Provincial League. Only the King Baudouin Stadium currently exceeds the capacity of the Trois Tilleuls although in its heyday the capacity was often put at an amazing 70,000!. The Three Limes Stadium (Drie Lindens in Flemish) was originally built in 1948 and lies in the Avenue des Nymphes in the quiet Brussels suburb of Watermael-Boitsfort.

The original occupants of the stadium were Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles who had just vacated their original home at the Stade du Vivier d’Oie, which still exists today as a hockey ground and was the venue for Belgium’s first international match against France in 1907.

Trois Tilleuls was built on an audacious and frankly preposterous scale with hopes at the time of being a regular host of international football. The stadium has a massive main stand and a huge sweeping terrace that wraps itself impressively around the rest of the site. The stadium was inaugurated in suitably laudable style with a match with the legendary “Il Grande” Torino side just months before the fateful Superga air crash that decimated the Italian giants.

RRC Bruxelles had only been at Trois Tilleuls for six years when they fell into dispute with the stadium’s owners and decamped to the Heysel Stadium. There they played in front of dire crowds and would subsequently merge with White Star Athletic Club in 1963 and ten years later with Daring Club de Bruxelles to form Racing White Daring of Molenbeek. Sadly the old RWDM club folded in 2002, although happily have reformed this season playing at the Edmond Machtens Stadium in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean. In 2010 Trois Tilleuls was listed as a building of national arcitectural importance which should dispell any doubts about its future.

In 1985 a new Racing Club Bruxelles was formed but subsequently merged with SK Watermael and later still with Boitsfort forming the club that presently plays at Trois Tilleuls. Today the stadium is in reasonable condition although graffiti proliferates and the terracing has been shorn of all its crush barriers. The main stand has eye catching metal guard rails although these have been blighted somewhat by the addition of orange plastic mesh to prevent anyone falling from what his quite some height.

Today’s game has a low key feel to it, a very modest crowd gathers in this vast ampitheatre basked in glorious autumnal sun. The hosts are always on top despite having their early penalty wiped out by a cracking header from the visiting captain. Machelen missed a penalty themselves before losing their discipline completely with numerous bookings and conceding a second penalty in injury time which gave the hosts a comfortable win.

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Sunday September 27th 2015 – Brabant Provincial League Division 2A

RRC Boitsfort (1) 3 (Groyne pen 4, O’Brien 49, Vandenplas pen 90)

KCS Machelen (1) 1 (Madawa 22)

Attendance: 67 (at Stade des Trois Tilleuls) Entry:  €5

Gallery

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Boitsfort ticket

Union City Blue (Union St.Gilloise)

Royale Union Saint-Gilloise were formed in 1897 (matricule number 10) and were arguably the most successful of all Belgian clubs in the pre-World War II era, securing no less than eleven Belgian First Division titles. Their run of titles included four straight championships between 1903/4 and 1906/7. A hat-trick of title wins came in the 1930’s and with it a still unbeaten Belgian record of 60 consecutive matches without defeat.

The end of the magnificent unbeaten run came when Union lost to city rivals Daring Club of Bruxelles (later Racing White Daring of Molenbeek) and was a key point in the intense rivalry between Union and Daring in the inter-War years. Daring were the older club (matricule 2) but had won less championships than Union. The great rivalry even transcended the football field and was made into a highly successful theatrical play “Bossemans and Coppenolle”, the eponymous characters being fans of either club. Even as late as the 1980’s when both clubs were in the Second Division, 20,000 people would attend the great city derby. Sadly the old RWDM club folded in 2002.

Union were also a force in the early pre-UEFA European competitions, winning both the Coupe Ponthoz (three times) and the Coupe Dupuich. They also competed well in UEFA competitions in the late 1950’s with the pinnacle being a semi-final appearance in the old Inter Cities Fairs Cup. Lokomotive Leipzig and AS Roma were defeated over two legs on the way to a semi-final meeting with Birmingham City. The English side won both legs by four goals to two, before losing to Barcelona.

The 1950’s were, however, to be the last of the golden years for Union, by 1963 they had dropped into the Second Division and only 17 years later they were in the fourth tier. These days they compete in Division Three.

