Saturday 6 December 2008

FCV Dender EH; Denderleeuw, Belgium.

I'll be the first to admit I'm no expert on Belgian football, & when I saw someone posting on the Tony Kempster forum that Dender versus Anderlecht had been switched to a Friday night television game for my weekend there I must put my hands up and confess I had absolutely no idea who FCV Dender EH were!

The match was a comfortable 2-0 victory to the visitors, who as well as packing the away section, had plenty of fans all over the ground! Two incidents to be filed under 'bizarre': Pre-match one of the mascots fell over in his huge costume & couldn't het up. He was stretchered off! And in the second half the Anderlecht keep was stretchered off injured. Not funny in itself. Nicolas told the next day, from the headline in the local paper shop, that he would be out for at least two to three months with a broken thigh. The 'funny part' was that the stretcher bearers dropped him as they carried him round the side of the pitch! Ouch!

The 'town' itself has practically nothing to see, so if you like combining a bit of sightseeing/wandering with your trips then stay on the train to the next town of Aalst, as I did! My good friend Nicolas Lucas, the number one Paris Saint Germain fan from Namur, sorted out the tickets, with his, & my mate, Laurent Zaldua, who supports FC Bruges.

I arrived in mid-afternoon, so I could try to get into the main stadium & take some photos in daylight, the match itself being a half past eight evening kick off. There were an number of training pitches past the grounds, so I wandered past them.

The first one appears to not be in used, and wasn't 'fenced in' as the others were, so I could walk right by this one. You can see the main ground in the distance.

Dugouts still intact..sort of!

This is one of the proper FCV Dender EH training pitches, I took this through the chain link fencing surrounding it, which you can see along the right hand side.

The next pitch runs at a ninety degree angle to the previous one.

Presumably this is their 'main' training pitch, as it has hard standing & a concrete barrier down one side.

Here's another view of roughly the same spot.

Through the fence behind the goal we can see how close the main stadium is behind.

From here I take a path round to the main ground. This bus has nothing to do with football, something to do with a cycling team. Cycling being a very popular sport in Belgium. I just fancied snapping it to show you all!

Almost there...this must be the right street! ;-)

Yep, right place!

I didn't notice this outside, by the approach road, in daylight, but spotted it just before kick off.

Likewise this sculpture.

This was the ticket office, where we picked up our pre-ordered ones for the open home terrace behind the goal, 12 euros each.

Here is a closer look at the map of the stadium.

There were a couple of stewards staffing the gate when I arrived, busy chatting to each other. Instead of asking their permission, which might have been declined, i just purposely strode past & headed for the television crews, who were setting up for the match!

And walked striaght past them too, and got into the stadium.
Here is the open terrace behind the goal.

This is the stand to the left of that, which is where the changing rooms are, & the players come out from.

From this corner we look across to the newest stand, recently built, at the far end.

Moving behind the goal the end section along the side is where the main bulk of the Anderlecht fans would be situated.

Now looking down the other touchline, as we move along, we see the main stand, with the glass fronted restaurant/executive area behind.

From this part of the ground another of my 'corner flag' shots!

Now I go up into the main stand & we look down it.

And also look back at the open terrace, I will watch the match from the near corner of it, as we are looking at it now.

Now we are moving down the main stand, and this is the 'posh' centre bit.

From where we look across to the dugouts and tunnel opposite.

Moving down the main stand we now get a good look at the stand behind the far goal.

And here we look up to it, from the corner.

Now we turn around & look back down the main stand.

Here is the main stand, from the rear.

It's now almost time for the match, a few hours on. This is the main stand along the side.

My view of the match from the corner of the terrace behind the goal.

This is a 'hold the camera up in the air, hit the button & hope!' snap...

And finally a picture of Laurent! ( I have plenty of Nicolas already) Laurent is a fervent England fan, despite being Belgian, & goes to a lot of their away games. you can check out his photos from them if you look him up on Facebook!

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