Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter break

There isn't any Czech football until winter training begins early next month.  All leagues are on their winter break.  I'll probably make it to a few training games in January.  

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nov 2/08 - Olomoucký kraj - 1.A třída skupina B - Sokol Mostkovice 0 Sokol Troubky 6

November 2/08 - Olomoucký kraj - 1. A Třida Skupina B (6th division)
Sokol Mostkovice 0 Sokol Troubky 0
admission: 20kc
beer: 18kc (cerna hora!)
attendance: 115
game rating: 6.5/10

On a lazy, and unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon, I decided to make the short 3km trip to Mostkovice. The ground in situated on the edge of the town, and is within walking distance from Prostějov.

I didn't go into the game expecting much from the hosts, as they sat near the bottom of the table. The visitors on the day, Sokol Troubky, had better fortunes so far this season, and were near the top of the table. Mostkovice struggled most of the day, especially in the back, where they were quite weak. Troubky took advantage of this and lead 2-0 at the end of the first half. They went on to score four more goals in the second half.

Oct 30/08 - Czech Cup 4th Round - FK Mutěnice 0 Baník Ostrava 3

October 30th, 2008 - Czech Cup 4th Round
FK Mutěnice 0 Baník Ostrava 3
admission: 50kc
attendance: 2100 (150 away support)
beer: 22kc (Gambrinus)
game rating: 5.5/10

I'll assume that most people reading this don't know where Mutěnice is? Well, it is a small town of 3,500 in the wine region of Southern Moravia. There are a number of beautiful old and colourful wine cellars scattered at the foot of the vineyards on the edge of town. If you are in the area they are worth a visit.

The stadium is about a 10-15 minute walk from the centre of the town. It is in a nice setting with vineyards in the background. As for the stadium itself, it was decent for a 3rd division club. It was clear that the club had to make some temporary 'improvements' to accomodate the crowd, such as the skids for people to stand on. Normally the club draws around 200-300 for league games.

Today was a big game for the club and town as Ostrava was the opposition. The crowd quite large for a weekday 14:30 kickoff. Mutěnice had a few early chances on goal, and really should have got the first one with a little luck. However, the class of Ostrava, even at half-speed, showed as the game wore on.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oct 18/08 - Jihomoravský kraj - III.třída skupina A - Vyškov - FKD Drnovice 6 Hoštice-Heroltice 1

Oct 18/08 - Jihomoravský kraj - III.třída skupina A - Vyškov (9th division/level)
FK Drnovice 6 Hoštice-Heroltice 1
attendance: 150
admission: 20kc
game rating: 6/10

Drnovice is a small town (population 2235) located 3km to the west of Vyškov na Moravě.  Okay, you are probably asking where Vyškov na Moravě is?  Well, it is located half way between Olomouc and Brno.  Currently FK Drnovice play in the 9th level of the Czech pyramid, which is only one above the bottom.  However, it was only three years ago that they were in the Gambrinus Liga (1st division), and two years ago in the Druha Liga (2nd division).  How does a club fall so quickly?

Essentially, the club was a village team until the early 1980's (playing in the 8th level), when former footballer, Jan Gottvald purchased it.  He was born in the town, and after his playing career he invested quite heavily into the club.  He would be the man who sold and purchased the on a number of occassions over the next few decades. By the 1990's the club had reached the 2nd division.  By 1993, they joined the top division, where they would stay nine consecutive years.  It was in this year that Gottwald sold the club to a company called Chemapol .  During the 1990's they consisently finished mid-table, with their highest position of 3rd being achieved in the 1999/2000 season.  During that season the Czech Republic even played in full international against Switzerland in Drnovice.  Perhaps, one of the biggest club games was also played during the year. In 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, Drnovice defeated a side from Bosnia & Herzegovina.  In the next round they faced the mighty TSV 1860 Munich.  The first leg in Drnovice finished 0-0, with the Czech side losing 1-0 in the second leg at the Olympic Stadium in Munich.  I still can't imagine a well-known side like 1860 Munich playing in such a small town.  
Unfortunately, the 1999/2000 season would turn out to be the peak of success for the club.  In August 2000, the club filed for bankruptcy.  Attendance was good for the club, but to run a top division side in a town of 2000 people required a lot more financial resources.  By the spring of 2001, Gottvald, who had repurchased the club in 1998, once again sold the club.  By February 2002, he had been accused of financial fraud and other white collar crimes.