The club derived their name from the site of their original home of St. Gilles, a department of Brussels and also a twin town of Tower Hamlets. The St.Gilles name itself comes from a seventh century Greek Christian hermit, venerated for establishing a large abbey in the Provence region of France, and also for his work in suppressing the spread of bubonic plague.

Prior to the current ground the club played on a number of pitches including a field called La Cambre which was adjacent to the velodrome. In the early 1920’s the club moved to the neighbouring Forest area to take up residency at the Stade Joseph Marien. The stadium and the stadium is set in the pleasant surroundings of Duden Park and had originally been built in 1919 to host some of the football matches of the following years summer Olympiad held in Brussels. At that time it had a modest grandstand and the changing rooms were on the opposite side of the pitch.

The wonderful clubhouse shows the plans for the incredible facade of the present stand and are dated 1922. However, it was not until August 1926 when, in the presence of Prince Charles of Belgium, the new stand was officially inaugurated. It is an absolute masterpiece of design and construction, very much up to the standard of contemporary Leitch constructions at Rangers, Aston Villa and Fulham. In the intervening years the stadium is pretty much unchanged save for the addition of roof mounted floodlights and the annexing of some crumbling old terracing behind one goal. The modern day capacity of the Marien is set at 8,000. The large open terracing opposite the grandstand is truly magnificent and sports a veritable forest of crush barriers. Interestingly one of the flags on display is the Belgian tricolour with the club crests of USG, RFC Liège and Cercle Bruges, two other clubs that share Union’s stance on history and the very fabric of their identity.

The first half of this Third Division encounter was goalless and was probably shaded by the visitors, Sprimont-Comblain, although they could not capitalise on a number of good chances, mainly due to the fine form of home goalkeeper, Anthony Sadin. The home side came out from the break with renewed vigour and within four minutes managed to break the deadlock with a superb strike from the Italian Ignazio Cocchiere.

The game then became the Yahya Boumediene show. The young Belgian of Morrocan extraction, runs the Sprimont defence ragged with a super display of trickery and pace. It is no surprise when he sets up Union’s second goal. He dances into the visitors penalty area yet again and selflessly squares the ball to Esteban Casagolda. He clips the ball around the keeper and slots the ball into an empty net. With just eight minutes left there is no way back for Sprimont and Union run out deserving winners.

As some unseasonably late summer sun beat down on this magnificent arena it really felt like there were few better places to watch a game of football. A great club, fascinating history well preserved and cherished by the current board, and a most welcoming set of staff and supporters. I would say that it Union Saint-Gilloise have got everything just about spot on.

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Belgium Division 3 (Group B) – 29/09/2013

Royale Union Saint-Gilloise (0)2 (Cocchiere 49, Casagolda 82)

Royale Sprimont-Comblain Sport (0)0

Attendance: c.700 (at the Stade Joseph Marien)

USG

19. Anthony Sadin; 4. Anthony Cabeke (c); 17. Steven Godfroid; 21. Robby Vanhamel; 13. Vincent Vandiepenbeeck; 24. Yahya Boumediene; 5. Aaron Verwilligen; 8. Steve Dessart; 15. Ignazio Cocchiere; 9. Esteban Casagolda; 18. Gregoty Bilstein.

Subs: 1. Bilen Mrabet Yousfi; 3. Kevin Dieme (for 4,73 mins); 6. Sadjaliou Sow (for 8,78 mins); 7. Lionel Gendarme (for 18,84 mins)

Sprimont

1. Gwennael Jaa; 2. Pierre Gobiet; 21. Bruno Carvalho-Fernandes; 27. Sebastien Van Aerschot; 5. Gilles Bernard; 16. Michael Wiggers; 8. Alexandre Bury; 24. Jerome Colinet; 7. Jacques Beckers (c); 17. Arnaud Lakaye; 18. Anthony Manfredi.

Subs: 3. Nicolas Birti (for 21,66 mins); 4. Aloys Lambert; 10. Stefano Henrot (for 2,56 mins); 20. Quentin Simonis.

Yellow Card: Lakaye (Sprimont)

Gallery

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(With grateful thanks to Stéphane Lievens)