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GROUND // Sportcentrum Oevel - K Blauwvoet Oevel

In the middle of the Belgian Campine (Kempen), surrounded by the Albert Canal and the highway E313, there's this little town called Oevel. It's not only the birth place of singer Natalia, but it's also the home town of K Blauwvoet Oevel. Blue foot, yes. A weird football name in a small and quiet little village. Curious and idyllic at the same time.

In 1924, a team was born in Oevel with the creation of FC Unitas Oevel but after only five years they stopped their football activities. Not long after that, in 1933, Heidester Oevel was founded as a replacement, but they didn't survive for too long either. Three years later they were gone. Still, Oevel was determined to have its own team. Just before Heidester ceased to exist, Blauwvoet Oevel was founded in 1935. Third time's a charm, because this time a team managed to stay on board. And just like Unitas and Heidester, again a remarkable name was chosen.

One team seems to be sufficient though for this small village, in the meantime part of Westerlo. Between 1966 and 1977 FC DAF Oevel had a brief spell and from 1982 to 1987 the same FC DAF Oevel tried for a second time. But only Blauwvoet Oevel survived. A charming team for a charming village, it was meant to be. They never managed to reach the national divisions though and on itself this isn't a surprise at all. Oevel is surrounded by Herentals, Geel and Westerlo. All of them have a huge football history and teams in the national divisions.

But let's talk about that name. Blue foot, where does it come from? When we do our research it seems there are two possibilities. One is directing us to a type of bird, the blue-footed booby (ha). This bird only lives on and around the Galapagos islands. A remarkable bird with, you've probably already guessed it, blue feet. This bird seems to be very monogamous, but we're not going to act like we are experienced ornithologists. Looking at the geographical breeding area, we may assume the second possibility is a bit more in the right direction.

For that second option we have to look into the direction of the Flemish freedom struggle as it's the battle song of the student association 'Blauwvoeterij'. The song was inspired by the novel 'De Kerels van Vlaanderen' (The guys or sailors from Flanders), written by Hendrik Conscience. He is known in Belgium as the man who learned his people how to read. That novel was loosely based on a true story of a fight between two families in Veurne. During the 30s the Flemish feeling in Belgium was very strong and it might not be that unreasonable to assume this may have been an inspiration. And this team wasn't the only one. Blauwvoet Vrij Vooruit Kessenich, Blauwvoet Neerrepen, Blauwvoet Werm, KV Blauwvoet Otegem, FC Blauwvoeters-Wolfsdonck, VV Blauwvoet Schiplaken, Blauwvoet Kessenich, FC De Blauwvoet Westmalle and Blauwvoet Impegem followed afterwards. Blauwvoeters Wolfsdonck-Testelt was the only one preceding them. Oevel and Otegem are the only ones remaining though.

Despite the mainly quiet existence in the lower leagues, Blauwvoet Oevel did have some successes left and right. One of the successes of which they are most proud is called Kevin Geudens. This 100% Campine boy started in the youth teams of Blauwvoet Oevel and had his first A games there as well. Afterwards he went to the top, first division football at KV Mechelen and KVC Westerlo. Apart from KV Mechelen and FCO Beerschot-Wilrijk he did stay in his own neighbourhood. Verbroedering Meerhout, KFC Dessel Sport, Verbroedering Geel, KVC Westerlo and KFC De Kempen all got to enjoy his talent before he returned to Blauwvoet in 2018 to end his career.

And the future is looking bright. The team has plans to completely redevelop their grounds. The current youth pitches will be transformed into the new A pitch, which unfortunately (for us) also means the current charming stands will be disappearing. The changes won't be done immediately though, so whomever wants to enjoy the Sportcentrum Oevel... You still have the opportunity to visit.

If you want to enjoy our articles in Dutch, you can read them here.


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