Toppled By Tisnov

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There is not much that can bring you back early from a holiday in East Slovakia and a cup game at Tisnov is also not one of them, but I was back late on Saturday evening after a few days away across the border and as Tisnov is a hop, skip and a beer away from Brno, it was an easy decision to stroll down for a midday train to a town , nicely situated at the foot of the Czech-Moravian highlands.

A host for the day was our good friend and proud Tisnovak, Michal who had promised us good beer and good company..

To give you a bit of  background to the homeside, AFK Tisnov were promoted from 6th tier of Czech football and the newboys of the South Moravian Regional League have big ambitions. In 2015/16 they were FK Blansko’s farm team and we shared the talents (and beer belly) of Petr Svancara, Franta Kuldan and Mohomed Traore, all contributing to our success on the field. The club have  plans for a new stadium and to turn their current ground into a training centre. For the coming season they have signed Franta Schneider (another ex Blansko player)  and a few former Brno youngsters. Leading the good ship of Tisnov is Jiri Hajsky, who, as I am sure you’ve probably already guessed …. is a former Blansko manager and played in Zbrojovka’s title winning side of 1978. He’s assembled a very useful team which walked away with the league title last season.

To calm the nerves (okay to kill time), Michal took us to a pub serving the locally brewed Kvetnice beer (we have since been told there are two breweries in the town). If you are ever in area, we highly recommend you visit Restaurace Sklep to sample a beer or two and when you are there we advise you to look up… just look up.

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As with every trip, we try and fit in a visit to a brewery and this was no different, after a swift pint, we were back on the train and travelling 20 minutes up the track to the small town of Doubravnik (not to be confused with Dubrovnik), home to a beer of the same name and a pint with a great reputation in our region, and possibly the rest of the country too. Now, usually with these places, we wait for Craggy’s seal of apporoval and it wasn’t long in coming. “You know what? I could live here”. Once you hear those words, you know you are in a place of beauty or he’s seen a pub.

It was indeed a lovely town, situated in a valley with wooded hills surrounding, it was also deadly quiet..so quiet in fact that there were very few people about and this included the owner of the local brewery, it was closed up and there was nobody home. Who closes a brewery on a Sunday?  Who?

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There was a back-up plan, well not exactly a plan, but we’d noticed three things in the town – a statue, a fire station and a pub, so in true Blansko Klobasa style we headed straight to U Sedlacka for a slightly different gulas and finally a pint of the local brew. And even the barman seemed to be pretending the brewery didn’t actually exist….

The gulas was the perfect pre-match meal and the was everything we dreamed of and although Doubravnik had hosted us well (we’ll forget about the brewery incident), it was time to catch the train back to Tisnov for the game.

It’s a crying shame that the cup isn’t taken so seriously, but for teams like Blansko and Tisnov it’s a chance to test their skills against better teams, so it was lovely to see that there was a healthy crowd gathering.  For us it was an opportunity to see some of our new signings and to have a closer look at how our new squad was shaping up for the coming season in the MSFL.

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We very rarely describe the match in detail, but with this being Tisnov’s debut in the Czech Cup, we’ll try and recall as much as we can.

In the 2nd minute, Blansko showed their attacking intentions, Kratochvil put new signing Jan Minx through on goal, but he pushed the ball just past the post. In the 11th minute, the home side attacked for the first time and with it brought the first goal of the game. Some shenanigans in the box forced the referee to point the penalty spot.  We believe it was captain Kolacek who fouled former Blansko striker Ladislav Hansl, but we are not quite sure. Anyhow, Hansl stepped up and calmly slotted home and put Tisnov one goal up.

Jan “Minxy” Minx (add a “y” to the surname to create nickname) was beginning to take a hold of the game and created a chance for himself in 21st minute, but couldn’t quite find the finish to match the run. In 29th minute, he again was at the centre of things and created a chance which Kratochvil gobbled up to bring Blansko level and this was the score at half-time.

At the beginning of the second half, Tisnov sent on their ace, Mohammed Traore. We’d seen him turn out once for Blansko (a match winning performance away at Rosice) and knew immediately that we had a game on our hands. In the 48th minute, he created a chance for himself which thankfully our 16yr old keeper equal to…….After a rather dominant display in the first half, Blansko were looking on the ropes and it was Traore again who was in the thick of the action. In the 52nd minute he tricked his way to the byline before pulling the ball back for Tomas Zdrazil to put the home team in front for the second time.

Cometh the 57th minute, cometh the man.. which basically means Honza, Honza time.. Kratochvil setting up local hero Honza Trtilek to smash home an equaliser from the edge of the box. We love that guy.

