MFK Vyškov v FK Blansko
Stadion Vyškov / Moravian-Silesian Football League / 6th May 2017
After my day in Vyškov, if I ever buy a dinghy, I’m going to call it Petr Gromský and not Dignity. Who is Petr Grmoský? Well you’ll probably find out over the course of this blog – chiefly through the medium of song. Today was to be my second away day with FK Blansko and more importantly their small band of fans and friends of the blog, The Blansko Klobása.
If you are not sure what The Blansko Klobása is, then I urge you to go check out their excellent blog about their adventures around the lower leagues of Czech football here. In a nutshell though, The Blansko Klobása are 3 Brits living in Brno and Blansko with a mix of a Brummie, a Boro boy and a fellow Welshman. The cosmic forces of football fandom brought them together to support FK Blansko, who they follow home and away, and in their pursuit to find the perfect Klobása. On matchday, they are very vocal in their support for the club, usually much to the bemusement of other fans in the Czech basement leagues and to the Blansko players themselves. Although the Blansko players may not understand why three grown men are chanting at them in English to the likes of Human League’s Don’t You Want Me, they’ve certainly come to embrace it – even rewarding the Blansko Klobása members by buying the three of them replica shirts at the start of the season.
It’s probably fair to say that my philosophy on enjoying football very much mirrors that of ‘The Klobása’, although their stickers declare ‘No Klobása No Party’, whilst mine state ‘No Flat Cap No Party’. ‘Slovak Matt’ – as The Blansko Klobása dub me – is always up for a day out following the Blansko
It was another long weekend in Central Europe with the Monday being a public holiday, so a weekend away seemed a good idea – even more so when Ralph suggested I come watch Blansko in Vyškov and stay at his Brno home. Brno is really not that far from my Trnava abode and with Ralph living there, I’m still unsure as to why it had taken me so long to visit the Czech Republic’s second biggest city. But I was finally there on this Saturday morning and after dropping my bag off at Ralph’s flat and then navigating our way through a mass student gathering in the square, we were at Brno station ready to head 30 minutes north-west of the city.
We were now joined on board the train with Blansko Brummie Craggy. I was fairly fresh, while my two fellow train riders were a bit head sore from the night before.They slogged their way through the cans of Radegast purchased for the journey.
It wasn’t even midday by the time we arrived into Vyškov and with Blansko’s game at MFK Vyškov not kicking off until 16:30, we had plenty of time to explore the town – although it seemed that we were not going to be exploring Vyškov yet. Instead Ralph insisted we make the walk to the nearby village of Drnovice and for good reason too.
The sun was out and it felt like a pleasant spring day, as we walked down the main road exiting Vyškov and heading towards Drnovice. Our 15 minute walk to Drnovice was soundtracked by passing banged up rally cars, as it seemed that today was the Rally Vyškov. We were unsure of how this worked though, as we saw cars just driving around town all day, as if there wasn’t a race at all and instead more of a parade of jazzed up Skodas. Anyway, the reason Ralph was so adamant we came to Drnovice came into view and by golly was I happy he brought us: he’d brought us to FK Drnovice’s ground.
Ralph had been to Vyškov several times and always made a point of heading over this way to make a pilgrimage to FK Drnovice’s unused and unloved stadium. It really was a peculiar place – this big ground just wedged in the middle of this tiny village in the middle of nowhere. Amazingly, thanks to a Sugar Daddy, village side FK Drnovice made it all the way to the top flight of Czech football. A former player and native of the village dragged the club up from the 8th tier and to the top flight by the early 90s, before eventually selling the club to a prominent chemical company. With their financial clout, the club even made it into Europe in 2000. Sadly for them, the money dried up and having being passed around a few other companies and then sinking down the leagues, the club went bust in 2006 and now cease to exists.
Back here in 2017, the stands are now a scene of rubble, smashed up press boxes and tarnished seating. However, the floodlights…well just look at the photos. They are beautiful. It was good to hear that the pitch is still used by a local team and that the ground isn’t completely unused.
There’s not a lot to Drnovice, so we headed to what appeared to be the only restaurant in town to get some lunch. Last week I was eating goose in a Budapest kebab shop and this week I was to have deer in a Czech restaurant. And fine deer it was too. Ralph had also had the deer.
“Ralph, how much did this cost?”
