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© 2018 Pitch'd Groundhopping

GROUND // Rue Emile Muraille - FC Herstal

Unfortunately we were a couple of years too late to visit the Stade Pré-Wigy (you can still find pictures here - http://extremefootballtourism.blogspot.nl/2017/11/belgium-as-herstalienne-societe-royale.html). We missed out on a great opportunity, as the Stade Pré-Wigy was just absolutely phenomenal. But we still wanted to visit the current stadium of FC Herstal, the team that played in the majestic Stade Pré-Wigy. These days they play in the Rue Emile Muraille, still in Herstal.



FC Herstal is actually one of the oldest teams in Belgium and with a rich history as well, although you wouldn't expect it looking at where they play now and what division they play in now.



Before WWI there already were a number of teams in Herstal and shortly after the war they decided to join forces. Herstal FC, Alliés Herstal, La Préalle FC and Milmort FC became Association Sportive Herstalienne in 1919. Milmort FC wasn't 100% ok with this and not long after they re-started their team. More on that - follow this link https://www.facebook.com/pg/pitchdgroundhopping/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1519148121545431. By the time it was 1922 AS Herstalienne reached the national leagues, second division at that time. A wonderful series of national football followed.




In 1926 a third division was created and the team had to relegate. After that they mainly played third division apart from two years in 1934-35 and 1935-36. In 1936 they were even punished for bribery during the year and they were put back in the regional leagues.



It seems a war always inspired the team, because during WWII AS Herstalienne came back to third division. In 1949 they even promoted to second division again. In 1952 however, history repeated and the team had to relegate due to a restructuring in Belgian football and the creation of the fourth division. The first years AS Herstalienne often played for promotion to second division, but in 1958 the opposite happened - relegation to fourth division.



In 1963 they relegated back to the regional leagues, but they would return to the national leagues again. in 1967 they went back to fourth division and in 1973 AS Herstalienne even made it back to third division, but in 1974 and again in 1977 two relegation followed. During the 80s AS Herstalienne would return to fourth division a couple of times but in 1988 it was over. Only regional football for the team from now on.




In 2003 they even went to the third regional league, but slowly they crawled back up again. Until 2009 when AS Herstalienne became FC Herstal after a merger with a rather young team; Jeunesse Sportive Molise-Herstal. A year before that they had already left the beautiful Stade Pré-Wigy and moved to the Rue Emile Muraille.



Since 2016 FC Herstal is finally back in the national leagues after having promoted to the third amateur league. It's looking good for the team and who knows in a couple of years we'll see them going up a couple of leagues again.