Now that FC Knokke is the best amateur club in Belgium, chairman Vincent Vanhonsebrouck wants to consider whether professional football is an option: “Everything is possible if we get the final push” (Knokke-Heist)

Now that FC Knokke is the best amateur club in Belgium, chairman Vincent Vanhonsebrouck wants to consider whether professional football is an option: “Everything is possible if we get the final push” (Knokke-Heist)
Now that FC Knokke is the best amateur club in Belgium, chairman Vincent Vanhonsebrouck wants to consider whether professional football is an option: “Everything is possible if we get the final push” (Knokke-Heist)
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Vincent Vanhonsebrouck beams as he drives his car over the neat roads of Knokke. And rightly so, because he has been the chairman of the best amateur club in Belgium for at least one year. Royal Knokke FC is currently third in the first national table and wants to stay there with a good result against Sporting Charleroi B. The final match is alive, because 250 diners are coming and afterwards – like in the good old days – a big party is planned.

FC Knokke never performed better in the Croky Cup and received two first division teams with KV Mechelen and OH Leuven. The stadium and especially the spaces were too small. “Then everyone wants to be there and we even had to put diners in the press room,” Vanhonsebrouck looks back on those memorable winter evenings in October and December. But that crowd doesn’t happen every week. Opponents that appeal less to the imagination and the competition from Club and Cercle Brugge often result in insufficient attendance. It is Vanhonsebrouck, who works hard for his club and is very sympathetic, often a thorn in the side.

Perception against

Just as he believes that the performance of his team and the operation of the club receive too little attention. “We sometimes also have a bit of a negative perception. Because it is Knokke, people think that we just have the money and have the largest budget. But that is not true at all. We even have to pursue an economical policy here and don’t pay anyone crazy amounts.”

Due to its strong operation and stability, FC Knokke succeeds in reaching the top year after year. But the club also has a mission and has been able to rely on a strong youth team for a number of years. Every evening and Saturday morning the site is very busy.

“All self-trained boys in the first team would be fantastic, but it is difficult if you want to continue playing at this level”

Vincent Vanhonsebrouck

chair

“If I want to attend the first team training on Saturday morning, I can’t even find parking. We invest a lot in our youth and it pays off. Last Saturday against La Louvière, Mathieu Geeraerd played the entire match and he did excellently. It’s fantastic when a real Knocker and youth product of the club makes it this far. We want more of that, but a team like Cercle cannot come and take all the talent away from us. We sometimes wonder whether good players are not born in Bruges. All self-trained boys in the first team would be fantastic, but it is difficult if you want to continue playing at this level. More boys from the region is also a goal. I admit that it annoys me when guys are back in their cars immediately after the match, but I also understand them. They are good guys who sometimes live far away, train three or four times a week and also work. It makes sense that they would also like to spend some time with their family.”

Support from the municipality

These are the consequences of a club that has grown from provincial to the top of amateur football. Professional football would be the next step, but FC Knokke did not want to know about that until now. Perhaps that can now change. “Many people in and around the club are concerned about it. I am pleasantly surprised by how many people passively follow us and talk to me about the club. They always ask me why we don’t go to the Challenger Pro League. I then respond by asking if they will come and have a look. I am willing to start those conversations and if the municipality supports me, I am willing to apply for that license. That’s not a promise, just an idea to consider. We cannot invest in a stadium that we rent and that is owned by the municipality, but politicians are sympathetic to RKFC and we are also grateful to them. A lot also depends on the next elections, but if they want to give us that last push, then I certainly wouldn’t rule anything out for the future and professional football might also be played in Knokke. Everything is certainly possible.”

The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: Knokke amateur club Belgium chairman Vincent Vanhonsebrouck professional football option final push KnokkeHeist

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