GROUND // Stade Joseph Vanstraelen - Racing Ans Montegnée FC

Updated: Apr 2

Once upon a time, Montegnée, near Liège, had a first division club. For a very long time, this club played at national level. Unfortunately it is no longer existing, and the stadium has been put on the danger list. But this team we're talking about, still lives on a little bit.

First let's go all the way back to 1915. In only a couple of weeks time, Montegnée would get three brand new teams. Gosson Football Club was the first, but others would take their example very quickly. Montegnée Football Club and Esperance Football Club Montegnée competed with Gosson FC for three years. But then, in 1918, those three decided to become one big club. A merger happened and Racing Football Club Montegnée was born.

In 1923 already, RFC Montegnée played in the national divisions. Second division was Montegnée's home for two years, but then the club relegated to the newly created third divisions. In 1929, they were back in second. Even more so, after one year they managed to promote to the first division. RFC Montegnée ended the league before RSC Anderlecht, but still the team relegated to second division. Les Montagnards would slowly but surely fall back to the lowest leagues.

Six years of second division became 28 years of third division. Those third division years eventually became ten years fourth division before RFC Montegnée would disappear to the regional leagues for 20 years (after having played at the national level for 51 consecutive years!). For a short spell, they managed to return. In 1998, Les Montagnards were back in fourth division and they even made a one-year return to third division in 2005.

In 2011, the national years were completely over when RRFCM relegated to the regional leagues again. This time, they wouldn't spend 20 years there as the money factor was too big of an issue in 2014. The team folded and their matricule number disappeared. At the same time, Montegnée started discussion with the neighbouring R Ans FC and together they started a fresh club with a new matricule number.

Ans has quite the football history themselves. Already in 1906, they had a first team with Union Football Club Ansoise. This club was gone again in 1908, but that same year Ans Football Club was created. They managed to stay alive until 1921. On year earlier, a new Ans Football Club was created, but they never joined the Belgian FA. Eventually they disappeared as well.

1925 would be a better year as again a new Ans Football Club was created and this time the team lasted. Other teams followed their example, but only Ans FC stayed alive. In 1942, they even managed to reach the national levels (in third division). Up until 1967, they would regularly play the national levels with frequent stays in third division.

Because afterwards it all went downhill for Ans FC. They hit rock bottom and in 2011 the village council even waved most of their debts. That wasn't sufficient though. In 2014, R Ans FC stopped all activities. The new team (in that unofficial merger) became Racing Ans Montegnée FC. A fresh start for those two teams that managed to get some nice results and have some players like Bernard Voorhoof, Jacques Secretin (topscorer in that one year in first division) and Paul Taylor (who was plucked away by RSC Anderlecht) at RRFC Montegnée, and Luciano D'Onofrio, Dominique D'Onofrio (who also played at Les Montagnards) and Jeanvion Yulu-Matondo at Ans FC.

The stadium has lost quite some of its beauty in the last couple of years, but it still remains an absolute eyecatcher. Rumour has it though everything would be broken down soon and a brand new yet simple complex would be built. Ladies and gentlemen, this is fading football cult.

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