Saturday, December 9, 2017

October 7, 2000 - WCQ - Switzerland 5 Faroe Islands 1

Oct 7, 2000 - WCQ
Switzerland 5 Faroe Islands 1
Att - 9500 (Hardturm Stadium in Zurich)

At this point in 2000, I was studying in Olomouc, and at the time I was kind of obsessed with the Faroe Islands.  I went to Zurich by train from Olomouc, which was incredibly long.  From Olomouc to Prague, Prague to Munich and finally Munich to Zurich. 

Hardturm in Zurich was built in 1929, and closed in 2007.  I feel lucky to have been able to watch a match in such stadium.  I recall that the Faroe Islands took shock lead in the 4th minute but ended up giving up 5 straight goals.  There were also around 100 Faroese supporters at the match.

1999 - IF vs HB - Faroe Islands Premier League

In 1999 I spent two weeks on the Faroe Islands.  Getting to the Faroe Islands proved to be a little difficult.  I remember flying from Toronto to London, London to Aberdeen and Aberdeen to the Faroe Islands.  Unfortunately, my flight from Aberdeen was delayed for a day because of fog.  During my stay I had an opportunity to watch the Faroe Islands vs Scotland and the Faroe Islands vs Bosnia & Herzegovina.  Unfortunately, I do not remember exactly, but I think I also watched 3 league matches.

IF is based in the small town of Fuglafjorour which is located in the north of the Faroe Islands.  I do not remember much from the match, but I also stayed after to watch IF II vs HB II in the 4th tier.  Of course, like most football pitches in the Faroe Islands, the views are spectacular.

4th tier - IF II vs HB II

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Czech Republic 4th tier - FK Jeseník

I did not have a chance to watch a football match in Jeseník but I did have a few minutes to stop by the ground on my way through the town.  The town is located 71km from Olomouc and takes about 90 minutes by train.  The train ride has to be one of the most beautiful in Moravia as it cuts throught the Jeseníky Mountain.

Jeseník has a population of 11,396 and until 1947 it was known as Frývaldov.  In 1930 the town had a population of 10,584, and of that 8,959 were Germans.  In 2001, the population was 12,700, with just 136 Germans.  Over the last 16 years, the population has dropped by almost 1,000 people.  A higher unemployment number in the region compared to the rest of the Czech Republic certainly does not help.

The local football side was formed in 1934 as SK Slavia Frýdlant.  In 1947, the name was changed to SK Slavia Jeseník.  Since that time the club has gone through a number of name changes, with the most recent one being in 1995 to the current name.

For the most part, the club has bounced around the 5th and 6th tiers.  In 2014/15 the club was playing in the 1 A Třída (6th tier), but after back to back promotions found themselves in the 4th tier in 2016/17, finishing a respectable 6th place.

The stadium seems like a fantastic place to watch a match, so I hope to return back to Jeseník in April or May.

Friday, November 10, 2017

September 20th, 2017 - Czech Cup 3rd Round - HFK Olomouc 1 Hradec Králové 8

September 20, 2017 - Czech Cup 3rd Round
HFK Olomouc (III) 1 Hradec Králové (II) 8
Att - 200

HFK Olomouc is located in Holice, which is a part of Olomouc.  It is quite an industrial area, and the walk from the main train station shows this off. Since the 2000/01 season, HFK has played 9 seasons in the 2nd tier, with the most recent being in 2012/13 season.  Their biggest ever success was in 2006/07 when they finished 3rd in the 2nd tier and challenged for promotion.  They won promotion back to the 2nd tier in 2012/13 and finished in 4th place.  Despite the strong finish, they took volunteer relegation to the 3rd division.  Ever since, they have struggled on and off the pitch, and attendance has had a massive decline.  At one point this season in the 3rd tier, only 78 people showed up.

The cup match against Hradec Králové was played on a Wednesday at 16:00, so interest was never going to be that high.  I won't bother talking about the match as the visitors dominated throughout and the score really should have been higher.

Monday, November 6, 2017

November 5th, 2017 - Želatovice B 1 Haná Prostějov 1

High quality road between Újezdec and Želatovice

The spot of the Švédské Šance massacre in 1945

Heading towards Švédské Šance 

Leaving Přerov

November 5th, 2017
Olomoucký Kraj - 1 B třída - 7th tier
Želatovice B 1 Haná Prostějov 1 (Haná won on penalties)
Attendance - 20

My first visit to Želatovice was April 21, 2012 to watch the same two teams.  This time I decided to make more of a day out of the trip before heading to Želatovice.  When I arrived in Přerov, I immediately left, and headed towards Švédské Šance which is a hill located about 5km from Přerov.  It was the place of the horrible Švédské Šance massacre in June 1945.  Located not far from the place is an old military bunker which was built in the 1930's.  Access is possible, but it did not seem safe, so I decided to make my way out of the forest.  Apparently, homeless people lived/or are living in the bunker.  From the bunker, I got a little lost on top of the hill because I could not quite get find my way to Želatovice.  Luckily, an old man who was walking his dog was able to help me.  After walking around 2 hours, I finally arrived in Želatovice a few minutes before kick-off.

