Thursday 26 February 2009

U.R. Namur; Namur, Belgium

Union Royale Namur are my Belgian team! Why? Well first & foremost two good friends of mine, Nicolas & his fiancee Danuta, are from there. As a result there is now a larger friendship between their supporters' & Dulwich Hamlet. I first met Nicolas when we were invited to a Supporters' Tournament staged by the fans of RFC Liege, back in May 2005. From little acorns...

Nicolas is also the main man in the Belgian branch of the Paris Saint Germain Supporters' Club.

I have stayed with them on a number of occasions, and regularly meet up with them in London, when they pop over. I could go on, but I'll stick to Namur! These photos are from the beginning of 2008, when our Supporters' Team played theirs, and we supported UR Namur in the evening. A wonderful weekend, that will long live in the memory!

Namur are currently in the Belgian Second Division, they were promoted a couple of seasons ago, staying up last year in the promotion/relegation play offs. This season is another struggle against the drop, fingers crossed... ;-)

This isn't the best ground in Belgium, not by a long chalk. It's very much a 'plonk something here, add another bit there' sort of ground. But I like it! Apparently it has the nickname of the 'Lego Stadium' because of this!

I am going to take you round the ground from the turnstiles in the corner, & head clockwise.
This is the stand and terrace behind the goal. The main 'Namur Boys' congregate up in the seats at the other end of the stand as we're looking at it.

Past the stand there's no expense spared on some of the toilet facilities!

Moving on down the side and there's a covered terrace. This is a home area.

From here we look over the pitch, and you can see a small, 'temporary' stand to the left, with the clubhouse area, and changing rooms further along.

From the side terrace we look back behind the goal.

The covered terrace runs the whole way down the side, almost. It is 'split' in the middle by this small stand, which-I am guessing-used to be the main seating area, until the new development behind the goal.

The covered terrace continues past it, to the corner. This is the section for away fans.

There is just open hard standing behind the goal, which large advertising hoardings behind. For some reason I never snapped the area behind the goal. Sorry!
But from right behind the goal we look back to the main home end.

This is the small stand along the side, apparently they needed these extra seats to get the ground up to Second Division standard.

A similar picture, but with the club buildings in shot more. This includes an executive area, where there is a pre-match dining area for VIP spectators. We all paid for this, and it was a real treat.

Set back, behind the small stand, is the club war memorial.

Fading names, but never forgotten.

Inside the building we just saw was the pre-match sponsors area, where we had the three course diiner. This was the main course. It was delicious!

Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' on tour!

And more of us, sitting with some of them! In the middle of the meal a man who spoke no English came over & shook all of our hands individually. It was explained to us that it was the Namur club president, taking time out from his meal, to thank us all for coming over to support them! A wonderful gesture.

This snap doesn't do the scene justice. It's the ceremonial kick off, before the match. On the pitch are a Namur fan, and Andy & Larry, who had co-managed our Supporters' Team for a few years, & were standing down after this match. We still haven't been able to shut them up, as they both claim to have 'played' in a Belgian Second Division match! ;-)

As VIP ticket holders we had complimentary coffee & biscuits at half time!

Just in case the locals didn't know we were in town!

And one of the home banners. We were honoured to be made welcome in the heart of their Kop!

Which is where I took this last photo from.

Allez Namur!

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