Sunday 14 February 2016, Union Saint Gilloise 1 Tubize 2, Belgian 2nd Division - Stade Joseph Marien
I had heard so much about a visit to see Union play, I was concerned that I would be disappointed especially after visiting 3 classic Belgian grounds in the morning but that concern soon changed to joy as I walked up the road and saw the back pf the main stand - it reminded me of the Stevenage Rd stand at Fulham but a quick look inside the stand entrance and the stained glass window it was more reminiscent of the Marble entrance to the old Highbury.
But even though the stand is great the rest of the ground is nothing too write home about but what does make the visit stand out from the rest is the match day atmosphere, the friendly fans, club house, the beer and of course the black pudding hot dog or if you prefer the real French name for this delicacy - Boudin Noir!
The club house under the stand was packed but all were made welcome, the Arsenal-Leicester game was on the TV and there were also a number of other British fans in attendance, quick walk behind the goal to get that black pudding hot dog, back to the bar more beer then time for the game.
Walking into the main stand via the entrance with it's stained glass window I already felt part of this club not just a neutral onlooker! The game itself? A stupid and needless sending off would always make it a hard game for Union, they could not be faulted for effort and kept pushing with their captain not only looking like Luke Chambers (the Ipswich skipper) but also he seemed to have the same motivational skills getting both his teammates and the crowd up for the fight with his fist pumps and some hard tacking but like Luke often that effort came in replace of a well judged pass.
Half time came and the stand emptied- out of the ground and into the pub across the road! Can't imagine that happening at a Championship game here in England, I had a quick beer and back for the second half, but having only 10 men and already losing meant a number of Union fans spent the rest of the afternoon in the pub.
The open terracing opposite kept singing, cheering and sticking with their team but even with one goal pulled back, Union never looked like getting back on level terms. I had to make a quick exit after the game as I had a train to catch but I did wish I could have stayed, another beer in the pub opposite and then back to the club house to join the players for the singing of the club song.
So it is not just hype, a visit to Union is all it is stacked up to be and I am sure I will be back for a second taste of Belgian football and another Boudin Noir!