The Hunt for Pav the Drummer

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“Right, I will show you round Blansko during the winter break. It would be nice if there was a bit of snow.. it will make the place a bit more picturesque” Those were the words of Wingy, a resident of town for the last 23 years after deciding to swap a cushy job in a London office for life as an English teacher in South Moravia. Blansko needs snow to make a trip worthwhile.

Chris (Wingy) is probably the main reason, why we started following the local football team. A few years ago, we started going and such was the welcome from everybody at the club, we found ourselves spending more time at Udolni and beyond.. Now, one of the friendliest of friendly faces was Pavel the Drummer, the only regular Blansko Ultra at the time. You could guarantee that at every game, home or away, Pavel would be there, with his drum. Then back in November, after a few matches on tannoy duty, he disappeared. We know that sounds dramatic,  but we were genuinely concerned and nobody at the club knew of his whereabouts.

So, we decided, while on a tour of Blansko, to print off a picture of our drummer and ask the locals if they had seen this man…

A few days before the trip, Wingy pulled out with a serious bout of manflu, leaving the rest of us to wander round the town, taking in the sights and of course enjoying a few beers. First stop was the new allweather football pitch (needed to confirm our place in MSFL) and 90 minutes of football. Blansko were hosting Bohunice, a team from Brno playing a couple of tiers down from us. For us, it was a chance to see our two new signings and to be quite honest to watch a live game of football.. something we’d been missing.

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It was cold, very, very cold, definitely the coldest game we had ever been to (colder than Boundary Park)..we lasted 80 minutes before heading for the warmth of a local pub. Not even a hip flask full of homemade slivovice could keep us there for the entire game and we left the moment our new striker, Jindra Stehlik, scored our 6th goal.

Now,for the first time in the short life of the Blansko Klobasa, we vlogged our trip with a Polaroid Cube and the story of our trip is below.. With none of us being at all good on camera, we ask you to go a bit easy on us…

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Half-season round up

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Wingy modelling the new Blansko shirt

Following the storming success of the 2015 – 2016 season, which ended with FK Blansko as league champions, adjustment to the competitive MSFL has inevitably not been easy. Blansko have shown some moments of on the field brilliance, but the step up has been a steep one to climb. Off the field too there have been some highs (new shirts for the fans) and lows (where’s Pavel?) around the club. As for the Klobasa? Well, we sat down to discuss all things Klobasa, and here is our assessment of this year so far…

What is your assessment of the season so far…?

Ralph: Well, we knew it was going to be hard this season as there are some excellent teams in the MSFL. As we are playing against teams like Unicov, Vyskov and Hlucin who may have greater ambition, I think we have equipped ourselves well..Many of our defeats have been by the odd goal, which means we are competing at this level.
Craggy: It’s been pretty tough at times but it was always going to be. The question at the beginning of the season was really whether we could compete at this level, and the tightness of the games have shown we can.
Wingy: Agreed. We’ve done about as well as could be expected under the circumstances. Haven’t been a whole lot of highs so far, but lets see what the second half of the season brings.

Favourite game?

Ralph: Either Zlin B at home or Mohelnice away, comprehensive wins and excellent performances. The 4-0 win over Zlin B definitely showed that we belong at this level.
Craggy: Kroměříž – it wasn’t really the best game but it was my first away game of the MSFL season. We showed that we could compete, and it was exciting to see us travel to Kromeriz, which is a great stadium in a lovely town.
Wingy: Wasn’t at Mohelnice, so will also go for Zlin B. Very convincing win against a team whose ‘A’ team was top of the Czech league at that point.

Player of the season?

