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GROUND // Maurice Vandewielestadion - ASSA Ronse (lost ground)

KSK Ronse is already playing their home games in the Orphale Cruckestadion for 27 years now. Six year earlier, KSK came to exist after a merger between ASSA Ronse and Club Ronse. Both teams had their own beautiful stadium only a couple of 100 meters away. Club Ronse left their wonderful Parc Lagache and ASSA Ronse abandoned their Maurice Vandewielestadion.

Parc Lagache was the home ground of KSK Ronse for one year in 1987. Afterwards nature took over. FC Sint-Hermes Ronse brought back football for one year (2016/17), but since then it was completely over and out. In the meantime it's largely been taken over by the neighbouring sports centre. You even have the possibility to play padel on the former football pitch.

In 1988 KSK Ronse moved for five straight years to the Maurice Vandewielestadion, until the brand new Orphale Cruckestadion was completely finished.

But before all of this, just like Parc Lagache for Club Ronse, the Maurice Vandewielestadion was the home ground of ASSA Ronse since 1922. ASSA was the oldest club in Ronse, founded in 1906 as Association Sportive Renaisienne. After AA Gent and RC Gent, KSK Ronse is the oldest team in the province of East Flanders (because KSK uses the matricule number of ASSA). Two years after ASSA was created there was some turbulence in the team and Football Club Renaisienne came to exist. The rivalry began.

Both teams moved into their own new stadium in 1922 and both teams seemed to benefit from it. AS Renaisienne managed to reach the national divisions for the first time in 1923 (second division at the time), while FC Renaisienne did the same in 1926. That year AS relegated and it had to wait until 1937 to be able to return to that second division. The thirties and forties were the absolute peak years for both teams. Fans supported the team with big numbers and the derbies between the two were known far over the borders of Ronse.

But after WWII everything changed. ASSA relegated to third division in 1948, FC Ronse followed five years later. ASSA did manage to attract some very big names. After Rik Larnoe in the twenties, Raymond Goethals came to be the goalkeeper in the fifties. The swinging sixties however wouldn't be so swinging for ASSA Ronse. As the years went by, the club fell down the leagues and in 1972/73 they found themselves in the lowest regional league possible. Club Ronse fell back to the regional leagues as well, both very far away from the great years they once had.

Eventually they had to set aside their differences and a merger seemed to be the only solution. This finally happened in 1987, almost 80 years after the two split up. ASSA Ronse and RFC Ronse became one again and KSK Ronse was born. The matricule number of ASSA Ronse was used and in the meantime the team has been back in the national divisions for 30 years straight now. They even managed to get back to second division for a while.

So the Maurice Vandewielestadion didn't see second division anymore, but that doesn't mean football was out of the question. FC Lindsay Cleaning Ronse originally played in a local FA (in West Flanders) and moved to the Maurice Vandewielestadion. For years fans could enjoy the beautiful stadium again, including well hidden terracing and a monumental grandstand. In 2014 the team made the move to the Belgian FA, but they had to change their name as commercially inspired names aren't allowed. FCLC Ronse became the new name.

Recent history isn't looking too bright for the stadium though. The grounds are open for sale and it's more and more clear the stadium won't be a stadium for long anymore. FCLC Ronse moved to the Orphale Cruckestadion in 2019 and even the athletics team of ASSA Ronse isn't active anymore in the Maurice Vandewielestadion. It isn't active any longer, period. This athletics division was founded in 1920 and moved along with the football team two years later. In 2018 turmoil created a spin off and RAT (Ronse Atletiek Team) was born. ASSA Ronse saw everything disappear after having reached top levels for years and even producing Olympians. Recently ASSA ceased to exist... only just missing out on their centennial.

Right now the Maurice Vandewielestadion is abandoned. Waiting for the final sale. Waiting for the demolition that will erase everything as if nothing ever existed. Yet another monument set for destruction. Our nostalgic football heart is bleeding...

If you want to enjoy our articles in Dutch, you can read them here.

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