September 14th, 2010
Czech Republic U16 2 Slovakia U16 1 (at Staré Město u Uherské Hradiště)
I have very fond memories of the ground at Staré Město u Uherské Hradiště. I went there three times in 2002, twice to see 1. FC Synto play in the Inter-Toto Cup, and once to see Sigma Olomouc play. The Inter-Toto Cup games were against Konstruktorul (Moldova) and then Helsingborgs (Sweden). The town has a population of 6,853. It is hard to believe that the town and the stadium once hosted 1st division matches with 1. FC Synot. The stadium was in poor shape then, and it looks even rougher now.
1. FC Synot merged with Slavia Uherské Hradiště in 2000, but in 2004/05 the team went back to Uherské Hradiště (a few kilometers away) and 1. FC Slovacko was created. This had much to do with the biggest betting scandal in Czech football history which happened around 2003/04. Three club officials were charged and seven referees.
Since I went to the stadium in 2002, I had no problems remembering how to get there. You can take a train to the Staré Město u Uherské Hradiště stop, and from there it is a 15-20 minute walk. However, the stadium is only used for the 1. FC Slovacko U19 and U17 squads. The first team will also train there throughout the year.
The game kicked off on a weekday at 4pm, so needless to say the crowd was small. Most of them were in the main seated section, with a few other people scattered around the other areas. The seating behind the goal has certainly seen better days, and they probably haven't been replaced or fixed since 1. FC Synot left. Across the pitch from the main stand, the 'seats' are rusted.
There were a few scouts from an English Premier League club at the game, but I never did find out what club. I thought the majority of the match was quite even, but the Czechs showed a bit more creativity up front in the 2nd half and they always looked like the more dangerous side. It will be interesting to see how these players develop over the next few years, and I am sure some of them will find spots of foreign clubs.