Monday, 3 February 2014

BELGIUM: Doing the 134

Last Sunday, February 2nd 2014, in the tiny village of Givry, tucked away in the Belgian Ardennes, I did it: I completed the 134 - i.e. a match visit was paid to all 134 clubs of the four Belgian national divisions under their (exact) current name in their current stadium.

In the years until 2009, I undertook my travels to Belgium by bike (Geel, Turnhout, Dessel, Hoogstraten, Rijkevorsel - all of this with my hometown Breda as the starting point), train, and fold bike. From 2010 onwards, I have been the proud owner of a hugely luxurious Nissan Micra Aut 1.0 1994 which has since loyally helped me on my way. I haven't kept a track record of how many of the c170,000 km I have driven since were in Belgium, but I am quite sure it'll be over two-thirds. It is up to others to calculate my contribution to the destruction of the ozone layer over the last four years.

I would like to point out that a completion of the 134 never was a goal from the outset. I discovered I enjoyed visiting games in Belgium better than the average day of football in the Netherlands - let alone Germany. One thing led to another, and about a year ago I discovered that it would be quite easy to travel the thirty-odd last grounds left.

In this judgement, I hugely underestimated the (self-imposed) problem of teams changing name or matricule, 'forcing' me to go back to certain stadiums - in the case of the Fallon in Brussels (White Star Woluwe, White Star Brussels, Leopold Ukkel-Woluwe) and the Neuville in Charleroi (Olympic Charleroi, FC Charleroi, Charleroi-Fleurus) even twice. Other re-visits included Tienen (changed its name to Tienen-Hageland), Aalst (VC Eendracht Aalst became SC Eendracht Aalst), Aarlen (FC Le Lorrain merged with another club and turned into FCJLA), and Moeskroen (because RC Péruwelz changed its name and moreover moved to Moeskroen to replace the former Excelsior Moeskroen). Etcetera. 

After having read the above, most of you probably feel I should turn to a psychiatrist immediately, but I can assure you I enjoyed every day out, every visit. The day I will stop looking forward to watching a game of football, I will go back to doing more sensible things - until that time, feel free to come back to this blog for photo material of more desperate ground visits.

For those interested, I put together a map which exactly shows the order in which I accomplished the 134 - here is a link:
https://maps.google.nl/maps/ms?msid=203016011383243441854.0004edb08a72a9b4fc5a9&msa=0


3 comments:

  1. Meer dan briljant. Echt geweldig.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Van harte gefeliciteerd en puike prestatie Bas, iets anders dan de 92 uit Engeland! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Echt fantastisch werk, geweldige site, proficiat!

    ReplyDelete