"However, after Gottvald's business empire collapsed in a wave of unproven criminal charges, the club was sold to the mysterious Corimex before going into liquidation"

By the end of the 2001/02 season the club was relegated, but instead of going to the druha liga, they opted to drop down to the MSFL (3rd division).  They were promoted to the druha liga for the 2003/04 season, after finishing first in the MSFL.  In February 2003, another company bought the club by way of auction, and introduced Gottvald back into the club.  Later in the year, a Swiss company purchased the club, and in the same year had won promotion back to the Gambrinus Liga.  In the following year the club finished 8th in the 1st division, but couldn't afford to renew their first division license, so the club dropped down to the 2nd division.  The club spent in the 2005/06 season in the 2nd division, but the following year took a 1-year hiatus.  In 2007, the club reformed, and played in the 10th level of the Czech football pyramid.  They dominated their opponents, and won promotion to the 9th level for the 2008/09 season.  

I wonder if they'll try to work their way up the pyramid by promotion, or try to purchase licenses of clubs?  I suspect it might be the former, as the people and fans of this club have been burned a number of times by money.  At the game today there were only 150 people, but those fans are real fans.  They were there when the club was in the top division only a few years ago, and they are still there when the club is in the 9th division.  How many clubs in the world have fallen so fast to the bottom of their respective football pyramids?  From the 2004/2005 season to the 2007/2008 season the club dropped 10 divisions.

As for the game today.  I was expecting a good game, because Drnovice were hosting the second place club in the league.  The visitors had only given up 6 goals in the first 10 games of the season, and had only lost 1 game.  However, they were no match for Drnovice, as the hosts won 6-1.  In retrospect, I think the current Drnovice side would do quite well in the 5th division.  It was certainly an odd feeling to go to a stadium, which once hosted Gambrinus Liga, and internationals, to watch a 9th division game.  Again, those people there today, are real fans.  They never turned their back on their club.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oct 11/08 - Olomoucký kraj - II.třída Olomouc - Sokol Štarnov 1 Sokol Chomoutov 0

Oct 11/08 - Olomoucký kraj - II.třída Olomouc (8th level)
Sokol Štarnov 1 Sokol Chomoutov 0
attendance: 120
admission: 20kc
game rating: 7/10
beer: Gambrinus and Kozel

I had a some free time on Saturday afternoon, and I couldn't decide which game to attend. In the end I decided to make the short 45 minute (by train) trip to the village of Štarnov (population 600). To get there, I had to make one change in Olomouc. The ground is about a 5-10 minute walk from the train station. Štarnov is a sleepy little village, with a church, grocery store, and a few pubs.

At the game they had barbequed mackerel on a stick, which looked good, if you like fish. The ground was quite small and compact. There was no stand to speak of, but they had 'park' benches lined down on side of the pitch.

The game was quite low scoring, but it was certainly entertaining. There were few chances on goal, with most of the play taking place in the middle of the pitch. It was a physical game, with both teams fighting hard for every ball. The hosts got the only goal of the game off of a cross with a few minutes remaining. With the win, Štarnov, sits in 2nd place, six points behind Sokol Velký Týnec.