It had to be done and I was delighted that he hadn’t seen my shitty joke coming. There was a lot of wincing at my cheesy punning.
We couldn’t be arsed walking back to Vyškov so we headed for the bus stop outside the restaurant – not that we could quite get to it. The whole pavement was dominated by some sort of folk dancing and the crowd surrounding the dancers. The crowd was spilling over into the bus stop lane, so I feared for the villagers’ lives as our bus came speeding towards us with seemingly little care for the people spectating in the lane. It took some pushing from others to make them realise they needed to move or end up under the wheels of the bus.
5 minutes later and we were back in Vyškov. Vyškov is a quiet little town, but certainly with some charm. Apparently it even gets a mentions in Tolstoy’s War and Peace (cheers Wikipedia), but in what context I’m unsure – and I really couldn’t be bothered skimming through its vast pages to find it either. We roamed the town square for a few minutes, where we took some photos of some very old cars, before we headed to the brewery located in the centre. Both Ralph and Craggy warned me that I was about to try some pretty crappy beer.
Into Pivovar Vyškov we headed and it was all very decent inside. However, it really was hard to get excited about the local beer when the brewery decide to call it the rather guttural, Grunt. The lads were spot on with their warnings: the Grunt really was shit. It tasted like the copper of the pipes and definitely had the taste of a beer that had come from an unclean pipe. Fortunately, we still had plenty of time until kick-off, so our very slow Grunt drinking killed a chunk of time.
We certainly didn’t stay for a second Grunt and so we began making our way towards the ground, located on the other side of a town park. From previous visits to Vyškov, the lads also remembered a bar located in middle of the park, which was convenient, so we headed there.
It was a beautiful day in Moravia now, as we strolled through the rather large park located just away from the main centre. In the middle of it was a wooden hunt with outdoor seating and this is where we took our place to kill an hour or so until kick-off. This was also where things turned a lot more musical…
Fair to say that The Blansko Klobása certainly have an impressive and highly original repertoire of songs at their disposal. I knew a particular favourite of the gang’s is “Don’t You Want Me Gromský” (“You was working as a waiter in a Blansko bar…” etc.) In fact, the right back Petr Gromský has about ten songs to himself, less to do with his performances on the pitch, but mainly because his name fits so seamlessly into any songs it seems. I’ll save some of the other chants for later in the blog, but as we began discussing some of the songbook, Deacon Blue crept their way into the conversation, as they so often do. We were soon singing their epic Dignity and it quickly began morphing into another song about Petr Gromský. I’m not sure we ever got a full version put together, but I remember segments containing “He takes no shit off nobody / as he’s running down the wing / Isn’t he pretty / Pet-r-Grom-ský.” and “Going to buy a dinghy / Going to call it Gromský” before launching into the crazy cries of”Score a goal, score a goal, score a goal, score a goal, score a goal…score a goal again, score a goal again, score a goal again!” This will probably make absolutely no sense if you are unaware of the works of Deacon Blue (if that is the case by the way, you should do something about that).
There was less than 30 minutes to go until kick-off and we were joined by Christopher ‘Wingy’ Wing – the only Klobása member who actually lives in Blansko itself (it’s located 30km north if you are wondering). Straightaway, Ralph was telling Middlesbrough-bred Wingy how I had eaten parmo once and even appeared in the Boro Gazette, regarding my positive blog about the town, to give me some early credit with the only member of TBK I had never met. There was no time for more beer though and we began the short walk to the ground.
I had not googled the football ground at all, so I had no idea as to what I’d be arriving to. The ground was nothing I hadn’t seen before, with it resembling a typical athletics stadium. One side of the ground was dominated by a grandstand placed away from the pitch, thanks to the running track encircling it. Getting in for this third tier game cost about 40kc (I think) – about £1.
Atop the stand was a small booth dishing out the food and pivo to the locals. I should add that I don’t think I saw a local under the age of 60, which would probably explain the ‘atmosphere’ once the game got underway. To be fair,it seems as if Vyškov is more of a rugby town with the small town hosting the current league champions of the Czech Republic, RC Vyškov.
Beers were purchased and we headed down to the lower corner of the stand, where the Klobása flag was proudly hung. We’d timed our arrival perfectly, as soon the teams were out on the pitch.
Blansko are likely heading for the drop from the third tier this season, after earning promotion last season, but the lads were full of praise for the team’s recent showings. Here they started well too and attacked Vyškov from the off. Of course their efforts were met with chanting from our little corner.
