Still in full World Cup days, we keep on wandering and wondering. After having spent some time in the lower leagues, it goes without saying we'd also go for non league. Befitting a true non league ground, we had to pass by quite a few densely built neighbourhoods to end up next to a busy road at a very well hidden football field.
Mechelen in Belgium obviously has more than just the great KV Mechelen and infamous Racing Mechelen. VK Albatros speaks to anyone's imagination when it comes to name and location. It's a team created by and for the local neighbourhood and throughout the last few decades they had to go through some stormy weather, but they also had some great times.
It all started back in 1970, when a local competition for youth teams was founded. VK Albatros gathered all younger troops in the neighbourhood and started touring around. Without having their own pitch and without officially being a club, they did wander around for some years. Until they decided to officially become VK Albatros and join the Koninklijke Katholieke Sportfederatie van België (Royal Catholic Sports Federation of Belgium) in 1973.
After having played in Walem (north of Mechelen) for five years, they moved to Sint-Katelijne-Waver (also north of Mechelen - next to Walem) in 1978. In 1984 eventually, a last move followed. VK Albatros finally came home to the place where they had their own canteen; the Holmlei in Mechelen itself. Just behind the building, the city of Mechelen made a sports area available where in the end the football pitch was created. VK Albatros did manage to win the Cup of Mechelen twice in the late 80s and early 90s (the top years of football in Mechelen).
In 1992, the tenant of the canteen pulled back and owner Kerkfabriek offered the team to run their own business. VK Albatros changed their statutes and accepted the offer. Thanks to this co-operation and financial support from Kerkfabriek, VK Albatros can look towards the future with a financially stable mindset. Even after a few rough Covid-19 years. Right now the team is preparing for a festive 50th celebration in 2023. They officially requested the royal title and they have two different A teams in two different non-league divisions. VK Albatros is also sharing its' charming ground with FC Flamingo. Hopefully they are starting another 50 years as KVK Albatros!
If you want to enjoy our articles in Dutch, you can read them here.