Oct 12/08 - Olomoucký kraj - 1.B třída skupina A - Kostelec na Hané 2 Haná Prostějov 3

Oct 12/08 - Olomoucký kraj - 1.B třída skupina A (7th level)
Kostelec na Hané 2 Haná Prostějov 3
attendance: 200
admission: 15kc
game rating: 7.5/10

Kostelec na Hané is a small town 2,800 located 4km from Prostějov, so this game was certainly considered a 'local derby'. Czech poet, Petr Bezruč, live in the town for a period of time. The football ground was quite basic. A few wooden stands, one of which was covered.

Both teams going into the game were also sitting in the top half of the table, so extra importance was placed on the game. Apparently there are four ex and current professional tennis players with Haná Prostějov. Although, I'm not sure how long they'll be with the club. One of the players is Tomas Cibulec, who is quite a good footballer and a valuable addition to the team. Another player, is Jiří Novák, who is a retired tennis player. In October 2002, he was ranked 5th in the world. Playing for the hosts was an ex-Brno, Drnovice player, but his name escapes me at the moment.

It was quite a good game of football, especially the second half. Haná Prostějov took a 2-1 lead late in the game, but the hosts quickly scored the tying goal. A few minutes after they had a player sent off. With only two or three minutes left, Haná Prostějov were awarded a penalty, which was calmly put away by Jiri Zbozinek. He scored all three goals for Haná Prostějov on the day.

Top half of the standings as of October 13th

1. Slavoj Kojetín 24pts
2. Tatran Všechovice 23pts
3. FK Býškovice/Horní Újezd 22pts
4. Vrchoslavice 21pts
5. Haná Prostějov 17pts
6. FC Kostelec na Hané 15pts
7. Sokol Horní Moštěnice 14pts

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oct 5/08 - Olomoucký kraj - 1.B třída skupina A - Sokol Hustopeče 2 Haná Prostějov 2

[b]Olomoucký kraj - 1.B třída skupina A (7th division)
Sokol Hustopeče 2 Haná Prostějov 2[/b]
Attendance: 110
Admission: 15kc
Game rating: 6.5/10

Hustopeče nad Bečvou is a small town of 1,700 located about 80km to the east of Prostějov. I do believe that its the furthest away game of the year, as the village is located just on the edge of Olomoucký kraj. All in all, after a few changes on the train, it took me 4-hours of travel to get there and back. The village itself was very quiet, which is normal for a Sunday afternoon. In the past, fishing was a popular industry and past-time, because there were 6 ponds surrounding the town. Nowadays, there is a beautiful church, and chateau in the centre. The church is surrounded by 14 stunning Baroque statues of various saints.

The train station is located about half a kilometer south of the town and it takes 10-15 minutes to walk to the football ground. As for the ground, it is located just behind a school. Like most grounds, no matter how small, they have a little pub, which serves Radegast (from Ostrava) beer. The pitch was in decent condition for this time of year.

Prostějov got off to a brilliant start with a goal inside the first three minutes. Unfortunately before the first half ended, they gave up a rather weak goal. A penalty by Sokol Hustopeče gave them a deserved 2-1 lead in the second half. In the last 20 minutes, Prostějov pressured the hosts, and were rewarded with a goal in the 81st minute. All in all, it was a fair result for both teams, and Prostějov had to be happy with the point away from home.

Top half of the standings after the 8th round (October 5th)
1. Slavoj Kojetín 21pts
2. Tatran Všechovice 20pts
3. FK Býškovice/Horní Újezd 19pts
4. Vrchoslavice 18pts
5. FC Kostelec na Hané 15pts
6. Sokol Horní Moštěnice 14pts
7. Haná Prostějov 14pts

Next game for Haná Prostějov is the derby game on October 12th away to FC Kostelec na Hané.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Oct 4/08 - Olomoucký kraj - 1.A třída skupina B - Plumlov 3 Sokol Klenovice 3

Olomoucký kraj - 1.A třída skupina B (6th division)
Plumlov 3 Sokol Klenovice 3
attendance: 80
admission: 15kc
game rating: 8.5/10

The town of Plumlov (population 2,500) lies 8km to the west of Prostějov, which is a short 15-minute bus ride away. It is known locally for its reservoir area, which was built to help prevent flooding in the early 20th century. Now it is a popular area for boating and swimming in the summer. There is also a striking, but run-down chateau over looking the town. It was built in the 17th century on the area of a former castle. It closely follows the architectural design of Italian renaissance. In 1643, Plumlov fell to the invading Swedes. There are also a few beautiful bike/walking trails from Prostějov, if you happen to find yourself in the area.

