De Kustboys

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Sunday February 3rd 2013, kick off 3pm, at the Albertparkstadion, Belgium Second Division (Level Two).119
KVO Oostende (Red/Red/Yellow trim) 4-0 KFC Dessel Sport (White/Green), attendance 1,630.
Admission 17 Euro, no programme, free team sheet, bratwurst and sweets optional!

Six of us last night at a top flight fixture in Gent, but today just the two of us in Oostende, Steve Hammer and I, the others preferring an early arrival at the Brugge beer festival.

It took only the fifteen minutes on the train from Brugge and on exiting the station we were just a hop skip and jump from some rather large boats moored in the harbour.
Oostende is regarded as a holiday resort for Belgians, and its wide expanse of sandy beach is backed by an enormous promenade, which on this grey day didn’t look it’s best as we trudged toward our afternoon venue, but I should imagine on a sunny summer day would come alive to the sound of holidaymakers.

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Oostende had perhaps the feel of Brighton, the east end of the Brighton seafront.
We saw the occasional dog walker, joggers, and curiously an old guy sheltered under the arch of the cover of the promenade with an old-fashioned wind up music machine, playing tunes from days of old.
We were not sure what audience he was playing for on this cold winters day? And I commented to Steve that the towns ambience put me in mind of the Morrissey song, ‘Everyday is like Sunday’.

Hide on the promenade
Etch a postcard:
“how I dearly wish I was not here”
In the seaside town
…that they forgot to bomb
Come, come, come – nuclear bomb

Everyday is like sunday
Everyday is silent and grey

Not if seaside towns regularly hosted Sunday footy Mr Morrissey!
We switched to the main road running alongside the beach and eventually spotted the lights of the Albertparkstadion, and after a lengthy walk arrived with some colour in our cheeks, vowing to return on the tram after the game. Inside we were happy to gulp down a tasty bratwurst but passing up on the enticing looking sweety stall placed in a very tempting position near the turnstiles.

Clearly a more low-key feel than our match the night before with the numbers of spectators wandering to the ground being quite low. A little surprising considering ‘The Coastboys’ were top of the league and pushing for promotion back to the top flight ‘Pro League’. We found a tidy little stadium, similar in size to those of Fleetwood Town or Burton Albion.

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We purchased our five euro colourful Oostende scarves from the club shop (no programmes or badges here) and took a seat in the main stand, while Steve had done well to pick up a couple of teamsheets from the clubhouse.

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It certainly did have the feel of a ‘Lazy Sunday’ afternoon match, and it was soon clear that Oostende looked a classier act than their mid table visitors from the Antwerp region. The KFC Dessel Sport away keeper looked particularly vulnerable to crosses and flapped at the ball like a dog trying to swat flies with his paw, but then later produced some good saves. Maybe his dallying was because of a general lack of confidence in the those in front of him, hardly headless chickens, but they lacked any sort of ambition to get forward and attack with any purpose.

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It was only a matter of time before Oostende scored, and the only surprise was that it came from the boot of a KFC visitor, deflecting into his own net on fifteen minutes. Other goals were added on 23 (Luissant), 66 (Brouckhaart, pen), and on 81 (Vendamme) to give a fair reflection of the balance of play, each goal being greeted by booming music over the PA, giving us a shock each time!
Two KFC players took early showers, Francesco on 45 for giving away the penalty, and Remen on 66 for a second yellow. Frankly the ref gave out cards for pretty tame tackles that probably would have only merited a talking to in an English game.

A quick exit and short wait for a tram, and we were back at the station by 17:10 to jump on a waiting train, and ninety minutes later were happily supping at the beer festival with our multi coloured scarves drapped around our necks!

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