Tag Archives: breda

Sunday 5th February 2017 – NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK …

glass fronted urinal Stadion Schiervelde ksv roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017… these men are doing in here?

Yes, well done that man! This is indeed a public urinal and it’s the first one that I have ever seen that has glass doors – never mind glass doors from the outside so that everyone passing by can see what is going on inside. It’s the kind of thing that you will only ever see in Belgium.

Of course, I refrained from using it. I didn’t want to give everyone here at the Schiervelde an inferiority complex.

It made me think, which is a rare event of course. Do you remember the time that we were at a football match at Breda in the Netherlands and we encountered the P155-house? It seems that football clubs in the Low Countries have these eccentric arrangements.

Stadion Schiervelde ksv roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017And while we are on the subject of the Schiervelde, I wonder if you can guess what this apparatus is, out here on the car park.

I did ask on my social networking page and eventually someone, Josée in Montreal, came up with the answer. It’s a couple of bicycle racks. Bicycles are the big thing in Flanders and in the Netherlands (the idea that cycling in the Netherlands is so popular because it means that you don’t have to pay bus fare is totally wide of the mark) and the facilities for them are overwhelming.

And while we are on the subject of bicycles, I saw an electric unicycle with the rider perched thereupon. I wasn’t quick enough with the camera for that, which is a shame, but that has set the wheels in my mind going round and round. How easy would one of those be to carry on a bus, train or even an aeroplane?

having had my curiosity aroused, I had a look around on the internet for them, and I could be seriously tempted by one of these.

But let’s all start with last night. And this was one of the worst nights that I have had for a while. I went to sleep fairly early which was a surprise, but I kept on waking up, and for no good reason too. Just after 04:00, I had another sit-bolt-upright awakening, and couldn’t go back to sleep for ages after that.

I’d been on a lengthy travel too, and so being wide awake at that time of the morning, I switched on the laptop and typed it out. And when I came to read it later in the day, I had quite a difficult job of understanding the gibberish that I had written.

But here goes, and I hope that you can understand it all better than I can. I’d started off by being involved in quite a serious wrestling bout which went on for ages – and although no-one was hurt, it was quite intense and overpowering experience.
From here the action cuts to Percy Penguin who was going on and on about how she had to be in Italy today – a Friday. And then the penny dropped – there was a music concert taking place and I’d invited her to come with me. However I couldn’t go so I’d asked a friend to take her but I’m not sure he had remembered. However, in the end off she set. I couldn’t now remember where she had to go but it ended up being somewhere in the Plains of the USA (which looked to me as if it was right on the edge of the Denver plateau but that didn’t click with me at the time while I was asleep). Where she thought that she needed to go turned out to be a kind of small saloon with just a handful of people and no music concert either, so it was clearly the wrong place to be. My friend who took her couldn’t hang around and needed to be on his way but he couldn’t leave Percy Penguin there. While he was trying to resolve this issue in his own mind, he was hit on the head with a bottle. Nearby, Matt Dillon, the marshall from Dodge City in Gunsmoke (I’ve very recently downloaded all of the Gunsmoke radio episodes and been listening to them) was investigating and he suddenly realised that the venue where Percy Penguin needed to be was UNDERNEATH where she had been dropped her. He therefore had to get there to take her to the correct place but he was caught up in some kind of work of his own meaning he couldn’t go quite at that moment. And so in the meantime Percy Penguin was effectively on her own in this place.

And if you can make head or tail of all of this, then good luck to you.

After breakfast, I had a relaxing first part of the morning, and then hit the streets.

crane kruisstraat leuven belgium february fevrier 2017On Saturday there had been quite a bit of noise in the Kruisstraat round the side of the building and I’d been meaning to pop outside and see what they were up. But somehow I’d never got quite round to doing it.

But you can’t miss it now, can you? It’s a huge crane. And I wonder what it’s doing here. I suppose that I’ll have to wait until Monday to find out. I hope that they aren’t going to start pulling the roof of this building and leaving me out in the cold.

Once I’d organised the photograph I set off for the railway station at the other end of town, passing the electric unicycle (that I mentioned earlier) on the way.

sncb railway locomotive gent st pieters railway station belgium february fevrier 2017At the station I picked up my ticket for Roeselare, and set out on my most adventurous SNCB rail trip to date. The first leg of my journey took me from Leuven to Brussels, and thence to the Gent St Pieters railway station.

