Football fans in the city of Lier are pouring their energy into a new project, K. Lyra-Lierse, following the bankruptcy of former Belgian champions K. Lierse SK in May.
Guiding fans through months of uncertainty and worry, supporters groups GeelZwart, Yellow Black’s Army and the Lierse Supporters Association came together to form a new fundraising and awareness initiative entitled Lierse voor Altijd (Lierse Forever) back in the spring.
In the beginning, Lierse voor Altijd (LVA)’s objectives were simple: to maintain clear and accurate information about the club and its future options in the public domain, while supporting specific worthy causes (including K. Lierse SK’s underage and community activities) when possible.
As K. Lierse SK’s own status deteriorated rapidly and it became clear that the club would likely not survive, the LVA considered what it wanted from a football club and started to explore alternative initiatives in order to save the legacy of their beloved club. Priorities included supporter involvement in any new entity, a focus on underage / academy activities and strong community links with the people and businesses of Lier and its surrounding region.
The result: a coming together of like-minded people from K. Lyra T.S.V. and supporters of K. Lierse SK as well as the beginning of K. Lyra-Lierse, a football club that will play in the third amateur league with supporters represented right at its core. The plan is strongly supported by legends of both clubs such as Eric Van Meir (a former player of the Belgian national team and captain of K. Lierse SK when the club won their last title in 1997) and Sam Wyckmans (Honorary President of K. Lyra T.S.V.).
The legacy and history of both clubs – K. Lyra T.S.V. and the former K. Lierse SK, both having their roots in the city of Lier – are fully respected and enshrined in the new venture, with Lierse voor Altijd’s presence ensuring supporters are heard right at the highest level within the club on a ‘one member one vote’ basis.
In return for providing financial support to the club’s community and youth section, LVA have a say at board level through two observers and will, among other things, have a right of veto over the legacy elements and a pre-emptive right to the shares of the club in the future. This gives supporters the opportunity to shape their alliance, step by step, towards a (partially) fan-owned, community-oriented and sustainable football club.
Working groups set up include: sporting, youth, facilities, business, community, legacy, communication and finance. K. Lyra-Lierse will play in the Derde Klasse Amateur, with an intention of being in competition for promotion during the coming season from their base in Berlaar. A fanshop in the centre of Lier opened in early June, with season tickets and memberships available and merchandise to follow in the coming weeks.
SD Europe attended a meeting of K. Lierse SK supporters organised by Lierse voor Altijd back in May, when initial plans for the club were discussed. Development and Communications Manager Niamh O’Mahony highlighted that supporters have all the relevant skills and experience within their own ranks to run a football club, and that additional support and resources were available through a growing network of supporters groups and member-run football clubs as part of SD Europe’s own work.
To get in touch with a member of the SD Europe team, visit Contact Us.