A hiding to nothing in the Highlands.

IMG-20171001-WA0001I woke up at around 10,00am on Sunday morning with two options, to clean the flat or to head back into the Czech Moravian highlands for Blansko’s Divize D fixture against Vrchovina. Now, believe it or not that wasn’t an easy decision to make. Saturday I had spent walking from Bystre to Policka in the driving rain to visit our favourite brewery and on my return to Brno, I had been convinced that the best way to end the night would be to dance. I don’t dance. I can’t dance. I went dancing. So, to rise with “sususudio” still in your  head – I should have just rolled over and got a couple more hours of kip… Su su sudIOOOO..

Brno train station was packed with Zbrojovka fans heading in the opposite direction for their game against Karvina , daytrippers on their way to Prague and me heading to Nove Mesto Na Morave for a spot of groundhopping. The name might be familiar to those of you interested in winter sports,  for me it was the scene of  a wild night out in the late 90s and only the second time in my life someone has pulled a gun out on me.

The train journey was quiet and I was thankful to have the brilliant Merthyr Town fanzine “Dial M for Merthyr” to keep me company. Changing trains at Zdar, I bumped into David Juran, our former goalkeeper, the subject of many of our songs and now number 1 for our opponents, Vrchovina. It’s always nice to see some of the old faces and I spent the journey quizzing him on his time at Blansko. You genuinely got the impression he was sad to leave Blansko and that the decision was out of his hands. Now given the current situation at the back, you have to question how he was allowed to leave.

At Nove Mesto train station, I wished David all the best, asked him to give away a couple of penalties and said I hoped to see him back at Udolni one day.  I also asked him to recommend a restaurant in the town, but he said he could only recommend a few 24hr pubs. Cheers, David.

So, as he went in the direction of the ground, I went back in time and looked for a restaurant to cure my hangover. On occasions like this and with little time before the game started, I use the 4square app to advise me on places to eat – it recommended a place 10.1 km away in the village of Radesin. I think that might tell you a lot about my options. In the end I did find a pleasant restaurant in the centre of the town. Thanks U Dvou Kocek, Nove Mesto making me feel just a bit better.

IMG-20171001-WA0002

The Vrchovina stadium is a compact little ground with one main stand running along the touchline. Naturally at Blansko games it wasn’t long before I bumped into someone I knew, one of the Blansko regulars, whose name I can’t recall. He encouraged me to try his homemade apricot spirit and like many Moravians wouldn’t take no for an answer. Cheers. After spending a few minutes chatting to them about the club and a bit about the future (the future of FK Blansko, not our future together) I walked back round to one of the quieter spots, just as the teams walked out.  One of the things I love about groundhopping is the possibility to enjoy a game of football on my own. Of course, it’s great fun with friends too, but there are times when you just want to clear the head and watching a game of football in the middle of nowhere can help.

IMG-20171001-WA0003

Blansko started positively and could easily have taken the lead in the opening couple of minutes – Lubos Chloupek almost weaving his way through the Vrchovina defence to score.  However,  it was Vrchovina who opened the scoring in 6th minute with another mistake from our defence, Vrchovina’s Kamil Skalnik finishing from just inside the area. After 21 minutes we were 3-0 down (all to individual mistakes) and you could see the boys heads drop.  At this point, I found myself thinking how much we would benefit from 3 central defenders – it’s easy to say in hindsight, but every game this season we find ourselves stretched at the back. The players are good, but they are young and in desperate need of a Standa Pisek to organise the team. I rarely use the adjective “rudderless”, but at the moment we are a rudderless ship..er.. in need of Captain Pisek.

IMG-20171001-WA0004

In the second half,  two more goals were added and we had our goalie sent off for a professional foul, the cynical me would say it was a deliberate way of avoiding the next couple of games. I am sure it’s not the case – but when you keep shipping goals at the rate we are, it can’t be easy. The break might do him good and give us a chance to see Zdenek Vesely in goal.

As I headed back to the station after the game, I struck up a conversation with a couple of Vrchovina regulars who agreed that we are a better team than the 5-0 scoreline suggests – but some drastic action needs to be taken if we are going to stay in this league.

 

Up the Blansko!!!

 

Highlights – Well, the Vrchovina crowd are amongst the loudest in the league. It was good to meet David Juran and chat all things Blansko.