Blansko then created three very good chances, new signings Kutal and Motycka going close before Honza again had a chance to put Blansko in front, but shot just past the post.

In the 77th minute, we had a great chance to win the game and I am not too sure why we didn’t take the lead, we suddenly found ourselves with four attackers  bearing down on the Tisnov goal. – but somehow overran the ball when it seemed earlier to score.

Extra-time saw Tisnov gain the upper hand with the impressive Traore pulling the strings all over the park , creating some great chances to win the game, but found Zdenek Vesely in fine form in the Blansko goal. 2-2 it ended.

The penalty shoot out brought joy for Tisnov, with both Minx and Splichal missing in a 9-8 shoot out and although disappointed not to be progressing to the next round, we headed back to pub convinced there were better things to come from this new-look Blansko team.

M.O.M – Jan Minx

Attendance : 330

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Because Gyor Gorgeous

 

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“Hello and welcome to fun and relax, my name is Beatka and I will be servicing you on your journey”.

Hello, Beatka.

“Fun and Relax” was not quite what we were expecting once onboard the 7.30 morning bus from Brno to Gyor, a town on the Hungarian/Slovakian border, and when she added politely to us that there may be no beers available we were starting to wonder just how this trip was going to pan out. However, after a quick discussion with the driver she did indeed find two cans of Gambrinus, much to the driver’s disappointment I imagine.

A trip to Hungary is pretty straightforward from Brno, so after arriving in Gyor within a mere three hours we headed past the Belgian pub (which we would make an unwise stop in later) and in to the enchanting, historic town centre. We were planning on pacing ourselves on this trip, which is why we waited until 10.30 to have our second drink, and as we always make an effort to blend in with the local culture we were keen to try a local beer. Cue our first pub = specialising in Czech and German beers. An accident maybe, but we were lucky that they were actually selling a local micro-brew (more on that later) which went down nicely.

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What do you think of when you hear the name Hungary? Well, we thought of goulash. So off we went in search of steamer, Westy Hajo, sitting serenely on the banks of the Danube (Ralph’s favourite river, by the way) and tucked in to pint of Borsodi and a fine goulash in a bread bowl which I broke my teeth on. Following this success Ralph scored another by passing the polyglot challenge and asking for the bill in Hungarian, which apparently becomes easier after three beers. Firing on all cylinders, we set off in to the unknown (well, Gyirmót) in search of new breweries and football.

Goulash

Gyirmót is suburb of Gyor, but the train delivered us to a sparse, flat landscape presenting a barren area at odds with the charm of the centre of the city . We alighted the train on to a stark and lonely platform, with the road running across us far in to either direction. A pizzeria and a track side pub sat on either side, surrounded by a clamour of houses. On one of these streets is purported to be a brewery. The brewery, we hoped, that had provided us with our first beer in Gyor.

Gyirmot train station

The brewery  is supposedly situated in someone’s back garden, and sure enough when we arrived at the address there was nothing more than a standard residential home with no beers signs and an empty driveway, signalling that the owners had found something better to do on a cold Saturday than serve us. Disappointed, we headed back to the pub beside the tracks, Csanaki Fészek, and interrupted a children’s birthday party. Sitting quietly and dodging pink balloons, we swiftly finished off our beers. Whether or not they had ever heard an English voice in there before it was hard to tell, but one thing we could say is that we were enjoying a warm welcome everywhere we went.

One notable thing about Gyirmót – there are a lot of dogs, and they are huge and waiting to kill. From every direction massive dogs barked and howled at us from every garden of this sprawling residential maze. Some were trying to tear through fences, whilst one had even laid a trap by placing a football within kicking distance of his kennel. Even Ralph, who can never resist the urge to kick a stray football, dared not go any closer. It was pure madness. Nevertheless, we survived the gauntlet and made it to the game between Gyirmót FC and Kisvarda Master Good.

Gyirmot snacks

Gyirmót FC sit at the top of the second league and are obviously being financially well supported, as you can see the name of the sponsors plastered all over the newly redeveloped stadium. The stadium is modern and big – maybe too big for Gyirmót FC as one of the side stands was completely empty. But this team has big plans it seems, so maybe the empty stands are sitting pretty, waiting for the big league. Tonight though, it is cold, and the atmosphere in the stands is an odd one. The crowd has a strangely large number of young children in it, as if on some school trip. And it is them that are doing all the singing. Whether the singing is anything to do with the football or not we have no idea, but it looked a lot more fun in the away end, where a small group of Kisvarda fans were making a racket in the smaller, but classic stands. The football on offer was less than good, matching the quality of the beer. The schnitzel burger was pretty good though.

