Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September 28th, 2011 - Okres Prostejov - U15 boys - Haná Prostějov vs Smržice

September 28th, 2011
Okres Prostějov - U15 boys
Haná Prostějov vs Smržice
Attendance: 25

As today is a national holiday, and I couldn't get out of the city for a game, I had to settle for a youth football match early in the morning. Well, not so early, only 10am.

The game was played at the old SK Prostějov training ground, which has been cleaned up a little since my last visit. The grass around the pitch has been cut, and portable changing rooms have been added. Last year the pitch beside it was in awful condition. Weeds, and long grass were growing all over it. How it has been levelled, grass cut, metal railings put up, and soil put down. All in preparation for a new pitch, which I assume will be ready sometime next year.

I only stayed for the first half, but what I saw was an okay level of standard for youth football. the home side had more of the chances, but oddly enough were down 3-0 at the half because of some poor defensive errors.

Monday, September 26, 2011

September 18th, 2011 - Olomoucký Kraj - 1 A třída, skupina B - Náměst na Hané 2 Hlubočky 1

September 18th, 2011
Olomoucký Kraj - 1 A třída, Skupina B (6th division)
Náměšt na Hané 2 Hlubočky 1
Attendance: 180 (away support 40)
Admission: 20kc

Náměšt na Hané is a town of around 2,000 people located about 15km from Olomouc and Prostějov. It is best known across the Czech Republic, not for its football, but for its musical festival called Zahrada. Thousands of people converge on the town every July to hear a wide range of music from folk, world music, celtic, jazz, bluegrass to rock. Ask people in the music scene in this country if they have heard of this festival, and the answer would probably be yes. Ask a football fan from Prague (for example) if they know anything about the club, and the answer would probably be no.

Back in the 1990's, the football club spent two seasons in the 5th division. For the last 8 or 9 years, they have played in the 6th level of football, usually finishing in the top half of the table. This past summer, the club played in the early round of the Czech Cup, going out 2-0 at home to 4th division club Šumperk. A rather credible result against a club who have been pushing hard for promotion to the 3rd division over the past few years.

Without a car, the only way to get to the town on the weekends is by the slow regional train, either from Prostějov (direct), or from Olomouc, with one change in Senice na Hané. If arriving by train, the walk is about 15 minutes to the stadium up a hill and past the chateau.

I'd say the stadium has a classic Czech Republic lower level feel to it. A rusted metal fence, surrounds a small gravel track, which goes around the entirety of the pitch. The stands look old, but perhaps refurbished 10 or so years ago. There are two main stands, which look to hold about 75-100 people each. In between is an old pub, which I must say felt like I was walking into the tropics when I entered. The heat was unbearable, but well worth it for the beer. On the other side of the pitch are the changing rooms. Above it, an old style wooden structure which serves as the score keepers clock. An old man had a perfect view of the playing pitch.

Hlubočky were heavy favourites going into this match, as it was a classic first place versus last place. However, things didn't go their way. The hosts frustrated them all day long, and managed to capitalize on two of the chances they had to send their visitors home unhappy. The visitors brought about 40 supporters with them, which is quite unusual for this level of football. They had Hlubočky scarves, some drums and shirts. A nice change from the usual atmosphere at these games.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

When Prostějov hosted Europe - 1999 European U16 Championships

The state of football in Prostějov right now is in the midst of chaos. I suppose that is the best way to explain it. A 4th division club which calls itself FK Prostějov formed the week their division was scheduled to start this year. SK Prostějov which is the parent club of FK Prostějov, but they play in the 9th division. I see them as the real club if the city and not this FK Prostějov. SK has a long history, and should always remain the in the minds of football supporters in the city. Then there is Haná Prostějov, the club which I support. They formed in 1931, and currently play in the 7th division, which is the highest level the club has ever playd in their history.

All this, without really a proper stadium for football. Yes, there is the Sport Centrum, but it isn't the best for senior teams. Just down the road, the old SK Prostějov home sits, awaiting its fate. Weeds are growing in the old tribunes, cement is cracking, the wooden seats are falling apart. It is tough to see such an old historical stadium which is largely being

ignored. I'm sure the city would love to demolish it and build a supermarket or a parking lot. Right now it is being used for youth training, but even that is a stretch. How did this all happen? What happened to football in this city?