 

MOM – Jan Psikal/ Lubos Chloupek

 

 

 

Advertisements

TISNOV HAVE THE HORN – BLANSKO GET SHAFTED

IMG_20170910_180404_270

If you support a small club, you get used to there being ups and downs (or even quite big clubs – the lower leagues in England have several teams who were playing in the Premier League not so long ago, such as Portsmouth and Coventry City. And former league teams like York City, Stockport County and Darlington now play in the sixth tier). It’s something which you accept, as it is extremely difficult for a small club to punch above its weight for very long. The Klobasa have already seen two promotions and one relegation, and now we are on a downswing, and are probably facing going down again. Following relegation last season, Blansko lost a lot of their best players (including, it must be said, some who were the subject of our best songs) and have this season promoted last term’s successful youth team, with the obvious result of us having, with a few exceptions, a very young, inexperienced team. And it was this team that we came to see at Tisnov. The Klobasa were on a little high after seeing in our previous trip a decent performance and a one-nil win at Velka Biteš. But Ralph had a warning for us, as he was expecting a thumping. And so it came to pass.

I had made my way to Tisnov seperately, and the day started well enough when I found that I wouldn’t have to spend 50 minutes in the thoroughly unlovely town of Kuřím waiting for a connection. And I met up with the other Klobasas (and occasional guest Klobasa and Tisnov resident, Michal) in the centre (following a detour due to misunderstanding directions given (a salutary lesson for an English teacher). The walk to the ground involves a path under a tunnel of horrible creepiness, and then comes to a gate in a wall which brings to mind an entrance to allotments. Inside it’s not much better – the standard formula for a lot of grounds at this level (like Blansko) of the changies, bar, toilets etc in a building on one side, and main stand on the other. Although ‚stand‘ over-dignifies it, as seating capacity (unlike Blansko) is less than three figures, and barely two. And Ralph assured us (and he seems to know these things) that they were going to build a new stadium next door.

IMAG1107

To say things started badly was an understatement. Tisnov, who were fielding no less than seven former Blansko players (including the increasingly‚ circumferentially challenged Petr Svancara) were straight at it from the start, and it was little surprise when they went ahead after only three minutes, and a second was added after 13. It was quickly apparent that Blansko were totally outclassed and the priority was to prevent a rout. To add insult to Injury, Tisnov had thein own drummer, a strange little man who had a black curly wig (although no moustache, so this wasn’t some sort of Scouser homage), and a trumpet. (Our own Pav the Drummer has gone AWOL again, and is sorely missed. Pav, are you out there?). On our side of the pitch was someone with a vuvuzela (for those of you unfamiliar with this instrument, it’s a type of plastic horn which first made an appearance at the South Africa World Cup in 2010, and makes a horrible, mournful honking sound, and was promptly banned from British grounds, thank god.) and the two were making a call and response which was suggestive of sexually-frustrated geese. Tisnov added a third goal before half time, so that was game over, although in truth it had been from the third minute.

IMAG1111

The second half started where the first left off with Tišnov adding a fourth while Ralph and I were still getting the beers in. And of course it had to be Svancara who got it. And that was about it. Tišnov added a fifth later from a free kick, but they’d already stepped down a gear, so it meant FKB avoided too much humiliation.

So, not much to cheer about this time round. The new keeper had a bit of a nightmare against an excellent team, the defence well-nigh non-existent (oh for Standa Pišek to return!), and poor Honza Trtilek was ploughing a lone furrow up front. There was some promise – Dominik Smerda had a decent game considering. But not much else. Ah well. As Ralph says, it’s going to be a long hard season.

Blansko bite back in Velka Bites

IMG-20170920-WA0001

There has been a lot of change at FK Blansko. After experiencing the dizzy heights of the third tier, we now find ourselves back in Divize and without most of the players,  without our old manager and assistant and a few of our supporters. (Pav the drum still AWOL).

We have no idea of the exact amount, but the MSFL budget must have been huge last season and out have gone many of our star players. Some back to their parent clubs and others have even dropped down a league. With our main sponsors pulling the plug on the finances, the team is now made up of a couple of 30 and 40 year olds ( Wingy’s close to a call up) and the majority of our youth team. Of course, Honza Trtilek, Petr Gromsky and Jakub Splichal are still in town, but you get the feeling we’re very much experiencing a season of  consolidation.

At TBK we try and look at things positively and away trips are now closer, if that makes any sense. Sunday’s trip to Velke Bites was a 40 minute bus ride north of Brno and this allowing us to be back in time for tea…

IMG-20170920-WA0002

Velka Bites is a small town just of the main motorway connecting Brno and Prague. When I asked a friend about Bites, he told me that he met his wife in a pub there 23 years ago, so it has a lot of fond memories. With none of us on the look out for a wife, he could add no more information and my research brought up nothing of any interest, so off we went into the unknown. I did once stop there for an ice-cream though.

