No Sweat, No Glory (Club Brugge)

Club Brugge Koninklijke Voetbalvereniging is arguably the most well known Belgian club to English football supporters. This would stem from their two European final defeats to that great Liverpool side of the seventies, Club losing both the 1976 UEFA Cup Final (4-3 over two legs) and two years later the European Cup Final (1-0 at Wembley) to the men from Anfield.

Club Brugge were founded in November in 1891 and own the coveted matricule number 3. Only Royal Antwerp and the dormant matricule number 2 of the Daring Club of Bruxelles are above them in the genealogy rankings of the Belgian F.A. Domestically the Blue Blacks have won 13 Belgian League titles and ten Belgian cups. The clubs’ motto is “No sweat, no glory” and anyone wishing to join the club not only has to sign their normal contract but also the following commitment to the football club and its’ ideals:

“Playing for Club Brugge is an honour, something that comes with responsibilities. By signing my contract and this agreement, I acknowledge that I share the beliefs of this club:

In football, hard work pays off in the end. We play football in a team, as a team. Winning is important, but the way you win makes all the difference. The game takes place on the field, but winning is a team effort on and off the field.
I hereby pledge to honour Club Brugge’s belief in commitment and hard work, to prove myself worthy of this spirit and attitude, on and off the field. I commit myself to pursuing the club’s dream and sharing this dream with my team members, the staff, the sponsors and most importantly: our fans. May I never let you down”

The club was originally formed by old boys of two Bruges schools, the Broeders Xavarianen and the Koninklijk Athenium. FC Brugeois merged with Brugsche FC in 1897 and again five years later with Vlasmsche FC. In 1912 the club moved into their legendary home of De Klokke which would later be renamed the Albert Dyserynckstadion in honour of their president who died suddenly in 1931.

The club spent the inter-war years in Division Two but following promotion to the top flight in 1959, Club have remained Pro League stalwarts ever since. RFC Brugeois changed their name to the Flemish version of Club Brugge KV in 1972 and began a golden period which saw five Belgian titles won during the seventies, mainly under the tutelage of Ernst Happel.

In 1975 the club moved into the newly opened Olympiastadion which they share with city neighbours Cercle. The old Klokke ground would survive for many more years, mainly used by amateur teams, before sadly being demolished in 1999.

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The sadly demolished “De Klokke” ground

The new stadium is in the Sint-Andries area of Bruges and is owned by the city. Starkly of its architectural era, all pre-cast concrete and cantilevered roofs it has a capacity just shy of 30,000. The stadium was renovated for the 2000 European Championships and was re-christened the Jan Breydelstadion. Breydel was an insurgent Flemish militiaman who was instrumental in the Bruges Matins, a night time massacre at a French garrison that pre-empted the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302. Traditionally Club attract gates of roughly three times more than Cercle to this stadium.

Tonight’s game against a plucky KSC Lokeren side is a tight affair, a 21st minute goal from striker Tom De Sutter opens the scoring and is enough to secure three points for the hosts as Lokeren fail to breakdown a stoic home rearguard.

You will either love or hate the Jan Breydelstadion, some say its already looking dated given its relatively recent vintage. Also with its high sided open corners and uncovered lower tiers, it’s not the most weatherproof stadium around. Others will love it for its audaciousness in concrete design and its twin colouring of blue for Club and green for Cercle. Which ever camp you fall in you have to admire the “No Sweat, No Glory” ethic Club Brugge try to promote as well as their undoubtedly deserved place in European football history.


Jupiler Pro League – Sunday November 3rd 2013 (Kick Off 18.00pm)

Club Brugge K.V. (1) 1 (De Sutter 21)

KSC Lokeren (0) 0

Attendance: 24,000 (at the Jan Breydelstadion)


21. Mathew Ryan; 4. Óscar Duarte; 28. Laurens De Bock; 40. Bjorn Engels; 3. Timmy Simons (c); 32. Valdes Odjidja-Ofoe; 17. Waldemir Sobota; 19. Thomas Meunier; 13. Victor Vázquez; 16. Maxime Lestienne; 9. Tom De Sutter.

Subs: 8. Lior Refaelov (for 17,86 mins); 10. Jesper Jørgensen (for 13,79 mins); 22. Eidur Gudjohnsen (for 9,69 mins); 33. Vladan Kujović; 41. Birger Verstaete; 44. Brandon Mechele; 90. Kehinde Fatai.