“EVERYWHERE YOU GO! YOU ALWAYS TAKE THE BLANSKO WITH YOU! EVERYWHERE YOU GO…”
Everyone in the stand – which was about another 50-60 other people – all glanced right, utterly perplexed by this gang of four Blansko fans singing songs in English. I’m not sure they had ever seen anything like it before. They were virtually silent for the whole 90 minutes, aside from one very old fella holding a cane at the top of the stand who began shouting down to us something in Czech; Ralph translated that he was saying that he was supporting Blansko – we had no idea why. He looked a bit like a forgotten member of the Blues Brothers who had had a really, really hard life.
“Hey, are you guys the Blansko Klobása?” came the question from a guy who had approached us. I chuckled that he knew the group, before he turned to me and said, “And you are Lost Boyos.” This was very strange indeed. Of course, this duo who had approached us were also groundhoppers and had come across in each of our blog’s escapades on social media. Marcel, the talker of the two and the guy behind the Instagram account Apokalypse Wurst, is a German groundhopper from Cottbus and he was joined by another German hopper, Leslie, from Chemnitz. They headed off to take some photos over the other side of the ground and I was not too far behind them, as I left the Blansko trio behind for a few minutes to go take some photos, whilst they carried on their singing. Soon the singing was even directed my way.
A stray ball had bobbled across the running track near me for an away corner and of course I eagerly chased it to have kick of the ball myself. I was waiting for someone to pass to, yet no-one was coming, so I began some keepie-uppies; considering I had had a few beers, I didn’t drop the ball once, before I volleyed to their player. The linesman gave me a smile and a nod of approval, before chants of “SIGN HIM UP!” and “ONE LOST BOYO!” came from the Blansko away support in the corner. If FK Blansko want to discuss a contract with me for next season, me and my agent are happy to meet them at the negotiating table.
The football was actually very entertaining, although with few chances. I was a big fan of Blansko’s imposing centre back Stanislav Píšek – a player described as the ‘Blansko John Charles’ on the Blansko Klobása website. However, it was a home player who was proving the most fun to watch. Their right-winger, wearing the number 9, was great, although ridiculously skinny. He was soon dubbed by me as ‘Czech Grealish’ as he even played in a similar sort of style to the young, lanky Villa midfielder.
I know I keep mentioning songs, but this was a Blansko day and music is a big part of their whole vibe (for example, they recently wrote a blog entitled ‘Budapest: The Musical’). My favourite of the Blansko hits was to get an airing in the first half. No fan likes to see a player injured, but we were all quietly hoping for a minor knock to occur to a Blansko player, just enough that they would require the physio. We eventually got such an incident and that was the cue for my favourite song of the day. Hit it guys (to the tune of Bon Jovi’s Bad Medicine if you want to sing along):
“HE’S DOWN, HE NEEDS BAD MEDICINEEE! / BAD MEDICINE IS WHAT HE NEEDS! / OH OH OH! / HE’S DOWN, HE NEEDS SÁSA THE PHYSIO! / SÁSA THE PHYSIO IS WHAT HE NEEDS!”
Genius. And the player was fine too, so we didn’t feel so bad about wanting him to go down for the song to happen.
And so more beer was bought and more songs sung, but there was to be no scoring on the pitch and we went in at half-time goalless.
Half-time: MFK Vyškov 0-0 FK Blansko.
Carrying on the day’s musical obsession, Vyškov had opted for a bizarre mix of half-time music. We began with heavy metal stuff, before we seemed to have a sudden switch to country/folk music. It was as if the original DJ had been killed off by some country-loving local, who was not having any of this heavily distorted rock stuff. Not to worry though – the half was about to restart and the Blansko choir in the corner had reconvened.
There were still few chances on the pitch, but I was enjoying the football. However, it was still all about the soundtrack again, as the lads went through what songs hadn’t been sung yet. Craggy led us in a rendition of ‘Walking in a Pisek Wonderland,’ before Wingy accused Craggy of sounding like a cockney when singing it. And so every chant from thereonin was given a cockney twist. At one point this purely led to us just chanting the tune to the theme of Only Fools and Horses and doing some dodgy cockney dancing. I tried to think of something cockney to sing and for whatever reason I began singing ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ (don’t worry, I do know that Eric Idle was born in South Shields and wasn’t really a cockney) before this morphed into a long, repetitive and slightly altered, “Always look on the Blansko side of life.”
