One of the most beautiful stadiums in Belgium currently not being used by any A team definitely is the Puyenbekestadion in Sint-Niklaas. For almost 100 years it's an absolute gem and it has hosted football in almost all Belgian divisions throughout all of these decades. Sadly enough it's only being used by the B team of the renewed SK Beveren (KVRS Waasland-SK Beveren).
It all started in 1922 for this stadium when Sint-Niklaasche Sportkring started playing there. That team was originally founded in 1909 as SK Sint-NIklaas Waes, but they only played friendlies until they ceased all activities when WWI started. In 1920 they started over as Football Club Beerschot, changing their name into Voetbalvereeniging Beerschot Sint-Niklaas in 1921. Unfortunately they had to change their name into Sint-Niklaasche Sportkring in 1922 after a law suit from Beerschot AC due to the use of the name Beerschot. Shortly after they joined the Belgian FA.
By the end of the 20s the team reached third division and in 1931 second division. Only for one year though, but during WWII they promoted twice in a short time. In 1944 they managed to reach first division for the first time. Three years later, in 1947, they relegated back to second division. The name was changed into Sint-Niklaasse SK the same year. After becoming a royal team in 1951, they changed their name again in 1974 into K Sint-Niklase SK.
Up until the early 80s they mainly played in second division, apart from three seasons when they shortly played in third division. In 1984 Sint-Niklase SK finally went back to first division, but again it was a short spell; one season. In 1987 they even ended last in second division and due to some reason they had to start the next season in fourth division. In 1989 they did return to second division already. That was also the year when they merged with Royal Excelsior AC Sint-Niklaas.
Excelsior was the second team in Sint-Niklaas, founded in 1922 as Excelsior Football Club Saint-Nicolas. That team already played football since 1912 as Football Club Excelsior Saint-Nicolas and they joined the Belgian FA in 1918, but quickly dissolved. Excelsior was dismissed from the FA in 1921 due to long inactivity. In 1927 they changed their name into Excelsior Athletic Club Sint-Niklaas.
They remained in regional football until 1936 when they promoted to third division and national football, in the same league as Sint-Niklase SK. In 1939 Excelsior relegated back to regional football, but directly after the war, in 1945, they went back to third division. In 1952 they relegated to the newly created fourth division, returning to third division after only one year. But by the time it was 1956 Excelsior was back in regional football. Up until the merger Excelsior always played in the regional leagues.
After the merger in 1989 K Sint-Niklase SK and Excelsior AC Sint-Niklaas continued as K Sint-Niklase SK Excelsior. The first few years they almost hit the jackpot a couple of times, only just missing out on promotion to first division. But as the 90s progressed the results went down. In 1996 they had one year in third division and as of 1999 they definitely went to third division. In 2000 it was all over for K Sint-Niklase SK Excelsior as they went up in KSC Lokeren to become Sporting Lokeren Sint-Niklaas Waasland and moved to Daknam.
For two years the stadium remained empty until Red Star Waasland moved to Puyenbekestadion in 2002. They went up in SK Beveren in 2010 and ever since Puyenbeke hasn't seen any A football anymore.
The two old Sint-Niklaas teams have had quite some big names throughout all of these years. A couple of them are Regi Van Acker, Nico Claesen, Georges Leekens, Stefan Leleu, Danny Veyt and Souleymane Oulare.
Although there is no A football anymore, we are glad the stadium is still being used by the B team of KVRS Waasland-SK Beveren. They usually play on Monday evenings, so we suggest to visit a game whenever you can. Beautiful grandstand, wonderful floodlights and amazing terracing to be seen there.