Who would have ever thought one of the most well known former players of a football team would be one of the most famous writers in recent Belgian history? VW Hamme holds that record. We recently visited their Gemeentelijk Stadion, which is on its own actually a very interesting ground.
Founded in 1908 and carrying matricule number 211, VW Hamme is one of the older teams in Belgium. Originally the name was Football Club Hamme, but when they actually joined the Belgian FA in 1922 they changed their name into Football Club Vigor Hamme. Vigor was derived from the Latin meaning for (life) power. In the beginning the team mainly played in the regional leagues, until they reached the national divisions (third division) in 1932. For one year, although they would return during WWII (in 1941). Immediately they promoted to second division.
In 1952 the team had to go to third division after a tenth place, due to a complete restructured football league and the creation of a fourth national division. In 1957 they even had to go to fourth division. Five years later though Vigor Hamme returned to third division and they would stay there until the big merger in 1973. That was the year when they relegated back to fourth division. Unfortunately enough the merger meant the start of a bad serie as well as they relegated to the regional leagues in 1974 already.
In the meantime, in 1953, Jonge Wuitens Voetbal Vereniging was created and in 1957, after having played in local FAs, they joined the Belgian FA as well. The team never reached any high positions and in 1972 they decided to merge with KFC Vigor Hamme to become KFC Vigor Wuitens Hamme. The first years they remained in the regional leagues, but in 1980 they returned to fourth division only to never leave the national divisions again (up until now - 2019). Slowly but surely they would crawl up the ladder. Up until 1992 (apart from one year at the end of the 80s) they played in fourth division, before promoting to third division.
In 1997 they finally tasted second division again, almost 50 years after their last spell in second division. It was only for one year, but in 2002 they returned for a longer period. Up until 2009 second division enjoyed the Gemeentelijk Stadion in Hamme. In 2009 it was all over, when they relegated back to third division and when the football was restructured again in 2016 they earned a spot in first amateur division after having won third division. It didn't last long though as they relegated to second amateur division in 2018.
Look at their stadium and realise it has a lot a groundhopper longs for. Extended terracing and an oldschool main stand, including a piece of history. Herman Brusselmans, one of the most famous Belgian writers, played football in the 70s, amongst others at the merger KFC VW Hamme. You do have to note it happened to be during the period when they played regional football.