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GROUND // Louis Van Roeystadion - KFC Zwarte Leeuw

Football tradition is not only to be found in the bigger cities like Antwerp, Brussels or Liège. The smaller villages also have a big football heart. In the Kempen in Belgium there are a lot of teams with a great football tradition. One of those villages is Rijkevorsel. Rijkevorsel has embraced football in 1926 already and has one very nice stadium, built up like a real football stadium should be.

In 1926 Athletiek Club Zwarte Leeuwkens Rijckevorsel was founded and it also contained a football team. One year later they joined the FA as Zwarte Leeuw Rijckevorsel. The first decades the team played like everyone would expect from a local village - in the regional leagues. It took until the 70s before the team started to progress to the bigger leagues. In 1972 the team changed their name (for some strange reason) into FC Rijkevorsel. Luckily they changed it back into FC Zwarte Leeuw four years later.

Somewhere in between (in 1974) they managed to reach the national divisions for the very first time. And with success. For 13 years they played in 4th division, often reaching the higher spots. In 1987 it was time for the next level. They won the 4th division and promoted to third division. In '87/'88 they ended 2nd, after Germinal Ekeren which would end up in first division only a few years later. KFC Zwarte Leeuw had to wait one year extra - they won third division in 1989, winning promotion to second division.

In their very first season in 2nd division they reached the play offs for promotion, but were eliminated in those play offs. But after this success it started to go downhill. The next years KFC Zwarte Leeuw had to fight against relegation in 2nd division. In 1993 the lost the battle and relegated back to third division. After three years in third division they even relegated to fourth. There they would remain a very stable team. From time to time they even reached the play offs for third division again, but in the end they stayed in fourth division for 11 years.

After having to play in the highest regional leagues for three years in the past 10 years they are now back in full force. The past two years they ended in the subtop in fourth division and it seems as if they are playing for promotion this season. At the moment they are in second place, only a few points after RC Hades. In this shoot they won the derby between the "leeuwen" (lions) and the "binken" (hunks - FC Turnhout) in this magnificent stadium. The stadium Louis Van Roey was first used in 1971 and after all the successes in the 80s they expanded the stadium and changed the name into what it currently is.

Nice to know: KFC Zwarte Leeuw once won the Pappaert trophee for 32 consecutive games without losing (trophee named after the great Union60 under leadership of star player Pappaert at Union St-Gilloise in the 30s).


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