Žďár nad Sázavou is not up there in our list of favourite places in the world, it’s the Milton Keynes of the Czech Republic. It’s done nothing wrong, but it’s just one of those “new towns” that grew around the success of the Zdas steelworks. If you mention the city to Czechs, they will mention the beautiful countryside, some might talk about the UNESCO site “Zelena Hora”, others will associate it with cycling and cross-country skiing. Of course like most places we go to, the general reaction from friends is “Why are you going there?” – they should know better.
To answer the above question, we were obviously in Zdar for Blanko’s final away game of the season, a massive 3 pointer. For those of you who are unaware of the current situation in Divize D (and of course, we don’t expect you to be), Blansko are one point clear of Uhersky Brod and Hodonin with two matches left. The prize of winning the league is a place in MSFL, the third tier of Czech Football league system and it looks like all 3 clubs are interested in going up. That last sentence might seem a strange one, but the truth is that promotion has huge financial implications and out of the three teams in pushing for the title only Hodonin have the financial backing to be able to afford it. We would need a huge donation of around 40,000 euros to help with the costs of playing in a higher league. What this means is that we are still unsure that we are going up.
For The Blansko Klobasa, the dream is still alive, not just the seeing the players test themselves at a higher level, but for us it’s a chance to see new places, new grounds – as groundhoppers we’ve been in this division far too long. Roll on Sigma Olomouc B.
Back to Žďár, the train ride was a pleasant one, the train weaved it’s way through some stunning countryside on the way up to the Czech-Moravian highlands – and the journey was made a lot nicer by 2ltrs Knezihorsky Lezak. I had been groundhopping the day before in a small town called Bzenec and the owner of the brewery showed amazing kindness by sending me on my way back to Brno with a sample of his beer. I digress. But before I finish this paragraph, I feel I must mention the football team. Definitely the most entertaining team I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. They play with two old-fashioned wingers and have been hammering teams out of sight – this time Boskovice were on the end of 6-3 bashing. Next season the club will play Divize for the first time in their history.
So, as I was saying back to Žďár, we arrived on familiar ground and with Wingy on his way down from a beer festival in Prague, we decided to find the bar we always go to, it’s about 300m from the train station and serves up 3 local beers for a great price, the service is always hit and miss, but we can handle it for 20kc a beer.
The last time we visited this place, we’d been moved from table to table as every one of them had been reserved..the pub was empty. This time, we were greeted by a face from the past, Big Dave Sharp, an American who has made Zdar his home..On the plus side for us, he was on friendly terms with the bar staff making our pub experience a more friendly one.
Wingy eventually turned up for nostalgia, beer and a photograph before we said our goodbyes and walked to the ground for a game which was equally important for both sides. The home side needing a win to confirm their place in Divize for next season and for us, a win would see us hold on to top spot.
The game started at a frantic pace and that was just Pavel the drummer, who was beating his drum orgasmically. This had an instant impact on our team as we conceded after some poor defending.
The pessimist in me began to believe that we were about to witness a trouncing and the end of our title hopes, but thankfully the players saw it differently and midway through the first half we were 3-1 up and cruising. “WE ARE GOING UP, WE ARE GOING UP” – it’s amazing how optimism can return before the end of a paragraph.
At half-time we were joined by the rest of the Blansko away end, eager to join the fun and make the most a free trip to Zdar…ahhh, that’s probably me being a bit harsh, but they travel around Moravia on the players’ coach..for free.
Blansko kicked off the final 45 minutes attacking our end and looked in complete control.. This basically involves Petr Svancara showboating and playing up to the crowd and then getting fouled. It is complete control, isn’t it? This period of possession football ended when the home team banged in their second goal of the game, against the run of play. In truth, I can’t quite remember the strike, I think it was scrappy – it was most certainly not a goal of season contender – that goes to Franta Schneider who restored our two goal advantage with a screamer from the edge of the box. I won’t bother to describe the goal, I will put a link in below. It is well worth watching.
4-2 up with a minute or so to play, we conceded a penalty.. Nobody knows what for and I am sure that includes the officials, but it was coolly slotted away and the ref blew his whistle to signal he’d had enough.
The joy on the faces of all connected to the club was there for everybody to see. As supporters we very rarely see all the players come over to celebrate with the fans, but they all knew the significance of this result. They walked over to our small band, joined hands and raised them three times in unison to show their gratitude. It also gave us a chance to sing ” We are going up” one more time, before racing off for a pint.
Heroes, the lot of them.
We are going up.
UPDATE: Since this game we have found out that WE ARE (definitely) GOING UP!
Watch the highlights here: Žďár n. Sáz – FK Blansko