Saturday 6 December 2008

Royal Antwerp FC; Antwerp, Belgium

The following photos are daylight ones, which I took in July 2010 & show the ground in far better light-literally!-than my night time game here a couple of years earlier.

This was a modern side outside, for the posh business types.

It was the close season, but this was for their pre-season game against their bitter cross-town rivals.

It was down here I went when I saw a game here,this leads to the away end.

An entrance for the home fans.

These barriers were further along, presumably a matchday checkpoint. Note the water to the right of the railings.

It's this stretch of water, bizarre inside a ground! I wonder how many away fans have been thrown in here over the years?

I couldn't find a way in yet, so walked round the outside until I got to this point. See the car...

It's a Club one, here is another:

A hoarding on top of the outer part of the newer stand.

I still couldn't find a way in, & at this point was not sure I would. So I stuck my arm through a fence and snapped away.

To our immediate left was this stand.

With this old one, and a terrace paddock at the front, on our right.

Then across the pitch, toward the business end monstrousity.

As you can see here there is an outer fence around this part of the ground.

We are now behind the old stand, & the ground was open through that gap between B & C, as there were workmen on site, so gates were open.

So I simply walked in! Yes!

The 'popular' stand, opposite.It's where the noisiest home fans go, I don't know what it's real name is.

And the business stand at the other end.

Now we turn round, at are up in the old main stand.

Unusual boxes at the front, & then benches, up to the 'posh' seats in the centre.

Turning back to the corner we get a full shot of the benches.

Moving along the other way, this is the centre section.

Above them is the press area.

Beyond them, at the other end, is the away section.

This is the segregation.

We're now in front of the stand, pitchside.

The players' tunnel.

The terracing in front. no fans are here on a matchday, though you can stand on the fenced in away fans bit at the end.

This is the police control box.

Inside, through the window.

One of the dugouts.

On the roof, up above us, is a television gantry.

Across the halfway line, to the large stand opposite.

The newer stand behind the goal.

And the ugly business block at the other end.

On the pitch, we see the old main stand.

The away corner of it.

And the main section of it.

Turning back the other way, here is a close up of the away corner.

Back behind the fence, on the paddock.

And another look across the pitch, I realise we've already done this, but it's a wonderful ground!

We now turn toward the away terrace.

The business end, time to start walking round the ground.

One of the signs showing a link up with Old Trafford. With reflections of the ground in the executive windows.

More reflective views, of the stand on the popular side.

We're now in front of the business end, looking back toward the main stand.

Up the pitch to the Umbro badged end.

And to the right, through the netless goal.

A pylon in the corner.

Down the touchline, in front of the stand where the bulk of the noisest home fans go.

It's old benches, that stretch all the way along.

It is steep, as we can see here from the top corner, looking down over the pitch.

Business stand to the left.

And looking down the benches, to the right.

Back down the front we see up along the stand.

There is an old tunnel in the centre.

Moving further along, this end is where I recall the main bulk of the fanatical home supporters congregated.

We've now reached the new stand behind the other goal.

From this corner we glance down the turf.

And toward the main stand.

Tour practically over now, on the paddock terrace.

A final peek up into the main stand.

Before a last glance over the pitch from the corner where we will exit.

The old stand from outside, in this corner, time to leave.

And that finishes our daylight visit to a wonderful old stadium, surely the grandest of all the old ones in Belgium?

Below is my original post:

I visited Royal Antwerp for a night game, so my snaps don't do this wonderful old ground justice. Antwerp are 'matricule number one' which means they are the oldest club in the whole of Belgium. And their stadium is fittingly grand, while being somewhat rundown at the same time. Two wonderful old benched sides, a more modern stand behind one goal, and a glass fronted monstrousity at the other! I was here as an away fan, supporting UR Namur, so I didn't get to explore the ground as I would have liked, but it has still shot into the list of my favourite grounds, if ever I got round to sitting down and compiling one! ;-) I paid 20 euros to get in, and I could either go up in the away benches, or on the terrace at front for this. There were no programmes in the away section, but apparently they do issue regular programmes. I'm not sure what the attendance was, but there were about seventy fans from Namur. the game was 4-0 to the hosts, disappointing for me, but not unexpected. There are also some photos of the ground at this match from an excellent groundhopping site by a Royal Antwerp fan.

The club name on the side of the stand I was in.

A bit blurred, I asked a steward to take a picture of my flag!

As an away fan, we were stuck in the corner, along the side. I took this through the fence, showing the rest of our stand.

Here we look at the newer stand at the far end.

This is the far end of the far side, a bit dark I'm afraid. This is where the main bulk of noisy home fans were situated. Lots of banners, with the majority of their superb singing actually in English!

This is the away terrace, in front of the stand.

Underneath were some well old fashioned toilets!

These are the bench seats, which appeared to be the same down both sides of the ground. And this is the away section.

This is a better view of the far side, with plenty of fans filling the popular far corner of it.

Another look over to the far end, as kick off gets closer.

Behind the goal is this executive area, with banks of seats behind glass. Really ugly, and not in keeping with the rest of a cracking stadium.

Here I'm up in the benches, and take a picture through the fencing.

And from the same spot look back across our section.

Almost time for the ceremonial kick off, by 'guest of honour' the Belgian Father Christmas!

He leaves the pitch, for the real kick off.

No sleigh or reindeer for him ,as he leaves by stretch limo!

He's back at the interval, with his 'blacked up' assistant, to throw handfuls of sweets up to the crowd. I had a half time toffee!

After the game I dashed round to the home section of my stand, and past this entrance, to find the club shop, and buy a scarf as a souvenir.

Up on the wall of this part of the stand they proudly display a link up with some English club or other...

After purchasing it I quickly go back into the stand to take a few more snaps from a different angle. This was the other end of the stand I was in.

This being the opposite corner of it to where the Namur fans were.

A good view, looking across to the other side.

And left, behind the goal.

Before I finally leave I go to the front, to catch the paddock from this end of the stand.


Anonymous said...

It's not Father Christmas.
This is "Sinterklaas". He arrives about 3 weeks before Santa ;-)

You can find more on wikipedia.

Just stumbled upon your blog while googling my favourite team. Thanks for your nice report (although it has been 2 years now...)


Rabbler said...

Thank you for the information Steffen, although I don't celebrate christmas, not being religious at all, it's always interesting to read of the different traditions around Europe.
I had another look at your ground, in June 2010, & took some more photos of your ground, when it was empty & daylight, but have yet to get round to adding them. Watch this space.. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Couldn't find an e-mail address, so I'm hoping you'll read my comment :-) I've posted it at the section of my favourite football team, Antwerp FC. I stumbled on your website looking for information of the obscure team CAPS Namur... I was amazed that you visited so many Belgian grounds and this often at very low levels. I'm a groundhopper myself, mostly Belgium and European. Don't know if you have a special link with Belgium (friends or family?), but if you're ever in town and want to visit some ground, don't hesitate to contact me. I usually go by car and I try to visit 1 or 2 new grounds every weekend. Belgium is small so it's usually a day of half-day trip. Nice site and take care, Frank from Antwerp (

Rabbler said...

Thanks for the messgae Frank, I've now sent you an email. For amyone else who is wondering, two of my best friends,Nicolas & Danuta, live in Namur. And it is thanks to Nicolas, who has driven me round lots of his local grounds, that I have been able to photograph them.