Not content with finally seeing my first bit of live football in Belgium, I decided it was right that I go along and cheer on my local team: RAEC Mons. They were playing the Flemish outfit, Yellow-Red KV Mechelen. I mean, what a name! And the who hell came up with it? Try getting that all into a chant!
Mons are bit of a yo-yo team in that they often find themselves in Belgium's top division one year, only to be relegated to the second division a year later. This season they're back in the big time.
Another good game of football, and another superb atmosphere. Les Montois behind the goal made an absolute racket for the full 90mins, with a wide repertoire of songs. As in England, they were all stood up, in spite of there being seats, which they used to stand on instead. This would never be allowed in England.
Mechelen also brought with them a healthy number of fans, several hundred, which is good for Belgium. I think their songs were sung in Dutch but it was impossible to tell.
What I looked forward to was the dynamic between the two sets of fans: the Walloons vs. the Flemish. Surely, there'd be lots of anti-Walloon and anti-Flemish chanting? My lack of fluent French and non-existent Dutch meant that this was hard for me to know. There was the odd bit of banter between the fans but it all seemed in very good nature.
A regular at Mons told me that their supporters are extremely well behaved and in particular tend to show a lot of respect when the big teams come.
Bizarrely, or not, you're not allowed to take food into the ground, but have to eat the stuff from the vendors outside before you take your seat. However, you can buy alcohol in the ground, and even though it's not permitted, several people were smoking. Again, the over-zealous stewards in England would come down on them like a ton of bricks, but this is Belgium we're talking about. Remember, rules are not made to be followed.
Fine evening's entertainment: Mons stuffed em' 5-1.