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GROUND // Haarlem Stadion - Haarlem-Kennemerland FC (The Netherlands)

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

Last week we have had the oldest team in The Netherlands. While we were there we also wanted to pay a visit to the grounds of the former second oldest team in Haarlem. HFC Haarlem unfortunately is no longer, but their stadium and their legacy continue to live on. Haarlem-Kennemerland FC took in the empty spot.

Ten years after Koninklijke HFC was created Haarlemsche Football Club Haarlem took their first steps as well. Pretty soon both teams were nicknamed Groot Haarlem and Klein Haarlem. The HFC we are talking about here used to be the Klein Haarlem (Little Haarlem), mainly due to the fact Koninklijke HFC had better results. But HFC wasn't the little team per se. They had their share of results as well.

After the creation of the official competitions and cups HFC won the cup in 1902 and 1912, being finalist in 1911, 1914 and 1950 as well. They even became Dutch champion in 1946, the absolute highlight in their history. So to say HFC was living in the shadow of Koninklijke HFC is not honouring their hard work. Especially since the turn of the century those nicknames weren't used that often anymore and HFC was more known as the 'Roodbroeken' (red pants).

Since the creation of professional football in The Netherlands HFC was part of it (1954). In the beginning mainly in second division, but since 1969 and almost continuously until 1990 HFC played in first division. Their best results there were in 1982 and 1984 when they ended fourth twice. The first time gave them European football in which they also played KAA Gent. It was that year as well when the Luzhniki disaster happened during their game against Spartak Moscow.

Since 1990 HFC fought their battles in second division, up until the end in 2010. By the end of 2009 it became clear that the team couldn't bear the financial burdens any longer and early 2010 the team was declared bankrupt. The first team stopped playing immediately; the youth teams continued until the end of the season. In March 2010 old members of HFC created Nieuwe Haarlemsche Footballclub Haarlem as a continuation of the old HFC. There was the intent to buy off the inventory and the brand of the old HFC, but a couple of months later merger talks started with HFC Kennemerland.

In 1921 that team was founded as Wilhelmina, but changed its name the same year to HFC Kennemerland due to Wilhelmina already being in use by another team. They always stayed in the amateur leagues but also made it to the higher leagues there. In 2010 Nieuwe HFC Haarlem and HFC Kennemerland became Haarlem-Kennemerland FC. The team moved to the Haarlem Stadion and played their games on the A pitch up until 2015. Since then the pitches next to the A pitch have been renovated and converted into the new A pitch.

Which brings us to the stadium. And a wonderful stadium it was, containing the right amount of oldschool terracing and two great stands. Unfortunately the past couple of years both the terracing and the stand on the north side have been demolished, only remaining the Kick Smit stand. We expect it's only a matter of time before this will be demolished as well and then the stadium also known as the Stadion aan de Jan Gijzenkade will be no longer. For a couple of years HFC also ground shared with Koninklijke HFC in the Spanjaardslaan. One example is during WWII when the German occupiers sealed off the Haarlem Stadion. HFC was just in time to take away the floodlights and store them for re-use later.

Let's all take a moment of silence for this lost team and never forget it harboured some great players. To name a few: Ruud Gullit, Hans Kraay jr, Stanley Menzo, Arthur Numan and their all time legend Kick Smit. Even Barry Hughes and Dick Advocaat passed by as manager.


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