Points, Pints and Pistols. Digging for points in Petrkovice

18175886_10158578499280501_1192734090_o

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.

18119747_10158578498820501_1620347131_o18175656_10158578501275501_1634969010_o

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.

18159763_10158578500655501_923851981_o

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..

18159962_10158578497795501_1601729978_o

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…

Advertisements

The Hunt for Pav the Drummer

img_6004

“Right, I will show you round Blansko during the winter break. It would be nice if there was a bit of snow.. it will make the place a bit more picturesque” Those were the words of Wingy, a resident of town for the last 23 years after deciding to swap a cushy job in a London office for life as an English teacher in South Moravia. Blansko needs snow to make a trip worthwhile.

Chris (Wingy) is probably the main reason, why we started following the local football team. A few years ago, we started going and such was the welcome from everybody at the club, we found ourselves spending more time at Udolni and beyond.. Now, one of the friendliest of friendly faces was Pavel the Drummer, the only regular Blansko Ultra at the time. You could guarantee that at every game, home or away, Pavel would be there, with his drum. Then back in November, after a few matches on tannoy duty, he disappeared. We know that sounds dramatic,  but we were genuinely concerned and nobody at the club knew of his whereabouts.

So, we decided, while on a tour of Blansko, to print off a picture of our drummer and ask the locals if they had seen this man…

A few days before the trip, Wingy pulled out with a serious bout of manflu, leaving the rest of us to wander round the town, taking in the sights and of course enjoying a few beers. First stop was the new allweather football pitch (needed to confirm our place in MSFL) and 90 minutes of football. Blansko were hosting Bohunice, a team from Brno playing a couple of tiers down from us. For us, it was a chance to see our two new signings and to be quite honest to watch a live game of football.. something we’d been missing.

img_5973

It was cold, very, very cold, definitely the coldest game we had ever been to (colder than Boundary Park)..we lasted 80 minutes before heading for the warmth of a local pub. Not even a hip flask full of homemade slivovice could keep us there for the entire game and we left the moment our new striker, Jindra Stehlik, scored our 6th goal.

Now,for the first time in the short life of the Blansko Klobasa, we vlogged our trip with a Polaroid Cube and the story of our trip is below.. With none of us being at all good on camera, we ask you to go a bit easy on us…

img_5981img_5959

Kunovice

14480495_10154444711891346_7581069297752179084_o

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.

photo-1

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)

14500730_10154444711116346_4716588846836484893_o

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/

photo-2

photo-3

 

 

 

 

Uhersky Brod – CLOSED

Uhersky Brod

Uhersky Brod

When you wake up at 6.00 am with “Dancing Queen” stuck in your head and a vague memory of the turning down a final shot of Vodka at 3,00am , you know, just know that today might not be your day.

To those of you who read this ( thank you so much) we probably sound like a group of raging alcoholics. We’re not, honestly …..but getting up at the crack of dawn for 4th Division Czech game, I suppose we have to just a tiny bit off our heads and yes of course, we do like beer.

The meeting point was the same as always, the main hall at Brno Main Train Station, just left of the coffee stand. This is just in case we were in need of an espresso hit. On this occasion both of us passed (believe me it wouldn’t have helped) and headed to platform 2 for the train to Stare Mesto Uherske Hradiste. Not before we’d met one of our fellow teachers, who was far too happy for 9,30 on a Saturday morning.

Pivo at the brewery

Pivo at the brewery

We found our way onto the train and even managed to get a compartment to ourselves before a couple of fellow travellers decided to join us with a bottle of Bozkov rum to keep them company on the journey ahead. Not long after we departed, Craggy fell asleep leaving me to my newly purchased Gruff Rhys novel (buy it) and before you could say “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” we were on our  connecting train to Uhersky Brod. Things seemed to be going far too well for a Blansko away trip and it wasn’t long before our luck changed and the conductor was threatening to throw us off the train for…laughing….yep you read that correctly for having a chuckle. Okay, I admit that I was laughing at her a pure lack of customer service…but still.. I absolutely love living in the Czech Republic, but sometimes you do feel a tad angry when you don’t get a service with a smile.

Uhersky Brod is a town between Brno and Trencin. We had chosen to go there, not just because Blansko were on an unbeaten run of 6 matches or even the fact that it was the home to a fairly popular brewery, but because it was the birthplace of Jan Amos Komensky, the founder of the universal education and apparently he liked a pint (I made the last bit up). We were told that both his museum and the Zbrojovka gun factory were a must if we were in town.

And with the idea of being tourists appealing to both of us, we bypassed the Banik Ostrava hooligans at the train station and headed up the steps to the centre of the town….

I would love to tell you how fascinating the both museums were, but the truth is that Uhersky Brod was closed for the day, museums closed, cafes closed, hotels empty, not a local to be seen to ask them to recommend somewhere. Having lived here in the Czech Republic for a while, I have grasped the concept that Czechs love to head off to their country cottages, but this was the first time in my 15 years that an entire town had departed for the weekend.

Brewery

Brewery

So, not too disappointed we headed off to the brewery and yes, I am sure you have guessed… it was closed too. This might have been down to the fact the pub was offering beer for a bargain 9.90kc and they had run out or….that they had also buggered off. What a welcome.

Eventually, after finding a pub open (the non smoking section  was the table closest to the door) we sipped our glasses of the local brew and  made our way to the ground to see if Blansko could continue their winning ways.

No smoking

No smoking

The Uhersky Brod ground is quite possibly the least atmospheric ground in the league, one small modern stand and the pitch is surrounded by one metal railing – the worst we have been to . But, like every ground it has a bar (or window) and this is where we found the rest of the Blansko support.  When I say support, we discovered that 8 of the Blansko regulars (all over 60) were not fans of the team, but saw it as an opportunity to get out of town for the day… Free travel to Uhersky Brod, I probably would have stayed at home, if I were you, gents.

Ground

Ground

So, after  a couple more beers and hearing some extremely interesting stories about the club (I had to swear I wouldn’t publish them on here), we took our seats in the stand and joined in the first chant of the day. Again, I don’t want to bore you with details of the game, but I will tell you that our star striker has a new pair of gold boots and yes they do look awful. (Honza, if you are reading this, don’t ever wear them again :-)) . The game finished 1-0 and I am unsure if it was the hangover that made the game the least enjoyable of the campaign or whether the strikers had forgotten their boots (GOLD BOOTS!) or even that the Uhersky Brod team had parked a double decker bus in front of the goal…unbeaten run over.

 

 

Some highlights from Uhersky Brod:

– We swapped our half-time klobasa for pork steaks. Possibly the best snack of the season

– The brewery pub was offering beer for less than 10kc (get there before 12pm on a Saturday)

-The pub nearest the brewery has a non smoking section which is basically the nearest table to the door and yes it was smokey.

– Some of the friendliest waitresses we have encountered this season.

– We have heard that both museums are worth a visit, just not on a Saturday.

Pork

Pork