|Full name||Koninklijke Sportkring
|Founded||1 July 1934 (creation)
6 September 1935
|Ground||Freethiel Stadion, Beveren|
|2009–10||Belgian Second Division, 18th|
Koninklijke Sportkring Beveren (Royal Sporting Club of Beveren) is a Belgian association football club from the town of Beveren in East Flanders. KSK Beveren was particularly succesful during the late 1970's and early 1980's in which it managed to win two national championships and two Belgian Cups. In 1979 the club became the first champion of Belgium from the East Flanders province. KSK Beveren is up to the present day the only Belgian champion that is based in a municipality instead of a city. The club came into financial decline in the late 1990's and almost went bankrupt in 2010. The club's male first team ceased all footballing activities in May 2010 to (unofficially) merge with KV Red Star Waasland, becoming KV Red Star Waasland-Beveren. A small fraction of fans started a new club in Belgium's lowest division, called YB SK Beveren. Both teams claim to be the rightful heir of KSK Beveren. However, the original KSK Beveren is still in existence and has a ladies team, which as of 2018 will play in the highest provincial league in women's football.
1922–1949 Origins and early years
Association football has a history in Beveren that goes back to the year 1922 when a local team called 'Standaard Beveren' was founded under the influence of local businessman Paul Verhaert. The club became a member of the Belgian Football Association and received the 'Matricule 737' (the federation's registration number). Financial problems led to the dissolvement of the club in May 1931.
A few years later, with football booming all over Europe, the foundations were laid for what would become KSK Beveren. On July 23, 1934 a local pub ('De Graanmaat') owner received a request from a club of the nearby Municipality of Temse to form a team of players of the former 'Standaard' team and play a game against them. The selection of Beverenplayers won with 1–2 and decided to form a new club: Sportkring Beveren (or SK Beveren) became an official member of the Belgian Football Association on 6 September 1935 and received the 'Matricule 2300'.
SKB immediately became succesful in the local leagues with two titles in a row. In 1938 the club moved to the Velodrome of local beer brewer and entrepreneur Frederik Thielemans, to whom the stadium was eventually named: the Freethiel Stadion. KSK Beveren remained at the site until 2010 and the stadium is up to the present day still used by Waasland-Beveren, while YB SK Beveren uses a nearby training field as home ground in the same sports park. Football in Belgium during World War II was organized in emergency leagues, so as a consequence SK Beveren freshly started the 1945–1946 season in the highest provincial league. In 1947 influential chairman Louis Verhaert came into power, leading his club to the national divisions for the first time in 1949, winning the league in an away game against Herzele.
1949–1967 Rise to the highest division
SK Beveren needed little time to adapt to life in the national divisions. It took the club only three years to eventually promote from the Belgian Fourth Division to the Belgian Third Division predominantly using local players and often counting on the heroics of their goalkeeper Walter De Winter. In the second game of the playoffs for promotion Beveren had already enough with a 2–1 win against Willebroek to secure their rise to a higher division.
Between 1952 and 1960 the club stayed in the Belgian Third Division, regularly battling against relegation and at the end losing the battle by only reaching 15th place in the 1959–1960 season. However, SK Beveren would come back stronger than ever before. During its three-year stay in the Belgian Fourth Division the club started to give chances to a group of local players which would become known as the golden generation of SK Beveren. Most of them learned playing the game on a local playing field, nicknamed 't Congoken due to its sandy pitch, similar to the local public image of playing fields in Africa at that time and referring to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a former colony of Belgium. The former site now serves as a parking lot, but is still remembered with two sculptures representing goals. Amongst the players were prolific striker Robert Rogiers, playmaker Omer Janssens, winger Jean Janssens, centre back Freddy Buyl and central midfielder Wilfried Van Moer.
In 1963 an unstoppable Beveren won the Belgian Fourth Division with 16 points (in the old 2 point system) in front of second placed Brasschaat, without losing a single match and scoring 111 goals along the way. After two 3th place finishes, SK Beveren managed to become champion in the Belgian Third Division in 1966. The title was won in an away game in Zwevegem, where Beveren obtained a 2-2 draw after a late goal from Robert Rogiers. The rise of the club, with especially the attacking type of play in mind, didn't go unnoticed in the rest of Belgium, with references in the media to the club as the "little Anderlecht". Under the new coach Guy Thys, Beveren directly promoted to the highest division in 1967, by winning the Belgian Second Division in the final game of the season at UR Namur with Mon Goossens scoring the deciding goal in a 2-3 win.
1967-1977 Rise to power
The club changed its name again, to SK Beveren, in 1978, and under this name enjoyed their greatest successes, being surprise champions in 1979 and 1984. In 1979, they beat Internazionale in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, eventually being eliminated by Barcelona in the semi-finals with two 1–0 defeats. During this campaign, KSK Beveren had many players with only semi-professional status. TV reporters took pleasure to call those players by their jobs: the Fireman, the Docker, the Policeman and the Employee etc.
In 1984 the club name changed to K.S.K. Beveren
In 2006, they were threatened with the loss of their professional licence and subsequent relegation to the third division, but eventually won an appeal to preserve their status. In 2007, however, the club ended last in the Jupiler League and was forced to go to the second division.
In 2010, a few weeks before the end of the championship, the club announced that due to its financial situation it did not apply for a professional license, opting for automatic relegation to the third division for the 2010–11 season.
Between 2001 and 2006, the club had a co-operation agreement with English Premier League club Arsenal. Several players were loaned between the teams and friendlies played. The agreement expired on 1 July 2006.
In 2001, Belgian police concluded that a loan of over €1.5 million had been made by Arsenal to the company Goal, which helped secure Beveren's financial position. Newsnight have alleged this may breach club ownership rules under FIFA regulations. The accusation is refuted by Arsenal, who state that the payment was an interest free loan and has no effect on the administration of the club. The FA and FIFA cleared both clubs of any wrongdoing.
Several players have been loaned between the two clubs or had trials. Only Emmanuel Eboué and Igors Stepanovs, however, completed permanent moves to the clubs in this time period, the former to Arsenal and the latter to Beveren.
- 1966–1969: Guy Thys
- 1974–1975: Jef Jurion
- 1975–1978: Urbain Braems
- 1981–1984: Urbain Braems
- 1986–1988: Ladislav Novák
- 1988–1989: René Desaeyere
- 1990–1992: Johan Boskamp
- 1992–1995: Jos Daerden
- 1995–1996: René Desaeyere, Dimitri Davidovic, Barry Hulshoff
- 1999–2001: Emilio Ferrera
- 2001–2002: Jean-Marc Guillou, Regis Laguesse, Thierry Pister
- 2005–2006: Vincent Dufour
- 2006–2007: Walter Meeuws
- 2007–2009: Alex Czerniatynski
- 2009–2010: Johan Boskamp
- Belgian First Division:
- Winners (2): 1978–79, 1983–84
- Belgian Second Division:
- Winners (4): 1966–67, 1972–73, 1990–91, 1996–97
- Belgian Cup:
- Winners (2): 1977–78, 1982–83
- Runners-up (3): 1979–80, 1984–85, 2003–04
- Belgian Supercup:
- Winners (2): 1979, 1984
- Runners-up (2): 1980, 1983
- As of 5 March 2006:
|UEFA Champions League||2||6||2||2||2||11||8|
|UEFA Cup Winners' Cup||2||12||6||3||3||17||9|
|UEFA Intertoto Cup||1||4||1||1||2||6||8|
Note: this list includes players that have reached international status or have significance in Belgian or international football.