GROUND // Noordersportpark - HFC EDO (The Netherlands)

Football team number three in Haarlem is up now. After Koninklijke HFC and HFC Haarlem were created they were joined by HFC EDO in the 19th century still. We can definitely call Haarlem the birth place of football in The Netherlands.

We are 1897 when HFC Eendracht Doet Overwinnen (Unity Makes Win) entered the world of football. By that time Koninklijke HFC and HFC Haarlem were already marauding up the Dutch leagues (which had started only a couple of years before 1897). In the beginning they only played friendlies left and right but in 1902 they joined the local FA in Haarlem. By 1904 already HFC EDO won the top league there and gained the privilege to join the third division in the official nationwide competition.

Slowly but surely EDO crawled their way up to join the other two HFC teams in the top leagues. After some pitch switches EDO won second division in 1924 and promoted to first division. Ten years later the team would finally move to the Noordersportpark. Three of their seated stands were moved as well and since then EDO was HFC Haarlems neighbour, being only a couple of 100 meters away from Haarlem Stadion. By then they were back in second division after seven consecutive first division seasons.

In 1942 EDO returned to first division and when the Dutch FA decided to implement a professional league EDO was, together with the other two HFCs, there to join those leagues. This happened in 1954. The first year they gained their spot in the top league, but in 1956 they relegated to second division. The Noordersportpark however was completely rebuilt to accommodate the ambitions of the team in those days.

Up until 1971 EDO remained a professional team, most of the times playing in third division (Tweede Divisie) with an occasional year in second division (Eerste Divisie). In 1971 though EDO decided to voluntarily retreat from the professional leagues to become an amateur team again. They were put in the Tweede Klasse, which was the fourth division in the amateur leagues. Very quickly they went up to the Hoofdklasse (second division) and throughout the 70s and 80s they mainly played in that division.

A lesser period caused EDO to play in the Eerste Klasse (third division) and between 2005 and 2010 they even went one league lower for three years. Three promotions in five years time however gave them a big boost and their first appearance in the top amateur league (Topklasse).This was for only one year though and in the meantime they are back in Eerste Klasse - back to old habits.

Most of their wonderful stadium is long gone now, but the wonderful terracing opposite of their main grandstand still remembers the old glorious times. That grandstand was built in 1981 after the old and original one was burned down to the ground. It seems Haarlem is a dangerous place for grandstands...