Thursday, January 24, 2008
K. Bocholter VV – KFC Mol Wezel (20-01-2008)
Although, strictly speaking, this was not my first hop of the year – I saw the hockey game HC Slavia Praha – HC Slovan Ústečtí Lvi in Prague a week before – this Sunday I did see my first football game of the year. Accompanied by my loyal fellow-hopper JB and my girlfriend MG, we set off to the Belgian province of Limburg to watch a game between two mid-table teams of the Derde Klasse B (Third Division B).
After a scenic route through memory lane, we arrived at the humble Damburg Stadion, which can hold a maximum of 3.062 people and consists of only two small stands on parts of the two long sides of the pitch. The new stadium is next to the old ground, where K. Bocholter VV played its games below the four national divisions until 1998.
We tried to get tickets for the main stand, which probably doesn’t hold more than 300 people, but were told that we couldn’t have tickets next to each other anymore. So, we decided to slum it, and at 8.50 euro bought tickets for the standing sections (i.e. everywhere else around the pitch).
Attached to the ticket office was the one snack station, which I passed without noticing at first. Not only is it positioned very badly, i.e. between the guy who sells the tickets and the guys who checks them, it also works with false advertisement. The big sign on the building says “Hot-Dog”, but fronts a picture of a hamburger. To the confusion of the guy in front of me, however, it doesn’t sell hamburgers. The only items they sell are hotdogs and “broodjes frikandel” (a sandwich with a meaty snack); the last one I sampled with some disappointment.
While K. Bocholter VV is a reasonably old team, founded in 1923, KFC Racing Mol-Wezel is one of the many merger clubs in Belgium, founded in 2002 out of a merger of K. Wezel Sport FC and KSV Mol. Both teams made it to the Third Division only recently, after a short stint in the Fourth Division and longer stints in sub-national leagues. As Mol and Wezel are not so far away from Bocholt, between 35 and 40 km, the visitors had taken some 100 fans with them, which made up between one-quarter to one-fifth of the 400-500 spectators this afternoon.
After a beverage in the cozy canteen above the main stand, which had a waiter (!), we took our place at the side of the pitch, literally at 2 meters of the pitch. The weather was typical Belgian: grey, windy, a bit rainy, but not too cold. The first half was very poor. Both teams fought hard and fair, but seemed unable to provide good passes. Instead, we focused on the endless complaining of some players (most notably the No. 10 of Bocholt, Jimmi Catgiu), as well as the two players we did know, both at Mol-Wezel: Kurt Van De Paar, a big youth talent of Anderlecht, who failed at FC Twente and Trabzonspor before ending in the lower regions of Belgian football at only 30, and Patje “Boem Boem” Goots, a cult legend who at 41 has scored over 400 goals in the various national leagues of Belgium. This all notwithstanding, half time score was 0-0.
The second half seemed to be much more of the same. But in the 60th minute the only remarkable player on the pitch showed his class. Goots got the ball inside the penalty box, fooled the goalie by cutting left rather than shooting, simply got free from a defender, and then kicked the ball in the far corner: 0-1! From that moment on the visitors set back around their penalty box and the hosts desperately tried to create clear chances. In fact, in the next five minutes Bocholt created two big chances, but failed to score.
In the 65th minute Goots was substituted. Even more the number 9 of Mol Wezel, Jeroen Van De Kerkhof, became the man of the match. After several big chances of the hosts, and some impressive safes of the Mol Wezel goalie, “Jeroen” (as the supporters next to us all the time shouted) set up an attack, got beyond the goalie, and rather than shooting himself laid off to a team mate, who thankfully scored the 0-2. Even though Bocholt had much more of the play, the victory of Mol-Wezel was deserved. They had the clearer chances and the cooler players.
Overall, it was not a remarkable groundhop. Granted, it was nice to see Pat Goots score his fourhundredwhatevers goal, but the setting was not impressive and neither was the level of play. I guess the best thing about K. Bocholter VV is that it is not a merger club… yet!