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GROUND // Olympisch Stadion - KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk

We had the Beerschot history between 1999 and 2013, and recently we investigated the Beerschot history from 2013 up until now. All that was left for us to do was the earlier history of the original Beerschot and the Olympisch Stadion: a place with more history than you'd think.

We go back all the way to 1895. It wasn't just the year when Belgium started playing competition football, but the first seeds to create Beerschot were planted as well in that year. Ernest Grisar decided to buy a horse race track in the community of Kiel, near Antwerp. It was his son that suggested to have several sports being practiced on the ground. Football was one of them and four years later, in 1899, it finally happened. The club was named Beerschot, after the former name of the area and the nearby park Beerschotshof.

Alfred Grisar, the son, contacted a couple of friends to run the club and Alfred took the football part on himself. He renamed it into Beerschot Athletic Club and chose the purple/white colours as an hommage to his in the meantime passed away father. Alfred contacted a couple of Antwerp players to join Beerschot. This was the very first quarrel between the two clubs and as history has learned us, it would never stop.

Fairly soon a first merger would happen. Antwerp Lyon's Club was taken over. Almost immediately Beerschot AC played in the first division, but it would take a couple of decades before football from the city of Antwerp started dominating Belgian football. It all started in the early 20s when Beerschot won the championship in 1922, 1924 and 1925. In the latter year Beerschot became R Beerschot AC. In 1926 and 1928 two more championships followed. Afterwards RAFC took over, but Beerschot struck again in 1938 and 1939 with two more championships.

Although Beerschot had the infamous Rik Coppens after WWII, the team wouldn't win any titles anymore. In fact, they would have to wait until the 70s for another glorious period (after having changed their name into K Beerschot Voetbal en Atletiek Vereniging in 1968). In 1971 and 1979 Beerschot won the cup thanks to players like Juan Lozano and Walter Meeuws. European football followed twice.

But the end of the 70s and the passing of chairman Pierre Stoop brought dark times. In 1981 Beerschot had to relegate to second division after being accused of matchfixing. The team returned after only one year, but they would never be the same again. More than often Beerschot flirted with relegation all throughout the 80s. In 1991 they finally hit the last spot and due to financial problems they even had to go to third division. To start over completely the name was changed into Beerschot Voetbal en Atletiek Club. In 1995 the royal title was added again.

After one year in third division they immediately promoted to second division and for the next three years Beerschot would miss out on promotion by losing the play offs. In 1997 it seemed it was over and one year later they relegated to third division again. And even in third division the team couldn't save itself. Beerschot ended on a relegation spot, earning a place in fourth division. They would never see fourth division however. K Beerschot VAC ceased all activities and got to an agreement with KFC Germinal Ekeren they would move to 't Kiel and become the new Beerschot. Magical matricule number 13 was no longer since 1999.

Afterwards KFC Germinal Ekeren became Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen and moved to Olympisch Stadion. In 2011 GBA became K Beerschot AC, but by 2013 the story was told again. Shame to see a team like KFC Germinal Ekeren disappear that way. In 2013 however the exact same story happened, but this time with KFC Olympia Wilrijk. They moved to Olympisch Stadion and became KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk, which we all know now.

Who doesn't remember players like the brothers Pierre and Raymond Braine, Kenneth Brylle, Philippe Clement, Rik Coppens, Vahram Kevorkian, Rik Larnoe, Juan Lozano, Walter Meeuws, Marc Schaessens, Simon Tahamata, Guy and Ivan Thys, Stanley Vanden Eynde and many many more?

And it isn't over yet. After the success of Lyra and them buying back their old matricule number, Beerschot was inspired. As of next season (2019-2020) they will play with matricule number 13 again. Curious to see what will happen with number 155, but we reckon this one will disappear...

The Olympisch Stadion then. Beerschot has always played on the ground where the current stadium is built. A real and actual stadium was however only finalized in 1920 for the Olympics held in Antwerp in 1920. Originally this was a magnificent stadium with a lot of terracing and wooden stands. And it has seen a lot of beautiful history.

Did you know for instance Belgium was the very first World Cup winner after having won the football tournament of the Olympics in 1920? This was the very first tournament the FIFA organised after agreements with the Olympic Committee (if it wasn't for WWI, this would have happened sooner). And we do have to admit there were some dubious actions in the final against Czechoslovakia (they left the pitch after not agreeing to a couple of decisions of the referee and were disqualified - but Belgium was leading the game...). Nevertheless, we should get that star on our Belgian shirts!

This ground is also the place where The Netherlands played their very first international game ever. They played Belgium and they won in extra time after having played 1-1 within 90 minutes. This was in 1905. It's a shame though the stadium was completely renovated in 2000 after KFC Germinal Ekeren moved to the Olympisch Stadion (better known as 't Kiel).


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