Bruges stadiums

22
April 2020

The Venice of the North has a very rich football history with its flagship clubs, the Club and the Cercle. At the beginning, it was everyone at home but forced, the two clubs became tenants of a single ground.
Historical review of the three main stadiums in Brugge.

Jan Breydelstadion

One city, two clubs

Club Brugge Football appeared in Bruges in 1891. The first club founded was the Brugsche Football Club and its members were genuinely pro-Flemish; its colors would be yellow and black. You should know that at the time, the bourgeoisie (and therefore the power) was in the hands of French speakers, whether Flemish or not. The demand for the Flemish language is already strong in Belgium and if most of the clubs are founded with French-speaking names (AA La Gantoise, CS Courtraisien, FC Malinois, Racing de Malines, etc.), some clubs nevertheless have a Flemish name from the start as in Bruges.
This club only has a very ephemeral existence and if it takes part in the foundation of URBSFA and in the very first championship in 1895, dissident members leave the club in 1894 to found FC Brugeois, its colors will be blue and black. The two clubs reunite in 1897 and merge to create FC Brugeois. They keep the colors blue and black and the Brugsche FC is already only a memory.

Cercle Brugge At the same time, in 1899, two small clubs (the Vlaamsche Football Club and the Rapid Football Club) merged to form the Cercle Sportif Brugeois. This new club is a section of the Alumni Association of the St. Francis Xavier Institute in Bruges, which also has tennis, cycling, running and cricket sections in addition to football. The colors of the Cercle are green and black. The merger of 1899 did not please everyone, however, and pro-Flemish dissidents left the Cercle to re-found Vlaamsche FC. Quickly, the club didn't appear to be viable and was quickly absorbed by the rivals of the Club Brugeois in 1902.

The rivalry between the two clubs is already very real and can be explained by the origin of these two clubs and in the sections of the population where these clubs seek their supporters.
The Cercle claims to be a Catholic club while the Club comes from the liberal bourgeoisie. This political and ideological rivalry is found at the time everywhere in Belgium and in Bruges, one must choose its side : either the Blauw & Zwart of the Club, or the Groen-Zwart of the Cercle.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

The first Flemish champion

Cercle Brugge For 15 years, Belgian football remained dominated by two cities : Brussels and Liège.
If many clubs were founded in Flanders (as everywhere in Belgium), it will be necessary to wait for the 1910-1911 season to see a club from the north of the country crowned Belgian Champion. This honor fell to the Cercle de Bruges. Two other titles will be added to the list of triumphs of the Cercle in 1927 and 1930. As for the Belgian Cup, this same Cercle distinguished itself by reaching the final in 1913 and winning the event in 1927. The Cercle will lose its level during the 1930's, alternating up and down between the D1 and D2.

As for its stadium, the Cercle will play for a decade on ground located at the "Smedenpoort". There is no grandstand and the changing rooms are located in an inn. In 1911, the club emigrated to the Torhoutsesteenweg and finally had a real stadium with a (wooden) grandstand, a cloakroom and a surrounding wall. However, these basic installations are no longer sufficient for the ambitions of the Cercle and a new field is acquired by Edgard De Smedt, founder of the club, in 1922. A large seated and covered grandstand as well as standing terraces surround the lawn and can accommodate 16,000 spectators. The stadium is soberly named “RCS Brugeois-stadion”. The death of De Smedt (who became president in 1937) in 1950 provided an opportunity for leaders to rename the stadium to Edgard De Smedtstadion.
The stadium has not changed until it closes in 1975, except for the appearance of artificial lighting in 1957.
Cercle Brugge During this time, the club failed to stabilize and for fifteen years alternated between D2 and D3. Inevitably, the public sulks the Cercle and the spans are regularly empty. However, a friendly match is organized between Stade Reims, at this time one of the best European clubs. The Cercle loses 1-4 but the public responds and 10,000 spectators line the spans of the Edgard De Smedtstadion.

The club will have to wait until the early 1970's to find the D1 sustainably, but will remain in the shadow of the Club. The Cercle’s only notable feat was its 1985 Belgian Cup victory against Beveren. There will also be some participation in the European Cup, but with little result.

Albert Dyserynckstadion

The rise of the Club

Club Brugge Except for a lost Belgian Cup final in 1914, the Club's prize list remained blank. The Blauw & Zwart will take advantage of the end of the Great War to finally win the first trophy in 1920 by becoming Belgian Champion. The Club will have to wait 53 years to know the joy of the supreme title again. For half a century, the Club will have the hardest time stabilizing and gleaning the trophies. Thus, the Club will be only one club among many others by making the elevator between the anteroom of the elite and the D1.
If the Club’s prize list remains sparse, then president Albert Dyserynck bought the stadium where the Club has operated since 1912 and built grandstands, changing rooms and everything an ambitious club needs built there. Over time, the “De Klokke” stadium has a capacity of 25,000 seats.
When Dyserynck died in 1932, the stadium was renamed in honor of its late president ("Albert Dyserynckstadion").

The development of Club Brugeois did not arrive until the late 1960's. The Cup was won in 1968 and 1970 and the second title of Champion was won in 1973. The golden age of the club began at the same time as the funding issues. In fact, to keep its rank as a new footballing power in Belgium, the Club hires the stars of the moment without having large financial means. In addition, the stadium has a large capacity, but its old age is starting to be a problem. To avoid bankruptcy, the leaders of the Club asked the city for help through its mayor, Michel Van Maele (future president of the Club between 1999 and 2003). Van Maele agrees, enters the Club’s board of directors Club Brugge and provides the Club with a brand-new stadium built in the suburbs. In order not to harm the Cercle, which is also in difficulty, the two professional clubs in Bruges will play alternately at the Olympiastadion, inaugurated in 1975. The two clubs will be required to repay part of the profits from the sale of tickets to the City.