It was a beautiful, comfortable modern train with carriages that are on lease from a railway company in Stuttgart, Germany. And the equipment puts British railways to shame. Rail travel is certainly the way to go in mainland Europe. I mean – it’s the popular Oostende train, and yet there were seats for everyone.

gent outdoor barbecue ghent belgium february fevrier 2017As we pulled into Gent we were held up by signals, and looking out of the window where we were stopped, I noticed a pile of people having an outdoor barbecue in the street.

This is the kind of thing that you can do in Europe (if you obtain a licence from the local council and you are brave enough to confront the weather) and this is why living in the real Europe is so attractive to me.

I couldn’t ever imagine returning to the UK, that’s for sure. If this ridiculous national suicide called “Brexit” starts to affect my residence position here, I’ll be applying for French nationality, that’s for sure.

SNCB gent st pieters railway station ghent belgium february fevrier 2017I’ve been through Gent St Pieters on the train a few times, and changed trains here once too, but I’d never been outside to actually see the railway station building.

There was a brief 10 minutes before the Antwerp – De Panne train came in and so I went outside to take a photograph of the building. This is the best that I can do because I was in quite a rush as you can imagine, and in fact as I climbed back up to my platform, my train was already pulling in.

I’ll have to go back for a prowl around inside the building some other time

At Lichtervelde, as my train in, a train was pulling in at the opposite platform from the other direction. I knew that there was no time to waste here and so as the guard alighted from the train, I asker her is this was the train to Roosendaal. “Platform 5” she said – but I’m sure that that wasn’t right so we had quite an argument about it.

And while we were arguing, I noticed that the train was displaying a list of subsequent stops, one of which was mine. So not bothering to argue any loner, I leapt aboard and the train almost immediately set off.

There was a scrolling display inside the train too (it was a big, ultra-modern double-decker train) and there was my destination as clear as day. And so the guard came up to me, to presumably check my ticket.

“Look – there you are” I said. “This IS my train!”
She had a look at my ticket. “But you said Roosendaal, not Roeselare. Roosendaal is the Antwerp train”.

It’s a good job that there wasn’t a dining car on board – I would have ordered a portion of Humble Pie.

At the railway station, I noticed that there was a fritkot across the Square. I hadn’t had lunch and so a packet of fritjes sounded like a good plan. I could eat them as I trudged out to the football ground.

moat canal roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017The football ground is miles outside the town, the opposite side to where the railway station is.

I peered through the doom and gloom of the rain as I walked. We have the usual walled, moated city with the walls all demolished and the moat mostly filled in, but there was some of what I imagined the moat to be, and it was on my way out to the ground.

It’s certainly impressive, and I wouldn’t mind one of the apartments over there overlooking the water. I could be quite happy there.

football OH Leuven Stadion Schiervelde ksv roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017I eventually made it over to the football ground, and found myself at the Visitors’ end, which is the far end of the terrace over there.

I didn’t fancy that end, and so I had to carry on with my trudging because it’s quite a hike to reach the other side of the ground. It involved passing through the Exposition Centre’s car park and there was something going on in that building so there were hordes of people around

football OH Leuven Stadion Schiervelde ksv roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017Hordes of people outside there might have been, but this was another ground where they ended up by announcing the crowd changes to the teams before the kick-off.

And the ground brings back many happy memories of the 1970s in British football. The ground has only been party modernised and there are still a few open, uncovered standing terraces. But there was no-one on them, which is hardly a surprise in this weather.

football OH Leuven Stadion Schiervelde ksv roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017The grandstand behind the goal, which was where I was going to sit, was a huge affair with plenty of room in there for a large crowd. Rather a waste of effort if you ask me – but never mind.

One corner of the stand was full of kids – aged between about 8 years old and 12 years old. It looked quite strange to me, but as the players left the field after the warm-up, the purpose of the presence of these kids became clear.

preteen cheerleaders football OH Leuven Stadion Schiervelde ksv roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017Once the footballers had left the field, the girls sitting in the corner of the grandstand took to the field. It seems that Lierse SK isn’t the only team in the Belgian Second Division to have cheerleaders. They have them here at KSV Roeselare too.

Not the sort that would drag me out halfway across Belgium of course, but I’m all in favour of engaging the youth of the community in activities of the local football club, and more teams should take advantage of the opportunities available, to provide entertainment for the fans and to engage with the kids.

preteen cheerleaders football OH Leuven Stadion Schiervelde ksv roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017And, much to my surprise, they could dance too!

