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GROUND // Sportpark Molenvliet - GVV Unitas (The Netherlands)

Groundhoppers often have fantasies about stadiums in Belgium, England or Germany. But too frequently Holland is being overlooked. There are quite the beauties to be found however and Gorinchem is just one of those places.

The Sportpark Molenvliet has been the home ground of GVV Unitas for over 50 years now. Eternity for many teams, but for this nestor not even half of its existence. GVV Unitas was already created in 1898. More than 120 years of football fun without any merges, without any buy outs, without any name changes. An achievement on itself in these modern days.

Those first years the team mainly played friendlies on several pitches without having their own stadium to call their own. A first real stadium was only found in 1922. De Toekomst (The Future) did see some wonderful years though. After having joined the Dutch competition structure the team managed to reach second division in 1905. For more or less 20 years Unitas would stay there. Shortly after having moved to De Toekomst Unitas promoted to first division, although that would only be a two year story.

It would take until the 50s before Unitas rejoined first division. In between they did have a star player in their team. Frank Wels became an international for the Dutch team and went to two World Cups (1934 and 1938). Finally in 1956 the team from Gorcum finally went back to first division. Professional football had just started in The Netherlands and this first division was the top league in amateur football. In 1975 the Hoofdklasse was created (another top league in the amateur structure) and GVV immediately promoted to that division. For the next 15 years, they would play there for 12 years.

By then the Molenvliet stadium was already in use and all those years brought a lot of joy and fun in the top two amateur divisions. Unfortunately the change of the millennium brought some dark clouds. In 2000 GVV Unitas relegated to second division they had to fight some serious battles for years to get back higher up. It wasn't until recently the sun started shining again. In 2017 they finally went back to first division. One year later a promotion to the Hoofdklasse followed and this season (2020-21) they are as higher as they have ever been, the former Topklasse - recently renamed in Third division.

The Molenvliet stadium has seen a lot of divisions in all these years, but we have the feeling the successes aren't over yet. Who knows which divisions the wonderful grandstand and charming terracing will get to see still?

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


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