- From “Brugsche FC” to “FC Brugeois”
- From FC Brugeois to “Club Brugge K.V.” (short for Royal Association)
- Albert Dyserinck
- Charles and Torten: the "hinds from Bruges"
- Louis Versyp: worthy heir to Torten Goetinck
- Roger Vanhove... a midfield player with a strong header
The history of the club kicks off in 1891, the year that is earmarked as the founding year of the club. The first club was named ‘Brugsche Footbal Club’, and chose ‘mens sana in corpore sano’ as its motto. The lingua franca of the club was Flemish. Even before the club was officially recognized, there was some disagreement among the members and after a split within the club, another club was formed under the name ‘Football Club Brugeois’. Even though both clubs had to overcome huge financial difficulties, some youngsters found the courage and enthousiasm to form a third club, and so the ‘Vlaamsche FC’ came to life.
In 1897, the two clubs that were established first, the Brugsche Football Club and the Football Club Brugeois, merged and became one club: the Football Club Brugeois. Even though the Brugsche Football Club took over Football Club Brugeois, the French denomination was nevertheless kept.
In 1899, there was another fusion between two clubs from Bruges: the Vlaamsche FC joined the Rapid Football Club (the team from the college of the monks, the so-called Frères) and formed Cercle Brugge, which at that time already brought along the first derby strife. At the end of 1912, Club moved to new grounds, which they were able to rent for a period of 9 years at the price of 1,760 Belgian francs a year. When on 15 June 1920 it was decided to purchase the grounds, some members of the board coughed up the necessary 40,000 Belgian francs, and the new President, Albert Dyserinck, would buy out his partners, thus becoming the owner of the grounds called “De Klokke”.
A nearby pub called “De Klokke” (in English “The Bell”), situated along the Torhoutsesteenweg, was the inspiration for the name of the grounds, where it did not take FC Brugeois too long to gain its first glory: in 1920 the team was crowned Belgian champions for the first time in its history. On 23 May 1920, the club was awarded the title of “Koninklijke Vereniging” by his royal highness, King Albert I.
Albert Dyserinck became the president of FC Brugeois in 1920, and one of his first remarkable feats was the acquisition of the grounds of “De Klokke”. During his presidency, he had the statute of FC Brugeois transformed to a non-profit organisation. On 9 February 1931, however, fate struck a deathly blow as Albert Dyserinck, president of the newly found Board of Directors, was killed in a car accident. In honour of Albert, De Klokke was renamed the “Albert Dyserinck Stadium” and 14 February saw the unveiling of the bust and monument for the late Albert Dyserinck along the inside of the main entrance. This statue can still be found in front of the main stands of the Jan Breydel Stadium.
It was in this period that Club had two magnificent players, by the names of Charles Cambier and Torten Goetinck. Both players soon gained acclaim and recognition outside of the Bruges city borders as they were summoned to play for the Belgian national squad.
After obtaining its first Belgian league title in 1920, the first squad of Club went through a rough patch. The most reputed players all became a bit older and in 1928 even the 42-year old Torten Goetinck ultimately had to be called upon to prevent the club from much dreaded relegation to the second division.
Even though Torten lacked his usual speed on the pitch, he gave his all and despite of his stamina and experience, FC Brugge was relegated to the second division. The relegation however did not keep FC Brugge from finding a worthy heir to Torten. Louis Versyp had already proven during the last couple of seasons that he would turn out to be a good successor to Torten Goetinck and became the player setting the pace at Club Brugge for the next twenty odd years.
Roger Vanhove was born in Bruges on 29 August 1911. Roger is not only the father of Antoine, but he also wore Club Brugge’s jersey for nine seasons in a row (1930-1939). There was a short stint in the Belgian second division, but the title in that division in the year 1935 made up for a lot of grief. Roger was selected twice for the military national team and left Club Brugge after 10 years to play one final season at Stade Kortrijk. He later founded the association 'De Oude Gloriën van Club' (i.e. The Old Excellencies of Club), which he presided himself.