1. Boubacar Barry; 13. Georgios Galitsios; 4. Jérémy Taravel; 3. Denis Odai; 2. Alexander Scholz; 8. Koen Persoons; 7. Killian Overmeire (c); 24. Ayanda Patosi; 29. Nill De Pauw; 9. Hamdi Harbaoui; 20. Hans Vanaken.

Subs: 10. Ivan Leko; 19. Junior Dutra (for 7,72 mins); 22. Djordje Despotović; 23. Eugene Ansah (for 24,85 mins); 25.Alexander Corryn; 26. Cédric Mingiedi; 30. Davino Verhulst.

Yellow Cards: Sobota, Lestienne (Club); Galitsios, Vanaken, Overmeire, Harbaoui (Lokeren).


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Brugge ticket

The Golden Spurs (KV Kortrijk)

Sport Club Courtraisien were formed 1901 and are registered with the Royal Belgian Football Association as club number 19 under their matricule system. By 1951 they had changed their name to Koninklijke Kortrijk Sport. A rival team in the city called Stade Kortrijk had been formed in 1923. By 1971 both clubs were struggling badly so the two clubs merged forming Koninklijke Voetbalclub Kortrijk. The club have adopted the nickname of “De Kerels” which roughly translates as “the Guys” or “the Boys”.

The club had enjoyed a spell in the top flight at the turn of the twentieth century which ended in relegation at the end of the 1910/11 season. Little did they know at the time it would be fully 65 years before Kortrijk would grace the elite division again. The club spent much of the 70’s and 80’s moving between the second and first tiers. Disaster struck in 2001 when KVK were declared insolvent and were relegated to Division Three. The club rebuilt and progressed back up the rankings, the club’s current spell in the Pro League has lasted since 2008/09.

The club play at the wonderful Guldensporenstadion which was named after the Franco/Flemish Battle of the Golden Spurs which took place in Kortrijk during July 1302. A relatively small venue with a capacity of 9,300, it has single tiered stands which makes for an intimate atmosphere.

The Reds fans are certainly a hearty and welcoming bunch and they are in fine voice tonight as De Kerels have been in good form this season. Against a struggling KV Oostende the hosts are two up before half time, a great free kick from Benito Raman and a wonderfully powerful run and finish by their burly Senegalese striker Elimane Coulibaly. Heavy rainfall makes playing conditions difficult, particularly in the second half, but the home side win 2-0 with some margin to spare.

If a traditional small town stadium and a club punching above its weight appeals to you, a visit to the Guldensporen comes highly recommended.

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Jupiler Pro League – Saturday November 2nd 2013

KV Kortrijk (2) 2 (Raman 13, Coulibaly 45)

KV Oostende (0) 0

Attendance: 6,604 (at the Guldensporenstadion)


16. Darren Keet; 3. Baptiste Martin; 7. Stijn De Smet; 8. Nebojsa Pavlovic (c); 11. Mustapha Oussalah; 17. Gertjan De Mets; 21. Brecht Capon; 25. Michael Heylen; 27. Benito Raman; 29. Romain Reynaud; 31. Elimane Coulibaly.

Subs: 1. Patrick Deman; 5. Branimir Petrovic (for 5,90 mins) 9. Teddy Chevalier (for 9,68 mins); 10. Robert Klaasen; 12. Gregory Mahau; 15. Dylan Ragolle (for 27,80 mins); 23. Baptiste Ulens.


31. Cederic Berthelin; 2. Xavier Luissint (c); 3. Niels De Schutter; 6. Baptiste Schmisser; 7. Sebastien Siani; 9. Laurent Depoitre; 13. Frederic Brillant; 16. Yohan Brouckaert; 22. Jonathan Wilmet; 26. Jordan Lukaku; 27. Franck Berrier.

Subs: 1. Mulopo Kudimbana; 11. Thomas Foket (for 3,85 mins); 14. Tom Van Imschoot; 19. Denis Dessaer; 23. Nyashi Mushekwi (for 9,52 mins); 25. Fernando Canesin (for 16,63 mins); 28. Adam Vaas.

Yellow Cards: Martin, De Mets, Coulibaly (all Kortrijk), Canesin (Oostende).


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Kortrijk ticket

The Coast Boys (KV Oostende)

Oostende on the Belgian coast has always held an interest for me, due mainly to its famous seafront building called the Kursaal. So inspired by a stay in Oostende the Tollhurst family returned to Southend and built their own Kursaal at Marine Park which remains operational to this day. The football ground built in its substantial acreage would be home to my beloved Southend United between 1919 and 1934.

