We've said it before but Antwerp has a rich football history. Of course everybody knows Antwerp FC and Beerschot, but these aren't the only teams. The lesser known City Pirates are perhaps one of the more interesting Antwerp teams around.
Around the 1920s a lot of teams first saw the daylight and Merksem (part of Antwerp) was no exception. In 1921 Sint-Jan was founded as a football team for the Sint-Jan College school. After a few years they became a member of the national association and in 1927 they changed their name into Merksem SC. During WWII they underwent a merge with Olse-Voetbal to become Olse Merksem SC. During the 40s and 50s they went up and down between the national and regional leagues. In 1959 they finally reached second division for the first time.
After more than a decade of good football in second and third division Olse-Voetbal went separate ways again in 1975 and the name was changed into K Merksem SC. Afterwards it went downhill for the team. They relegated to the regional leagues in the early 80s after almost 30 years in the national leagues. It lasted until 2010 until the results started getting better again and they reached the highest regional league again. Currently they just missed promotion to third division.
In 2012 they changed their name into Merksem-Antwerpen Noord SC. In 2014 again a new name; this team the rather odd SC City Pirates Antwerpen. The vision of the team is to attract and train youngsters in the Antwerp region, making the pirates subject very attractive for young kids. Everything in the stadium has been amended to that vision. SC City Pirates Antwerpen created a melting pot of cultures and religions, transcending the obstacle of racism. This is a very nice and almost unique concept which has to be admired!
The stadium was named after Jef Mermans, one of the greatest players of Merksem, ending his career there after having played at Tubantia Borgerhout and RSC Anderlecht. This is also one of the only stadiums that has a banana shaped stand. Very special to see!