GROUND // Stade de la Docherie - Jeunesse Docherie 61

How often do you find hidden football treasures in the middle of a city centre? Let alone a football gem that not many people know about? An absolute must for every nostalgic groundhopper or football fan? In Charleroi you will find such treasures.

Pinpoint Charleroi. Zoom in on the Marchienne-au-Pont section. Zoom in on La Docherie or Marchienne-Docherie. This somewhat unknown part of Marchienne-au-Pont only started its existence around 1840, mainly thanks to the growing industry in and around Charleroi and the newly built canal passing by. For such a young environment it didn't take too long before they caught up on the game of football. The first football club was created in 1927 under the name Racing Club Marchienne-Docherie. Remember the name and the team colours, being blue and black. The club always played in the regional leagues and in 1938 they ceased activities.

For 33 years straight, the people of La Docherie had to live without football in their own region. Until Pavillon Montagnard Football Club was created, just one year before Racing Club Marchienne-Docherie was (re?)created. Yes. Racing Club was back and this team also played in blue and black colours. Where the original Racing Club and Pavillon Montagnard FC played is unknown, but the revival of Racing Club started playing in the Stade de la Docherie. A wonderful stadium with characteristic terracing and an Elascon-like stand of which we think it's a renovated original Elascon stand.

Those two clubs continued to play in the regional leagues, while the other teams in the Charleroi area managed to reach the national divisions sooner or later. But that couldn't spoil the fun, although modern football was catching up with them. In 1995, RC Marchienne-Docherie and Pavillon Montagnard FC merged into Football Club Pavillon Dochard. The new club continued with Pavillon Montagnard FC's matricule number, but moved to the Stade de la Docherie.

However, the merger did not save the team. Twelve years after the merger, FC Pavillon Dochard collapsed. It looked as if the Stade de la Docherie would be a lost ground for the first time in 35 years. But after one year of silence, a new team was born. Association Sportive de la Docherie tried to fill the gap that was left. Unfortunately, the team only managed to keep themselves alive for eleven years. In 2019, this club also had to cease all activities.

Meanwhile, several non-league teams have also started playing in the Stade de la Docherie. Elaqsa United and AS Gerpinnes are just two such teams. They all play in the local FA in and around Charleroi. But football was also kept alive in the official leagues. After the dismissal of AS de la Docherie, yet again a new club was born. Jeunesse Docherie 61 became the new team and until today (2021) it plays in the lowest regional league of Hainaut. Where the 61 comes from is a mystery to us, but we are glad the Stade de la Docherie is still in use. The stadium is just too wonderful to remain a hidden treasure.

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