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GROUND // Au Sans Fond - Royal Stade Brainois

Alert! Alert! Alert! History to be found in the middle of the green fields in Belgium. And! Another one to undergo a complete stadium makeover. At the end of the season 2018-19, this one will be demolished and replaced by a completely new stadium. Be quick to discover the place where a few of the better Belgian players first touched a football.

R Stade Brainois in Braine-le-Comte, not to be mistaken with other Braine villages in Belgium, was founded in the early 1920s and affiliated to the Belgian FA in 1924, receiving a rather cool matricule number 343. Something they are very proud of themselves as well. The original name was Amicale Athlétique Brainoise. Up until 1969 the team always played in the regional leagues without any real remarkable history fact. In the meantime, in 1938, Union Sportive Brainoise was founded as well, joining AA Brainoise in the regional leagues. In 1969 however, the two teams decided to merge and become Stade Brainois. And that might have been the best decision they have ever made.

Because in 1971 Stade reached the national divisions (4th division) for the very first time. For eight years straight they proved themselves worthy of national football until they relegated in 1979. But it wasn't over. In 1986 they returned for a two years spell. In the meantime the female team was created as well and when the men's team relegated back to the regional leagues, the female team first reached the national divisions. They even managed to reach first division later on, until they split from the men's team in 1995 to continue on their own.

The 90s would become an up and down for RSB. From 1993 to '96 fourth division again and and from 1999 to 2002 another period in the national leagues followed. This time they had to wait until 2017 before they could go back to the national leagues, third amateur division due to the restructured football competition in Belgium. Up until now they still play there.

But RSB is maybe more known for other facts. Sébastien Delferière, recently named in the Belgian football fraud investigation, is a referee affiliated to the team and Stéphane Stassin used to play for the youth teams of RSB. And now we come to the most interesting part. A certain Thierry Hazard started and ended his professional football career at RSB and made sure his sons (all four of them) started playing football at RSB as well. Yes - you've guessed it. Eden, Thorgan, Kylian and Ethan Hazard all started in this charming little stadium.

After five years Eden moved to AFC Tubize, Thorgan made the same move after two years, Kylian also moved to AFC Tubize and recently the youngster Ethan Hazard also moved to AFC Tubize (guess we will have to visit AFC Tubize as well then). And it's not over yet. In fact, while we were there taking pictures, we ran into Thierry Hazard who was friendly enough to give a little bit of history. Thierry is the sporting director at RSB these days. Very friendly gentleman!

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