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GROUND // Rodenbachstadion - Club Roeselare

Newly built stadiums are almost only to be found in or near boring industrial areas, far away from the village or city centre. But in Belgium you can still find quite some historical arenas in curious locations. Some of these precious examples are in a park or a forest. Others are in the middle of the historical centre. But the peculiar Rodenbach stadium in Roeselare is right next to a brewery.

Club Roeselare first started playing in 1900. Back then the name was Verenigde Vrienden Roeselare (United Friends Roeselare), but shortly after the name changed into Red Star Roeselare. They joined the Belgian FA in 1902. But yet again another name was used - Union Sportive Roulers. Due to financial issues the team had to cease activities in 1909, but one year later they popped up again.

The reborn team was christened as Football Club Roeselare. But the football joy was disrupted by WWI. It would take until after the war before they could pick up where they left off. FC Roeselare joined the Belgian FA as a new team in 1923. The black/whites still had to find a good home location though. That search brought them to Krottegem, a folksy neighbourhood where the team settled next to the Rodenbach brewery in 1929. FC Roeselare was allowed to make use of an open area, but there were some conditions. Drinking Rodenbach was one of them. Oddly enough the brewery football team never played there themselves.

When the team celebrated its 25th anniversary, they received the royal title as well and thus they became KFC Roeselare. Seven years later, in 1942, the black/whites first reached the national leagues by promotion to the third division. After the war the team went up and down between third division, fourth division and the top regional league. But still investments were made to professionalise the stadium and create sportive ambitions. The current grandstand was officially inaugurated in 1956. Sadly enough lower league football would be played there.

It took the team until 1986 before they could bring back national football to their stadium. But this time they went straight to the top. Or almost. Only one year later they promoted to the third division where they were reunited with their neighbours KSK Roeselare. The many visitors of these heavy derbies couldn't have imagined what would happen by the end of the 20th century. In 1998 KSK Roeselare promoted to second division. One year later KFC relegated to fourth division, but that never happened. Both Roeselare teams joined forces and became KSV Roeselare. KFC Roeselare disappeared, along with their matricule number 286.

Not long after the merger, KFC was recreated as the fans missed the club too much. In 2000, volunteers created Club Roeselare. Just like the old FC Roeselare they started playing in the neighbouring Rumbeke, but in 2002 Club Roeselare moved back to the Rodenbach stadium. Four years after the creation, Club was back in the top regional league. Right now it's a healthy team with realistic ambitions. The Rodenbach stadium has been redeveloped. Some terracing disappeared and the old canteen will disappear soon as well. But the 60+ years old grandstand has been redeveloped according to the original plans. We love it!

If you want to enjoy our articles in Dutch, you can read them here. This stadium also appeared in our book 'Belgian Beauties'. You can still buy that book here.


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