That makes a change because cheerleading has gone right downhill since the halcyon days of American college sport in the 1950s and the standard of dancing has dropped dramatically. These girls here at Roeselare could give seven or eight years to college cheerleading teams in the USA back in those days, but they certainly wouldn’t be out of place or let themselves down.

guard of honour preteen cheerleaders junior footballers football OH Leuven Stadion Schiervelde ksv roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017The boys from the corner then put in an appearance on the field and formed up with the cheerleaders into a guard of honour to welcome the teams onto the field ready for the start of the match.

The players’ changing rooms by the way are underneath the grandstand where I was sitting.

In case you are wondering, by the way, KSV Roeselare play in black and white. OH Leuven were in their change strip of all red

mascot football OH Leuven Stadion Schiervelde ksv roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017KSV Roeselare have a mascot too, but I’m not quite sure of what he is supposed to be. I wasn’t sure whether or not he was a snow leopard. It felt cold enough for him to be out and about on the prowl.

Further enquiries of the locals revealed that he is in fact a snow tiger and he’s new to the club, having arrived in December. There’s a competition being run to give him a name, and I’m sure that many visiting supporters could think of a few that might be appropriate

So having dealt with all the preliminaries, we could then turn our attention to the football.

And this was yet another match that was really exciting. For the first 60 minutes OH Leuven were well on top and looked as if they would win this match at a canter. For once, their two wingers were creating havoc down the wings and the KSV Roeselare full-backs didn’t have much answer to them. With Kostovski ploughing his way through the centre of the defence like a tank, the result should never ever have been in doubt. Had the surface not been so slippery and had the wingers been able to keep their feet, we should have had a cricket score before half-time.

And so with all of the play being up in the KSV Roeselare half, it comes as no surprise to anyone to learn that it’s the home side that takes the lead.

A poor clearance from the new OH Leuven finds a KSV Roeselare attacker who traps the ball and volleys it back over the keeper into the net.

As simple as that.

But ten minutes later the OH Leuven side equalise. And as I predicted, it came from an attack down the wing and the ball played quickly into the centre, right into the path of the onrushing Kostovski. Kostovski completely mishit his shot, which is probably why the ball went into exactly the opposite corner of the goal towards which the KSV Roeselare goalkeeper was diving. But they all count.

preteen cheerleaders 6 a side football OH Leuven Stadion Schiervelde ksv roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017At half-time, the boy and girls came out again- the girls dancing in the centre circle and the boys playing a 6-a-side football match. The snow tiger appeared on the pitch too, to go round and wave to the OH Leuven supporters.

I went off to have a coffee in the bar underneath the grandstand that runs down the side of the pitch.

And much to my surprise, it was pretty good coffee too. I’m not used to good coffee at a football match, that’s for sure.

The second half got back under way again and we were treated to more of the same – at least for the first 15 minutes or so. And then two substitutions swung the game around.

Firstly, for some reason that I have yet to understand, OH Leuven took off one of the wingers. And from then on, their attack became rather aimless.

Secondly, KSV Roeselare brought on a new striker. Judging by the reception that he received, he must have been something of a local folk-hero. And he lived up to his reputation too. We had a ball into the penalty area from the KSV Roeselare right-winger, a bit of football tennis in the OH Leuven penalty area between the attackers and the defenders, and this substitute guy stuck out a foot to poke it into the net.

And that’s how it stayed. The best that I have seen OH Leuven play, and still they manage to lose.

I don’t usually like to comment on the refereeing of a football match if I can help it, but in this match there were quite a few bizarre decisions (or non-decisions). And for once, OH Leuven was on the beneficial end of the majority.

We had a blatant push in the penalty area from an OH Leuven defender, we had a blatant back-pass to the OH Leuven goalkeeper that went unpunished, a throw-in that was clearly given the wrong way, a few dubious free-kicks awarded and all of that. And still they couldn’t win.

They can be very disappointed with that.

I trudged back through the driving rain to the railway station. And much to my surprise, I was early.

sncb multiple unit train railway station roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017There was a direct train to Brussels (via Kortrijk) due imminently and so I decided to take it, even though the itinerary proposed by the SNCB was to go back the way I had come.

It was an old slow, uncomfortable train but at least I had a good seat where I could relax, read my book and listen to the music on my telephone.

There are four trains per hour out to Leuven from Brussels Gare du Midi on a Sunday night. They are at something like 56, 04, 12 and 14 minutes past the hour (don’t ask me why) and my train arrived at 16 minutes past. That meant a wait around of 40 minutes. I went off to the Carrefour and bought some raisin buns, a can of ginger beer and a pear for tea, and had an argument with a couple of young boys who were trying to push down the check-out queue.

