Lyrastadion, Lier

posted in: Antwerp, Demolished, Stadiums | 0

Club: TSV Lyra

Constructed: 1921

Current Capacity: 3.500

Maximum Capacity: 10.000

Much like in the neighbouring Mechelen the Lierse football landscape is divided into a “Catholic” and a “Liberal” camp. Where in Mechelen the Liberal Racing is clearly the underdog, in Lier this position is taken by the Catholic TSV Lyra.

The stadium of the club was located just outside the historic centre of the Antwerp provincial town, hidden behind a pump station on the Mechelsesteenweg. The site itself is located there since 1912, when the club agreed a lease of 99 years finishing baron du Roy de Wichem. When the 99 years were unfortunately over a gem of Belgian Stadium architecture was demolished in 2014 so a new housing project could be constructed

The football and Gymnastics Club “Lyra” was christened on 17 January 1908 after some soccer and gymnastic enthusiasts joined forces. Lyra was not merely a sports association, there was also a stageplay part. In 1910 the club received Matricule 55 from the Belgian football association. As football gained popularity in the city at the Nete river, the team already had 5 teams in competition after just a couple of years. Lyra reached the highest level of Belgian football in 1932 where it remained for 6 seasons. During and just after the war years the club moved between the 2 highest Divisions. Their zenith was their 8th place in the season 1946-47. After relegation in 1950, the Palieters returned to the top class but their 1953-54 season was one to be quickly forgotten…

Although the Association “Lyra” continued to exist, the Football Department merged in 1972 with the city rivals of Lierse SK. The Matricule 55 was lost but but immediately after the merger a new football club with the name Lyra, and Matricule 7776, was founded at the Mechelsesteenweg. Because the stadium remained property of the association the “new” club could remain at their trusted location. The new TSV Lyra was a popular club in the provincial leagues and meanwhile has been for over 20 years a fixture in the national soccer at the Third and Fourth level. The club recent years have been without the fanatical following of yesteryear.

The middle part of the main stand dated back to 1921. Of the side stands with which the tribune was extended after the promotion in 1932, one had to make way for the construction of a canteen with 130 places in 1973. The also in 1932 constructed outdoor terrace behind the goal luckily remained until the demolition. The last major upgrade of the stadium was in the 90s. Behind the other goal a wooden chalet with 75 business seats and a capacity of 350 places was constructed.

Bronnen:

“Vergeten arena’s: historiek van Belgiës oudste voetbalstadions”. VAN LOOCK Stefan, Roularta Books