Myself and Craggy met up for a prematch pint at Brno’s main bus station. If any of you have ever been there, it’s a dark piece of brutalist architecture and not the place you would recommend meeting for a pint. But, we’re intrepid, see… so we made our way to the station cafe and ordered a couple of pints of Hauscrecht… a lovely local beer.

By the time the pivo had been downed, it was time to meet Wingy.  For those familiar with queues in the Czech Republic, they don’t really work like they do back home. People do queue, but the moment the bus turns up it becomes a scrum with a pensioner grabbing the front seat. The 14.30 (which incidentally Wingy claimed never existed) was no different. The story ended with us all getting a seat.

Upon arrival in Velka Bites, we did what we usually do, we headed to the nearest pub. Which was just opposite the bus stop. Perfect. What we should have done is explore a bit more as VB is full of pubs, there was one on every corner up to the ground – they all looked better than the one we stationed ourselves in.

IMAG1077

We made kick off. We always do. Grabbed a beer and positioned ourselves (and the flag) close to one of corner flags. To make the new boys feel at home, new chants have been invented, most of them about our new right back. (Wingy is eager to tell our readers that he taught Tomas Feik in nursery school). The poor kid is only 17yrs old and he probably doesn’t even know who Status Quo, Carl Douglas or the Beastie Boys are…Well, past tense… he does now.

IMAG1065

The game was settled in the 15minute, Honza picked up the ball just inside the Bites half and just ran and ran, a fortuitous ricochet presented the ball to Kratochvil who lifted the ball over the advancing keeper and into the back of the net. 1-0 Blansko!

We can’t actually say whether the goal was against the run of play or not, as quite frankly the standard of football was not high, but who are we to care when the goal presented us with our first 3 points of the season.

IMG-20170920-WA0000

At this point I could bore you with a detailed match report, but if the truth be told, I am writing this a week after the game and there was so little quality during the 90 minutes, it’s best if I leave it.

We took the applause from the players at the end of the game, the players came over for the high fives and the congratulations from us, it had been a good day out. And naturally in true Klobasa style we missed the first and the second bus home as we were celebrating 3 points with 3 pints. Up the Blansko.

MOM – Honza

Highlights – Great ground and a small town full of pubs.

Lowlights – The realisation it’s going to be a long season.

 

 

 

 

Player Profiles

At The Blansko Klobasa, we are often asked about the standard of football and about the players FK Blansko can attract, so we have decided to write profiles for the current squad.

Goalkeepers

DjuranDavid Juran – a native of Veverska Bityska, David has been with Blansko for  a while now. An extremely capable goalkeeper, he has been a stalwart of the squad for the past 5 seasons. His ability has not gone unnoticed and has spent time on trial at Znojmo and represented the Czech Republic amateur side at the European Championships in Serbia 2015. An injury this season cost him his place as number one, but still a favourite with us.

Songs – “We all live in a Juran submarine” and “David Juran, superman, follows us on Instagram ”

J FloderJiri Flodr -Anybody who keeps David Juran out of the team has to be a talent and Jirka, who is on loan from Zbrojovka Brno,  has been absolutely outstanding for Blansko this term. A Czech U19 international, we are convinced he will be the first Blansko goalkeeper to represent his country since Jarda Blazek. A superb shot-stopper.

Songs – “Jirka Flodr, he’s our number one (sorry David Juran), Jirka Flodr , he’s our number one (sorry David Juran)

Defenders

P_Gromsky_podzim_2016Petr Gromsky – Gromsky has more songs than Karel Gott and is another popular player with The Blansko Klobasa. 4 seasons ago he was playing 8th tier football with SK Jedovnice and now he’s holding his own in the MSFL. A swashbuckling full back, he’s keen to attack down the right wing. He’s always on fire.

Songs – “Don’t you want me Gromsky”, “Gromsky’s on fire” “He’s Gromsky floating down the right wing”

J_Splichal_podzim_2016Jakub Splichal – nicknamed “The Big Lebowski”by the Blansko Klobasa after spotting him slamming down strikes at a bowling alley, Kuba is another player who has risen through the ranks to play an important role in the club’s recent success. Calm in defence, comfortable in midfield. We like him.

Songs – “We’ve got Splichal, Jakub Splichal, I just don’t think you understand…..”

