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GROUND // Universiteitsplein - KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk B and youth

With the latest developments in Belgian second division we felt it was interesting to go and visit the old ground of KFCO Wilrijk, which became the current KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk. The Universiteitsplein (or Fort VI as it's often being called) was the home ground of the former KFCO Wilrijk and is currently being used by the B team and a couple of the youth teams of KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk.

Most people will know already we aren't talking about the old Beerschot, but rather the former Wilrijk team. This was founded in 1921 as Football Club Wilrijck and received the rather beautiful matricule number 155 in 1926. The same year FC Wilrijck first reached the national divisions (the newly created third division at that time). Unfortunately it was for only one year, but when third division was extended in 1931 the team managed to come back to the national leagues. This time their spell lasted two years.

In 1935 they were back again and this time (third time is a charm it seems) they had more success. In 1937 they even managed to promote to second division. Two years later they relegated back to third division, where they would stay until 1949. As of then they mainly played the regional leagues.

Just before their return in the national leagues (in 1994) KFC Wilrijk (as the name was dutchified during the 60s-70s) merged with the younger team Olympia Wilrijk 72. Olympia was founded in 1972 and always played the regional leagues. As of then the team name was KFC Olympia Wilrijk and as mentioned before, one year later the team would rejoin the national leagues. Up until the year 2000 this would be with quite good results, only just missing out on promotion a couple of times.

Up until 2013 KFCO Wilrijk would be a team going up and down the fourth national division and the highest regional division on a very regular basis. In 2013 however Belgian football was shocked again. After the bankruptcy of the old glory Beerschot in 1999 and the name change and move of KFC Germinal Ekeren the Beerschot legacy continued to exist (we went by the old Ekeren grounds earlier already - In 2013 however (only 14 years after the first one) K Beerschot AC (as KFC Germinal Ekeren was called since 2011) was bankrupt again. Another team in Antwerp, KFCO Wilrijk, was approached by the old Beerschot AC board members and they agreed to become the new Beerschot. The name changed into KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk (The K part was denied at first, but approved in 2017), colours had purple and white being added and they moved into the Olympisch Stadion. Fort VI was since used for the B and youth teams.

Since 2013 KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk has set a record when it comes to promoting. Year after year they went up one division, starting off in the highest regional league in 2013. By 2017 the team managed to reach the professional leagues (second division) and for the second time in Wilrijks history they managed to get there. Ever since the team is fighting for a spot in first division, which would be a first for Wilrijk, but a coming back for the Beerschot fans.

The Universiteitsplein ground (or Fort VI), boy - we are glad this is still in use. It's a very nice and relaxed ground with two fairly modern stands. What is unique is the combination of Wilrijk and Beerschot logos and the last piece of the very old entrance gates. Definitely worth a visit!


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