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GROUND // Helzoldstadion - Speedwayclub Helzold (lost ground)

Yet another lost ground. Although it's only considered lost as there's no football anymore. Other activities are still ongoing and we're extremely glad. That way, this magnificent stadium with a wonderful history is being preserved.

Let's go back to 1929. FC Helzold was created in a time when Helchteren en Zolder were very close (in relationship). Deep in the province of Limburg where these days Helchteren is part of Houthalen-Helchteren and Zolder is part of Heusden-Zolder, Helzold was a completely different relationship. Immediately they joined the Belgian FA and 20 years later FC Helzold first reached the national leagues, third division in 1949.

Immediately the team won that division and in 1950 already they moved to second division. A lot of emotions on a very short time though because even so they did manage to save their asses in second division, due to a restructured competition the team had to go back to third division one year later already. Again a year later FC Helzold relegated, but the newly created fourth division made sure they didn't have to go back to the regional leagues yet. There they managed to stabilise their results and a couple of times they only just missed out on promotion back to third division.

Unfortunately in 1960 the team did go back to the regional leagues. But in 1963 they managed to return. More slowly this time they were working on their way back. In 1971 K Helzold FC Zolder (the name since 1955) went to third division again. Third division wasn't a success this time and after four years of fighting against relegation they did relegate in 1975. And there the results didn't improve either. In 1978 already the team went back to the regional leagues.

The glory years seemed to be over. The once so magnificent stadium used to witness the haydays of national football but apart from one year in 1987-1988 it only saw regional football. In 1996 they even had to go back to the second highest regional league where they stayed until their official "end". Because in 1998 K Helzold FC Zolder merged with the younger and smaller neighbour AS Lindeman. AS Lindeman never got out of the lowest regional league and it was only logical the matricule number and stadium of the team was kept in use. Even the name remained Zolder related (it became KFC Helzold though) and nothing remembers to AS Lindeman anymore.

One year later though it was finally really over. KFC Helzold merged again, this time with the bigger neighbour KSK Heusden. Their story we'll keep for another time though. ;-) Due to the fact KSK Heusden played third division, this time KFC Helzold was the one that had to give in. Their matricule number disappeared and their stadium was only used for the youth teams for a couple of years. The new team, Koninklijke Heusden-Zolder continued playing in Heusden. That team would have a special story afterwards (on a short time as well), but we'll keep our story now to the fact in 2006 even youth football at Helzoldstadion ended and football would eventually disappear...

Ever since it has been a coming and going of other sports activities in the stadium. For a short time there was a rugby team active. But the demolition of the bar in 2009 took away a lot of extra possibilities in the stadium. Nowadays there are five organisations active in the Helzoldstadion. The biggest one for sure is Speedwayclub Helzold (aka Helzold Stars). It's a moto inspired club which hosts a couple of races throughout the year. The other organisations are a pigeon team, two dog training clubs and one hobby team concentrated on model aircrafts. Thanks to them nostalgic groundhoppers like us can still visit the glorious Helzoldstadion and the beautiful history of KFC Helzold.

One extra cool anecdote about this stadium though. The great and grand Luc Nilis started playing football at the local Halveweg Zonhoven. During the 70s (his youth period) the Helzoldstadion was the place where the local Limburg cup finals were being played and his first game in front of a bigger audience was in this wonderful Helzoldstadion with Halveweg Zonhoven. This was before he moved to FC Winterslag. You can read all about it in his biography. We do appreciate him mentioning something like this as not a lot of big football players would do this.


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