Roeselare used to have two successful teams in the national divisions until at one point they decided to form one big team. Both have their own history, but the stadium they play in right now is the main reason why we wanted to visit them. The Schierveldestadion has some very unique features.
In the year 1900 Roeselare was infected by the football virus. Verenigde Vrienden Roeselare (United Friends Roeselare) started off that year. Shortly after they changed their name into Red Star Roeselare. In 1902 finally they joined the Belgian FA and the official name became Union Sportive Roulers. Right up until 1909 the team played in the regional leagues, but in 1909 they had to cease activities due to financial problems. Not long after the team made a re-start as Sportvereniging Roeselare, but WWI made sure they couldn't play the game anymore.
In the meantime US Roulers gained the competition of Football Club Roeselare. This happened in 1910. Unfortunately they stopped all activities in 1914 already due to the outbreak of WWI. Shortly after they surfaced again, but it took them until 1923 before they actually joined the Belgian FA. Just before FC Roeselare became an official FA member the old SV Roeselare was re-born. In 1921 Sportkring Roeselare became the successor of SV Roeselare and they immediately joined the Belgian FA.
It was SK Roeselare who first reached the national leagues by promoting to third division in 1926. In 1929 they managed to go to second division but in 1932 they first good period ended. Relegation to third division and one year later even regional football again. In 1942 it was KFC Roeselare who took over the city title by promoting to third division and national football for the first time. Five years later they relegated again, but some odd years followed afterwards. In 1948 they immediately won their league in the top regional division. Their title and promotion were taken away however for having an illegible player. Solution? Just win the league again one year later. The glory years lasted until 1956 when they went back to the regional leagues.
During the early 50s a fourth national division was created and the same year KSK Roeselare promoted back to the national leagues, fourth division this time obviously. While KFC Roeselare was going downwards, KSK Roeselare went up. In 1960 the team went to third division and they managed to stay there for fifteen straight years. Between 1975 and 1978 they had a short spell in fourth division, but in '78 they were back. Again a longer period started; 20 years straight in third division. In 1986 KFC Roeselare finally managed to go back to fourth division and one year later they joined KSK in third division.
Apart from the season 1990/91 third division was blessed with the local derby between KSK and KFC for quite some time. In 1998 those derbies were over as KSK promoted to second division for the first time since 1932. One year later KFC made the opposite move by ending on a relegation spot in third division. The move to fourth division never actually happened though. In 1999 KSK and KFC Roeselare decided to become one big team. Remembering the old SV Roeselare the new team name became KSV Roeselare. The matricule number of KFC was dismissed and the new team name continued playing at Schiervelde, leaving the absolutely wonderful Rodenbachstadion empty. But not for long as dedicated KFC fans created Club Roeselare in 2000 and started playing in the Rodenbachstadion.
The merger proved to be a huge success. In 2005 for the very first time in history a team from Roeselare made it to the Belgian first division. And it didn't stop there as one year later already (in their debut year in first division) they already managed to qualify for European football (although it was due to the Fair Play list UEFA maintained at that time). Vardar Skopje was eliminated but FC Ethnikos Achnas was too strong for KSV. Afterwards KSV maintained fairly good results and they did with great players. The most known player back then probably was Ivan Perisic.
In 2010 however they went back to second division. A couple of tough years followed as some decisions made in the past made sure they had to balance their finances in order to stay alive. For six years it was either the middle of the league or barely escaping relegation to third division. After the Belgian competition was restructured in 2016 things started to improve again. In the first year they ended second and barely missed promotion to first division. The following years were more stable. But 2019/2020 is another challenging year for the team. In September KSV escaped bankruptcy due to unpaid bills of about € 21.000. It would have been ridiculous to go bankrupt this way. Luckily a solution was found, but still they struggle on the grass. Let's hope the team can stay in professional football and second division.
The Schierveldestadion is a fairly recent stadium which was built in 1987. In 2005, when they promoted to first division, a first renovation already took place (to accommodate the almost ridiculous stadium demands of the Belgian FA). In 2016 they had to undergo another renovation for the exact same reason (and to be able to stay in second division after the new structure). Right next to the stadium an indoor sports centre hosts one of Belgians best volleyball teams; Knack Roeselare. For us this indoor sports centre will never be able to compete with the charming covered standing area or the beautiful terracing behind one of the two goals though.