So a trip to the Albertpark Stadion was always on my wish list and what finer occasion than when the “Kustboys” welcomed runway leaders Standard Liège to West Flanders.

Koninklijke Voetbal Oostende were formed in 1904 and are registered on the Belgian matricule system as number 31. They were originally called V.G. Oostende but were soon superseded in status by upstarts A.S. Oostende, formed seven years later. The two clubs battled on until 1981 when a mutually beneficial merger saw the formation of the current K.V. Oostende club. Confusingly since the merger a new V.G. Oostende club have been formed and currently play in the fifth tier West Flanders Provincial League. They currently groundshare with K.V. at the Albertpark Stadion after having their historic Armenonville Stadion declared unsafe. The Albertpark Stadion itself was opened in 1934 and is reminiscent of Oxford United’s old Manor Ground with a hotchpotch of stands on either side. One stand appears to be of a temporary nature, no doubt installed to increase capacity to the minimum requirement of 8,000 (with 5,000 seats) for top flight football.

K.V. won the Belgian Second Division by a comfortable ten points last season which has resulted in their first spell in the top flight since the 2004/05 campaign. Sadly for the Coast Boys the new season has got off to a bad start and after six rounds of matches they prop up the Pro League table with just two points, their inferior goal difference placing them beneath fellow slow starters Mons. Conversely today’s opponents have got off to a flyer with maximum points from six games and without a single goal conceded. Indeed, they looked a good outfit when I saw them earlier in the season at KV Mechelen.

Oostende have bolstered their ranks in recent weeks with several loan signings including Frenchman Franck Berrier who had a great campaign at Zulte-Waregem last season. Anderlecht have also sent the Brazilian Fernando Canesin and Jordan Lukaku, younger brother of national team striker Romelu, on loan to Oostende. Even with their augmented roster this was going to be a tough challenge for the Kustboys. Football being the great purveyor of unpredictability that it is saw the Albertpark Stadion burst into delirium after 13 minutes when Laurent Depoitre pierced the Liège defence for the first time this season.

However, Standard soon exerted their authority on proceedings by scoring three times in a 15 minute spell before half time. Firstly Imoh Ezekiel levelled the score before a brace from the prodigiously talented 19 year old Michy Batshuayi, saw the visitors lead 3-1 at the break.

Just be for the hour mark the impressive Batshuayi completed his hat-trick in fine style. Two minutes later though Denis Dessaer headed a corner in at the far post having found himself totally unmarked. The volume was cranked up at the Albertpark Stadion but in truth the home side didn’t really look like they believed they could score a third time. They didn’t, and Standard saw out the 90 minutes with consummate ease.

The Albertpark Stadion is a good stadium to visit, compact and homely and awash with the home side’s vibrant colours of red, yellow and green.


Jupiler Pro League – 15/09/2013

KV Oostende (1) 2 (Depoitre 13, Dessaer 60)

Standard Liège (3) 4 (Ezekiel 24, Batshuayi 31,39,58)

Attendance: 7,000 (at Albertpark Stadion)


31. Céderic Berthelin; 2. Xavier Luissint (c); 13. Frédéric Brillant; 6. Baptiste Schmisser; 24. Jimmy Hempte; 22. Jonathan Wilmet; 7. Sebastien Siani; 19. Denis Dessaer; 25. Fernando Canesin; 27. Franck Berrier; 9. Laurent Depoitre.

Subs: 1. Nicaise Kudimbana; 3. Niels De Schutter; 26. Jordan Lukaku (for 25, 74 mins); 16. Yohan Brouckaert (for 19, 65 mins); 11. Thomas Foket; 21. Gertjan Martens (for 6, 42 mins); 14. Tom Van Imschoot.


1. Eiji Kawashima; 4. Daniel Opare; 37. Jelle Van Damme (c); 6. Laurent Ciman; 11. Frederic Bulot; 21. William Vainqueur; 25. Antonio Kanu Perriera; 44. Ibrahima Cisse; 63; Geoffrey Mujangi-Bia; 39. Imoh Ezekiel; 23. Michy Batshuayi.

Subs: 28. Guillaume Hubert; 10. Igor De Camargo (for 23, 81 mins); 15. Julien De Sart; 33. Medhi Carcela; 36. Dino Arslanagić; 40. Ebunge Paul Mpoku (for 11, 70 mins); 75. Alpaslan Ozturk (for 21, 66 mins)

Yellow Cards: Depoitre (Oostende); Kanu, Ezekiel, Ozturk (Standard)









Oostende ticket

Beyond The Barracks (KV Mechelen)

After a short ride from the wondrous time had at Lyra, we found ourselves in good time for the evening kick-off at K.V.Mechelen. To our delight both the Belgian Cup and the first round of Jupiler Pro League fixtures had thrown up several options for a double and K.V. more than fitted the bill.