A little over 10 years ago, Prostějov hosted three games in the 1999 U16 European Championships. Other cities to host matches were, Blansko, Vranovice, Třebíč, Jihlava, Drnovice, Staré Město, Slušovice, Zlín, Kunovice, Moravská Třebová, Uničov, Olomouc, Šardice, Lanžhot, Kyjov, and Ratíškovice. An astounding 16 cities, and towns hosted matches. However, we will focus on the matches played in Prostějov,

As I mentioned earlier, the city hosted three games. The first was April 26, 1999 when Croatia played Poland to a 1-1 draw. About a week later, a quarter final was played here between Spain and Israel. The Spanish side ran away with a 6-1 victory. Six days later, Prostějov hosted the 3rd place match between the Czech Republic and Germany, a game which saw the Germans win 2-1.
(thanks to BBPV for sending in the picture)

Mikel Artera, who currently plays for Arsenal, played for Spain during the championships. Another big name that played in Prostějov was Darijo Srna of Croatia who has 83 caps and 19 goals to his name. Or Albert Crusat, from Spain, who currently plays for Wigan.

When will Prostějov ever get a chance to host possible future football stars again? With the current state of things in this city, I can't see it happening any time soon. Yes, there is a pitch that could see a Czech youth side play, but is that really realistic?

It is sad to think just how quickly things have changed. Only 10 years ago, a young Srna and Artera were stepping on the pitch of SK Prostějov. Now what do we have? FK Prostějov buying their way into the 4th division? What a laugh that is.

Let us not forget to support the real football clubs in this city, Haná Prostějov and SK Prostějov. It is only then, that football can take its place where it belongs in the city. At the top!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 10th, 2011 - III třída - Prostějov - Haná Prostějov B 2 SK Prostějov 0

September 10th, 2011
III třída (9th division)
Haná Prostějov B 2 SK Prostějov 0
Attendance: 250
Admission: 20kc

The long awaited (or not) derby between Haná Prostějov B and SK Prostějov was played last weekend. Apparently, this was the first derby in Prostějov between clubs in the city in over 40 years. SK Prostějov are clearly the more notable name in the city, as they have been around for much longer, and for a few years they played in the 2nd division. As I have stated a number of times, they recently reformed in the 10th division, which led to the derby match last weekend. Haná has traditionally been the 3rd, or 4th club in the city, depending on how many clubs existed at a given time. Their first team is lucky to get 150 people a game, while their "B" team can generally expect 20-50 people.

Needless to say, SK Prostějov were heavy favourites going into this match. Since they reformed last year, they hadn't lost a league match (25 played), and the average age for Haná B was 33! I must give credit to Haná B, as they didn't really call up any first team players to pad the roster, they played with what they normally play with week in and week out.

I was hoping this match would have been played on the grass pitch, but for some reason it wasn't. It was played on the artificial pitch, which is of poor quality, and the size doesn't fit the regulations. To make matters worse, there were no real facilities for spectators. People had to stand at the back of the main stand (which faces the grass pitch). There wasn't enough room for everyone, so people had to stand two or three deep. Other people sat on the grass behind a huge metal fence. About 30 SK Prostějov ultras showed up to support their club. They had the usual banners etc. There were no real incidents, except for play being stopped for about 10 minutes in the first half. This was as a result of a 'controversial' call by the assistant referee which caused a slight up-roar amongst the ultras. After Haná B scored two quick goals in the second half, they were quiet for the rest of the match. No one really expected the hosts to win, but I have to wonder if SK Prostějov took them a little too lightly, and perhaps did not go into the match with the right frame of mind.

It should be pointed out that the oldest player on the pitch (48 years old), scored the first goal for Haná, on a beautiful side foot volley from just outside the 18-yard box.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 4th, 2011 - Olomoucký Kraj - Okresní Přebor Prostějov - II Třída - Dobromilice 2 Olšany 2

September 4th, 2011
Olomoucký Kraj - Okresní Přebor Prostějov II Třída
Dobromilice 2 Olšany 2
Attendance: 90

Dobromilice is a village of around 830 located 20km south of Prostějov. One historical site of the village is a bridge which dates back to the 16th century, but after that there isn't much.

I made an attempt to watch a game here a few years ago, but when I arrived at the pitch I found out that the game was called off. Luckily, this time around I didn't have such bad luck. The village is impossible to reach by public transportation (bus) on the weekends, so my options were limited. I took a 15-minute train ride to Doloplazy, and then walked 2-km to get to Dobromilice. The fastest way to get there was past some dirty, smelly ponds, and down a path through the forest. Without a car getting to a game on the weekends can sometimes be problematic, and you have to be prepared for anything.

When I got to the pitch, I saw a decent crowd filling up most of the wooden benches. The pitch is kind of dug into the side of a hill, so all around it, you watch the game from an elevated stand point. The quality of the grass wasn't so good, as there were many brown spots, and the pitch wasn't exactly level. However, at this level, it never detracts from a game, but perhaps makes it better.

There were two metal 'shacks' which served as a beer/kofola stand and for chips. The beer was 25kc, and didn't taste good at all. This didn't stop the locals from buying it though. The atmosphere at the game was exactly what you would want at a village match. Poor quality play, locals, and a unique setting for a pitch. All in all, a good day out.