Kunovice

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Photo of the flag by Matt “LostBoyo” Harrison

We know when Wingy (the third member of the Blansko Klobasa) can’t make an away game as he ignores all emails regarding the trip, but can any of you possibly think of a better way of spending an autumn Sunday than watching a game between Slovacko B and Blansko in the third tier of Czech football.

Don’t answer that, we are sure you could and enjoyed your Sunday morning pottering around Bahaus.

So, while the Wingster was preparing the gardens of Wing Towers for the harsh Moravian winter – myself and  Craggy were on the 7.35 train from Brno main station to Kunovice, excited at the prospect of seeing Blansko halt their slide down the MSFL table. One win from seven has left us sitting one place above the relegation zone. Fortunately, Kromeriz and Lisen are on an equally poor run of form. I will say that again…Fortunately.

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The MSFL is a completely different kettle of carp to Divize and we can see that everybody involved with the team continue to give their all in keeping Blansko up this season. It’s a hell of challenge, but as fans you can only ask that they work hard and they are certainly doing that.

Kunovice is a small town just on the outskirts of Uherske Hradiste and even though it has a population of just over 5,000, they like to confuse those unfamiliar with the place, by putting two train stations in the town.They are one of many cities, towns an even villages to try this, but we are usually ahead of the game.

There is very little you need to know about Kunovice except that Wikipedia revealed the post office was opened in 1869.

The local football team play in the 7th tier of Czech football, but from 2002 – 2006 played in the 2nd league, a league we’d love to see Blansko play in one day. Their ground, Stadion Na Belince, is now home to Slovacko B, our hosts for the day.

At the train station (one of two), we were met by Matt “LostBoyo” Harrison, a fellow groundhopper, who has recently relocated to Slovakia. He’d already been to see the A team (the Slovacko footballers, not the crack commando unit) the day before and, judging by his tweets and Facebook posts, hadn’t been impressed.

However, what had impressed him was his introduction to the Blansko team, who had also been to the game against Jihlava. Matt had made himself known by shouting Blansko quite loudly. And it quite clearly worked as his next post was a picture of him and our physio/groundsman/goalkeeping coach Sasa.

Anyway, back to Sunday – Opposite the ground we found a bar, which was, if you are not from Czech Republic, surprisingly full for half past nine on a Sunday morning. We, of course joined the party of Kunovice revellers in a prematch beer before heading to the ground.

After paying our 30kc to get in, it became obvious that we were in fact the only Blansko fans present, no Pav the Drum waking the locals up with his erotic drum solos, none of the pensioners who use the free bus ride for a day out, just us and about 100 locals.

We positioned ourselves, with a beer, just to the left of the half-way line and opposite the main stand. As the players lined up to start the game, we got our usual nods of approval from the usual players, who just appreciate us being around.

After the defeat at home to Petrkovice, Zbynek Zboril handed crowd favourite Jakub Splichal and pushed Dan Pospisil further foward at the expense of Chloupek. No Honza (Honza, Honza) as he’s still out injured. God, we need him back.

Slovacko started brightly and created the first chance of the game in the 7th minute, when a shot from Mares was deflected away for a corner kick. I think the resulting corner was headed over, but it’s hard writing this a few days later.

Our first chance came midway through the first half, Gromsky played the ball to Goldelka, who in turn put Pospisil through on goal, only for a well positioned Slovacko defender to prevent a shot on goal.

The best chance of the first half also fell to us, Koudelka slipped past his marker and played a beautiful waited pass to Kratochil on the edge of the box, with a clear sight of the goal in front of him it would have been easier to score – instead he whacked it into one of the gardens behind.

H/T Nil Nil  ( 3 beers down)

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Photo by Matt “LostBoyo” Harrison

The beginning of the second half saw Kuba Splichal replaced by David Muller, we believe it was because of an injury as he was one of our better players in the first 45. No Splichal, no clean sheet as TBK say – as in 48th minute we conceded the only goal of the game. A touch of good fortune for the home team saw the ball loop over Standa Pisek’s body leaving Tomas Zajic with only Floder to beat. 1-0 to Slovacko (4 beers down).

Slovacko created a few chances as they pushed for a second goal, but the best chance came in 85 minute, when Motycka was fouled on the edge of the box.  Jakub Kucera, our midfielder on loan from Zbrojovka, hit a peach of a freekick which was cleared off the line.

