Royal Antwerp Football Club, often referred to as R. Antwerp or simply Antwerp, is a Belgian football club based in the city of Antwerp. Founded around 1880 as Antwerp Cricket Club by English students residing in Antwerp, 15 years before the creation of the Royal Belgian Football Association, Antwerp is regarded as the oldest club in Belgium. At first there was no organised football played by its members, until 1887 when the football division was founded with an own board, named Antwerp Football Club. Being the oldest active club at the time, it was the first club to register to the Association in 1895. Consequently, when matriculation numbers were introduced in 1926, the club received matriculate number one.
Over the course of the club's history, Royal Antwerp have won four Belgian league titles as well as three Belgian Cups. In 1900, most of the players left the club for the new neighbouring club of K. Beerschot V.A.C., and this was the start of a long rivalry between both clubs.
The club is the most recent Belgian team to have reached a UEFA competition final, the 1993 European Cup Winners' Cup Final, where they lost 3–1 against Parma at Wembley Stadium.
Royal Antwerp had a long-term partnership with the English club Manchester United, taking their young players on loan so that their development can be aided with first team football, and young players who require European work-permits can benefit from Belgium's more relaxed laws. An example is Dong Fangzhuo, who was unable to play for United, immediately due to work permit problems and was loaned to allow him to gain first team experience.
Despite being one of Belgium's best-supported clubs, Antwerp have been under-achievers for several years. They have not won a league title since 1957, and have spent several seasons in the second division. They were promoted to the top flight in 2000, only to be relegated in short order in 2004. They returned to the first division after 13 years in 2017.
In August 2020, the
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