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Back in Gyor we had a few minutes to kill before heading to Sopron, so nipped in to the Royal Belgian Beer Cafe and Restaurant. Stumbling upon our second birthday party of the trip we were greeted by a waitress who could barely conceal her contempt at our lack of a reservation as she called “Hallo” repeatedly after a bewildered Ralph who had dared to walk further than the  welcome mat. Her disappointment was cemented after discovering we would only be drinking, and a Hungarian lager at that. We were placed, neglected, at the bar and forced to stare at the glass cleaning facilities. As we left she she attempted to show interest and asked us where we were from. Before I could answer, Ralph referred solely to himself and said, “Wales”. “Ah Wales”, she replied, “Guinness!” … I laughed, we left.

A 30 minute train journey away, Sopron, although no less beautiful, is a little smaller than Gyor and provides less in the way of evening entertainment. The friendly staff at our (rather posh) hotel, Pannonia, directed us to an English-style pub for dinner, where we ingested more than should be allowed and set of in search of a more lively hole to spend the evening in. After some walking with little luck, we ended the evening warmly in a busy Croatian pub where the barmaid amused herself with our attempts at the Hungarian language.

Hungarian food

The weather over the whole weekend was beautiful and we took full advantage of it by exploring the city the next day, grabbing a beer in the morning sunshine after a fulfilling hotel breakfast of cheese and sausages. We dodged armies of tourists and even took a couple of photos for them, but our offers of our own personal tour were turned down. We had a quick look a the FC Sopron stadium, watched a bit of training then headed back to Gyor for a couple more beers before our bus back to Brno, ending putting the full stop on an excellent trip to north west Hungary. Next stop, Rosice – for the the first Blansko away game of the season.

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A Bridge too Zdar for FK Blansko

The Blansko Klobasa

The Blansko Klobasa

I should begin by telling you about the best goal I have ever seen live and before anybody says it,no it wasn’t scored by Gareth Bale… It was scored by a player by the name of Lukas Zelnicek of FC Moravsky Krumlov, a team sitting mid-table in the 5th tier of Czech Football.

After a Saturday afternoon of enjoying a day of sunshine at the Starobrno brewery, we took tram number 1 from Mendlovo Namesti to the home of Dosta Bystrc for a late afternoon game of football. Now, it must be said that most of the game passed us by as we sat in the club beer garden, but in the 59th minute the whole stadium rose to applaud a pure moment of magic from the away team’s centre midfielder.

Lukas Zelnicek picked up the ball in the centre circle, sidestepped the oncoming Bystrc player before looking up and hitting a shot from near on 60 yards which sailed of the goalkeeper (a Slovak U19 international) and into the net. It was a wonderful bit of skill and I doubt anybody recorded it, so we will never see it again. Just brilliant and I had to share it.

Sunday morning, the usual meeting place for the slow train to Zdar nad Sasavou, a small town in the Czech-Moravian highlands, famous for cross country skiing and the Unesco site of Zelena Hora. Of course, we were going there, not to see the sights or to ski, but to watch our first Blansko away game of the Spring season.

Zdar square

Zdar square

First stop (after a cashpoint) was a pub we knew from our previous visit to the town. With it being a stones through from the train station and beer a very reasonable 17kc, we felt it rude not go and say hello.

It was empty apart from one local, propping up the bar. As we sat at exactly the same table we had done a few months earlier, the man told us not to sit there as it was reserved for regulars. Not wanting to upset the people of Zdar, we moved to the next table, only to be told the same thing. Beginning to feel that TBK were not welcome and contemplating trying to find a place with a friendlier atmosphere, we were pointed in the direction of a table that could be ours and beers were ordered…Now, I’d recently read a report where two thirds of Czechs had admitted to being afraid of foreigners…but I never expected to see it in a pub in a small town in Vysocina. Of course, I jest.

On the way to the ground, we found a relatively nice restaurant doing a fine pork gulas, washed it down with a lovely Rychtar (note to self – must visit the brewery) and made the short walk to the game taking in Zelena Hora as we got closer to the stadium.

Pork gulas

Pork gulas

Zdar’s ground is one of the better at this level. A stand running all the way alongside the pitch with some terracing behind the goal and a club bar, which is where we found the majority of the Blansko support.

Greeted like long lost friends by the physio and the drummer, we ordered our beers and went to take our seats in the stand, only once again to be moved further along, but this time from a friendly face as Pavel needed to find more room for the drum. Once a suitable space was found, it wasn’t before he was belting out the first song of the day.

