The current club SV Zulte-Waregem is the result of a 2001 merger between former top flight club KSV Waregem and Zultse VV. KSV Waregem were formed in 1925 as Waereghem Sportif and spent nearly 30 seasons in the top division of Belgian football. Their best finish in the top flight was fourth which they achieved on three occasions, most recently in 1992/93. Waregem also won the Belgian Cup in 1974, defeating KSK Tongeren 4-1 in the final. They also had a decent pedigree in Europe, even reaching the semi final of the UEFA Cup in 1985/86. They defeated Aarhus (6-2 on aggregate), Osasuna (3-2), AC Milan (3-2), Hajduk Split (won on penalties after a 1-1 aggregate draw) before bowing out 7-3 on aggregate to 1.FC Köln.
Ten years later Waregem ended their time in the top division and by 1999 had sunk to the third tier. By 2001 debts had become insurmountable and the club only survived in any form by merging with Zultse VV, adopting the latter’s matricule and rebranding as SV Zulte-Waregem.
The newly merged club won promotion to the top flight in 2004/5 and a year later defeated Excelsior Mouscron in the final to win the Belgian Cup. This took “Essevee” into the UEFA Cup the following season. After successfully negotiating a group that included Austria Wien, Espanyol, Sparta Prague and Ajax, the Reds succumbed to Newcastle United in the round of 32.
The 2012/13 campaign saw Waregem finish runners up in the Pro League to Anderlecht falling just two points short of the title. A second Belgian Cup came the clubs’ way last season when they defeated KV Oostende 4-2 on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.
The new club had its offices in Zulte but used the former home of KSV Waregem, the Regenboogstadion. The “Rainbow” Stadium was opened in 1957 as the host venue for the UCI World Road Cycling championships. The name of the stadium comes from the rainbow jersey worn by the World Road bike champion. The stadium holds 12,500 at present but work is underway to in fill two more corners, the lakeside corner already being opened and used to house away fans. The stadium was significantly renovated in 2015, to become UEFA compliant, the club had previously held many of its European ties at Gent. Once the corner stands have been completed the stadium will hold 14,300 people.
Tonight’s game is a big derby match against near neighbours, KV Kortrijk. The away fans released a big red flare as the game kicked off while Zulte’s ultras released red and green smoke bombs in the steep terrace behind the goal. Its a noisy start to the game but the visitors puncture the fervor when Teddy Chevalier arrived unmarked in the hosts penalty area to open the scoring. Zulte almost immediately levelled with a goal from Peter Olayinka. Kortrijk took the lead again on 40 minutes when Bennard Kumordzi nodded in a lose ball. Again Zulte had the chance of an almost instant reply when they were awarded a penalty. However the chance was missed when Timothy Derijck’s weak spot kick was saved by Thomas Kaminski in the Kortrijk goal. Moments into the second half though, Zulte had their equaliser when Onur Kaya netted in front of the ultras.
Despite both side going for it in an open second half, there were no further goals and perhaps a draw was the right result. Kortrijk’s fans were clearly pleased with the result as their fans let off a barrage of red smoke bombs outside the ground much to the consternation of the local police.
September 9th 2017 – Jupiler Pro League (09/09/2017)
SV Zulte-Waregem 2 (Olayinka 15, Kaya 49)
KV Kortrijk 2 (Chevalier 13, Kumordzi 40)
Admission €20 no programme but teamsheet freely available from press area.