I’ve decided to blog random bits of history, whether it be about the Belgian Pro League, the second tier, European competition or The Belgian Cup (Beker van Belgie). The reason I’ve thought up this segment is not only to educate myself about the past, but to anyone who reads this, if anyone actually does, and to see that Belgian football isn’t about 1 or 2 teams, or the odd great player produced quite regularly actually, and that teams in the past competed and that the impossible is sometimes possible.
Due to midweek fixtures last week I suspended this and decided to not do one until this week. As we’re nearing the end of the season, I thought I’d go all the way back to the beginning. No, not July 2016. More the summer/autumn of 1895!
Seven teams kicked off the inaugural season in Belgium and the prize wasn’t just the Coupe de Championnat, but history. To be always known as the first ever champions of the the best sport invented and brought to Belgium would be a massive achievement and F.C Liègeois took that title.
With the matricule number of 4, the team from Liège consisted of 18 players and 7 of those came from England. Of course we all know Antwerp are the first club established in Belgium due to Englishman coming over, so those seven must be amongst the founders of Liègeois.
Going back to the league, with 7 clubs, only 12 matches were played by each team that season, and Liègeois won by 6 points ahead of Antwerp, losing just 1 match in the process. In this paragraph, as much as I’d like to celebrate this fact, I can’t help but look at a club who not only finished bottom, but had a -46 goal difference from those 12 matches, but were only in existence for 9 years, dismantling in 1901…Union F.C d’Ixelles.
With these group of players however, I’m used to squads in Belgium around the early 1900s (yes I know this is the late 1800s) sticking together for years and just taking over Belgian football in their own cycle, but a lot of players left sharply as a new century dawned. Defender Ernest Moreau and goalkeeper Fernand Defalle were those who lasted over a decade.
Even though football only just begun anywhere for that matter, let alone Belgium, as I’ve already mentioned, players left, or seemed to leave, after the cycle ended for Liègeois. After this first season, they went on to win another 2 titles before the 1900s before their title drought began. A team full of history did as most Belgian clubs do unfortunately and become unsustainable. Merging eventually, the likelihood of now R.F.C de Liège becoming a major force is unlikely unfortunately.
As sad as that is, the club as a whole has had highlights as well as lowlights over their existence, but one thing you can never take away and will never be achieved, is being the maiden champions of their football league…never! The first name will always be F.C Liègeois.