Cercle Brugge K.SV. is a Belgian football team from Bruges. Cercle plays in the Jupiler League since the 2003-04 season after they had been relegated in 1997. Its matricule is the n°12. It plays in the Jan Breydel Stadium which the team shares with fierce rivals Club Brugge. Cercle Brugge won its first national title in 1911, and won two more titles before the Second World War (1927 and 1930).
Cercle Brugge became a member of the Royal Belgian Football Association in 1900 and was awarded matricule number 12. This same year, Cercle moved from their football field in Sint-Michiels, which was disposed by De Frères, to a pitch in Sint-Andries because of the better facilities and because it was closer to Bruges' main railway station, which was at that time located at 't Zand square. Cercle achieved their first small success in the 1902 Henri Fraeys Cup, in which they defeated Olympique Iris Club Lillois (the predecessor of Lille O.S.C.) and US Tourcoing. After winning another few friendly cups, Cercle went on towards their first big success: the national title in the 1910-11 season. Cercle ended 1 point in front of their main rivals F.C. Bruges, after their confrontation at the last matchday of the season had ended in a 1-1 draw. Sadly, only three years later, World War I devastated the whole Belgian football competition. Cercle lost two players in the war: Louis Baes and Joseph Evrard. Also former player Alphonse Six lost his life. And the stadium facilities and terrain were also heavily damaged.
In 1923, Cercle extended their stadium facilities again, moving 100 metres away from their old pitch, to the newly built stadium, later to be called Edgard De Smedt Stadium, where Cercle would stay for more than 50 years.
In 1928, a new Cercle star appeared at the firmament: goalkeeper Robert Braet, who had only switched from field player to goalkeeper after an illness. He would become a key player who would spend his whole career for the green and black side and, in a later stage, would become chairman.
Cercle only took a slow start in the 1929-30 season, possessing a sixth place at the mid-season winter break, seven points behind leaders Antwerp. However, at the last matchday of this season, Cercle were only 1 point behind. Cercle defeated Lierse SK at home with 4-1, leaving them an anxious wait for the result of Antwerp against 10th placed Standard Liège because telecommunication facilities were not very common. In the end, the news reached team captain Florimond Vanhalme that Antwerp had lost 3-5. Cercle won their third and (thus far) final title. Because of this title, Cercle were invited to take part in the Coupe des Nations, which is regarded as the predecessor of the Champions League.
In 1941, a national competition was again organised. Cercle ended last but one, but luckily the KBVB decided that no team would relegate because of the war. This unusual situation had made it tough for players to train, and also youth schooling had become very difficult.
In the 1943 season, a remarkable incident happened. When referee De Braeckel annulated 2 Cercle goals for unclear reasons and validated an Anderlecht offside goal, Cercle supporters were so mad that referee De Braeckel had to flee. Two Cercle supporters proposed to the Cercle Brugge board to give the referee a ride to the Bruges railway station, which the board accepted. But instead of doing so, these two supporters drove towards Zedelgem and threw ref De Braeckel out of their car in the middle of nowhere. As a result, Cercle had to play one match behind closed doors.
Right after the liberation in 1944, an unofficial championship was organised with the teams who were playing at the highest level in 1939. This initiative failed because most teams were not able to take part, and because of the Von Rundstedt Offensive. The end ranking of this competition has not even been archived by the Belgian football association.
Cercle would remain there until 1956, when they won the league. Cercle started again battling against relegation, with more success this time. But the following season, Cercle started the return matches with only 9 points. However, the green and black side, under the lead of coach Louis Versyp, managed to avoid relegation by a win on the last match of the season. A few weeks later though, Versyp was replaced by the Frenchman Edmond Delfour. This replacement was a direct hit, and it was under Delfour's command that Cercle returned to the highest division in 1961, after missing promotion only by the width of a razorblade in 1960.
During Cercle's revival at the top flight, they never stood an excellent chance.
In 1967, Urbain Braems was appointed as head coach of Cercle. He had designed an ambitious plan, which had to bring Cercle back to the top division within the following 5 years. Eendracht Aalst were the most important rivals for promotion that year. Two matches before the end of the season, Cercle and Aalst faced each other, while both counting 41 points, but with Aalst with the most won matches, meaning Cercle had to win to take the lead. Cercle lost the match 0-1... But Cercle's youth teams delegate André Penninck had noticed that the team delegate of Aalst had made a mistake: he had switched the names of the substitutes, which meant that, according to the match paper, Aalst had ended the match playing with 2 goalkeepers, which is forbidden. Cercle made a complaint about this at the Belgian football association. But against their own rules, the KBVB confirmed Aalst's 0-1 win. Cercle appealed against this decision, but the 0-1 was confirmed again. Cercle then made their second and final possible appeal, and this instance ordered the football association to apply the rules. On June 21, 1968, Cercle received the news that they would promote to second division. In July of that same year, Royal Cercle Sportif Brugeois changed their name to Cercle Brugge K.S.V.