Ralph: Anybody who keeps David Juran out of the team has to be a good player, so I am going for Jirka Floder. I though he was excellent throughout the season and I am sure he will make the grade at Zbrojovka Brno. All of our players have given their all in the first half of the season, but Jirka gets my vote.
Craggy: Gromsky – at the beginning of the season he obviously needed to step up his game in order to keep his place, which he has managed to do well.
Wingy: Again, would have to agree with Jirka Floder. For a player so young, he shows huge potential, and bigger clubs will surely come calling soon

Best trip

Ralph: I enjoyed the Kroměříž trip, but Mohelnice wins it for me.. Found a great bar with friendly locals and we won 3-0.
Craggy: Kroměříž. Beautiful city for which we had fantastic weather.
Wingy: Was only on two, so Kroměříž. Terrific day, good beer, lovely place etc

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Best side we have played against.

Ralph: There’s a reason why Sigma Olomouc keep producing good players and they were outstanding against us away. We were lucky to get nil that day. Also enjoyed watching Unicov, they played some great football.
Craggy: Yep, the Olomouc B side. Thrashed us a good 4-0 and their fans have the best mullets in the league.
Wingy: again easy – Olomouc B were way above us. Everything about them spoke professionalism. Vyškov second

Season low

Ralph: The disappearance of Pavel the drummer..He’s a big part of FK Blansko and it is always good when we see him at games.. Hopefully, our “Hunt for Pavel the Drummer” in the pubs of Blansko will help us track in down. Also I didn’t really enjoy the meeting with Michal Kugler and the way he talked about the club…I was disappointed to lose him last year, but now I believe it might be for the best.
Craggy: Not playing the game against Olomouc B in the stadium. We were very much looking forward to being lost in the away end. Also, as Ralph said, where is Pavel the Drummer?
Wingy: Too many single goal defeats, sometimes after taking the lead. Honza T’s continuing injury problems (ironically, his best game was probably at Olomouc when he played CD), Koudelka’s erratic form. That Blansko fan having a pop at us for singing in English. Not playing in Olomouc’s stadium. Everything Ralph said in his comments (not everything Ralph said)

Season Surprise

Ralph: The players buying us the shirts and just the general love between the fans and the players.. Whatever happens during the rest of the season, we know that the players love Blansko as much as we do.
Craggy: The American that never arrived?
Wingy: Agreed. The club and fans seem to genuinely appreciate us, and the gesture of buying us the shirts was excellent. Although suddenly changing the shirts was a big surprise too. How Michal has become a Klobasa. That ‘Mullet Porn’ is actually a thing!

Best Away Ground

Ralph: It has to be Slavia Kroměříž as they have floodlights, but my favourite trip has been to Slovan Podebrady, I know it’s not Blansko related, but their wooden stand is so beautiful, it should be under UNESCO.
Craggy: I’d say Olomouc but we only got the training ground, so it has to go to Kroměříž.
Wingy: Easy, as only Kroměříž and Olomouc training ground apply. The former obviously

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Best Away Pub

Ralph: The beer in Cerny Orel in Kromeriz was very, very good, but I am going to give it to the pub by the Vel Mez ground… I know it’s a bit of a ‘pajzl’, but it’s has a bit of character and for it’s always open at 9.30 on a Sunday morning…
Craggy: It has to be Restaurace Sklep in Tisnov. Although disappointed with losing to Tisnov in the cup, we found solace under an octopus-like lamp in one of the best pubs in Tisnov with its own great beer.
Wingy: Again, as Ralph.

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Kvetnice beer in Restaurace Sklep, Tisnov

Hope for the spring season.

Ralph: Survival. We are just above relegation at the moment, but if we make a couple of signings, we could stay up. I wouldn’t mind seeing Floder,Kucera and Kouldelka return and in addition to those three, we need a defender and someone who can score goals.
Craggy: Climbing the table. On the evidence of some of the performances we’ve put in this year, it’s reasonable to hope that some of those narrow defeats can be turned in to points.
Wingy: Some decent signings, especially up front. (Ronaldo would be nice. Except we would get the fat Brazilian one.) At least a couple more good days out. Survival

Best goal

Ralph:  Honza’s header in the first game – not because of the quality, but just because our first goal back was in the USSR (MSFL) scored by a local boy.
Craggy: I really can’t remember.
Wingy: Koudelka v Lisen

Best own goal

Ralph, Craggy, Wingy:  – Standa’s header v Vyskov  ( It would have been goal of the season it was in the Vyskov goal.)

