Points, Pints and Pistols. Digging for points in Petrkovice

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When you take the train north east from Brno, via Vyskov na Morave towards the industrial city of Ostrava, you soon get the feeling that you are embarking on new territory – something that is at once both Czech and something a little different. From the train station of Hranice na Morave there is an apparently intangible barrier to break through, leading to the compelling landscape of Moravia-Silesia.

We love heading to North Moravia, so an away day to the Ostravan suburb of Petrkovice was a notable highlight of this season’s fixture list. Ostrava is famous for its mining heritage, and Petrikovice is home to the Landek Park Mining Exhibition. Being of a cultured nature, we put this as our number 1 stop for the day.

Well, not quite, actually. First, we went in search of the local Ostrava brewery, which we found closed, like most of Ostrava in the morning. We walked around for a little while until we found what appeared to be an open brewery pub… Interestingly, the pub also doubles up as a shooting range, as Ralph found out the hard way with a rifle pointed squarely at his face. No service today, it seemed.

We escaped in one piece and wound our way to Stodolni. Stodolni is a street that is known for being a drinker’s paradise – if a drinker’s paradise is a few Irish bars and a couple of strip clubs all opening at 4 in the afternoon. We are not so patient, so instead we opted for some local Ostravan “hospitality” with a pint of the locally brewed ‘Ostravar’ in Šatlava, and waited for our tram to appear outside and take us to Landek.

Hospitality is something of a new concept in Ostrava, which is why when we tried to enter the Harenda U Barborky restaurant we were shouted at for the audacity, and asked indignantly if we couldn’t recognise how busy it was in there and would we kindly turn around and do one. So, with a laugh and a wonder, we did indeed leave and went straight to the mine instead.

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Although the original mine was around 600 metres deep, we went down a mere 10. However, the tour was conducted by someone who used to work there and it was an interesting hour spend down in the dark. And we managed to get a Klobasa sticker on one of the yellow helmets. We go to great depths for this blog…

Down a mine

The tour over, we finally forced our way in to the restaurant and found it a much quieter and friendlier affair. We sank a couple of beers and a 5-minute gulash and headed to the stadium where we would witness an attack on our flag… Here’s Ralph with the match report:

The Petrkovice ground was just a short walk from the mining muzeum and has a stand on one side of the pitch, a pub behind the goal and perimeter railings around the rest of the pitch…basically, our kind of place. We paid our 50kc to get in, grabbed a beer, greeted the 10 or so Blansko fans that had travelled up with the players and made our way to a corner of the ground we would call home for the next 90 minutes.

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Petrkovice have a great record at home and had only lost once this season, to Otrokovice back in August, so before we had even put our flag up, we knew a draw or a win was going to be difficult.

However, any defence with our gentle giant Standa Pisek is defence hard to break down and his return also allowed us to push Lada Hanus into a position protecting our back four for the first time this season.

As with most games since the winter break, the boys started quite nervously and it needed a string of fine saves from superkeeper Jirka Floder to settle those nerves. To say he has been outstanding this season is an understatement and it is not hard to see why Zbrojovka Brno rate him so highly. His stops gave us the confidence we needed to break forward and midway through the first half we had our best spell.

We really want to say the turning point came when our central defender Jakub Splichal destroyed our flag by falling into it while sheilding the ball out, or when our captain, Lukas Kolacek felt it important to shake our hands before taking a throw-in in the 18th minute, but in truth it was a refereeing decision. Referees at this level often make decision depending on which team they favour and in 28th minute they became Petrkovice’s 12th man. A ball was played over the top and our number 11, Lubos Chloupek was clean through on goal. Now correct me if I am wrong, but if an attacker is pulled down by the last man, it’s a red card, it is isn’t it? Well, not in the eyes of this referee, who deemed it to be just a yellow. Rightly, the Blansko players, supporters and the bench were fuming..We don’t mind losing fairly, but when you have a referee playing for the other side, it just not fair.

Jakub Kucera, who was having a mighty fine game in the centre our midfield, hit the resulting free kick beautifully and it took a great save from the Petrkovice goalkeeper to keep it out.

With us attacking more and more, it was surprise to see us take the lead in 33rd miniute.. The referee awarding a penalty just as Craggy was going to bar for more beer. Kucera made no mistake from the spot and we celebrated as though we had won the league. We actually had more chances before half-time, but going in 1- 0 up was a great feeling.

The beginning of second half started with Blansko in control, our striker, Jindra Stehlik worked tirelessly up front and Jakub Kucera was doing his finest impression of Steven Gerrard in the middle of the park, we attacked and restricted Petkrovice to chasing the ball for long periods.. But, in typical fashion (of late) , we switched off at the back for the only time in the match and of course, the home side punished us. A ball played into the box landed between our defenders and Jirka in goal, leaving Petrkovice’s Dominik Spavlenko with a chance to volley home, which he did.

