Friday, May 20, 2011

Sokol Zdětín

Three years ago, I went to Zdětín to watch Haná Prostějov play. The village has a population of 312, and it isn't too far from Prostějov - 15 minutes by train. Despite the small size, they actually have a B team which plays in the 10th level of football. At the time, the A team played in the Okresní Přebor - Prostějov, which is the 8th level of football in the Czech Republic. During the Spring of 2008, I started to follow Haná Prostějov, and I decided to go to as many games as I could.

Getting to the village was slightly problematic, as I had to take a local train to the Zdětín station. Funny, as the train station is located a good 3-4km walk from the village. So, it meant I had long way, both ways, through the Czech countryside.

The pitch was as basic as they come, with a few benches, and no railings. However, it had a beautiful location, looking over the countryside. The game was a little bit of a bust, as I arrived on a Sunday, I think, and the game might have been played on the Saturday. Actually, I never found out what happened. Haná Prostějov had already won promotion, so the game didn't have a lot of important for either team.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fotbal Fulnek - Where are they now?

Quick, does anyone remember Fotbal Fulnek? Does anyone actually know where the town is (apart from Czech people that is)? While not a famous club by any means, they did achieve second division status for two years from 2007-2009. Where are they now? Well, they are playing in Okres Nový Jíčin IV třida, skupina B. That places them firmly at the bottom of the Czech pyramid, the 10th level, but more on that later. First, it is important to get a perspective on the town and club.

Fulnek is a small town of 5,930 located about 30km south of Opava in the Moravian-Silesian region of the Czech Republic. The town might best be known for Jan Amos Komenský (Jan Amos Comenius), who lived in the town from 1618-1621. He is widely considered to be the father of education. If you ever find yourself in Fulnek, there is a small, but interesting museum dedicated to him. You can also find a beautiful old chateau which over-looks the town. During WWII, much of the centre of the town was burned down.

I don't know the exact date the club was established but by 2002, it was promoted to 1 A třída, which is the 6th level of football in the country. By 2005/06 season they found themselves in Divize E (4th division), where they were subsequently promoted. The 2006/07 season they were again promoted from the MSFL (3rd division). By the 2007/08 season, they found themselves in the unlikely position of being in the second division.

Their first ever second division game was played away to Marila Přibram infront of a crowd of 1,831. Fulnek earned a 1-1 draw on that day thanks to a goal by Ondřej Malohlava. The following weekend, they hosted Vítkovice. Fulnek came away 3-0 victors, with Ondřej Smetana scoring all three goals. A crowd of 1,320 people looked on as Fulnek celebrated their first three points in the second division. If I remember correctly, stadium capacity was listed around 1,200.

Despite being a rather modest club from the countryside in Moravia, they showed that they belonged in the second division. At the end of the season, they finished a respectable 6th place, and for a time in the Spring were actually pushing for promotion to the first division. For the most part, the club usually got under 1,000 fans a game. The season high came in the 9th round, as regional rivals, Opava turned up, bringing a crowd of 1,632 through the gates. A season low crowd of 330 attended a 27th round game against Ustí nad Labem. The game finished in a 2-2 draw. In the last home game of the season, they beat Slovácko 3-2.

They ended up averaging 780 people a game. Ondřej Smetana was the leading goal scorer for the club with seven. The club had surpassed expectations of almost everyone with their play, but just how long could this small club perform and stay in the second highest competition in the country?

Unfortunately, their 2008/09 second division campaign would be nothing short of a disaster. The club finished with a record of 1 win, 6 draws, and 23 losses in 30 games, scoring 16 goals while giving up 70.

