GROUND // Stade Alphonse Bardet - R Gosselies Sports

Updated: Aug 30

East of Charleroi airport, you'll find Heppignies with a beautiful lost ground. But west of that same airport, there is a more or less similar stand, still in use. Royal Gosselies Sports has been playing their games there for 113 years now... in all peace and quiet.

In this small village - on its own until 1977, but ever since a part of Charleroi - several teams have tried, but one by one they failed. Sporting Club Transports Unis Gosselies managed to stay alive for only two years in the end of the 60s. SABCA Football Club Gosselies was there for 43 years, but disappeared in 1999. Union Sportive Gosselies existed for only thirteen years between 1923 and 1936. And Cercle Sportif Avenir Gosselies sang the football song for nine years before they folded in 1931.

All failed... All? No. One small club kept resisting the bankrupt virus. The very first team ever of Gosselies was created in 1908. Gosselies Sports first played in a local FA, but decided to join the Belgian FA after all in 1912. Thanks to an administrative error (the Belgian FA had 1916 as official entry, but in reality it was already in 1912) they didn't receive the rightful matricule number 56 in 1926, but rather the slightly more beautiful number 69.

While they were working their way up to the national divisions, the club underwent some team colour changes. They started off in full red and changed to black/white not long after. Via red/black they ended up with red/white. In 1938 they finally managed to reach the national divisions for the first time, third division at the time. Rumour has it shortly after that promotion (1939 or 1940) the remaining members of the long gone CS Avenir Gosselies and US Gosselies joined Gosselies Sports, but there's no documented proof of that. Eventually their real adventure would commence in 1941, with the still in use red/yellow colours.

The team (which had received the royal title in the meantime) promoted to second division in 1947, but that only lasted for three years. In 1951 they even took a turn for the worse and relegated back to the regional leagues. Between 1962 and 1966, and then again from 1970 to 1972, RGS managed to reach fourth division but afterwards they were doomed to play the regional leagues for several decades to come.

Shortly after their last spell in the national leagues, their women's division split off to continue independently. That club was, according to themselves, the first ladies team in Belgium. Sadly enough they too had to fold in 1998. In the meantime RGS would undertake serious attempts to promote back to the national leagues, where they belong.

It became a quest which took 47 years. And in 2019, it finally happened. RGS promoted to the third national division (the fifth level). And that's where they still are right now, although we have to admit Covid-19 might have something to do with that. Right now, in 2021, they finally have the opportunity to prove themselves in the national leagues... in their wonderful and lovely Stade Alphonse Bardet.

If you want to enjoy our articles in Dutch, you can read them here.