This was my second time seeing Sokol Klenovice this season. I previously saw them play league leaders, Jesenec, earlier this month.

Both teams going into the game today sat in mid-table. The ground in Plumlov is in a beautiful setting, surrounded by a forest. I originally had problems finding it, but I saw a group of elderly men walking down a path, and I figured they were probably heading to the ground.

It was an exciting game, with 7 or 8 yellow cards. The ref quickly set theme for the afternoon with a yellow card in the first few minutes. It turned out to be an afternoon of nasty fouls, a lot of lip from both teams, and coaches. I suspect there must have been a history between these two teams, because there was certainly a high amount of tension throughout the game. Klenovice led 2-0 at the half, but the hosts quickly found a 3-2 late in the game, only to find the visitors to grab a late goal to share the points. Overall, an exciting game for a neutral.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sep 29/08 - Olomoucký kraj - Prostějov - IV.třída skupina A - Prostějov - Haná Prostějov B 4 Sokol Zdětín B 1

Olomoucký kraj - Prostějov - IV.třída skupina A - Prostějov (10th level - bottom of pyramid)
Haná Prostějov B 4 Sokol Zdětín B 1
attendance: 30
admission: free

I could only stay for the first half of this match, but it wasn't a bad half to watch. Both sides are "B" teams for their respective clubs. The first team of Haná Prostějov plays in the 7th level, while the first team of Sokol Zdětín plays in the 8th level. There was some sloppy defending in the first half, which lead to three penalties. The visitors missed their penalty, while the hosts scored on both of their opportunities. With the win, Haná Prostějov "B" sit on 15pts and keep pace with Sokol Přemyslovice "C" who are six points ahead after 7 games.

Sep 22/08 - Olomoucký kraj - 1.B třída skupina A - Sokol Domaželice 0 Haná Prostějov 2

Olomoucký kraj - 1.B třída skupina A
Sokol Domaželice 0 Haná Prostějov 2
attendance: 100
admission: 15kc
game rating: 5.5/10

Domaželice is a village of around 500 people located 15km south of Přerov. All in all, it took about 1.5 hours by bus to get to the village. The pitch was easy to find as it was at the end of the village on the main road. There were a few benches scattered around the pitch, as well as a small covered area near the bar.

Not the most entertaining of games, but the visitors did just enough to get the three points. In the first half, chances on goal for both sides were at a premium. Much of the play was in the middle of the park, with both sides struggling to mount an attack. Haná Prostějov scored their first goal in the second half. The keeper of Sokol Domaželice flapped at a ball from a corner, and it fell right to a Haná Prostějov player who had no problems finding the net. The second goal by the visitors was also as a result of an error by the hosts in the middle of the field, leading to a rather routine goal to put the game out of reach. An important win for Haná Prostějov as they try to keep up with the front-runners.

As of October 1st, the top half of the standings look like this after 8 games.

1. Tatran Všechovice 20pts
2. Vrchoslavice 18pts
3. Slavoj Kojetín 18pts
4. FK Býškovice/Horní Újezd 16pts
5. Sokol Horní Moštěnice 14pts
6. Haná Prostějov 13pts

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

September 12/08 - Druha Liga - Vitkovice 1 Bohemians Praha 0

September 12, 2008 - Druha Liga (2nd division)
Vitkovice 1 Bohemians Praha 0
Attendance: 800 (away support about 100)
Admission: 20kc
Game rating: 5/10

Vitkovice plays its home games at 16:30 on Friday afternoons. It is a rather unusual time for a football game, but I was told historically the games started at this time because of the steel works located right beside the ground. The kick-off enabled the workers to get the game after their shift.
The ground is only about a 10-minute walk from Ostrava-Vitkovice train station, so it is quite easy to find.

