GROUND // Hoge Velden - Red Boys Elzestraat

Passion in the lower leagues... It's becoming more and more rare, but it's still to be found. In Elzestraat passion still lives, especially during their derbies against KFC Katelijne.

Elzestraat is in fact part of Sint-Katelijne-Waver, just north of Mechelen. A very small neighbourhood which at one point had even two different football teams. It all started in 1948, like so many teams created just after WWII. Before it seems Elzestraat only had recreational and temporary teams. Wery-Boys started off in 1948 but didn't join the Belgian FA immediately. Later the same year they did though, changing the name into FC Red Boys.

At the same time the team moved from a military field nearby to the current Hoge Velden. That's also the place where in 1953 a tragedy happened. Goalie Alfred Van Hoof suffered from a kick in the head and died in the hospital later on. Up until the end of the 70s though the team would remain active in the lowest regional leagues. In 1978 however the team decided to start construction of the current facilities and later on the (small) successes started to come with an occasional promotion (but also relegation).

In the same year (1978) the already existing Real Sol joined the Belgian FA as VK Elzestraat. Their ground (demolished in the meantime) was only a couple of 100 meters away from the Hoge Velden stadium. The derbies between these two Elzestraat teams were widely known. But that all came to an end in 1993 when FC Red Boys and VK Elzestraat decided to merge and become Red Boys Elzestraat. The stadium was being redeveloped into what it is right now directly after the merger.

In the meantime RB Elzestraat is back in the lowest regional leagues, but they were on their way to play promotion playoffs at the end of the 2019-2020 season. Unfortunately Covid-19 ended the good streak and it seems the team will have to stay in the lowest regional league in Antwerp for at least one more season. These days the derbies against KFC Katelijne are the highlight of the season and replaced the derbies FC Red Boys and VK Elzestraat used to have. Wonderful atmosphere in this charming stadium with a beautiful covered stand.


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