From that moment, the Club became the second most successful club in Belgium (behind Anderlecht) by winning the Championship in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2005 and 2016. In Cup, the Club became the most successful club with victories in 1977, 1986, 1991, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2015.
The Club also distinguished itself by reaching two European finals : The UEFA Cup in 1976 and the Champions Club Cup in 1978. Two finals lost but which will have made the Club Brugeois known throughout Europe.

Jan Breydelstadion

Jan Breydelstadion

Cercle Brugge The stadium consists of a first level surrounding the entire field and can accommodate 22,000 standing spectators. On the sides, two seated grandstands of 4,000 seats each set the capacity of the new stadium at 30,000 seats.
Each club has its changing rooms, offices and refreshment bars. If the two clubs share the same facilities, they are not friends although the sporting rivalry no longer exists given the difference in level between the two clubs, the rivalry between supporters is still very much alive. The Bruges derbies are always committed matches and the honorary title of Ploeg van 't stad ("Club of the City") remains of great importance for both clubs.

Club Brugge In 1987, 1,000 seats disappeared in favor of business-seats and in 1993, the new UEFA regulations concerning stadium safety forced the City to reduce the capacity to 18,000 seats. If this capacity is largely sufficient for the Cercle, this is not the case for the Club. Fortunately, Euro 2000 will be organized in Belgium, which will restore the capacity of 30,000 seats by adding a second tier behind the end's stands.
This work, partly funded by the Flemish Region, has the effect of changing the name of the stadium : we are now talking about the Jan Breydelstadion, the name of a Bruges revolutionary in the 14th century and who will be the hero of a revolt against the King of France. Still this anti-French-speaking obsession...

The stadium is large, modern and safe, but the two clubs dream of finding their own stadium. The Club has been planning a new 44,000 seats stadium for a decade, while the Cercle has dreamed of a 12,000 seats stadium (either a new stadium or a reduction in capacity of the Jan Breydelstadion once the Club has left).
These two projects remain unanswered for the moment and the two clubs get on with the communal stadium without much difficulty.

Pictures

Edgard De Smedtstadion

The crowd crowds at the gates of the Cercle's stadium in the 1920's.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

The crowd is regularly present during the golden age of CS Brugeois.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

This 16,000 seats stadium will never evolve for 53 years.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

After the Cercle’s move to the Olympiastadion, the Edgard De Smedtstadion is abandoned even if a concert is held from time to time, as here in 1983.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

Dismantling of rust-eroded lighting pylons in 1990. Demolition is near.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

The stadium's club house, completely looted.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

Inside the grandstand, near the locker room.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

If the pitch is still in use, the stands are completely abandoned. Here, the side stand has already been demolished.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

An end stand.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

The old main grandstand, the day before its demolition.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

Under the grandstand. Still in good condition, however, it has no future.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

 

Edgard De Smedtstadion

Demolition in 1991.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

The pitch will be converted into a site dedicated to horticulture, now known as Edgard De Smedtplantsoen.

Edgard De Smedtstadion

The portal is now the last vestige of the old Edgard De Smedtstadion.

Albert Dyserynckstadion

Let’s move on to the Cercle’s hereditary enemy, the Albert Dyserynckstadion of Club Brugge.

Albert Dyserynckstadion

At its beginnings, and if we except the title of 1920, the Club lives in the shadow of the Cercle and this is felt in the attendance of the stadium.

Albert Dyserynckstadion

The stadium in the early 1970's. A second tier will be built soon afterwards behind the left grandstand while the lighting pylons will be reassembled at the brand new Olympiastadion.

Albert Dyserynckstadion

The old De Klokke at the end of the 90's. Still used by the amateur club Eendracht Brugge VV, the stadium will however be sold to a property developer.

Albert Dyserynckstadion

The Club Brugge on the verge of losing its historical heritage.

Albert Dyserynckstadion

The Spionkop, from which arose a hellish atmosphere for visitors.

Albert Dyserynckstadion

 

Albert Dyserynckstadion

A typical stadium but victim of the hazardous management of Club accounts.

Albert Dyserynckstadion

The old stadium on the eve of its disappearance.

Jan Breydelstadion

The model of the Olympiastadion. 30,000 seats and optimum security.

Jan Breydelstadion

The stadium under construction. It will be inaugurated in the summer of 1975.

Jan Breydelstadion

The stadium during the 1980's. While the Olympiastadion will be the scene of the Club's greatest exploits, it will, however, be too big for a Cercle that has become anonymous.

Jan Breydelstadion

Expansion works in preparation for Euro 2000. The capacity will drop to 30,000 seats.

Jan Breydelstadion

The work was carried out in a hurry with some inconsistencies (like uncovered stands) but the stadium remains pleasant.

Jan Breydelstadion

The south end stand, partly reserved for visitors.

Jan Breydelstadion

View of the stand is capable of housing 5,525 people. In the foreground, the new tier of the north stand, the largest in the stadium with 9,107 seats.

Jan Breydelstadion

The north stand, stronghold of the Club and Cercle's kops.

Jan Breydelstadion

The main stand to the west, with its business-seats and 5,032 seats.

Jan Breydelstadion

The future of this stadium is still not clearly defined...

Jan Breydelstadion

Modern and still able to be enlarged, it would be a shame if it disappeared.



Note

  • This article comes from my old site www.foothisto.be but was never published.
    It has been somewhat modified and updated recently (April 2020).

Related page

  • Visit of the beautiful city of Brugge.

Comments

Pas encore de commentaire.
No comment yet.

2500