And that was it – Another defeat. We feel a draw would have been a fair result for both sides, but you sometimes need a bit of luck and it wasn’t to be this time. The players are giving everything to stay in this league, but quality of footballer is noticeably higher than in Divize (call me Albert Einstein) and we are in for a long season.

For the Blansko Klobasa, the fun continued as we were greeted by two Slovacko fans on the way out who offered us a couple of shots of Slivovice and an invite to the local pub to make the defeat taste more bitter than it should have.

A big shout out to  Matt for turning up for a 10.15 k.o and making the trip a brighter one.

M.O.M – Jiri Floder – made a string of saves to keep us in the match.

Follow LostBoyos here: https://lostboyos.wordpress.com/

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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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Kroměříž – It’s hard to say

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A trip to the picturesque town of Kroměříž promised two firsts for the Blansko Klobasa: a debut away trip for new Klobasa Michal, and our first game with our own fully segregated away end. Words alone can not begin to describe the excitement.

 

We all met at Brno’s main station, and after some impressive steeplechase by the in-form Wingy, we were happily on our way, drying some essential laundry in the train window.

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A small incident between a lorry and a bridge threatened to derail our journey, but we made our way to Kojetin by bus (see our post about last time we survived Kojetin) and then finally caught our one-carriage shuttle to Kroměříž.

Kroměříž is simply beautiful, and the glaring sunlight of the day made the colourful buildings of the city’s main square seem almost iridescent. The city has much to offer the traveler, from its packed streets exiting the square to the UNESCO listed baroque castle and gardens. Importantly, the city is awash with interesting pubs, including the microbrewery Cerny Orel, which provided us with our first stop of the day, and a much sought after beer. The beer was very good, but after weighing up the prices of the food we thought it best left to the Austrian tourists. We tried Radniční sklípek for food, most of us opting for various kinds of schnitzels, and washed it down with a pint of Maximilian from the local brewery – both proving winners all round.

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It’s fair to say that the Klobasa love a bit of culture, and so of course the castle gardens were high on our list  of “must-sees”. We managed to make it a short way in before we saw a pub garden sitting nicely in the shade, with one free table left and enough space for about four people. Not choosing to contradict fate we sat down with another local beer, the “McHugo”, and watched an endless procession of weddings being tossed out of the castle quicker than Pavel the Blansko drummer turns out football songs.

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It wasn’t long before it was time to head to the ground. As we’ve already mentioned, we were looking forward to camping out in the away end of the SK Hanácká Slavia Kroměříž stadium, seeing as we have never had the opportunity of an away end before. However, Pavel the drummer had been pretty down on the idea from the start and now that the day had finally arrived he was firmly digging his heels in. Maybe the space wasn’t right for his drum, or maybe he just felt out of his comfort zone, but whatever the case we ended up capitulating and staying with him in the main stand.

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SK Hanácká Slavia Kroměříž have a great ground, and with a disappointing turn out from the home fans we had a lot of space to make ourselves heard. Maybe the heat had got to the players but the game had 0-0 written all over it early on, with barely any chances from either team in the first half aside from a free header for David Muller. This was due in part to some good defensive displays, with new centre back Pisek, arriving in the summer from Ivancice, putting in a particularly strong performance. Blansko were also missing Pospisil, who was injured, and Koudelka who was busy winning a bronze medal with The Czech Republic in the Soccer Sixes European Championships. The second half played out much the same with Honza Minx(y) failing to convert a one on one with the keeper before the game finished goalless. Not the best of games, but a point away from home is worth having at any rate, and that means two away games without conceding a goal, which is great.

We finished the day with a swift beer in a pub close to the stadium, before making our way back to the train and on through the darkening Moravian countryside towards our respective homes.

Man of the Match goes to Standa Pisek for his super display at the back.

Man of the Day goes to Michal for is superman display, saving babies’ hats and carrying luggage for ladies of all ages. (Although he’s not coming again if he’s going to make the rest of us look bad)

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Zdars In Your Eyes

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Zelena Hora

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.

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Žďár

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.

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Žďár Stadium

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.

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Mid-game

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!

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We are going up!

Watch the highlights here: Žďár n. Sáz – FK Blansko