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GROUND // Burgemeester Henrylaan - K Eendracht Club Rotem (lost ground)

We use the phrase "another one bites the dust" way too often these days. This time it's not a stadium that is being demolished (yet), but a team that ceases all activities. This is becoming very dramatic in Belgian football.

K Eendracht Club Rotem has just finalized their very last football season ever and the stadium in the Burgemeester Henrylaan is now officially a lost ground. Almost 100 years after they first started playing football. In 1933 the team was founded with the name Eendracht Club Rotem, which makes it it's one of the very few teams that have never had any change name or any merger across the decades (apart from the royal title as a name change).

It took them a while before that got good results, but they did manage to turn some heads in the football scene. By 1959 they had reached the top regional league in Limburg. Unfortunately that was only for one year and afterwards they played in the second regional league until 1974.

But then it went fast. In only a couple of years time they went from the third regional league (1975) to the fourth national division (in 1980). And they weren't a one hit wonder. For five years they managed to stay in fourth division, nearly missing out on promotion to third division and relegating back to the regional leagues. In 1986-87 KEC Rotem returned to the national leagues for one year, but then it was over. For the next decades they would slowly but surely fall down to the lowest regional league.

Anecdote: During their stock sale a couple of weeks back the team mentioned it wanted to have a good place for all of their stuff, especially the container load of toilet paper that was bought around the millennium to sell. Unfortunately it wasn't a hit ("it seemed like a good idea at the time" is what most people are thinking now), and the team still has almost all of that toilet paper.

The stadium is an absolute gem, and a very nice memory to their days in the national leagues during the 80s. Time took possession over the terracing and the grandstand and it would be an absolute disaster to see this demolished. However - we are all adults here... we all know it'll get knocked down sooner or later. So don't miss out on the opportunity to still visit this majestic beauty.


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