To be honest, a point was a fair result and definitely one we would have taken before the game, so to come away with a draw and a great team performance wasn’t a bad thing. It definitely lifted the players as they came over to us at the end, giving us high fives and thanking us for the support..Let’s hope this is start of our recovery and if it isn’t our message to the players is just to enjoy yourselves on the pitch. Football is entertainment after all.

MOM – Jakub Kucera – outstanding (But all the players deserve credit for the performance against a tough side.

Also a special mention to the groundstaff at Petrkovice who got the pitch ready after a snowfall on Thursday evening.

We love you Blansko, we do..

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After the game we headed back in to central Ostrava and stopped at an old favourite Restaurace Spolek for a couple of beers, some karbos, and some fried cheese balls, before making our our way to the station. After knocking back some slivovice we fell asleep on the train and arrived back in Brno in what seemed like 5 minutes, marking the end of another wondrous trip to the magical lands of northern Moravia. We actually almost lost Ralph here, as he caught his coat on the train and was left hanging while I doubled up in tears of laughter. Luckily some nice young lady helped unhook him before the train could take him off further down the line…

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.

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.

Olomouc and the Lipnik Beer Dog

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Pivni Pes

There’s nothing like a 10.15 kick-off on a Saturday morning to the blood racing. We didn’t mind though because we were going to be watching the game from the away end of Sigma Olomouc’s impressive Andruv Stadium… or not.

We had been carrying the hope that our league 3 game between FK Blansko and Olomouc B would be held in the main stadium, so that we could delight in being a full four fans stranded in the away end full of joy and song. Unfortunately, the game was actually being played on the training pitch which sits in the shadows of the stadium.

We arrived around 10.20 to a freezing field clouded in mist and threw our Blansko flag on to a bush. Luckily, the newest member of the Klobasa team, Michal, had brought some of Tisnov’s finest local brews with him and we were on our way to happiness before we had even arrived. It was hard to get the vocal chords warmed up that early in the morning, and although we managed a couple of fine songs the atmosphere was decidedly flat, not helped by Klobasa favourite Standa Pisek being relegated to the bench for the full 90 minutes. In the second half Olomouc B started to show their quality with a scoreline increasing in their favour. I was prompted to remark that Blansko had played well for the first 60 minutes, when Ralph said “Erm… they’ve only played 56”. It was going to be one of those days…

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We left the field with a 4-0 defeat and the revelation that Wingy has a fascination with mullets (Bundesliga to some, Jagr to others). It was true that we had just seen a fan with the most impressive mullet since Pat Sharp presented Fun House, and you could see the longing in Wingy’s eyes for a bygone era of hair.

Our next stop was Lipník nad Bečvou, a little way down the tracks from Olomouc. The train was leaving soon so we sprinted after a tram, a little like gazelles, and grabbed it just in time with Wingy clutching at his heart. Luckily for him, Ralph had the train times wrong by about an hour so we swung in to the station restaurant and had a beer to sooth him.

On these trips we always find someone who is mad enough to want to talk to us- someone who Ralph can give a Wales badge to. Today it was the waiter, who to be honest didn’t  seem to know what was going on but I guess he was happy. At this point we lost Wingy to a trip to Bauhaus and the rest of us rolled on to Lipník nad Bečvou.

Lipník is a small town of around 8,000 people and judging by the reactions of my Czech friends, not often visited. However, it turns out, it does have some real charm. And a brewery or two. If you can find them. After Ralph and Michael had a short war of map applications, we managed to walk around in circles and find ourselves at the Svatovar brewery where we just had to try the first thing we saw on the menu – pivni pes (beer dog). Despite its mad name, it was actually the commonly sought tvarusky cheese (a local speciality cheese) on bread, with some onion and a touch a praprika. It was bloody good though, as was all the food we had there. We washed it down with a fairly decent a beer or two and then moved on in search of more Lipník delights.

We didn’t make the ground in time for the football but the beer window was still open so we were in luck. The ground sits snugly in a green basin with a great old stand leaning over the side of it, complimented by a wonderful old clock. The ground was so pleasant that it felt a shame we had missed the game there. It was bloody cold though, and so after a swift beer sought the comfort of the warmth. Again, Lipník is a place with some charm, as a walk through the walled gardens of the renaissance palace demonstrated. The remains of old city walls are dotted around the old town, and the renaissance houses of the centre surround the picturesque fountains of the Masaryk Square. We jumped inside a pub to find a wedding reception was in full swing, and we only had room at the bar – our favourite spot in any pub.

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From there we made our way back to the train, and with a can of beer in hand, made the journey back to Brno for a nightcap before returning to our respective dwellings