Sporting Hasselt has been on our to do list for way too long. It was about time we took action and recently we finally visited them during their home game against KFC Duffel. Sporting Hasselt has a very interesting history and it goes all the way back to the early years in the 20th century.
Hasselt saw their first football team being founded in 1908. That first team was Excelsior FC Hasselt. 14 years later they would receive matricule number 37, making them one of the oldest teams in Belgium. Already in 1911 Excelsior reached the national divisions, second division at that time. Up until the start of WWI they would play there. After the war Excelsior went back to the regional leagues. In 1921 they returned to national football, but again for a short period (until 1925). A year later they would return already but then to the newly created third division. In 1930 they managed to promote to second division. Between 1933 and 1938 they briefly went back to third division. As of 1938 Excelsior would remain for a longer period in second division.
The early 50s were the start of a bad period. In 1951 Excelsior relegated back to third division and one year later (after the restructuring of Belgian football) Excelsior had to relegate to the newly created fourth division. In 1955 things even took a turn for the worse when they relegated back to the regional leagues, returning to fourth division in 1957. In 1964 it was decided to join forces with the neighbouring Hasseltse VV.
Hasseltse VV, also one of the older teams with matricule number 65, was created in 1908 as Voetbalkring Vlug en Vrij Hasselt. In 1909 they joined the Belgian FA, around the same period as a third team in Hasselt did under the name of L'Avenir Football Club de Hasselt. In 1912 Avenir reached second division (playing derby's against Excelsior), but already after one year they relegated. In 1916 however Avenir and the earlier mentioned Vlug en Vrij joined forces and became Hasseltsche Voetbalvereeniging. In 1917 the new team joined the Belgian FA again and the matricule number given was based on that year.
Hasseltse VV reached third division in 1927 playing derby's again against Excelsior. In 1930 they relegated, returning again in 1931 where they would play many more derby's again. In 1935 Hasseltse VV relegated back to the regional leagues. It would take until 1945 before they managed to come back to third division, but two years later they relegated again. Where Excelsior had a bad 50s decade, Hasseltse VV had the exact opposite. In 1955 they returned to the national leagues, being fourth division and four years later they returned to third division. In 1961 the inevitable happened and VV relegated back to fourth division.
In 1963 Hasseltse VV won their league, but instead of promoting they had to relegate due to competition fraude. One year later they decided to join forces with Excelsior. The matricule number of Excelsior was kept and the new team name was KSC Hasselt. A few former board members of VV didn't like the merger and founded their own new team; Hasselt VV. That team always played in the regional leagues and underwent a merger in the meantime. They merged with RKC Hasselt (a merger on its own between RH Rapertingen and FC Camara) to become FC Torpedo Hasselt. Currently they still play in the regional leagues.
The new Sporting Club Hasselt also merged the colours (green/white from Excelsior and blue/white from VV) and continued playing in fourth division. After two years, in 1966 the team promoted to third division and when the 70s started the golden era began. In 1977 for instance they promoted to second division and in 1979 they reached first division for the very first time ever. After only one year unfortunately they had to go back to second division. During the 80s they stayed there but in 1989 the time came to play in third division. In 1996 they even relegated to fourth division and to make things even worse KSC Hasselt relegated to the regional leagues in 1998.
In 2001 yet another merger happened. This time the other party was KSK Kermt. The new team name became KS Kermt-Hasselt continuing with the matricule number of KSK Kermt and using the grounds of KSK Kermt the first two years. In 2003 the team returned to Hasselt.
KSK Kermt first saw football daylight in 1927 as Sportkring Kermt. They only made the change to the Belgian FA in 1941. Up until 1993 KSK Kermt always played in the regional leagues. That was the year they first reached national football, fourth division. In 1998 they even promoted to third division, playing there until the merger with KSC Hasselt in 2001. The very first year they relegated to fourth division. Another year later, after the move back to Hasselt, they went back to third division. In 2006 the name was changed into Koninklijke SK Hasselt, but it didn't inspire them as they relegated back to fourth division. By 2008 money was invested and the plan was made to go back to second division within the next five years. It seemed to be working as the year after they promoted to third division.
But internal conflicts prevented them from taking the final step and in 2011 the team had to file for bankruptcy. Stijn Stijnen (goalkeeper at that time as goalkeeper (born in Hasselt and played for the youth teams of KSC Hasselt)) saved the team early 2012. The team name was changed into Sporting Hasselt and although they relegated to fourth division in 2012 they returned to third division in 2013. In 2016 they even managed to secure their spot in the first amateur league after the restructuring of Belgian football. Unfortunately the year after they relegated to second amateur division where they currently play.
One massive piece of history and we truly hope Sporting Hasselt once will return to second division.