Groundhopweekend October 2006
This weekend I had a colleague over from the
On Friday 27 October I took a train in
Stade de Reims – US Créteil (
We arrived in
Around 19.00 we arrived at the Stade Auguste Delaune, the stadium of Stade de Reims (sounds confusing, I know). Although Stade de Reims is a modest team in the Ligue Deux, it is building a hypermodern new stadium. When we visited it, only half of the stadium was built yet; one side behind a goal, and one long side. For 10 euro we bought a ticket for a corner side, after having eaten an americain merguez, and to our great surprise found ourselves in a pretty full (half) stadium. Our stand seemed mainly filled with kids. As more often in
Now, before I describe the game itself, let me enlighten those with little historical knowledge of the beautiful game. In the late 1950s Stade de Reims was a major player in European football. No, really, M-A-J-O-R! They were in the European Cup 1 finals twice, in 1956 and 1959, losing both games against the historic Real Madrid team of that time (which won five cup finals in a row and could therefore keep the Cup).
So, maybe the new stadium is an attempt to bring Stade de Reims back to the glory days. If so, they might want to replace the team as well. Despite the 7.434 spectators, of whom I guess some 40 came from Créteil (i.e. Paris), and a generally good atmosphere, the game never really exploded. The level was acceptable, but the play wasn’t too exciting. Interestingly, I got the impression that the vast majority of players in both teams were French, not some (cheap) Africans and Yugoslavs.
While we enjoyed the experience, we worried a bit about the omen. The first game of the weekend and a 0-0 score… what would await for us the next days?
After a good night sleep in a Formule 1 hotel around
VFL Borussia Mönchengladbach – Bayer
As I had ordered tickets in advance, which they send by mail to your home address, we didn’t have to stress to get into the stadium in time. In fact, I still had time for the most important aspect of a German football game, a Wurst. We had tickets a raison of 23 euro for the Süd Tribune, behind a goal and opposite to the Nordkurve, the side of the diehard Gladbach supporters. The game was almost sold-out with 51.227 spectators. The seats were very close to the away supporters, who, unfortunately, would have the most fun this afternoon. Already after 12 minutes
As I was tortured by the ‘performance’ of my Gladbach long enough, Z.B. and I decided to leave 7 minutes early, so that we could beat the traffic and not get into trouble with our second game of the day. Profiting from German organization, we were on the Autobahn around 17.30 and on our way back to Liège/Lüttich/Luik. Well before 19.00 we arrived in
RFC Sérésien – KVK
Nowadays there is a team in the Belgian Derde Klasse B (Third Division B) that calls itself, and is referred to,
We arrived to the Stade de Pairay almost an hour before the game. They only have one kind of tickets for adults at 9 euro a piece. The ticket itself looks like they used to years ago (really retro). From the outside it looked fairly impressive, but once inside it proved to be glory of the past. First of all, only the stands on the long side are used these days, and then mainly only one side. They do have a restaurant/cantina behind one of the goals, but this is for ‘VIPs’ (well, Very Important Persons in
Together with some 400-600 people, of whom some 100 from
What can I say about the half time entertainment: there was none. And another hot dog was out of the question too. So, we stayed put, got increasingly cold, and hoped the goals would continue. Unfortunately, the poor football continued, but no more goals were scored. Nevertheless, the RFC Sérésien is worth a visit, if only for the destitute surroundings of both the club and the city.
Having returned to
FC Twente – NEC (
FC Twente is the result of a merger in 1956 of two important clubs of early Dutch football, Enschedese Boys and Sportclub Enschede. The club has a solid support base in the eastern region of Twente, despite competition from Heracles from nearby
FC Twente starts like a tsunami, taking NEC by storm. Within 17 minutes they are 3-0 up! Not only does NEC defend poorly, FC Twente plays well and the former PSV youth player, Otman Bakkal, scored twice. Unfortunately, as happens in such games, after that the game slowly died. FC Twente remained concentrated, but not pushing, while NEC remained too weak to challenge the home team. 3-0 was also the half time score.
Together with the 13.225 other spectators we watched the second half go by much the same as the first half, but without the explosive start. While the football was at times quite technical and tactical, they were only sporadic highlights. Shortly before the end the home team scored one last time, making it a deserved 4-0 victory. With this fine victory Twente solidified its 4th position in the Dutch league. More importantly, with my visit to the Arke Stadion I have now visited all Dutch Eredivisie teams.