Funniest moment.

Ralph: Did anybody knock over a pint?
Craggy: Wingy’s favourite mullet…
Wingy: …the Olomouc mullet
Ralph: Yes – Wingy’s obsession with mullet porn was both funny and worrying.

So now we look forward to kicking off the second half of the season with optimism… and a new unhealthy search for 1980s hairstyles.

Singing the Reds – Walking to Blansko

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I received a message from Ralph a few days before the game against Třebíč, asking if I was up for walking the 20km from Brno to Blansko?  The weather forecast looked good so we decided on it and gave ourselves around 6 hours to get there – accounting for pub stops along the way. Setting off from Obřany at around 8 in the morning, we opened our first bottle of Policka half way to Bilovice. The sun was shining, the Klobasa were singing, and the trip via Bilovice and Babice, alongside the river was perfect. At some point we lost the tracks and found ourselves walking for miles along a busy country road, risking death at almost every turn. The things we do for Blansko! Anyway, needless to say (after a pub stop in Adamov) we arrived in one piece and met Wingy, who will now give us the low down on all things Blansko. (This trip has been videod and will be “vlogged” soon. So stay tuned for a white-knuckle ride including near-death experiences and roadside fishermen casting rods for porn stars…)

Here is Wingy:

The Klobasa are big fans of the team shirt, even to the extent of buying our own. So when we arrived at Udolni for the game with third-placed Třebíč, we saw to our horror that Blansko had a completely new kit – red with a black chevron. WHAT?? You can’t do that to us! As it turned out, it may have put the hex on Blansko too.

The Koruna bar near the Blansko město station (a.k.a. ‚Kugler’s pub, as the former Blansko boss, currently doing very well indeed at Rosice, is the owner) is becoming established as the pre-match pub of choice for the Klobasa, but unfortunately we didn‘t make it this time round, due to meeting up with a friend before the game. And maybe this also contributed to the eventual outcome of the game (I am not usually superstitious – except for football!) And when we arrived and saw the shirt-change we knew that something was going wrong that day.

The first half didn’t have much to commend it from Blansko’s point of view, apart from one effort that bounced off the bar, and a couple of other half chances. It was a good half for Třebíč though, as they hit us with almost identical sucker-punch breakaway goals on 10 and 34 minutes. The second half was very different as Blansko pretty much dominated, and it was no big surprise when Jajub Splíchal toe-poked one back from about three yards out. The rest of the game Blansko pressed hard, with impressive performances by sub Kutal and the welcome return oif TKB favourite Jan Koudelka, but we just couldn’t make that breakthrough and snatch an equaliser.

So this was actually a decent performance, and an entertaining game, with a lot of hope for improvement. Definitely needed though, as we’ve now lost all three of our home games, and we face Zlín’s B team next at home. Watch this space.

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Going up!

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For the Blansko Klobasa it has been a great season. For FK Blansko it has been perhaps even better. When Michal Kugler left his post to pick up the managerial reins at Rosice, we were nervous about what the rest of the season would look like for us. Under Kugler, FK Blansko had seen a distinct improvement in performances following a disappointing previous season. However, from the chants of “you should’ve stayed at Blansko” following the impressive victory over his new Rosice team, it has been a roller coaster of a season seeing us bite our nails right up to the final whistle of the final home game against Polna, with victory resulting in the lads clinching the title. Seeing as this whole Blansko/Klobasa love affair started when Wingy took us to a home game, we will let him detail the rest of the story surrounding the thrilling end to this magical season. Firstly though, from all of us – thanks to everyone involved for making it a great season. See you on the road.

Here’s more from Wingy:

THEY THINK IT’S ALL OVER – IT IS NOW!

