Europe’s Forgotten Clubs:KV Mechelen

KV-Mechelen-602x300

The province of Antwerp located in Flanders it is know for its biggest city and port of the same name which ranks as the 2nd biggest port in Europe and one of the biggest in the world.When it comes to football its club Royal Antwerp is much less successful and it is currently playing in the 2nd Belgian division,however in the province there is the city of Mechelen where KV Mechelen is located,a football one hit wonder of the late 1980s.The story of KV Mechelen begins in 1904 when it was founded a cuople of months after the founding of their city rivals KRC Mechelen,but it wasn’t until 1921 that they reached the 1st division of Belgian football,but in 1929 they were relegated,until the next season they were back.The first successful era of the club was during the 1940s where they won three 1st division titles in 1943,1946 and 1948,after their last title the only bright result came in 1954 where they managed to finish 3rd one point behind Anderlecht,in the next three decades the club bounce between the 1st and 2nd division until 1983 when under Dutch coach Leo Canjels will return to the 1st division.Then it came their moment when another Dutch coach Aad De Mos which came from Ajax took over the bench in the 1986-1987 season and began to collect trophies in domestic and European competition.In the first season of the De Mos era,Mechelen won its only Belgian Cup against RFC Liege by beating them with a single goal.That was enough to enter the Cup Winners Cup next season where they beat Dynamo Bucarest,St.Mirren,Dynamo Minsk and in the semifinals Atalanta to reach the final in Strasbourg where they faced Ajax which was De Mos’s former club.KV Mechelen pulled a shocker by defeating Ajax by a single goal in the 1988 Cup Winners Cup final.With that Mechelen is the last Belgian team to win a European trophy.

After that they beat PSV Eindhoven which was coached by Guus Hiddink in the 1988 UEFA Super Cup in two legs.Those were the only two European trophies which Mechelen won.In the next two seasons they had two more successful runs in European competitions where they reached the semifinals of the Cup Winners Cup in 1989 where they were eliminated by Sampdoria under Serbian coach Vujadin Boskov and on the field led by Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Vialli and in 1990 in the quarterfinals of the Champions Cup where they were eliminated by AC Milan under famous Italian coach Arrigo Sacchi in the extra time of the second leg with goals by Van Basten and Simone.Also their only Belgian league title came in the 1988-89 season,after De Mos left the club in 1989 Mechelen began to fell back in obscurity besides that it played in the UEFA Cup for 4 consecutive seasons but without success where they were beaten in the early stages by respective clubs like Sporting Lisbon,PAOK,Orebro and Vitesse Arnhem and the only result of the early 1990s came in the 3rd round of the UEFA Cup where they were beaten by Cagliari in 1994.KV Mechelen faded away from European competition due to bad results in the Belgian league which resulted in a relegation from the Belgian 2nd division in 2003 into the third division where they spend a single season after they got promoted in 2004.A return to the Belgian 1st division which today bears the name Jupiler Pro League was secured in 2007 after winning the promotion play-offs.Currently KV Mechelen plays in the Jupiler Pro League with mid-table results in recent seasons with the highest 7th in the 2009-10 season and lowest 13th in 2007-08 and 2013-14 season.

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