SNCB multiple unit gare du midi brussels belgium february fevrier 2017When the train pulled into the station, I found that it was the train that I would have caught had I gone in the other direction from Roeselare to Lichtervelde – a nice clean and comfortable modern train – so I can see why it was preferred. My early train had saved me nothing.

I ate my bread and pear, and drank my ginger beer in comfort, and that took me all the way to Leuven where we were decanted into the rain.

As I walked back to the hostel in the pouring rain, I reflected on my journey today.

SNCB rail ticket leuven roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017If you look at a map, you’ll see the distance that I travelled on the railway today. It’s a good half-way, if not more, across the country and the travelling (not the waiting) time was in the region of two and a half hours each way – 5 hours in total.

And if you look at the ticket, you’ll see the price that I paid for the privilege of my journey. €21:20 – or about £19:00. It makes a total mockery of the price that you have to pay to travel on British trains.

I couldn’t even make a saving just by buying diesel to travel by Caliburn out to Roeselare. No wonder that Caliburn has hardly moved since I came back here from France in December.

And so that’s your lot. I’m off to bed.

Now if you’ve made it right down to the end of what is easily a new world-record 3300 or so words of where I got to today, you deserve some kind of compensation. I’ve told you that I really enjoyed the excellent dancing of the young KSV Roeselare cheerleaders.

preteen cheerleaders pre-teen KSV roeselare belgium february fevrier 2017What I’ll do then is to post you a little video of them dancing so that you can enjoy it yourself. This is what real dancing is all about.

I’m pleased that the football club is engaging with the youth of the community, and encouraging the youth to engage with the spectators. Attach a kid to your football club and you have him or her for life.

Too many of these organisations forget that kids have different ideals and aspirations, and fail to engage with them. And when the old fogeys die out, they find that there is no-one to take their place.

How many times have we seen that in an organisation?

So hats off to KSV Roeselare for giving me a good day out, to the brats for giving me such entertainment, and to you for having read all of these 3330 words.

Saturday 26th October 2013 – I REMEMBER …

… back to 2004 when I was ill and thinking that I ought to develop a new interest, that the subject of footy first came up. Brussels is ideally situated for being a Northern European footy fan and I do remember thinking that as Belgium and France are rather boring in that respect, I ought to cast my net a little further afield.

Dutch football fans are well-known for their passion and ardour and as the town of Breda is easy to get to from here on public transport (change trains at Antwerpen), then NAC came onto the radar. However, times changed, and things changed, and I changed, and that was that. Nevertheless, it was always something that turned around in the back of my mind.

Dutch football has some very interestingly-named teams such as Willem III, Heracles and Top Oss, but pride of place has to go to the enigmatically-named Go Ahead Eagles. Any team with a name like that deserves to be supported. And so imagine my surprise this morning when, over a cup of coffee, I glanced at the footy fixtures and found that the Eagles were playing away this evening – at NAC Breda!

So early this afternoon after lunch I leapt into Caliburn and shot off up the motorway as far as Weerde (I really ought to live in a town with a name like that – second only to the town of Silly of course) when I realised that I didn’t have my passport (I seem to be making a habit of this).

Back on my way to Antwerpen I encountered a Carrefour at Mechelen so I was even able to do a pile of shopping, and after that, with Golden Earring playing on Caliburn’s music centre in honour of my Going Dutch, I eventually arrived at the ground.

stadion rat verlegh NAC Breda netherlands eredivisieNice and modern, which many purists (including Yours Truly) will think is a pity, but with plenty of space around it and plenty of parking too which makes a pleasant change.

Buying a ticket for an Eredivisie match is not easy. You need to have a Dutch FA clubcard to but a ticket for the match. if you don’t have one, which of course I don’t, you need to produce a national identity card, which I don’t have either, or else produce a passport, which I did have, so it was a good job that I remembered to go back and fetch it. But just €15 (that’s £12) for a ticket is an absolute bargain to watch a 1st-tier match in a keenly-fought domestic league.

Next stop was to buy some food. I left Caliburn (who has never been to the Netherlands before, by the way, so there’s a first) at the Stadion Rat Verlegh (a delightful name) and went on foot to the centre, and I’m glad that I did because I stumbled once more upon something quite exciting that I would otherwise have missed.

fokker 100 scrapyard breda netherlandsThis is a Fokker 100 of the late 1980s or early 1990s and what it is doing here as an advert for a scrapyard I really have no idea. This isn’t the first one that we have seen either, for those of you with very long memories will recall the Andover that sat on top of a scrapyard at Ettiley Heath, at the back of Sandbach, for a while. But anyway, here it is and here it sits, and here it will probably stay until the price of scrap aluminium rises again.

