Back in the good old days, when football was still pure and passionate, there were some smaller clubs that managed to reach the highest divisions. Teams that no longer exist or have fallen down the leagues so hard no-one even remembers them playing at a higher level. Edegem, near Antwerp, is one of those examples. Although history will always continue to live on there.
Football in Edegem started in 1908 and after a couple of moves and changes, Belgica Edegem managed to reach first division football. From 1933 until 1935, “de Oude Dame” (the Old Lady) played in the Belgian top flight. The small club managed to stay in second division until 1943, but started dropping down the leagues afterwards.
"Den Belgica" has always been the pride of the village. But in 1966 the inevitable happened. KFC Belgica Edegem merged with KVV Edegem Sport to become KVV Belgica Edegem Sport. By that time, both clubs were in the regional leagues. And that’s where the newborn KVV Belgica Edegem Sport would stay the rest of its existence.
We’re not quite sure what year exactly the club started playing at the Bolhoed ground. What we do know, is that the ground got this nickname (“Bowler Hat”) because the pitch was terribly convex. According to eyewitnesses, the left-back couldn’t see the socks of the right-back! The players were earged by their coach to play in the middle of the field, otherwise the ball would roll out. Nonetheless, the ground had a cosy stand with a magnificent player tunnel. Hard to imagine when you're overlooking this overgrown lost ground…
By 1980, Belgica Edegem had already left “Den Bolhoed” for more than a decade. That year, the Antwerp Rugby Club moved to the ground. But 34 years later, Den Bolhoed was abandoned once again. It seems like it's only a matter of time before this somewhat unknown gem will be demolished...
In August 2016, KVV Belgica Edegem Sport went bankrupt and ceased to exist. But a new Belgica has emerged, to continue the club's illustrious history... More on that next week!
If you want to enjoy our articles in Dutch, you can read them here.