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GROUND // Stade L Fourir - Royale Union Limbourg FC

Somewhere in a small village near the Ardennes, not that far from Verviers, one of the oldest teams in Belgium is playing in Stade L Fourir. In the community of Dolhain Union Limbourg FC plays with matricule number 9, making it one of the oldest still active football teams in Belgium. Quite surprising, looking at their geographical situation. But there is a very good reason behind it.

In 1896 RCS Verviétois was founded and one of the board members (René Joncker - remember that name as it will come back in the next couple of weeks) of RCS Verviétois (residing in Dolhain) wanted to have more competition in the near neighbourhood. Therefore he created the team of Dolhain FC in 1898. Something the team is very proud of, looking at the entrance gate of their Lambert Fourir stadium. The team would wander around in the Dolhain area before finally buying the grounds at the Beverie where their stadium still is located.

They bought the ground in 1922, a year that would form the start of an absolute peak period for Dolhain FC. In 1923 they received the honorary titel Royal, making the team name SR Dolhain FC. The same year second division was extended to two leagues, a division for which the team qualified for the very first time the year before. That season SR Dolhain FC ended 5th in their league, with one very remarkable result. A result which is up to this day still being spoken about in Dolhain (almost 100 years later). They won 1-0 from SC Anderlechtois, the team that became champion that year being an elevator team between first and second division in that decade. When you go to Dolhains own website there is a whole section that talks about that season and that game. Very interesting read (if your French is good enough). The two following years went a bit more stressful for Dolhain FC and in 1926 they relegated to the newly formed third division. Up until 1934 the team would go up and down between third division and the highest regional league. But between 1934 and 1967 Dolhain FC would never return to the national leagues again.

After having changed the stadium name into Stade Lambert Fourir in 1947 (the current stand was built in 1962 - the old stand used to be on the part where the current toilets are) it would take until 1967 before they would finally return to the national leagues. It only lasted one year though and after that they would never come back again. Across the next decades Dolhain FC went from good results in the highest regional league to relegating to the lowest division in Liège and back up again. It's very unfortunate Dolhain FC never made it back to the national leagues again. Their stadium definitely is equiped for it, with its charming beauty in the midst of the green. Absolutely beautiful.

The only remarkable item in their (recent) history) is the merger with FC Union Espagnole de Dolhain in 2014. The new team kept playing with Dolhain FCs matricule number and stayed in their stadium, but the team name got changed into Royale Union Limbourg FC to represent the area in which Dolhain is located; Limbourg.

Anecdote1: Dolhain FC had three known names playing for the team at one point; Eugène Christophe (later on referee on the very first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930), Ronald Foguenne (more known for his time at RFC de Liège, Sérésien, Standard, AA La Gantoise and Sporting Charleroi) and Karim M'Ghoghi (born in Belgium but played for the Moroccon national squad).

Anecdote2: The dugouts are not next to each other like in most stadiums, but across of each other. Very strange to see.


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