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

Trouble on the terraces as Junior steps in

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With the Christmas period fast approaching we have some catching up to do after a busy few weeks. Here, Wingy takes us back to the home game against Vyskov where we unfortunately ran in to a spot of mild bother:

I’d like to start this report on a bit of a sour note, as it’s something which did slightly spoil what was otherwise a good afternoon at Udolni (result excepted). We were trying as usual to get behind the boys with our songs and chants, when a guy about 10 metres away (and whom we’d never seen before) started shouting across to us (and in a pretty aggressive way) that we should be singing only in Czech. Now our repertoire does, it’s fair to say, include quite a few songs in English, but we also join in the Fun-Club songs in Czech. And we have never before encountered any hostility from either Blansko fans, or any others. On the contrary, people seem to appreciate the fact that our support is passionate, but good-natured and genuine. And the reaction we get, both at the games, and on-line, (especially from the players), shows that there is generally only affection for us. The guy involved looked clearly as if he had a few too many, and didn’t even reappear for the second half, so we didn’t let it dampen our spirits. But a little sad nonetheless.

We have mentioned many times here an FKB Ultra Fan who we refer to as Pavel the drummer. He is part of the group of fans who call themselves the ‚Fun Club‘, and their support is usually based around drums. Originally there was a hard-core of about five Fun Club members, but slowly but surely these numbers have declined, and the two original drummers, who were Pavel and his son, who in true Czech fashion is also called Pavel, have since become one, namely Pavel Senior. And of late, Pavel Snr has been conspicuous by his absence, as at home games he now mans the tannoy, which has left the Klobasa feeling that something is missing. And this was certainly the case for our latest game at home to top of the table Vyškov. I was late arriving, due to the annoying habit that Blansko have of changing the start time from that of the web-site. And by the time I got there FKB were already a goal down (and according to the other guys, a pretty sloppily conceded one too. Which is something of a pattern in recent games.). And without Pavel we were struggling to get some singing going. But cometh the hour,cometh the man, as almost immediately after me saying that we didn’t see Pavel Jnr much recently, he arrived to save the day. With his drum. Alas, our joy was short-lived as our current favourite, Standa Pisek, stooped to clear a somewhat innocuous centre with a diving header, but only succeded in putting the ball straight into his own net. 0-2. And thus it stood at half-time.
The second half almost immediately saw a much improved performance from the Reds (still can’t get used to calling them that), as Blansko started to get a grip on the game and pressed for a way back in. Unfortunately, Vyskov added a third not long after half-time, so it looked like game over. But Blansko’s efforts paid off when the aforementioned Pisek rose to plant a firm header into the Vyskov net. The rest of the half pretty much belonged to Blansko, who huffed and puffed, but never really looked like they were going to get a point.

So Blansko’s bad run continues, and they are only not bottom because Líšen and Kroměříž are even worse. But as Ralph rightly said after the game, we’ll still be there even if they go back down.

Next up, for the Klobasa at least, is the long-anticipated trip to the lovely historic town of Olomouc to see us play Sigma Olomouc B, who stand at the top of our division, as the A team do at the top of Division 2. You will of course be able to read all about that game right here!

We’d just like to say at this point that we have received only the most warm welcome at Blansko. We support the club and the club even supports us. We are most grateful to the players, coach, supporters, the club house bar staff and, of course, Pavel the Drummer who have all made us welcome at Blansko. [All at The Blansko Klobasa]

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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