The season started on a positive note, with a 2-2 away draw to Jihlava. During the second round, they hosted Hradec Kralove. The game would finish 0-0, with only 613 in attendance. A sign of things to come? It was certainly a disappointing crowd for the first game of the season, especially since they had performed so well during the previous season. The final 15 games of the season, saw them lose 15 times. They scored 3 goals, while giving up 46. This was all a result of the club trying to cut costs, and shipping away all of their high paid players to help costs. Their final second division game was at home against Slovácko, a 2-0 loss infront of just 154 people. They averaged just 408 people a game. It definitely looked like many in the town had given up, but 15 losses in a row would certainly demoralise even the strongest of football supporter.

After their awful 2008/09 season, the club was relegated to the MSFL (3rd division). It was hoped that they would be able to establish themselves again, and turn things around. Unfortunately, it didn't work out this way, because the club was too much in debt. They couldn't fulfill their commitment and withdrew altogether from the MSFL after the autumn half of the season. During the first half of the season, they only managed 3 wins, and 1 draw.

At the start of the 2010/11 season, the club reformed in the local IV třída (10th level), with the hopes of slowly moving up the pyramid. Who knows, perhaps one day we might see Fulnek back near the 2nd and 3rd divisions?

So, what happened to football in Fulnek? A victim of their own success? Or moving up too quickly through the Czech football pyramid? Or just a bad timing? Despite all their problems, this small town had, for a short time period, a professional club. Now, the focus is on the men who play in the 10th level of the Czech pyramid, trying to bring football back in the town. The good news is, that they have been promoted to the 9th level of the pyramid. After 17 games this season (so far), they have won all 17. Perhaps things will begin to turn around for Fulnek? It might just take a few years.

The clubs website can be found here.

May 9th, 2011 - Okres Prostějov - III Třída - Haná Prostějov B 6 Kostelec na Hané B 4

May 9th, 2011 -Okres Prostějov - III třída
Haná Prostějov B 6 Kostelec na Hané B 4
Attendance: 20
Admission: Free

Who would go out and watch a 9th level football game, when at the same time the Czech Republic was playing in the World Ice Hockey Championships, and Manchester United and Chelsea were playing? Well, as it turned out, not too many. Personally, I'd rather go out and watch live football than sit at home watching some sporting event on TV. Actually, I was rather surprised that around 20 people showed up, as I thought it would have been much less.

At this level, the players play for fun (mostly), and there are lots of mistakes, which usually leads to quite a few goals. This game was no different, with lots of goals, some of them which should have been stoppable. The hosts started the season strong and were battling for promotion, but have since fallen off the pace a little, and should be happy if they can finish in the top 5 of the league. At the bottom of this post, you can find videos of two of Haná's goals.

Going out to a game at this level is always enjoyable, especially with a beer or two. It is too bad more people in this city of 50,000 don't support local football. They would rather sit at home and watch a foreign league. Haná's first team plays good, attractive football (for the level), but they they always struggle to get 100 people at a game. It is too bad really.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Born in Prostějov - Series 1 - Luděk Mikloško

The first in an on-going series about footballers who were born in Prostějov can be found here at my Prostějov football blog.

Friday, May 6, 2011

ČAFC Židenice Brno - 2nd pitch

I was walking around Brno, and came across this pitch. From what I understand, this is the 2nd pitch of the club ČAFC Židenice Brno. I expect youth clubs, or the reserve team might play here.

The club was established in 1922. By 1926, the club was known as DSK Brno VV; 1934 ČAFC Židenice; 1948 MEZ Židenice; 1971 Zetor Židenice; and finally changing to their present name in 1993.

The main stadium of the club is on Gajdošova ulice which isn't too far from where I was, but at the time I didn't know that. The club currently plays in the Jihomoravský Přebor, which is the 5th level of football in the country. From 2005-2008, they played in Divize D, the 4th level, and have been trying to get back ever since. In the past two years they finished 3rd, and 4th, just missing out on promotion.

Going back to the stadium, it is quite basic, with only some metal railings around part of the pitch. There was no seating, and a simple clubhouse located near the main gate. The pitch had some rather large holes in it, and looked rather bumpy. I'll try to find out who plays here.