It did rather remind me of that delightful story about the old World War I pilot reliving one of his battles during a live television interview.
“There I was, at 8,000 feet, all on my own, and suddenly these five German Fokkers appeared out of a cloud, right in front of me”
“I should mention, for the benefit of our younger viewers” said the interviewer “that a Fokker is a type of German aeroplane”
“Thats right!” ejaculated our hero. “These Fokkers were Albatroses”

historic building medieval centre breda netherlandsSo I eventually made it into town, following my nose which was quite interested in the smell of chips that it was detecting.

This brought me to a little square just on the edge of the old medieval centre and here was a beautiful historic building. I’ve absolutely no idea what it might be although it looks like an ersatz town hall or school building of the late 19th Century when the Dutch ran out of inspiration. However, I could be completely wrong about this and nothing would surprise me.

Here I was distracted as two pizza delivery motorcyclists burst out of an alleyway and headed off in different directions. That gave me a clue and so I headed into the alleyway and found myself at the back of a takeaway pizza lace. My takeaway Vegetarian with my own vegan cheese (I always come prepared) was one of the best I’ve ever eaten.

public urinal Breda NetherlandsOn the way back to the stadium in the dark, wishing that I had come here much earlier to properly explore the town, I encountered this object, right outside the football ground as you,might expect one such object to be. Whatever its proper name might be, I was told that the locals refer to it as the p155 house, and for very good reason too as you can see.

In fact I made very good use of it. I must stop drinking all of this flavoured water while I’m driving. It’s doing me no good at all, I tell you that. I’m not sure how I would have coped had I not found this artefact. It’s certainly a novel way to spend 1.2 centimes.

Mind you, it’s a bit disconcerting having to resort to something like this in front of a crowd of about 17,000 people trying to get into the Stadion Rat Verlegh. I mean, I didn’t want to give them all an inferiority complex.

stadion rat verlegh nac breda go ahead eagles deventer netherlands eredivisie 26 october 2013But that’s enough of me talking rubbish. Let’s concentrate on the football.

Tyhe quality was rather … errr … less than I was expecting for an Eredivisie match. NAC were, well, about average I suppose but Go Ahead Eagles were thoroughly awful and how they were in one place higher than the home side before the kick-off I really do not know. They had a central defence pairing of Lord Lucan and Martin Bormann and for the second quarter of the game they were quite simply torn to shreds. Its no exaggeration to say that 4-0 at half-time, all the goals coming in that 20-odd minute spell, was something of an understatement.

stadion rat verlegh nac breda go ahead eagles deventer netherlands eredivisie 26 october 2013It will also come as no surprise to anyone reading this that the second half was a totally different game. Naive followers of the sport would expect the second half to begin with the Eagles having their heads buried in their boots and a bouyant bunch of Breda boyos bouncing out to run up a cricket score (mind you, 4-0 IS a cricket score when England are batting).

But no, Breda had gone right off the boil and were content to play exhibition football for a while, passing the ball around amongst themselves instead of going for the jugular.

This of course gave the Eagles some kind of respite and a couple of times they snatched the ball away and went racing off down the ptch to give the Breda defence some VERY ANXIOUS moments indeed. I remember thinking that if the Eagles scored twice (which they could so easily have done), there would have been an almighty panic in the Breda side and anything could happen.

stadion rat verlegh nac breda go ahead eagles deventer netherlands eredivisie 26 october 2013However the Breda defence stood firm and with just two or three minutes to go, they managed to pot a fifth goal to calm what was clearly becoming a jittery Breda performance. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a side winning 4-0 look so nervous.

But I really don’t know why teams like this do this kind of thing. 4-0 up and looking good, and then going on the defensive for 45 minutes. They should have carried on with the allout attack, been 6-0 up after the hour, and then gone on to bury this team, instead of giving them a few easy chances to get back into the game. Really bad planning, this, and I would have kicked the players all around the stadium. A tight mid-table finish means that goal difference is all important when it comes to doling out the prize money at the end of the season and whenever you are given the opportunity, which doesn’t arrive very often for clubs like this, you should be going for the throat;

And on that note, I went home. Another one of my … errr … goals in life accomplished.