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GROUND // Stade Communal des Bas-Prés - UR Namur

In the province of Namur there aren't a lot of teams with a big football history. Union Royale Namur is one of those exceptions.

In the early 1900s there were several teams in Namur. A lot of teams disappeared quickly or merged with each other like hell. Sporting Club Namurois, Atheneum Externat Football Club, Union Sportive Namuroise and Namur Football Club all disappeared within a few years. In 1920 Red Star, Excelsior Sporting Club and Union Sportive Jamboise merged to become Namur Sports. This would become the first real stable team in Namur. The team received matricule number 156 and started playing in Jambes.

This team eventually reached national leagues in 1927, but it wasn't for long. In 1931 the team moved to Stade des Champs-Elysées in Namur. The same year they promoted again to the national leagues. Namur Sports often had to play against the neighbouring and rivaling Wallonia Association Namur. Remarkable is the fact the two rivaling teams merged in 1941 to become Union Royale Namur, the team as we know it now. During WWII the team had to play at the fields of Stade Bas-Prés, due to the German occupation of Stade des Champs-Elysées. During those war years UR Namur did have some successes. At the end of the war they promoted to second division.

During the next decennia the team often played in second and third division. After WWII UR Namur moved back to Stade des Champs-Elysées. In 1977 however the name of the stadium was changed after a dramatic incident during the cup match against RSC Anderlecht. Michel Soulier collapsed and died on the pitch. To honor Michel the name of the stadium was officially changed into Stade Michel Soulier.

Unfortunately this also meant the start of a dark era for UR Namur. In 1980 they relegated to fourth division and in 1984 they even relegated to the regional leagues for a while. WA Namur (which was refounded after the merge with UR Namur in 1941) played in third division at that time and shortly was the better team in Namur. Luckily for UR Namur they didn't have to play in regional leagues long. In 1989 they even promoted back to third division. This was also the year they merged with Royale Entente Sportive Jamboise (a second merge with a team out of Jambes) and became RFC Namur. UNfortunately they relegated back to fourth division.

In 1997 they changed their name back into UR Namur and promoted to third division again. 2001 proved to be a black year again for the team. They relegated to fourth division again, but they also had to leave Stade Michel Soulier because a parking lot was going to be placed there for the Centre Hospitalier Régional. These pictures show the remains of Stade Michel Soulier. Lovely they kept the terracing around the parking lot.

UR Namur moved to Stade Bas-Prés again, the hometown of rivaling WA Namur. The year after the team moved to Stade ADEPS (where it all started early 1900s) in Jambes, but the atmosphere was cold and dark. The results weren't good either.

UR Namur quickly decided to move back to the renovated stadium Stade Communal des Bas-Prés (the new name of the stadium as of then) and merged with Racing Wallonia Saint-Servais. This was in fact the rivaling WA Namur after their merge with Union Sportive Namur. For the second time UR Namur swallowed WA Namur and took over everything. Up until now the team switched between third and fourth division with a short intermezzo in second division in 2007-2008. At the moment the team is playing in fourth division again and talks are going on to move to the stadium in Jambes for a third time in its history. The fans already expressed their negative feedback, but we have the feeling the move is going to happen anyway.

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