Our list of lost grounds is growing rapidly lately. Recently we also visited a beautiful and charming lower league lost ground in the neighbourhood of Aarschot; Gelrode. It was constructed in 1972 and unfortunately it has never seen a higher level than tier 9th tier – the lowest regional division in Flemish Brabant. The stadium at the Leuvensesteenweg has been football empty since 2015.
In the very small village of Gelrode football started already in the 1930s. In 1931 Gelrode Sportief was created and started playing in the Flemish leagues in the VVB. And it didn’t go without success. The first year already they won their league and promoted to the top regional division in the Flemish FA. For three years they played the top of the league, but by 1937 the ended last in the league and decided to cease all activities.
In the meantime – three years earlier (in 1934) – Gelrode Steenweg Sport was created and they immediately joined the Belgian FA. They only played competition football for one year and in 1936 this team ceased all activities as well. For a couple of decades there was no football in Gelrode, but it was clear the village started to love the game. It was no surprise new actions were taken to bring football to this village.
In 1972 everything started again. VK Gelrode was founded and joined the Belgian FA the same year. Unfortunately they never made it out of the league they started in. For exactly 20 years VK Gelrode played in the fourth regional league, the lowest one there is in Flemish Brabant and the whole of Belgium. Occasionally they would end in the top of the league, but they always missed promotion then.
When the glorious 90s started VK Gelrode saw its ending coming. The last three years they always ended in the lower positions and to top it, during the season 1991-92 they were denied access to their stadium. VK Gelrode had to end the year playing its home games in nearby stadiums. After having found a new ground the team still decided to take a step back in 1993 and VK Gelrode moved from the Belgian FA to a local FA.
But it didn’t end then and there for the team. After the move to a local FA VK Gelrode decided to merge with a rather young local team – SV Gelrode. The new team name became VV Gelrode and for four years they continued playing in the local leagues. In 1997 however VV Gelrode made the decision to re-join the Belgian FA, albeit under a new matricule number. But just like VK Gelrode before, VV Gelrode would never leave the league they started in.
In 2004-05 VV Gelrode did manage to make it to national television when the state TV station followed the team for a while for their TV show “Geen zorgen tot Paniek”. Unfortunately the national support didn’t really help as the team ended with only three points and the goalie had to swallow 233 goals that year. In 2015 it was finally over. Financial problems and internal struggles made the team cease all activities. Yet again and up until now there is no team in Gelrode anymore playing in the Belgian FA.
Ever since the stadium has been used by a local organisation that wants to let children play freely in open nature. The bar area can be rented for small family parties. Always interesting to visit this one when you are in the neighbourhood of Aarschot.