If you follow a smaller club, you obviously have a different measurement of what constitutes success. Two or three years ago I was watching a YouTube clip after Darlington FC had won the F.A. Trophy by beating Mansfield Town at Wembley, and one woman when interviewed said it was the best day of her life. And I understood her completely. What was important to her was that it was her club, from her home town, and she and the 15-20 thousand other Quakers fans were joyous at them winning something for once. When Ralph, Craggy and I (Wingy) started supporting Blansko it was with the most modest expectations. And we’ve been more than rewarded for our efforts. More than anything else, we’ve had a huge amount of fun, but we’ve at times seen some surprisingly good football. And throw in some late winners and equalisers, and the odd spectacular goal, and it’s easy to see why we’ve developed a great affection for the club, and feel thoroughly a part of it now. And this last week of the season has surpassed anything which came before. As it stood last Sunday, there were three teams battling it out for the top spot, with only one point dividing them – Blansko, Hodonín and Uherský brod. And, to be honest, I’d have put my money on Hodonín – they’ve got more money, and look like a team ready to play at a higher level, and they had two home games remaining which you would certainly have expected them to win. So Blansko needed to win both their games. And thus it was that we found ourselves in Zd’ar nad Sazavou for the penultimate game. Things didn’t start too well, with Zd’ar pretty well dominating the opening exchanges, and it was no great surprise when we fell behind. But this seemed to galvanise FKB and they went in at half-time three-one up. “Game over” you’d think, but this being Blansko it was never going to be that easy. And sure enough, Zd’ar upped their game, and pulled it back to 2-3 and pressed for an equaliser, with at one point an innocuous cross rebounding off our crossbar and fortunately being scrambled clear. But then came the point that possibly saved our season. Blansko mounted an attack and the centre was only cleared to just outside the penalty area, where Franta Schneider was waiting to wallop it first time into the net. What a goal! GET IN! But there was more to come, as Zd’ar got a late penalty and pulled it back to 3-4. Fortunately, we hung on, and with Uhersky Brod losing away, and Hodonín unsurprisingly winning, the last game came down to a straight fight between us and Hodinín.

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Originally our final game, at home to Polna, was down to be played on a Saturday. But, at Hodonín’s request it was put forward to Friday. Unfortunately we were a Klobasa short, as Ralph was away on International Duty, supporting Wales in the Euros, so it was left to Craggy and myself to hold the fort. I had arranged to meet Craggy there, as I was coming with my father-in-law, and as soon as we arrived I could see something had changed. Queues!! Almost unheard of at Udolni! Unfortunately, presumably because of the date change, FKB hadn’t managed to organise an extra temporary bar, and so by the time we had got served at the bar the game had already started, and within two minutes had a penalty (which they missed). As Craggy was waiting in the stands with the ultras and I (father-in-law in tow) walked up to take our seats, Blansko took the lead, a well taken goal by the again excellent Honza Trtílek, who added a second a few minutes later. And not long after that Pavel Mezlik added a third. Three-up with 18 minutes gone! Surely we couldn’t blow it now? But then later in the half they put over a cross to one of their guys, who looked a country-mile offside, but he smashed it past Juran in our goal, and so we went in 3-1 up at half-time for the second time in a week. A couple of minutes from the end Petr Svancara made his final bow as he was subbed , to grateful applause from the Udolni faithful. And, although we looked nervous at times, we held out. Cue wild celebrations – even some flares, smoke bombs and fireworks.

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Then we got on to the pitch to have our picture taken with the Klobasa flag and Svancara, and off for a couple of swift Slivovices with the Fun Club!

So, that’s it for another season, and what a season it‘s been. Hopefully going up to the MSFL, if we have got the money. For the Klobasa, some great trips out, and a lot of laughs (and for me personally, only one defeat all season, and the three away games I got to finished 3-0, 4-3 and 4-3, all to Blansko!). Massive thanks to the club, especially Petr Svancara, and other fans of FKB, for appreciating our support. We will definitely be back next season, no matter which division they are in (would love to see us at Olomouc B though!!). And thanks to you all for reading this, and we hope you come along to a game one day!

COME ON BLANSKO!!!

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