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  • Writer's pictureRichard Fleming

Get To Know Royal Antwerp FC

Updated: Mar 4

As Colorado Rapids fans get set to follow Sam Vines at Royal Antwerp, find below 10 facts about the Belgian club:

1. Originally founded, in 1880, as a cricket club by English students living in the city.

2. They are known as The Great Old, on account of them being the first club registered by the Belgian Football Association in 1895.

3. Former players include Joel Cantona, the younger brother of France and Manchester United legend, Eric. Other notable alumni include Nico Claesen, Kevin Mirallas, Ryan Shawcross, Jelle Van Damme, and Louis van Gaal.

4. Royal Antwerp had a partnership with Manchester United from 1997-2009. Dozens of United players spent time at the Belgian club, the first of them being Danny Higginbotham. Others included John O’Shea, Jonny Evans, Tom Heaton, Fraizer Campbell, and Danny Simpson.

5. Vines is the second US-born player signed by Antwerp. Alex Yi, whose father represented South Korea at youth level, played a handful of games with Antwerp during the 2002-03 season. Born in Virginia, he finished his playing career at FC Dallas, making 27 appearances between 2005-07. Yi played alongside Conor Casey and Edson Buddle for the USA at the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship.

6. Antwerp moved to their current home, the Bosuilstadion, in 1923. Prior to 1923, they played games at Stadion Broodstraat (1908-23). This venue was the main site for the football tournament at the Olympic Games in 1920. 7. Between 1880 and 1908, Royal Antwerp bounced between five homes:

- 1880 - 1893 Wilrycksche Plein

- 1893 - 1895 Transvaalstraat

- 1895 - 1897 Site next to the Velodrome of Zurenborg

- 1897 - 1903 Middenplein van de Velodroom van Zurenborg

- 1903 - 1908 Kruisstraat

8. The goalposts of their first stadium were nothing more than sticks joined by a piece of string (as a crossbar), which were erected and dismantled for each match, being as it was also the site of a military practice field.

9. History was made on December 3, 1893 when Royal Antwerp played Victoria Cricket and Football Club from Rotterdam. For the first time in Belgian football, an entrance fee (50 centimes) was charged for spectators, with money then put toward further stadium improvements.

10. Antwerp manager, Brian Priske, is a former Denmark international defender. He was part of the Denmark team which beat England 4-1 on August 17, 2005 in an international friendly. The England team included Beckham, Ferdinand, Gerrard, Lampard, and Rooney. He made 30 Premier League appearances for Portsmouth in the 2005-06 season.

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