Fellow Yellows – KV Mechelen

Belgian Pro League
KV Mechelen v Club Brugge KV
Saturday, 17th August 2013, 6pm
Argosstadion, Achter de Kazerne
Entrance €18, No Programme
Distance 279 miles, Attendance 10653
Sitting on the platform at Mechelen-Nekkerspoel station, the young boy with the unfeasibly large flag had looked absolutely crest-fallen. Though his father endeavoured to cheer him, about them others looked the same and I’d been no different. Watching the highlights later on Studio Foot, it was still hard to believe Brugge had won.
We’d witnessed a truly spectacular game of football; all action and commitment, the kind where your team totally dominate one of the “big three”. The vibrant and noisy Malinwa had sung their hearts out and the players had given their all but when it came down to it, Mechelen were undone by a very dubious penalty decision just five minutes from time.

130817 JPL KV Mechelen v Club Brugge (76)w

Leaving home that morning, I’d caught the Eurostar to a fantastically located hotel in Brussels, before double-checking my plans. The first match was just thirty minutes away by train; somewhere the calcio-mad receptionist had, in hushed tones, warned of folk talking Dutch “up north”.
Limited French helped in the capital but, as the train failed to stop at the correct “up north” station, my vulnerable position became apparent. Following the other geel en rood, I changed trains and strolled through the quiet back streets that were once home to Anne Boleyn and Rik Wouters.
130817 JPL KV Mechelen v Club Brugge (24)wEasily obtaining a ticket, the stadium Achter de Kazerne (“behind the barracks”) was a truly welcoming place; awash with colour, crowds and activity. Overcoming any language issues when asked if I was press, I just nodded and miraculously became exempt from being searched. Making a mental note to try that trick again someday, I soaked up the atmosphere.
130817 JPL KV Mechelen v Club Brugge (55)Available squads had been identified online the night before so – with the only queue at the beer ticket counter – fans relaxed near the wide variety of bars and food stalls, as the marching band and flag bearers warmed up for the pre-match entertainment.
Opposite the main stand, supporters in the large covered terrace sang along with the band before hoisting an enormous banner to “RFC Malinois” (the club’s French name) as the teams entered the arena. Mechelen wore wonderful yellow, red and black; Brugge donned white.
Prior to going into decline a decade ago, Mechelen’s rich history brought five-star success – both nationally and in Europe – culminating in the 1988 Cup Winners Cup and Super Cup double. Now back in the top division, today’s performance was proof they could compete on level terms again.
130817 JPL KV Mechelen v Club Brugge (84)wStarting evenly, Mechelen soon turned the screw, leaving the visitors relying on the break and the ref trying to steal the show. When attacks got through, Wouter Biebauw pulled off some stunning saves and, up front (my) man of the match, the impressive Alessandro Cordaro, was a constant nuisance. With the help of Mat Rits, Antonio Ghomsi and Seth De Witte, he kept Brugge constantly on the back foot.
Sadly a mistake at the back let in Tom De Sutter to score before, a fierce De Witte shot was clearly blocked by both arms of visiting Brandon Mechele. By the break the Malinwa were clearly questioning the officials’ parentage.
130817 JPL KV Mechelen v Club Brugge (87)The second half was just backs to the walls for a Brugge side content on kicking the opposition; for every home attack, it seemed that a card was awarded to the away team.  Eventually a push in the box did give De Witte a penalty equaliser though a draw wasn’t really fair on the “Yellow Red Army”. They deserved more but, tragically the referee ended with the biggest impact on the game.
On the train back to Brussels, life-long fan, Geert extolled the virtues of this satellite club before recounting joyfully skipping school for the 1988 CWC Final in France. Regardless of the language, the Malinois were grateful of the community support; there were helpful sooporten, magnificent colours and, an abundance of families wrapped in an idiosyncratic stadium. In truth it was not dissimilar to Watford and so hard not to feel at home in.

130817 JPL KV Mechelen v Club Brugge (35)

shorts league
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Initially appearing in the 2013-14 Watford FC matchday programmes, consequently these reports will have a delayed publication on here.

Fellow Yellows programme (6)

This entry was posted in 2013-2014, Belgian Pro League, Fellow Yellows and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fellow Yellows – KV Mechelen

  1. That’s unfortunate about not getting a programme, they were handing them out when I went earlier this season vs Standard Liege. Team sheets are obtained from the press office portakabin in the corner between the main stand and the hospitality stand.

  2. putajumperon says:

    I got in the press bar and blagged a team sheet there but, there were no programmes.

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