Nothing had changed to the ground in 5 1/2 years, and the cold grim day made it look even more rough around the edges.  Attendace was quite low for the final match of the Autumn half of the season.  The pitch was in poor condition, but the match was interesting enough.  Haná ended up winning on penalties after it finished 1-1.  

Now, I just have to wait almost 5 months for the next Haná league match.  Lukily, for most of November there are other football matches higher up the Czech pyramid to watch.

Monday, October 23, 2017

October 8, 2017 - Ústí u Hranic B 3 Haná Prostějov 2

The rough around the edges train station in Hranice

Busy bus station on a Sunday morning in Hranice


Train station in Teplice nad Bečvou
Hranice abyss

Oct 8, 2017
Olomoucký Kraj - 1 B třída - 7th tier
Ústí u Hranice B Haná Prostějov 2
Attendance - 35

This was the longest trip of the season for me watching Haná Prostějov.  It was also just bad luck that the longest trip was also the earliest kickoff.  Ústí is a village near Hranice, and has a population of around 500 people.  Despite the relative small size of the village, the first team plays in the 4th tier of football in the Czech Republic.

The kickoff was on a Sunday at 10:15 in the morning, which was a horrible time for me, as I almost always insist on taking public transport to matches.  For me, it is part of the game day experience.  To get to Ústí in time, I had to leave Prostějov at 7:35, eventually reaching Ústí at 9:45. All in all, I had to travel around 180km (both ways) by bus and train.  This was a huge difference from my previous 3 seasons watching Haná play in the Okres Prostějov II třída (8th tier).  The longest away trip during those seasons was probably 45km both ways.  Needless to say, I am happy Haná were promoted this past season.

To get to Ústí I had to get to Hranice via Olomouc and finally a bus to Ústí.  The train station in Hranice needs a lot of work, considering it is a train station where many international trains stop.  Unfortunately, it looked even worse on a rainy Sunday morning.  

When I arrived in Ústí nothing was going on, which is not surprising for a small village on a Sunday morning.  The only thing  happening was the football match, and even not many people were bothered to watch it.  

After the match, I walked around 2km back to Teplice nad Bečvou to check out the Hranice abyss which is currently the world's deepest underwater cave.  Teplice also has a spa, and I will assume not many people arrive via the train station.   It is grim.  However, the area around the spa is quite beautiful.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Svatý Kopeček (Olomouc)

Svatý Kopeček is known for having the Olomouc Zoo and a beautiul minor basilica over-looking Olomouc.  The village of around 800 people is definitely not known for football however there is a full size pitch.  I have no idea when the last time 11 a-side football was played in the village, but it looks like it has been many, many years.  There definitely has not been a club since 2004.  At the moment a 5 a-side team called SK Kopeček plays in the Olomouc 3.liga, but they only use one small part of the pitch.

Friday, September 29, 2017

September 24, 2017 - Troubky 0 Haná Prostějov 3

My camera broke, which is why the pictures are of such poor quality

September 24, 2017 
Olomoucký Kraj - 1 B třída (7th tier)
Troubky 0 Haná Prostějov 3
Attedance - 90

Going into this match, Haná were on a bit of a poor run of form.  They had lost a few matches, and gave up 9 goals in those matches.  On the other side, Troubky had played 7 games and won all 7.   I expected this to be a straight forward win for the hosts, but I was way off.

Troubky is only 20km from Prostějov, but I ended up taking the long way.  I got on a bus in Prostějov and 50 minutes later I was in Rokytnice.  The previous day, I had taken a look at Google Maps, and thought that the way did not seem too long.  In the end, it took me 70 minutes walking along the Bečva river in the mud to get to Troubky.  For some stupid reason, I guess I thought that the path was going to be dry.

Unfortunately, I missed the first half because of my lack of proper planning.  I did get to see two unexpected goals by Haná in the 2nd half so I guess it was not so bad.  I did learn one thing, I will never walk along a river when it is raining.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sigma Olomouc 2002

Sigma scores against Blšany

Sigma Olomouc vs Liberec

Sigma Olomouc vs Hradec Králové

Sigma vs Blšany

Sigma vs Hradec Králové

In July of 2002 I lived in Olomouc for 3 months, which was the length of my visa.  At the time, Canadian citizens needed to have a visa to visit the Czech Republic.  I had been trying to get back to the Czech Republic since I studied in Olomouc for 3 months in 2000. 

During my 2002 visit I lived in student dorms and visited as many football matches as possible.  The high point of my stay had to be the Sigma Olomouc UEFA Cup match in Sarajevo.  I think I also attended every Sigma home league match and a few away matches as well.