L_Kolacek_podzim_2016Lukas Kolacek – The grandfather of the team at 33, Lukas was signed from Vyskov (home of the worst beer in the world) in 2016 and has been handed the captain’s armband this season.. He’s our left back and often pops up with the odd goal. Reliable.

Songs- We don’t have one for him at the moment, let’s just say it’s a work in progress.

L_Hanus_jaro_2017Lada Hanus – A new signing who joined Blansko from SK Lisen in February 2017, we have only had the opportunity to see him a couple of times.  Former Zbrojovka Brno youth team player, he can play in the heart of defence or as a midfielder protecting the back four.

Songs – give us a chance..

T_Feik_podzim_2016Tomas Feik – A product of the Blansko youth team, 17 year old Tomas is a highly-rated footballer.  The only thing we can tell you about him is that he has nicked the shirt of Jan Koudelka, Wingy’s favourite footballer (after Mark Viduka) .

Songs – none

 

S_Pisek_podzim_2016Standa Pisek – Standa is a giant, standing at about 4 metres tall – he’s Blansko’s John Charles..able to play in attack and defence.. We see him more as a rock in defence, but our boss throws him in up front if we are in need of a goal. A top man, who organised home shirts for TBK, we owe him more than just a beer.

Songs – “Da, da, da, da ,da ….. Standa Pisek.. repeat”

Midfielders

L_Chloupek_podzim_2016Lubos Chloupek – A scorer of spectacular goals, Lubos is a regular on the right side of our midfield. He notched 6 goals last season on our way to the Divize title and is on his way to beating that this season.

Songs – none..Wingy?

 

J_Kucera_podzim_2016Jakub Kucera – On loan from Zbrojovka Brno, Jakub runs our midfield and as noted by Craggy, he runs in the same style as Steven Gerrard. A “box to box” kind of player, we don’t expect to see him at the club beyond this season. Before each game he shakes hands with Jirka Floder in a strange way 🙂 We believe they are friends.

 

R_Buchta_jaro_2016Robin Buchta – Robin has been at the club since the beginning of time, well it seems that way. Big pals with striker Jan Trtilek, he was the first Blansko player to invite us “backstage” for shots of slivovice. Love the club more than we do.

Songs – ” Robin, Robin, Robin, Robin …. Buchta.

 

J_Minx_podzim_2016Jan Minx – Honza’s favourite player is Gareth Bale, the greatest footballer the world has ever seen and just like the Wales superstar, plays his football down the left flank.. In pre-season he was banging goals in like they were going out of fashion..hopefully we’ll see more of the same in the real games. Another of Zbrojovka Brno.

Songs – ” Honza Minx, Honza Minx running down the wing ….”

D_Duda_podzim_2016Dominik Duda – Signed in July from Opava, Dominik has been in and out of the team most of this season. He started in the centre of midfield, but found himself out on the right in games before the winter break. Has shown brief glimpses of his talent and we would like to see more.

Song – “Duda duda duda duda” (to the tune of the Adams Family”

S_Kolarik_podzim_2016Stepan Kolarik – We are writing this just after he missed a crucial penalty against Unicov, so we’ll try not to allow it to cloud our judgement.  Stepan’s favourite footballer is former Swansea midfielder Frank Lampard and just like Fat Frank likes to get forward at every opportunity. We’ve seen him score plenty during pre season, but he’s found the net only once this season. Very talented and has more clubs than Tiger Woods.

Songs – none.

J_Kratochvil_podzim_2016Jirka Kratochvil – Jirka is nicknamed “little mole”, we have no idea why.  Another homegrown player, he has a bright future ahead of him..He’s been unable to break into the first 11 this season, but we expect to see more of him this second half of the season.

Songs – none

 

Strikers

J_Trtilek_podzim_2016Honza Trtilek – Honza is a crowd favourite and a huge talent.. We all believe that with a bit more pace, he would be playing in the top division. Without wishing to use a cliche – he has an excellent touch for a big man.. Good with his feet and head, you are always guaranteed goals from Honza..

Songs – “Honza, Honza, Honza, Honza, Honza Trtilek”

J_Stehlik_jaro_2017Jindra Stehlik – Big things were expected of Jindra after he made his debut for Zbrojovka Brno in the top league, but he lost his way little and now finds himself spearing the attack for FK Blansko. We are hoping for great things from him. A January signing from SK Lisen.

Song – So come on Jindra Stehlik, score some goals for Blansko….”

J_Motycka_podzim_2016Jarda Motycka – Another player, we have not seen enough of. Jarda has usually been brought on from the subs bench when we are in need of a goal. A tireless runner, you just get the feeling he needs a goal.

Songs – none.