Tickets ordered in advance online were collected effortlessly from the super efficient kiosk. To give the hosts their full name for once, Yellow Red Koninklijke Voetbalclub Mechelen, would explain the vibrant coloured queues waiting for the gates to swing open at 7pm. Formed in 1904 a mere couple of months after city neighbours Racing Mechelen, KV have a proud history and rejoice in the low matricule number of 25. Today’s opposition, Standard de Liège, however, are older still and own matricule 16.

The clubs home ground has the dreaded sponsored name of Argosstadion after Argos Oil paid for the naming rights. Its traditional name is Achter de Kazerne, which literally translated as “behind the barracks”, the ground having once been adjacent to a large but now demolished army base. The club has played at Achter since 1911 when the then president Francis Dessain purchased the vacant land from the Chevalier Marin brewery. The club were originally called FC Malinois and the supporters are often still referred to as “Malinwa”. The ground itself is quite magnificent. The main grandstand has wooden seating and an unusual slated roof, opposite is a really traditional covered terrace, a large percentage of the 10,402 crowd will gather here. The fans that stand on this side of the ground generate a really first class atmosphere of singing, colour and noise. Behind the far goal is an unusual twin tier stand with benched seating in the top tier and terracing underneath. The other end looks formidable from the outside, tall and cavernous but in truth the twin tier of glazed corporate seating, more than half empty for this opening match of the season, is a tad underwhelming once inside. Aside from that minor quibble a stunning set of traditional floodlight pylons complete a really great ground that is draped liberally in the club’s colours of “Geel en Rood”. One does wonder whether the redevelopment of the huge covered terrace and the twin tier stand behind the goal at the end of this season will have a deleterious affect on the feel of the stadium. The club does need to progress so lets hope the plans are sympathetic and in keeping with the great history of this venue.

A brass band and anthem singing turn the volume up prior to the kick-off and expectation is high for the start of the new season. The home side toil manfully in the heat but seem to lack quality in the forward department. The visitors show their title credentials with two identical breakaway goals in the second half. In both cases a forward springs the offside trap from a counter attack and slots past the home custodian. On the quality of play alone they are worthy winners.

Belgian football has some really historic old fashioned football grounds indeed the recently opened Ghelamco Arena in Gent is the first totally new stadium in the country in 38 years. Both K.V. Mechelen and Lyra TSV were an absolute pleasure to visit and some more trips to this welcoming corner of Europe will certainly be pushed up the agenda.

Jupiler Pro League – 29/07/2013

K.V. Mechelen (0) 0

Standard de Liège (0) 2 (Majangibia 57,Batshuayi 84)

Attendance: 10,402


1. Wouter Biebauw; 4. Seth De Witte; 6. Sheldon Bateau; 10. Abdul-Yakuni Iddi; 13. Wannes Van Tricht; 14. Benjamin Mokulu; 15. Thomas Enevoldsen; 19. Maxime Biset; 21. Anthony Van Loo; 26. Antonio Ghomsi; 29. Alessandro Cordaro.


28. Tome Pacovski; 3. Seweryn Michalski; 8. Jerry Vandam; 9. Mads Junker; 11. Mats Rits; 16. Victor Prodell (for 10, 67 mins); 18. David Destorme (for 13, 46 mins); 20. Joachim Van Damme (for 14, 78 mins).


1. Elji Kawashima; 4. Daniel Opare; 6. Laurent Ciman; 17. Yoni Buyens; 23. Michy Batshuayi; 25. Antonio Periera Dos Santos; 37. Jelle Van Damme; 39. Imoh Ezekiel; 40. Paul Jose Mpoku Ebunge; 44. Ibrahima Cisse; 63. Geoffrey Mujangibia.


16, Anthony Morris; 2. Alessandro Iandoli (for 40, 69 mins); 7. Raza Ghoochannejahad; 10. Igor De Camargo (for 39, 78 mins); 11. Frederic Bulot (for 63, 65 mins); 36. Dino Arslanagic; 75. Alpaslan Ozturk.

Yellow Cards:

De Witte, Ghomsi (both KV); Van Damme, Opare and Kawashima (all Standard)


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