There were even more reasons to be on the bright side, as news reached us that Sunderland were about to beat Hull 2-0. Why is this important? Well, me and Ralph are both Swans fans and a Hull loss meant that Swansea, sitting in 18th, had the chance to overtake Hull and get out of the bottom 3 with 2 games left. If the people of Vyškov were confused enough already, I bet they were further bemused by the repeated cries of “SUNDERLAND! SUNDERLAND! SUNDERLAND!” now coming from our corner. We soon got bored with that though and we were soon back to doing crap cockney versions of Monty Python.
And as the game came towards the end, just like Eric Idle strapped to the cross at the end of The Life of Brian, it was worth looking on the bright/Blansko side of life. Having a good time watching football is very much part of the TBK philosophy and I’d definitely had that. Most people would be despondent about their team sinking towards relegation, but the lads seemed unfazed and had only good things to say about their team’s efforts in a higher league. The clock ticked over 90 and the ref was soon blowing his whistle for full-time.
Full-time: MFK Vyškov 0-0 FK Blansko.
As Blansko side of life continued the players came over to clap our little group with Pisek looking particularly fond of the Blansko ‘ultras’. It was Píšek who organised the buying of the gang’s replica shirts, so he’s definitely a fan of their fandom (which will be emphasised later too). It had been an awesome day, but it was about to get a hell of a lot better.
Me and Ralph were very keen to watch Swansea’s evening kick-off against Everton – even more so with Hull losing – so we headed back to the beer garden bar in the park with its handy free wi-fi. Ralph had brought his laptop along to make sure we were not to miss the big game. I’m sure the locals would have rather we didn’t though, as we unleashed nervous outbursts at the laptop screen as the Swans battled ardently. Eventually Fernando Llorente did what he does best and flew majestically through the air to head home and to make it 1-0. Our shouts prompted a few terrified looks from the locals, as we probably interrupted their quiet evening drinks in the park.
There was a choice of either a) leaving for the 8pm train and missing the last 15 minutes of the Swans game or b) watching the end and having to wait until 10pm for the last train. I love the Swans, but Ralph did push us more towards the more sensible option a) – I’m not sure another 2 hours in Vyškov would have been particularly fun either. This did mean that as we hurried to the train station, I spent the whole time refreshing the score on my phone, until that joyous 1-0 victory was confirmed. Delightful stuff.
Later that evening, as we drank in Brno’s Lucky Bastard brewery bar and then Ralph’s excellent local, Zastavka, we confirmed that it had indeed been an awesome day out. If I was to write a criteria for the perfect day out it’d probably include: abandoned football stadiums, deer, good beer, shit beer, singing about third tier Czech footballers to the tune of Human League and Deacon Blue, finding fame by being recognised by German groundhoppers, impressing a linesman with my keepie-uppies, watching a semi-entertaining 0-0 in an athletics stadium (maybe less so that one), performing bad cockney accents, watching the Swans win a crucial 3 points in a bar in a public park and then finishing the evening in craft ale bars. Conveniently the day ticked all of those.
I’ll finish with this lovely tale. I love the glitz and glamour of the top leagues, but I really hope over the past few years this blog has highlighted the wonderful world that exists below the professional levels. If anyone still doesn’t understand why people follow football ,at home or abroad, in the leagues below the professional levels, I’ll leave you with this Facebook message below from the ‘Blansko John Charles’ Stanislav Píšek to Ralph on Saturday evening.
And for those – like myself – who don’t understand Czech, it translates as:
You are the best fans !!!! Thank you very much for your support ,we appreciate it so much. And also for last Wednesday, when you personally helped me get over my mistake. Thank you very much from me and from the team! We take our hats off to you, gentlemen.
Despite the players probably not having a clue what the hell The Blansko Klobása are singing about them, they still love the support and genuinely appreciate it. It’s really a great little connection they have going on there and a crazily fun one too. Great stuff.
Highlights: Drnovice’s ground, drinking in the park, the song writing in the bar, ‘he needs Bad Medicine!’, cockney singing, decent game for 0-0, Swansea winning.
Low Points: Grunt beer is horrible, some goals would have been nice.
See all my photos from my day out with The Blansko Klobása in Vyškov and Drnovice here.