Gelukkige 125ste verjaardag Cercle! 🟢⚫

Since its foundation 1899 by the association of former students of the Institut Saint-François-Xavier in Bruges, Cercle Bruges has left an indelible mark on the history of Belgian football. That same year, the Green and Blacks joined the National Football Union and were given the number 12. From dazzling triumphs to bitter struggles on the pitch, the "Vereniging" has lived through more than a century of intense emotions. Let's look back on some of the most memorable moments in this exciting saga.

From its inception, Cercle Bruges made its mark on the Belgian football scene. In 1901, it moved up to Division 1, and its popularity continued to grow, as did the number of members in the association. A string of major successes followed. The same year, they won their first trophy, the Henri Fraeys Cup, and 2 years later, the title of Champion of Flanders. In 1911, Cercle won its first Belgian championship, marking the start of a series of memorable successes.

The years of glory
The following decades saw many victories for Cercle Bruges. In 1927, they won the Championship and the Belgian Cup: a feat that few Belgian teams could boast. In 1929 and 1930, the Green and Blacks could count on the talents of their goalkeeper, Robert Braet, and once again became champions. Almost 30 years later, the goalkeeper would play an important role in its resurrection.

In 1949, Cercle celebrated its 50th anniversary under President Edgard De Smedt. The stadium was named in his honour the following year after his death. De Smedt had assumed his role in 1937, and throughout the years he had played a decisive role at Cercle, particularly during its foundation.

In 1954, the Cerclehuis was built. Now known as the Cercle Pub, it was a place where you could drink at wholesale price. In collaboration with brewery 'Het Sas', Cercle wanted to create a bond of solidarity between managers and supporters. It was a fine initiative, and one that testifies to the passion and conviviality that still prevail within the "Vereniging" today.

Then came the 1970s, a period that will live long in the memory of supporters. In 1975, the "Vereniging" moved from the Edgard De Smedt stadium to the Olympia Stadium, where they learned to share the pitch with their rivals, Club Bruges. The same stadium was later renamed the Jan Breydel Stadium in 2000 – the name we know so well today – for the European Championship.

After a number of ups and downs, Cercle Bruges arrived in 1984 under a new coach: Georges Leekens. The Green and Blacks spent three seasons with him at the helm, during which time they were able to give us some great sensations as they took part in the Belgian Cup and the Championship. At that time, an attacking game was optimised by Australian striker Edi Krncevic. In 1985, 58 years after the first, Cercle Bruges won the Belgian Cup against KSK Beveren, one of the best teams of the time.

The following season, the team welcomed new players such as Zoran Bojovic, with whom it once again reached the Belgian Cup final, eliminating Standard and KV Ostend among others. In 1986 and 1987, Cercle once again reached the Belgian semi-finals, this time losing out to Seraing. This marked the start of years full of adventures...

In 1991 and 1992, young Belgian players such as Lauwers and Henneman rose through the ranks and the squad improved more and more. This time under coach Henk Houwaart, the Green and Blacks climbed to the top of the table and drew their and black and blue neighbours twice. The final score of 5-5 in the last match of the Championship went down in history! Cercle then took advantage of these events to make the nets tremble, beating Club Brugge twice in 1992 and 1993.

In the following 2 years, 1994 and 1995, with Jerko Tipuric at the helm, de "Vereniging" showed what they were capable of in both the Championship and the Belgian Cup. These years marked Cercle Brugge's fifth Belgian Cup final, during which they once again faced their arch-rivals.

The renaissance
At the turn of the millennium, Cercle Bruges entered a new era in its history, marked by strategic investment and an ambitious vision for the future. In 2000 and 2001, Cercle Bruges reached the quarterfinals of the Belgian Cup, where they played out a spectacular 4-4 extra-time victory over KRC Genk, led by Sanda, Bernhard and Nierynck.

With Jerko Tipuric back in charge of the team, the team eventually climbed to the top of the table as the penultimate day of the Championship got underway. The Green and Black became champions when they played Zulte-Waregem away from home, and a wave of madness was unleashed among the fans. With a dynamic team and emerging talent, the "Vereniging" regained its place among the elite of Belgian football after 6 years of ups and downs, once again demonstrating its ability to reinvent itself and take on challenges with courage.

The following years saw a succession of coaches, and it was under Glen de Boeck that Cercle finished fourth in 2008. In 2017, the arrival of AS Monaco opened a new chapter for the "Vereniging". The Monegasques bought most of Cercle's shares and regularly loaned out players. The following season, the Greens and Blacks won promotion when they beat Beerschot Wilrijk in the final alongside Franky Vercauteren. The strong identity gradually developed, and in 2022-2023 it reached the play-offs for a place in Europe for the first time, finishing runners-up. With 3 Belgian league titles and 2 Cups to its name, Cercle de Bruges has established itself as an essential pillar of the Belgian footballing landscape.

The green heart of the fans
Over 125 years, Cercle Bruges has written a history rich in emotion, success and challenges. From humble beginnings to moments of glory on the pitch, the "Vereniging" has captured the imagination and hearts of fans across the generations. From stunning victories over historic rivals to extraordinary individual feats, every match has been a celebration of the passion and commitment that make Cercle so great.