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GROUND // Philippe Destryckerstadion - FC Negenmanneke

A few weeks back we were already in the Sint-Pieters-Leeuw area near Brussels. Now we are back we another absolute gem. In Ruisbroek, a part of Sint-Pieters-Leeuw and not to be confused with the Ruisbroek near Puurs, Antwerp, we can find the Philippe Destryckerstadion. Until 2014 this was the homeground of Ruisbroek FC. Since that year FC Negenmanneke is playing in the stadium.

Ruisbroek FC was founded in 1922 and was one of those teams that remarkably made it to the national leagues. A first time in 1931 (third division at the time) and after WWII a second and third time. Three times it didn't really last long. The fourth shot was the good one. In 1955 they returned (fourth division) and they managed to stay for a number of years, even nearly missed promotion to third division.

In 1962 Ruisbroek FC relegated back to the regional leagues and never came back again. They even dropped to the lowest regional league there is. Across the next 50 years they went all over the regional leagues. But then financial problems started. In 2011/2012 the team was completely redesigned to start over from scratch, but it didn't offer any solution. In 2013 the Belgian FA deleted them from all registers and the team ceased all activities. Very sad to see a part of old Belgian history disappearing, starting of the careers of Michel de Groote and Jef Jurion.

Luckily a neighbouring team saw a lot of opportunities in the empty stadium. In order to improve their accomodations FC Negenmanneke moved from their own stadium in Negenmanneke to the abandoned Philippe Destryckerstadion (which had a grandstand in the green/yellow team colours of Ruisbroek FC up until 2014) in 2014. The old stadium of FC Negenmanneke was a free to be used pitch which has been destroyed already in the meantime. FC Negenmanneke is one of the younger teams in the Sint-Pieters-Leeuw area, being founded in 1974. The history is a bit vague for us as there is very little details to be found about the team. They did win the championship in the lowest regional leagues in 2000 and 2015, but sadly enough that never started an ignition to higher divisions as they are back in that lowest league again.

It does have quite an interesting name (Negenmanneke roughly translates into Ninesmallman). It actually derives from the fact this village was some kind of a toll booth for people on the way to Anderlecht and Brussels. The amount they had to pay was a "negenmanneke"; the nickname of a coin of 1/8th of a stuiver (the Dutch 5 cents back in the days).

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