Rivierenhof Stadium, Deurne

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An all seated covered stand with more than 1,000 seats is possibly a little too large for this troubled Antwerp fusion club Although Tubantia could count on a decent following before World War II today only a handful of spectators find their way to the Rivierenhof. Tubantia F.C. was founded in 1915 by a group of street soccer players at the Antwerp city walls in Borgerhout. The name “Tubantia” is somewhat unusual since it is the Latin name for the Dutch province of Twente. The inspiration for their club name the young people found in the Dutch football club HVV Tubantia from Hengelo. The chosen team colors were green and white.

It would take 16 years before the Antwerp team would find a place to settle in the Ter Rivierenhof in Deurne. After initially playing on the grounds of Café Hippodrome” on the Stenenbrug in Borgerhout, the club moved a year later several hundred meters away to Brabo field and even later moved to the Muggenberg. At the end of season 1925/26 Tubantia was promoted to the third national level. It was the beginning of the golden age of the club as not only did they contest the 1927 Belgian Cup Final, in the spring of 1930 they gained promotion to the highest level in Belgian football, then still called the Honour League. On an infrastructural level the promotion came too early causing the first season in Honour” to be partly played partly in Antwerp’s Bosuil stadium and partly on Beerschot’s Kiel. The own stadium “de Put (the well)” in the Ter Rivierenhof was festively opened on 30 August 1931 with a practice match against NOAD Tilburg. In addition to a stand with 4,500 seats the stadium had a standing area for about 8.500 fans. Tubantia FC only played one season at the highest level and the next 16 years the park guys would be a fixed value in what was then called “tweede klasse” or the Second Division

During the war years the stadium was taken over by the occupying forces and Tubantia moved for its home games to the pitch of the neighbors of SK Borgerhout. After the merger in 1960 with that club this would become the permanent home the new club k. Tubantia Borgerhout F.C.. The name of the team with Matricule 64 stem number would later be translated to k. Tubantia Borgerhout VK. The Green and white club colours were exchanged in the merger for the red and white taken from the municipal coat of arms.

A few years after the merger the Rivierenhof team relegated to the Fourth Division where they, except for some seasons in the 1st provincial Division, would play for almost 30 years. Under the experienced leadership of Paul Put the Rivierenhofboys experiencedone last glory period in the early 1990s. In a fierce title fight Tubantia left the ice cream club based in Tielen (their benefactor was an Ice Cream Producer) behind them and spend some seasons in the 3rd National Division with a handsome 3rd place behind VC Westerlo and Cappellen FC in their debut season 1993/94 as the highlight. Unfortunately “den Tuub did not have the resources to keep their better players and a relegation to the 2nd Provincial Division followed in 1997.

The oversized stand erected in the early 1970s currently only gets filled for friendly matches against Royal Antwerp FC or Beerschot-Wilrijk. The last time Tubantia could lure many people to the stadium itself was on Ascension Day 2007. In the presence of 1,500 spectators and under the eye of the camera by local television station ATV they won the promotion play-offs against Wuustwezel. After 2 seasons back in the national division Tubantia again relegated to the Provincial Divisions. During the last few years financial problems and further relegations still threaten the existence of the club.

Famous names who once defended the red-and-white colors are those of Antwerp football legends Charles Mack and Rik Coppens. Perhaps the most surprising name is that of the former world champion cycling the late Stanneke Ockers. Current active players that started off their career at Tubantia include Zulte-Waregem goalie Kenny Steppe and AS Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan.