We don't know any groundhoppers who don't have a soft spot for lost grounds. In the northwest of Charleroi lies a magnificent lost ground with a marvellous history. Officially it's on the grounds of Heppignies, but the neighbouring villages Lambusart and Fleurus are heavily involved as well.
Just to be complete, we'll give a brief summary of all parties. The very beginning was way back in 1909 in Fleurus. Etoile Sportive Fleurusienne was founded, but it would take until 1914 before they joined the Belgian FA. Not long after that they received matricule number 99. ES Fleurusienne would always play in the regional leagues, even after they changed their name into Royale Union Sportive Fleurusienne in 1962.
This change of name happened by no coincidence at the same time as the disappearance of matricule number 1451. That one belonged to Royal Fleurus Sports, which was founded in 1929. They also stayed in the regional leagues. Without any doubt the renewed RUS Fleurusienne called itself the number one team of the village, or perhaps some of the board members of the old R Fleurus Sports joined the new RUS. Whatever happened, there was no official merger between the two.
Meanwhile, Heppignies also had its own club, but this unfortunately didn't last long. Football Club Heppignois started in 1927, but they never reached any high levels. However, the orange/black colours were born. The team ceased to exist in 1939, but during the war a new team would come to the village. Jeunesse Sportive Heppignies was created in 1944 and would adopt exactly the same team colours. It isn't clear though whether they continued to play on the same pitch as the previous club.
But again, everything would remain in the regional leagues. Until 2002, because that was the year JS Heppignies merged with RSC Lambusart-Fleurus. The matricule number of JSH disappeared, that of Lambusart-Fleurus remained. The latter started in 1949 as Sporting Club Lambusart and they would stay in the regional leagues until 1978. In that year, they underwent their first merger. The earlier mentioned RUS Fleurusienne was the club they merged with. SC Lambusart-Fleurus received the royal titel in 1999, but as of 2002 the team name became Royal Jeunesse Sporting Club Heppignies-Lambusart-Fleurus.
Just before that merger, SC Lambusert-Fleurus did manage to reach the national levels in the 90s. Fourth division to be precise. After the merger, they continued there, but the home stadium of Heppignies became the new A-ground. In 2003 they finished in fifth place, but a year later the team relegated back to the regional leagues. The club went back and forth between fourth division and the top regional league, but in 2010 RJSCHLF (wow) promoted to third division.
Financially, it became harder and harder to survive. Three years later, in 2013, it became so difficult that they made a harsh decision for the team. Get ready for a typical Belgian football trade story. In the neighbouring Couillet, RACS Couillet had their home ground for decades. Between 2009 and 2011 they temporarily moved to La Louvière (to try and replace the dissolved first division team there). Eventually they returned to the region of Charleroi. In 2013 they bought the club and matricule number of Heppignies-Lambusart-Fleurus, but kept both teams.
The first team was put under the matricule number of the former orange/blacks, but they moved to Charleroi. The beautiful orange grandstand became a lost ground and didn't see any football activities ever since. The club also selected a team to play with matricule number 94 in fourth division, but at the same time it was put up for sale.
A last dance for matricule numbers happened in 2014. RFC Sérésien (matricule number 23) sold their matricule number to the new merger from Charleroi (the one with two matricule numbers). The people from Charleroi sold matriculer number 5192 to the neighbours from Boussu Dour Borinage, who sold their own matricule 167 to RFC Sérésien. Matricule number 23 merged with number 94 and disappeared. Boussu Dour Borinage changed their name into Francs Borains after all of this. Are you guys still with me?
With all of this, the people of Heppignies were left behind with no football at all, and that for eight years straight. The abandoned stadium has been taken over for a number of years now by the horsing organisation just next to the pitch. A visit to this stadium is an absolute must, but it'll never be able to explain the complex history of all of these teams. And it doesn't have to. Just enjoy what once was on this spot...
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