Usually we stick to the lower leagues and skip first division. But every once in a while we can't resist the urge. This time KV Kortrijk attracted us and we must say we weren't disappointed. A wonderful stadium with a touch of passion and tradition. Combine this with great atmosphere and you'll definitely enjoy a visit to the Guldensporenstadion.
Even though matricule number 19 has all of the above, the team already had a lot of stormy times and quite a few mergers have happened as well. Let's dive into the facts. To do that properly we have to go all the way back to 1901 when SC Courtraisien was created. They immediately joined the Belgian FA and between 1906 and 1911 they played in first division. At that time games were played in someone's backyard (where have we heard this before?) right next to the river Leie. Up until 1922 they played second division, before falling away in the regional leagues.
In 1918 a first merger happened. SC Courtraisien merged with FC Courtraisien to become Courtrai Sports. FC Courtraisien was the very first team in Kortrijk and they already played first division in 1898. SC Courtraisien however took over the leading role from FC Courtraisien until the merger in 1918. Courtrai Sports later on received matricule number 19 and in 1921 they moved to the ground where the current stadium can be found.
In these early years FC and SC obviously weren't the only teams in Kortrijk. The neighbouring areas all had their own local teams as well. Two of them were Eendracht Kortrijk and Patronaat Sint-Rochus. In 1923 these two teams decided to join forces and become Stade Kortrijk. Unofficially they became the biggest competitor of Courtrai Sports. Especially since Stade Kortrijk managed to reach the national divisions in 1931. Stade and Royal Courtrai Sports often played derbies in third division and the lower leagues as during the 30s they both went up and down a bit between third division and the regional leagues.
In 1943 Courtrai Sports managed to return to second division though and for 21 years they would stay there. Stade on the other hand fought battles in third, the new fourth and the regional divisions in that period. It wasn't until 1952 before they hit the regional leagues (after ten years of national football) and it took until 1963 before they could return to fourth division. In 1970 Stade Kortrijk relegated to regional football again and in between Koninklijke Kortrijk Sport (as the name was changed into Flemish during the 50s) relegated back to third and even fourth division.
In 1971 the next merger happened and it's a given Stade Kortrijk and Kortrijk Sport would join forces sooner or later. KV Kortrijk was born. The matricule number of Kortrijk Sport was kept and the youth up to this day still plays in the stadium of Stade Kortrijk. This is how you show respect in our humble opinion. Within two years KV went from fourth to second division as well. In 1976 the team even won the play offs in second division and for the first time since 1911 Kortrijk was represent again in first division.
Apart from one year KV stayed in first division until 1992. Afterwards it was mainly second division. In 1998 there was a one year return, but two years later KVK suddenly was in third division. Mismanagement and financial problems made the team go bankrupt in 2001. Immediately CVBA Kortrijk Voetbalt was created, a group with some money, and the team could continue playing. In 2004 the team promoted back to second division and the name was changed back into KV Kortrijk.
The ambition of the team was clear - to return to first division as soon as possible. In 2008 they pulled it off. The next years would be a thrill for KVK, good results in the Belgian cup and even a place in play off 1 in first division. In 2012 KVK even managed to reach the finals of the Belgian cup, which they lost to Lokeren unfortunately. In 2015 the team was bought by a Malaysian investor/business man and ever since KVK is a steady first division team.
The Guldensporenstadion as mentioned before is built on the place where Courtrai Sports started playing in the early 20s. Soon they can celebrate a centennial, although the stadium itself was only built after WWII. In 1947 this was officially opened and it was named after the famous Battle of the Golden Spurs (Guldensporenslag) although it only received that name in 1976. For us the Guldensporenstadion is a perfect mix of four loose stands, which each its own charm. The renovations that have taken place between 1947 and now have been done considering the passion and tradition in the team. Unfortunately more and more talks are popping up to demolish this absolute gem and have it replaced by a brand new stadium in Kortrijk.
We were completely blown away by the perfect atmosphere and the wonderful stadium. We must admit it kind of helped we were there during their intens derby against SV Zulte-Waregem, their biggest rivals. KVK stole our hearts and we will for sure visit them more often!