Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jakubčovice Fotbal - Where are they now?

For a brief period of time the little village of Jakubčovice nad Odrou had a football club near the top of the Czech football pyramid. It was the 2006/07 season, when this modest club found themselves in the 2nd division. Many people were expecting the worst, but in the end, they finished a respectable 8th out of 16 clubs. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, they club voluntarily relegated themselves after the season. Before taking a closer look at the club, I'll give a brief history of the village.

The village has a population of 695, and the first records showing the village date back to 1362. It is located in the Nový Jičín region in the north east part of country. The main industry is Hájek a Synové, which also happened to be the main sponsor of the football club.

It was in 1952 that the club was established under TJ Tatran Jakubčovice. By 1966 the club had advanced to the Okresní Přebor - Nový Jičín which by the standards of today is the 8th level on the pyramid. This was the highest level the club had achieved in its history. A new football stand was erected in 1989, and in June of that year the club hosted Baník Ostrava in a friendly to commemorate the new facilities.

The history of the club changed drastically in 1999, when a partnership with local quarry owner Josef Hajek was agreed upon. Hajek had clear goals, and he wanted to modernize the facilities, and move up the football pyramid in the region. During that year, the club played in the Okres Nový Jičín III třída, which they easily won, and thus gained promotion to the II třída. By the 2000/01 season, the club had advanced to the 1 B třída, which is the 7th level of football in the country. By the 2004/05 season, they found themselves in Divize E, the 4th level of football. Amazingly, the club had moved up four levels 5 years. At the end of the season, they had won promotion again, this time to the MSFL, the third level of football. The 2005/06 season saw them top the table in the MSFL, and move up to the 2nd division, a full 7 levels from their position in 1999.

Their ground didn't meet the standards of the 2nd division, so they had to play their games in nearby Fulnek (about 15km away), which previously had a 2nd division club a few years back. As we have seen, the club rapidly progressed up the Czech pyramid, and suddenly people from the village were watching a rather high level of football.

The 2006/07 season kicked off away to Blšany, who were relegated from the 1st division the previous season. Jakubčovice shocked their hosts with a 4-0 victory, probably surprising people across the country. Their first home game was in the next round, when they defeated Opava 1-0 infront of 653 people. Throughout the season, they averaged 574 people, which wasn't too bad considering the village the club comes from isn't much bigger, and they had to play 15km away from home. A season high crowd of 1,070 came out in the 20th round to see the hosts lose 2-0 against Bohemians Praha 1905. The low-point in attendance came near the end of the season, the 26th round, when a small crowd of 251 showed up to see a 2-1 victory over Dosta Bystrc. Despite the rather modest surroundings of the club, they finished the season in mid-table, but this wouldn't be good enough to save their professional status.

The success of the club came with a price, and at the end of the Autumn half of the 2006/07 season, the owner mentioned that a sale of their license to Dukla Praha at the end of the season was a possibility. This became a reality after the end of the 2006/07 season, their license was sold to Dukla Praha. Soon following this, was a yo-yo of up and downs for the supporters of Jakubčovice.

In the 2007/08 season, they found themselves in the Moravskoslezský Kraj - 1 A třída, skupina A, a drop of four levels in play. They went the season without a loss, and earned promotion to the Moravskoslezský Kraj Přebor for the 2008/09 season, where they only lost two games, and won promotion again, this time to Divize E (4th level of football). During the season, they only lost 4 games, and won promotion to the MSFL for the 2009/10 season. This sounds familiar doesn't it? Rapid rise from the lower levels of football in the Czech Republic. We have seen it all before with this club. This time however, the refused promotion, and against dropped themselves down the pyramid, all the way down to the Moravskoslezský Kraj - 1 B třída, skupina B for the 2010/11 season. They missed out on promotion by two points, so they are in the same league for the 2011/12 season.

Has there been a club in the Czech Republic which has had such an up and down history as this small club from the north-eastern corner of the country?