No miracle on the coast: KV Oostende set to be another lost Belgian club after 120 years of existence as another reminder of footballs ownership problem

After the news that a takeover fell through, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before what many had hoped would never happen became a reality. KV Oostende, after 120 years of existence, are set to be another one of Belgian’s lost football clubs. Just a handful of years ago the side were on the cusp of European football under Alexander Blessin, only for a series of terrible decisions at the top level led to relegation and ultimately bankruptcy.

Looking back over the years, it is still incredible that we got to this position. The sides owners, the Pacific Media Group (PMG), should certainly be the focus of any blame for what has happened. PMG has completely fumbled what Blessin had built in the space of a season. The top players from that season, such as Fashion Sakala, Arthur Theate and Jack Hendry were sold for good money. However, this was never used to help push the club forward.

Instead, Oostende appeared to be used to prop up other sides. Players were signed, only to be shipped out to other PMG sides such as Nancy. PMG is also involved in English side Barnsley. In Belgium, Oostende’s debt increased, and suddenly it emerged that the club had not been paying contractors, including hotels where the side were staying for away games.

In these situations it is always the fans who suffer. Despite everything, they turned up this season after relegation. The side took points deductions, but the players showed fight. They somehow kept the side in the league and made the cup semi-finals. In the end this was all for nothing, as no one came in to save the club from PMG.

Oostende’s fate is just another reminder of the ownership problem that football has. As money has increased in the game, people have seen the games growth as an opportunity to make money. They are no longer there to steward a club that has existed for a community over the last 120 years. What happened to Oostende can happen to anyone. Just ask fans of KSV Roselare and Mouscron.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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