GROUND // Heirbaan - Sporting Burcht FC

Somewhere in between Antwerp and Beveren you'll find Zwijndrecht and Burcht. Both villages have had an interesting football history but the new millennium brought some serious changes. The glorious derbies between Waaslandia and Sparta have been replaced by those between Sporting and Verbroedering.

In 1920 FC Waeslandia Burcht was created, not far from the famous Linkeroever next to the river Schelde in Antwerp. They first started in the regional leagues, most likely the East Flemish ones as up until 1923 Burcht was officially part of East Flanders. After they were part of Antwerp. It's not immediately clear when they moved over to the Antwerp regional leagues. As of 1930 the derbies with Zwijndrecht came to exist when Sparta Zwijndrecht FC was created.

As the years went by the derbies became more and more infamous, but it was also clear Waeslandia was the more successful team of the two. Whether or not these derbies were friendly games or in competition is not known as Spart was created when Zwijndrecht was already part of the province Antwerp. It took a while but in 1953 Waeslandia finally celebrated promotion to the national leagues for the first time. Fourth division was just created. Two years later the team promoted to third division. After a couple of good years the results became less positive during the 60s. In 1964 they relegated to fourth division again and one year later they headed back to the regional leagues.

Between 1966 and 1968 there was a brief spell in fourth division, but afterwards Waeslandia stayed in the Antwerp regional leagues for over three decades. Until 2001 that is. That's when KVK Waaslandia Burcht (after a name change just before that) promoted back to fourth division. A few kilometers down the road Sparta underwent different changes. They decided to merge with Sint-Anneke Sport to become Sparta Linkeroever FC. The team also left Zwijndrecht and settled in Linkeroever.

But Waaslandia would undergo the same. Not long after the joy the team of the village had to go back to the regional leagues and in just a couple of years time they debts were so high they had to file for bankruptcy in the beginning of season 2004/2005. All of a sudden Zwijndrecht and Burcht didn't have any team and a lot of youth players were left in the cold.

Luckily people took matters in their own hands. In 2003 Verbroedering Zwijndrecht was created to fill the gap Sparta had left. One year later and shortly after going bust Sporting Burcht FC was created as well. A fresh wind in both villages and the clashes could continue. Right now the tables seem to have turned and it's Verbroedering that's playing higher up. But they still have to experience their first national successes. And oh yeah... the former Sparta underwent a name change in 2013 (VC Linkeroever) but went bust themselves in 2014.

In 2019 Sporting did manage to reach the newspapers as a storm blew away the roof of the dressing rooms. It's a miracle the grandstand remained in tact. And what a beauty it is! You can still feel the emotions of the Waaslandia fans. The celebrations of the title in 2001 still lingers. The ear deafening silence when the Waaslandia goalie saved a certain goal in the last minutes of the game. The amazing sound only a football can make in complete and utter silence followed by cheerful sounds when they finally became champion again. Those type of emotions we sadly enough don't get to experience that much anymore on the lower leagues. Against modern football!