Zdar

Zdar

Like Pavel, Blansko started the game promisingly, with both Dolezal and Trtilek looking dangerous on the break and Zdar not really causing any problems. The first chance fell to our centre back, David Muller, who put his header wide of the post when it seemed easier to score. Had that gone in, I am fairly sure we would have gone on to win the game quite easily, but all our good work in keeping the home side quiet was undone by an uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper David Juran. Midway through the first half, the ball was played back to him for a routine kick up field. Juran played the ball straight to a Zdar player for him to square the ball for an easy tap in. 1-0 Zdar. Noticeably, players’ heads dropped and not even Pavel could lift them with his melodic drumbeats.

Pavel - the FK Blansko drummer

Pavel – the FK Blansko drummer

Halftime brought its own entertainment as we turned our attentions to the bar. On our way round to the bar for a half-time pint and klobasa (no klobasa), the Zdar subs were warming up by attempting to ping balls into an empty goal. I pointed out to Craggy that there was a reason why they were on the bench and not on the pitch; all attempts at goal went flying anywhere, but the back of the net. Anyway, beer bought, we made our way back to the not-so-grand stand, dodging flying footballs as we walked. Well, at least I was. Craggy on the other hand… well, he was a few steps behind me, so I only saw the aftermath. As he passed the goal, so did another size 5 Adidas, which crashed straight into his beer, knocking it out of his hand and onto the floor. The player offered an apology twice and seemed unsurprised by his actions. Perhaps, this is a regular occurrence in Zdar, but it was the first time it had happened to us. As funny as it was, I was surprised to find that the player doesn’t carry a bag of 20kc in his tracksuit bottoms.

Michal Kugler, back in charge for a second spell, must have tried to rally the troops at half-time as the Blansko team were back on the field looking a bit more confident than they had 15 minutes earlier.

No Klobasa no Party

No Klobasa no Party

Honza, Honza, Honza was back flicking the ball in the direction of his teammates, Honza Dolezal was beginning to find some joy down the right and just like the start of first half, it was Blansko who looked more likely to grab the goal. Except, except we were lacking one thing. A player in the box to get on the end of the crosses. It once again showed how important Honza Koudelka (there are a lot of Honza’s in Moravia) was to the side last season. Since he moved onto bigger and better things (now playing for Prostejov in MSFL and looking to play higher) we have lacked a player of any pace at all.

So, you won’t be surprised to read that after spending a great deal of the half knocking balls into an empty box, Zdar went straight up the other end and bagged their second to seal the match.

As the final whistle blew, we said our goodbyes to the Blansko ultra (it used to be plural), had a shot of hruskovice and even found time for Craggy to spill his second beer of the day.

A bridge too Zdar indeed.

Hruskovice

Hruskovice

Have you got any horseradish?

The Blansko Horseradish

Sitting in U Mice (we do that quite often), sipping a Policka, I turned to Craggy and talked him through the trip to see Blansko’s opening game after the winter break. “Right, the idea is get to Vyskov, take a bus to Dedice to see where Klement Gotwtald was born, walk to Drnovice to see the old football stadium and then back to Vyskov to try the local beer in the brewery. How does that sound?” I didn’t wait for the answer, the plan was in motion…..except there was one major flaw – the season wasn’t kicking off for 3 more weeks and it was a Friday… oh well, we went for the hell of it anyway.

Fast forward 3 weeks and with two of us already having familiarised ourselves with the local area, we found ourselves back on the train to Vyskov. The idea was pretty similar to the first jaunt, the only difference being that we didn’t fancy heading over to look at where one of Stalin’s best mates was born, so replaced that with a trip to a pub for some food.

Stalin's mate woz 'ere

Stalin’s mate woz ‘ere

To give you a bit of background information on the the town, Vyskov is an army town situated between Brno and Olomouc. It is famous for it’s Dino Park where you can find about 30 life-size dinosaur models and the town also has one of the best rugby teams in the Czech Republic. So, yes, there isn’t a lot going on. The locals also have no idea that their football team are flying high in the 4th division and have a good chance of promotion…..

MFK Vyskov 3 – Blansko Klobasa 1

It’s 9.00am at Brno Hlavni and I am waiting for the others. It is fair to say the whole Blansko klobasa thing has become a bit of an obsession and that the 4 of us had been looking forward to the game since.. I don’t know when… for the sake of the story let’s say from the final whistle at Rosice back in November. Further proof is that we now have t-shirts and stickers….

