Royal Antwerp F.C.
|Full name||Royal Antwerp Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Great Old|
Bosuilstadion (1923– )
|Manager||Wim De Decker|
|League||Belgian First Division A|
|2015–16||Belgian Second Division, 3rd|
|Website||Club home page|
Antwerp is regarded as the oldest club in Belgium, approximately founded in 1880 by English students residing in Antwerp as Antwerp Athletic Club, 15 years prior to the creation of the Royal Belgian Football Association. At first there was no organised football played by its members, until 1887 when the football division was founded with an own board, named Antwerp Football Club. As it was the oldest club still playing it was subsequently the first football club to register to the Association in 1895 and they consequently received the matriculate number one, when matriculation numbers were introduced in 1926.
In 1900, most of the players left the club for the new neighbouring club of K. Beerschot V.A.C., and this was the start of a long rivalry between both clubs. Royal Antwerp have won four Belgian league titles so far, as well as two Belgian Cups. The club is also the latest Belgian team to have reached a UEFA competition final, the 1993 European Cup Winners' Cup Final, where they lost 3–1 against Parma at Wembley Stadium. They have been playing in the Belgian Second Division since 2004–05. Royal Antwerp play their home matches at the Bosuilstadion since 1923. Royal Antwerp colours are red and white.
Royal Antwerp have a long-term partnership with the English giants Manchester United, often taking their young players on loan so that their development can be aided with first team football, and young players who require European work-permits can benefit from Belgium's more relaxed laws. An example is Dong Fangzhuo, who was unable to play for United, immediately due to work permit problems and was loaned to allow him to gain first team experience.
Despite being one of Belgium's best-supported clubs, Antwerp have been under-achievers for several years. They have not won a league title since 1957, and have spent several seasons in the second division. They were last promoted to the top flight in 2000, only to be relegated in short order in 2004. They returned to the first division after 13 years in 2017.
The best football (soccer) players of Antwerp and Rotterdam contested a yearly match between 1909 and 1959 for the Meuse- and Scheldt Cup (Maas- en Schelde Beker). It was agreed to play the game at stadium De Bosuil [ Royal Antwerp Football Club ] in Antwerp [Belgium] and at stadium Het Kasteel [ Sparta Rotterdam ] in Rotterdam [Holland]. The cup was provided in 1909 by P. Havenith from Antwerp and Kees van Hasselt from Rotterdam.
- Champions (2): 1999–2000, 2016-17
- Champions (2): 1954–55, 1991–92
- Runners-up (1): 1992–93
Updated 2 February, 2017.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.