On our big tour in East Flanders, Belgium we also paid a visit to the beautiful small city of Ronse. Not far from the language border with Wallonnia there is a lot of football history to be found. One of the oldest teams in the country, matricule number 38, is the current KSK Ronse. KSK Ronse is in fact a merger between Club Ronse and ASSA Ronse in 1987.
With Club Ronse being almost as old as ASSA Ronse, we'll mainly concentrate ourselves on the history of ASSA. Obviously because we still have something great coming up in the next couple of weeks. ;-) Football history in Ronse started in 1906 with the creation of Association Sportive Renaisienne (AS Renaisienne). Later on the name was changed into ASSA Ronse. Only two years later Football Club Renaisien was founded (after a dispute at ASSA Ronse) and up until 1987 it was a battle between the two to be number one in Ronse.
After having played at different locations ASSA finally settled at the Vier Maartlaan (a stadium still existing, but completely closed when we were there - so we still have something scheduled in Ronse). During the 20s ASSA first reached second division, but after the restructuring of the competition in 1926 they fell back to the regional leagues again. In 1937 they came back to second division and encountered Club Ronse. Both teams had their biggest successes around that time.
But as of 1948 it started to go downhill. ASSA relegated to third and later on fourth division (even with Raymond Goethals as their goalie) and during the 60s it became a complete disaster. By 1973 they even had to take a hit in the lowest regional league there is. Club Ronse fell back as well and in 1987 the logical decision was made to join forces again, after almost 80 years. The new team name became KSK Ronse and the matricule number of ASSA was kept. All of this happened under the supervision and support of Orphale Crucke, chairman of ASSA during the 80s.
To completely start over a new stadium was built, which was named after Orphale Crucke (end of the 80s - early 90s). The two other stadiums are still existing though. And it seemed that the merger was the start of the rise. KSK started off in the second highest regional league and in 1990 (with Francky Dury as coach) they won promotion to the top regional league. One year later they ended the table as runner up and promoted to national football again. In 2000 a next promotion followed and in 2001 they finally returned to second division after so many decades.
Ever since KSK Ronse has been going up and down in national football (currently the second amateur division - tier 4 in national football) and it's for sure they are there to stay. Hopefully they will once go back to second division to relive their biggest successes again. Maybe they'll attract names like former Ronse players Daniel Camus, Tjörven De Brul, Alexandre Frutos and Raymond Goethals again.
Although the Orphale Cruckestadion is fairly new it already shows a certain amount of decay and soul/passion. We didn't expect much of their current stadium, but it really surprised us. Especially the terracing and standing area are eye catchers.