As the train approaches Vyskov and you look out of the compartment windows, you see fields and villages and if you look really closely you see a stadium floodlight..honestly a football floodlight in the middle of nowhere. First stop on the trip was Drnovice, a village with a population of 2,278 (thank you wikipedia) and a football stadium with a capacity of 6,600, yep, I can’t really work that one out either. It is home to FK Drnovice who now play in the 8th tier of the Czech league system, but in their heyday spent 10 years in the top tier and qualified for Europe on two separate occasions. Every time I have visited Vyskov, I have always walked the 4km to have a take in a game or just to have a look at the condition of the ground. So, I was happy when two of the Klobasa shared my interest in seeing it’s current state (the 4th member was on gardening duty in Blansko) – Well, we are sad to say that stadium is unfortunately in ruin as there is nobody able or bothered to take care of it. It is more a hang out for the local teenagers, than local footballers. I am sure Craggy, will add photos to this article for you to make your own mind up.

Drnovice stands

Drnovice stands

Drnovice

Drnovice

The only thing to cheer us up before walking back into town was a beer..and the sun.  The first day of the Spring season had Moravia basking in glorious sunshine, so we headed over to one of the two local pubs in the village, where the regulars were watching a modern day version of the TV series “The Littlest Hobo”. Without wishing to distract them from their flat screen tv, we ordered 3 Bernard’s from the barmaid and asked her to open the beer garden. Not even a stray German Shepherd could keep us from sitting outside on such a beautiful day and off we went..

As with most trips, we seem to wander from pub to pub in search of either beer or food or both. One of us had spotted that the pub just across the road was serving up boar goulash for lunch. “I tell you what, let’s go over there and if they are serving it with potato pancakes, we’ll go in, if they or offering dumplings, we’ll head to Vyskov, okay?” Damn, dumplings – we went in anyway and convinced the waitress to adjust the menu to my taste, while one of the others mulled over whether she would have a campari as an aperitif…

With our bellies full, the 4km journey back into town was easy and we made the next stop off the train station pub to wait for Wingy who had now finished planting his potatoes and was on the fast train out of Blansko. Now, if you have been to a train station pub, they are bit hit and miss in terms of friendliness and atmosphere. This was definitely a miss, only the bar at Frydek-Mistek station ranks below  Vyskov. The beer is terrible and you can’t see through the frosted windows..unless your Craggy, he can see through anything. Confirmation of this came minutes after ordering our 3rd beer of the day. “There’s Wingy” he cried. I was absolutely sure it couldn’t be as a) Wingy had told me that his train was due  in 20 mins and b) he was staring at great big dirty frosted window…Off he went and back he came Wingy-less and dejected..

5 minutes later and with Wingy in tow (he had indeed been there but had walked off in the other direction), we were on our way to the stadium. Considering the position of the the opponents, there was a fair amount of optimism amongst us as we headed closer to the ground. Two quick beers were sank and before you could say “Jan Trtilek is a football genius” we were in the main stand greeting the two other Blansko supporters like long lost brothers. It’s truly was a welcome we weren’t expecting. Blaaannnnsskkoooo.

Now, I am writing this two weeks after the event, but I remember a few things about the game – it truly was a game of two halves. In the opening 45 minutes, Blansko’s game plan was to knock the ball up top for Honza to get a flick on and for his new strike partner Honza (popular name in CZ) to run on to. And… it worked a treat as Blansko lead one-nil at the break with a superb finish from the ever impressive Honza Trtilek. The only other point worth noting was how proudly the drummer introduced us to the home fans as “our British rowdies” ….we are quite clearly not.

Hand in hand they go...

Hand in hand they go…

The second half was a different story – The manager decided to do away with the tactics that had served us so well and looked a little lost in the second half. Vyskov scored 3 goals (assisted by the lines woman) and we took off our best player after 60 odd minutes…Very disappointing and can I even say a tad suspicious….

The highlight of our second half was the klobasa…but once again the stand had no horseradish… but this time we were prepared and even though he refused to lend us a spoon to serve up our kren, we had brought our own..let’s call it 1-0 to the Klobasa.

A trip to Vyskov wouldn’t be a trip to Vyskov without a beer in the local brewery and that’s where we headed, not to drown our sorrows at 3 point lost, but to celebrate a victory for horseradish and thoroughly good day out.

Vyskov brewery

Vyskov brewery

Some stats : Vyskov Klobasa 6 out of 10

Away fans : 7

Entrance: 40kc (with programme)

MOM : Jan Trtilek