Going into the game Vitkovice was in last place and had recently fired their coach. Bohemians Praha were near the top of the table, and probably expected at least a point out of the game. The hosts scored mid-way through the first half, which ended up being the only goal. In the end, they were full value for the three points. They pressed the visitors throughout the game, and held them to only a few chances. Bohemians brought around 100 supporters which was quite impressive considering the time of the game and the distance. They have one of the best away support in the Gambrinus and Druha Liga.

Monday, September 22, 2008

September 6/08 - Olomoucký kraj - I.B třída "A" (7th division) - Pivín 0 Haná Prostějov 4

September 6/08 - Olomoucký kraj - I.B třída "A" (7th division)
Pivín 0 Haná Prostějov 4

Attendance: 125
Admission: 15kc
Game rating: 5/10

I soon found myself back in the village of Pivín after a couple of weeks, but this time to watch Haná Prostějov. Going into this game, I felt that this was going to be one in which Prostějov needed to get three points. Pivín were struggling at the time near the bottom of the division. The first half was quite poor, which both teams looking out of sorts. It was a challenge for both sides to get a shot on goal. In the second half, Pivín came out the same way, but Prostějov didn't. They scored four goals in the second half, to win the game. In the end, they might have been a little fortunate to score four goals, considering how poorly they played in the first half.

September 13/08 - Olomoucký kraj - I.B třída "A" - Haná Prostějov 0 Všechovice 5

September 13/08
Olomoucký kraj - I.B třída "A" (7th division)

Haná Prostějov 0 Všechovice 5
Attendance: 50
Admission: 15kc
Game rating: 6/10

I was quite disappointed with this match considering Haná Prostějov is the club I support. Oddly enough, going into this game they hadn't won at home this season, but they play quite well on the road. The visitors today Všechovice, whom hadn't lost in 5 games to start the season, scoring 15 goals and only giving up 1. Despite the scoreline, Prostějov played quite well. They certainly didn't look out of place against one of the league leaders. The main difference was the keeper. He had an awful game for Prostějov today. It just wasn't his day, and upon reflection after the game, I thought he would be very lucky to start the next game for Prostějov. You could tell the soft goals given up really deflated the hosts. As a former keeper, I know that there are sometimes games when everything goes wrong.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sept 6/08 - Olomoucky Kraj - 1. A Trida - Klenovice na Hane 2 Jesenec 2

September 6, 2008
Olomoucky Kraj - 1. A Trida (6th level)
Klenovice na Hane 2 Jesenec 2
Attendance: 220 (away support - 20)
Admission: 15kc
Beer: 18kc
Game rating: 9.5/10

Klenovice na Hane is a small village of around 600 located about 10km south of Prostejov. I had to take a train to a nearby village called Celcice, and then walk 2km to Klenovice na Hane. This is the second year that the hosts have been in the 1. A Trida. Previously they were in 1. B Trida, which is one level below. Jesenec are playing in their first year at this level. They are a club, from a very small village of 300, but they have a lot of ambition. I was at their ground earlier this year for a preliminiary round Czech Cup game. They are near the top of 1. A Trida, and are certainly one of the early favourites to be promoted.

The game itself was fantastic. This was what football should be all about. A thorougly exciting match, which would put to shame some of the football played in the English Premier League (for example). For Klenovice, this was obviously a game which they felt they needed to win, and certainly played that way. They took a 2-1 lead late in the game, and looked all but certain for the win. However, Jesenec scored a dramatic last second goal. In the end, the result was a little harsh for Klenovice na Hane because they dominated much of the 2nd half.