Stadium experience in Brussels

Context

Just graduated and not much in mind for the near future, I decided to reward myself with a football weekend. I take a look at the calendar of the teams that are on my bucket list, and my choice goes to one particular fixture : Amsterdam – Feyenoord, the Dutch Clasico on Sunday, October 28th. Since I’m going on my own, I’m thinking that the bill will be a bit high for a weekend, and I’m thinking about how to make this trip more profitable.

I look over a couple of days before and after the game and notice that there is an abundant choice of games throughout the week, in an area quite close to Amsterdam. Plus, it happens to be a European championship week, and there are plenty of European clubs in the area. My football weekend now turns into a very promising  5 day 5 stadiums road trip  After long hours spent studying the best route, the one I choose will take me from Bruges on Wednesday, to my final destination in Amsterdam on Sunday morning.

Day 1 : Bruges

Day 2 : Brussels

Day 3 : Gent  

Day 4 : Groningen

Day 5 : Amsterdam

Voyage foot au Stade Constant Vanden Stcok

Football trip to Anderlecht

For this second day, departure from Bruges by the first bus direction Brussels. I arrive early to have time to drop my bag at my evening Airbnb accommodation before going for a walk, and even if the main purpose of my arrival is the game tonight, I always like to learn a little bit about my destination. You can often see the connection a club has with its city or neighbourhood by visiting it, and I find these details very crisp. Unfortunately, for this football trip to Anderlecht, I won’t have enough time to visit Brussels. As I couldn’t book my seat in advance, I have to go to the stadium’s ticket office as soon as possible to hope to find the precious sesame.

It’s the first time I’ve been to the stadium in this configuration and the stress rises when the stadium’s ticket office tells me they’re not selling tickets on the day of the match. Under the pretext of UEFA regulations reinforced by the Fenerbahce visitor of the day, which therefore results in a risky match, I would not be able to find my place through them. Luckily, the stadium is located in a lively neighbourhood, which begins to come alive several hours before the match. The bars are getting ready for the masses of fans that will be coming in all evening, and I’m trying my luck with the bar owners to find my precious seat.

The precious sesame…

I’m wiping out a lot of chess and I’m starting to think I’m going to have to watch the game from outside the stadium. The solution will finally come from Michou, the neighbourhood figure. According  !to her, she is the first woman to be tattooed with the Anderlecht logo. And she’s so proud of it. Our meeting is warm as I arrive at the counter of her bar without knowing that she is the one who will save my evening. Here I am explaining to her that I came from France to attend the match. She then goes to play with her contacts at the ticket office and comes back with my place in her hands. Meanwhile, I already have some of her bar’s famous fermented cereal drinks on the counter.

I pay her the price of the place. I immortalize this meeting with a photo, before approaching my entrance. After a lot of adventures I end up entering the stadium!

 

Anderlecht – Fenerbahce – Europa League, October 2018

It’s a good thing I fought so hard to attend this feature. It’s a real treat to watch this Europa League match, even though the stadium is far from full. It’s even harder for me to explain why the ticket office refused to let me buy a ticket. The 1,000 Fenerbahce fans, though far away, are making the turnaround with their usual energy. A few crackles of smoke and a rather hallucinating vocal power. On the Anderlecht side, the party is in full swing in the local corner. Their team completely smothers their opponents in the first half and leads by two goals. Release or awakening of the opposing team? It’s hard to say, in any case, Fenerbahce will come back in this match and snatch the point of the draw.

A successful football trip in Brussels?

I will have only one regret during this football trip to Anderlecht, that I was not able to discover Brussels. In any case, one day doesn’t leave much time to get to know a capital city of this size. So you’ll have to come back! As far as football is concerned, it was a real treat to be in contact with the Mauves fans, who are definitely a community with a big heart. Thank you, Michou. Thank you Brussels.