Cercle was immediately able to play a role in second division thanks to a successful transfer policy. After 20 matches, Cercle were in the lead, but finally they ended up as 4th, four points behind champions AS Oostende. Next season, Cercle ended again four points behind the champions, KFC Diest. But one year before the end of the five-year-plan, in 1971, Cercle achieved their goal: they won promotion and were back at the top!
Cercle tried immediately to avoid the relegation battle by signing the necessary fortifications, such as Fernand Goyvaerts and Benny Nielsen. Cercle succeeded in this, managing to get points out of their early confrontations with Anderlecht and Club Brugge, respectively champions and vice-champions that season. Cercle obtained the 5th place and was departed for some carefree seasons. In 1975, Cercle waved the Edgard De Smedt Stadium goodbye and went to the Olympia Stadium, which would be renamed to Jan Breydel Stadium because of Euro 2000.
Cercle had only had two coaches from 1967 until 1977: Urbain Braems and Han Grijzenhout. But Grijzenhout left after a lucrative offer by SC Lokeren. Cercle appointed Lakis Petropoulos as new coach. But injuries of key players and the language barrier with the Greek coach seemed such a problem that it eventually turned out to be disastrous, with Cercle relegating unexpectedly. Han Grijzenhout was again appointed as coach to get Cercle back to the first division as soon as possible. After only one season, Cercle became champions, ending 1 point before SK Tongeren.
Again, some carefree seasons announced themselves for Cercle, with a climax in the Belgian Cup in 1985. Cercle defeated SK Beveren in the final. After 90 minutes, a 1-1 draw was on the score board. 30 minutes of extra time also did not bring a decision, so the match went to penalties. Beveren player Paul Lambrichts kicked the last penalty of the series against the crossbar, and Cercle celebrated. For the first time since 1930, Cercle would play in an official European confrontation. Opponents became Dynamo Dresden. Cercle won the home match 3-2, but in Dresden Cercle lost 2-1, losing the confrontation on aggregate.
After the 1985 cup final against Beveren, Cercle again reached the cup final in 1986, this time meeting city rivals Club Brugge. Cercle lost 0-3, with two questionable penalties scored by Jean-Pierre Papin. A next climax would be the recruitment of the Yugoslav striker Josip Weber in 1988. Despite a difficult start in Belgium, Weber would prove himself to be the best post-war goal scorer for Cercle, being top scorer of the team from 1989 until his departure to Anderlecht in 1994. Weber was also national top scorer from 1992 until 1994. And in the early 90's, another star signed in Bruges: Romanian record international Dorinel Munteanu.
In 1996, Cercle got once more through to the national cup final. The final would be a re-issue of the 1986 final, as Cercle met Club Brugge again. This time, the result was a 1-2 loss. But due to Club winning the double, Cercle qualified for the UEFA Cup, in which they drew the Norwegian side SK Brann. Cercle won the home match 3-2, but lost 4-0 in Bergen. But due to the Belgian cup success the previous season, Cercle had lost some important players and their substitutes could not satisfy. At the end of the season, Cercle relegated together with KV Mechelen.
As of match played 20 January 2007 and according to www.cerclemuseum.be
|1||Jules Verriest||1965 - 1981||492||8|
|2||Geert Broeckaert||1978 - 1991||375||19|
|3||Arthur Ruysschaert||1925 - 1944||372||108|
|4||Roger Claeys||1941 - 1957||362||48|
|5||Jackie De Caluwé||1951 - 1966||354||32|
|6||Robert Braet||1928 - 1948||352||0|
|7||Rudy Poorteman||1979 - 1991||347||7|
|8||Wim Kooiman||1980 - '88/1994 - '98||339||25|
|Bram Van Kerkhof||1974 - 1985||339||14|
|10||Franky Simon||1962 - 1975||334||2|
As of match played 20 January 2007 and according to www.cerclemuseum.be
|1||Marcel Pertry||1943 - 1955||280||140|
|2||Josip Weber||1988 - 1994||204||136|
|3||Dirk Beheydt||1975 - 1984||295||115|
|4||Michel Vanderbauwhede||1920 - 1932||231||109|
|5||Arthur Ruysschaert||1925 - 1944||372||108|
|6||Gilbert Bailliu||1953 - 1966||227||104|
|7||Louis Saeys||1903 - 1927||305||103|
|8||Gérard Devos||1921 - 1930||178||100|
|9||Alphonse Six||1907 - 1912||89||93|
|10||André Saeys||1928 - '35/1941 - '42||172||55|
|Eric Buyse||1959 - 1970||265||55|
1 Alex Querter never received the award because of his move to city rivals Club Brugge that same season. The organisers of the award found that Querters choice didn't match the criterium love for the team.
|1985/86||UEFA Cup Winners' Cup||1||Dynamo Dresden||3-2||2-1||4-4|
|1996/97||UEFA Cup Winners' Cup||1||Brann Bergen||3-2||4-0||3-6|