There is no team more discussed these days than K Lierse SK. There is no stadium more under debate these days than the Herman Vanderpoortenstadion, or het Lisp as true fans call it. K Lierse SK is no longer and the continuation in a new team is quite controversial. The stadium was on our to do list for far too long. We had been invited to visit them in their last professional game, but due to circumstances this wasn’t possible for us. We really felt bad about this, so we had to do this as soon as possible.
But first, let’s go back to the beginning. Lier first saw football in 1904 already, but not yet with an official team. That would take two years and a lot of discussions with the local police and a local noble man. In 1906 finally an official team would be founded. At first the founders wanted it to be a part of the Liersche Turnkring, but the deal fell through. A couple of weeks later, it was finally there… An independent Liersche Sportkring.
In 1908 Liersche SK joined the Belgian FA and in the next couple of years the team would go up and up. By 1920 (and it would have been sooner if there was no Great War) Liersche SK reached the national divisions for the very first time. But it didn’t stop there. In 1926 first division welcomed them. And again six years later, in 1932, Liersche SK would win their very first title, mainly thanks to Bernard Voorhoof; still one of the legends in Lier.
The next decade Liersche SK dominated Belgian football together with Beerschot AC and Antwerp FC. Ten years later, in 1942, a second title followed; again thanks to Voorhoof. And more titles would have been won if there wasn’t a second Great War. In 1940 they were leading when everything was stopped due to the start of the war and in 1941 they won an unofficial competition. But after the war Liersche SK suffered from the losses. In 1948 they relegated to second division; their very first relegation ever. But by 1953 they returned to first division again, together with another team from Lier – Lyra.
In 1960 a third title followed, quite unexpectedly and for the first time they went to play in Europe against FC Barcelona. After that they went back to being a team in the middle. In 1969 they did win their very first cup and again Europe followed with games against Machester City. During the 70s they wouldn’t win anything in Belgium, but due to good results from time to time Liersche SK did manage to play in Europe quite regularly, playing against teams like Leeds United, PSV and AC Milan.
In 1972 something big did happen in Lier. The two teams from Lier decided to merge. TSV Lyra ceased all activities and joined Liersche SK to become K Lierse SV. True Lyra fans started a new Lyra TSV however so yet again there were two teams in the city. In 1982 the team name changed back into K Lierse SK. Just before that they lost Jan Ceulemans to Club Brugge, but did manage to attract a new wonder boy; Erwin Vandenbergh. He became an absolute star in the team.
After Vandenbergh left to RSC Anderlecht, Lierse SK had problems getting good results. A second relegation followed in 1986. By 1988 however they returned already. And a new age of success started. In 1994 Eric Gerets started as coach and European football two times in a row he made Lierse champion again in 1997. In 1999 they would also win their second cup.
But the new millennium brought dark times. The team invested a lot of money without any return on investment and in 2006 Lierse SK was mentioned in the Ye-case (match fixing and gambling). One year later they relegated for a third time and it even had all looks the team would have to cease all activities. The Egyptian investing holding, Wadi Degla, saved the team from bankruptcy however. Thanks to this Lierse returned to first division in 2010.
But the struggles remained. Coaches came and went in rapid tempo and the results weren’t always that great. In 2015 a fourth relegation followed and we would never see the team back in first division. When the Belgian FA restructured the football competition they even came very close to going to the amateur leagues, but they managed to save their asses on the very last game day of the season.
But this season the team had financial problems again. Wadi Degla wanted to sell Lierse SK and finally, because all deals with possible buyers fell through, the team did have to file for bankruptcy.
Some of the former players of coaches? Bernard Voorhoof, Karel Kiebooms, Herman Helleputte (player and coach), Jan Ceulemans, Erwin Vandenbergh, Dany Verlinden, Johan Boskamp, Gert Verheyen, David Brocken, Nico Van Kerckhoven, Kjetil Rekdal, Bob Peeters, Eric Van Meir, Tomasz Radzinski, Eiji Kawashima, Matz Sels, Joan Capdevila, Hernan Losada, Anthony Limbombe and about hundred others – too many to mention them all.
It was built in 1925 and used to be named Lisperstadion, named after the area where the stadium was located – het Lisp. Fans and oldschool football lovers still call it het Lisp. The name these days however is Herman Vanderpoortenstadion. There were four stands for a number of decades, but after the fourth stand had been demolished in 2017 the stadium now only has three stands. The stadium is an absolute gem and can be considered to be one of the best for groundhoppers like us.
Ah yes – the future. K Lierse SK isn’t dead. It’s even far from it. Immediately after they ceased all activities a number of talks started. Unfortunately two parties started two different negotiations. And a few days ago both talks were confirmed. Result? We now have two Lierse continuations…
The former board members of K Lierse SK had talks with teams like KFC Duffel and KFC Oosterzonen Oosterwijk. KFC Duffel (https://www.facebook.com/pg/pitchdgroundhopping/photos/?tab=album&album_id=645067655620153) wanted to keep their own identity, but Oosterzonen (https://www.facebook.com/pg/pitchdgroundhopping/photos/?tab=album&album_id=726861697440748) did have some interest in a merger. Result? KSK Lierse Kempenzonen will move from Oosterzonen to Lier and will play in the Herman Vanderpoortenstadion.
The second team now. The fans united in Lierse Voor Altijd started discussions with K Lyra TSV (https://www.pitchd.tv/home-1/ground-luc-de-rijck-stadion-lyra-tsv-sk-berlaar). An agreement was found and for the second time (after the first merger in 1972 with the original Lyra (https://www.pitchd.tv/home-1/ground-lyra-stadion-k-lyra-tsv-demolished)) Lyra and Lierse meet each other. This team is named K Lyra-Lierse SK and will play at Doelvelden, where K Lyra TSV currently plays. It is said most Lierse fans will follow the second team.
We are very curious for the development in the next couple of weeks and months.