Sunday, December 30, 2007

KMSK Deinze – ROC Charleroi (29-12-2007)

Just two days before the end of the year, JB and I decided to have our last groundhop of the year. Because of the problems in the Tweede Klasse (Second Division), with law suits and temporary suspension of games, there were some games played on the last Saturday of 2007. We decided to drive to Deinze, behind Ghent. Almost one hour before kick-off we parked our car directly in front of the Burgemeester Van De Wielestadion, and bought tickets for the covered standing section at 10 euro a piece.

The canteen of the Koninklijke Maatschappij Sportkring Deinze (Royal Society Sports Circle Deinze) gave us warm shelter until kick-off. Laying just above the pitch, we could see the stadium filling up with some 500 people, 35 of whom from Charleroi, roughly 125 km to the south-east (and across the language border). (With some sense of exaggeration, the newspaper reported 1,198 people the next day.)

Both teams are in the second part of the league, with the R. Olympic Club de Charleroi-Marchienne, promoted last year from the Third Division, a couple of places below the hosts.

The Burgemeester Van De Wielestadion doesn’t look like much if you take the different stands separately, but all together creates quite a nice atmosphere. On one of the long sides is a small standing section, on the other a modern but small seating section (including VIP sections and secretariat). Behind one goal is no stand, although you can stand on the grassy hill itself, and on the other is a small uncovered standing section, which is partly for the away supporters, and the canteen. Officially, the total capacity is 8.000, including 790 covered seating, 1300 covered standing, and the rest uncovered standing.

The game was much what one could expect of two weaker teams in the Belgian Second Division: slow, defensive, many bad passes and controls. In the 4th minute the hosts had their first shot at goal. Although Deinze was a bit stronger, it would be Charleroi that had the best chances, including a strong counter-attack in the 23rd minute. Still, after an unsuccessful attempt two minutes earlier, Deinze scored 1-0 through a great free kick from roughly 20 meters. Charleroi would have a chance to equalize, during a minute-long scrimmage in front of the Deinze goal, but failed. Thus, 1-0 was also the half time score.

During the half time I tested the snacks cart: the sausage was remarkably meaty, for a Belgian sports snack, but couldn’t compete with Thierry’s sausage in Hamoir. After that we took shelter for the cold in the other canteen, where we found some other away fans (which probably brings the total number at around 50). We then walked back to the covered standing section, where we took our place close to the ca. 20 ‘hardcore’ home supporters; the only ones singing in the stadium.

The second half was even poorer than the first. Deinze seemed unwilling to dictate the game, which gave moe space for Charleroi, which was largely unable. Because the visitors were attacking, the hosts would get more space for counters, which created some exciting moments in front of the goal. Unfortunately, however, the passing and positioning was very poor and few real chances were created.

Both teams had some three decent chances, of which Charleroi had the better ones, including a well played out combination with a horrible finish high over the goal in the 86th minute. But at that time most people in the stadium already knew that 1-0 would be the final score. Not because Deinze was so solid in defense, but because Charleroi never gave the impression that they were able to score.

Sympathetic to the cold supporters, who also had to face some snowy rain, the referee hardly counted any extra time and we were extra happy that our car was parked in front of the stadium. It surely was real winter-hop: cold, dark, and rough football. However, I could imagine the Burgemeester Van de Wielestadion to be quite a nice place in the summer. I’m not sure there will be more people, or atmosphere, however.

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