Lost in…Cífer

ŠK Cífer 1929 v TJ Družstevník Zvončín

Štadión ŠK Cífer 1929 / VI. Liga Trnava / 15th October 2017

Unsurprisingly, my most travelled train route during my time living in Slovakia has been between Trnava, where I live, and the Slovak capital, Bratislava. The journey between them ranges from 30-45 minutes, so there is really not a great distance between the two. People would probably tell you there isn’t actually much to see between them either – and they’d probably be right. However, I am a groundhopper and thus I have delved into a lot of football along this route.

The first Slovak ground I went to on my moving here was Svätý Jur; this was soon followed by Báhoň, a rustic ground I dubbed my favourite in Slovakia so far. Months later I would head to Pezinok and earlier this season I watched football in both Šenkvice and the Bratislava suburb of Rača. All these places are stops on the Trnava-Bratislava train route. I felt a weird sense of pride in watching football at every village and town on the train route, until I realised that I had actually missed out the nearest stop to Trnava. A trip to the small village of Cífer was needed to complete my Trnava-Bratislava train route ground list.

The day before had been an alcohol-fuelled day on the Czech/Slovak border, as we had headed to 3rd tier Czech football club Hodonín. I hadn’t really planned on spending my Sunday afternoon in Cífer, but with it being a very nice October Sunday afternoon and with nothing better to do, I figured ‘why not’.

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Cífer.

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There were lots of streets like this…

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…and this.

Kick-off wasn’t until 16:30, but I still arrived in Cífer a couple of hours before, thanks to the fact that despite being so close to Trnava trains to Cífer were rather infrequent. It was a choice between arrive 2.5 hours early or about 20 minutes before kick-off. You know I like to explore, so the earlier train it was to be.

Cífer is just over 5 minutes away on the train from Trnava and so I had barely taken my seat on ZSSK’s finest, before I was getting back off. I was unsurprised to find myself to be the only soul walking the deserted, residential streets of Cífer. As predicted, there wasn’t much to see, so I eventually sloped into a bar I found behind some sort of tennis-heavy sports centre. This was the only bar I had seen in the village in the so far and I guessed there were not many more.

The bar had a beer garden leading up to a very typical, dull Slovak bar and despite a large restaurant area there were very few customers on this early Sunday afternoon. More unfortunate was the fact that they had Staropramen on tap, although at least it wasn’t the standard shit; admittedly it wasn’t much better than that.

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The devil drink…

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Budvar.

Staropramen wasn’t going to keep me there long and nor was the Czech football highlight show on TV. I decided to head towards the ground with the assumption there’d be a bar open there 1.5 hours before kick-off. However, en route I found another bar – a fairly plush one too (at least by Slovak village standards).

Of the generic Czech/Slovak beers, I have always championed Budvar ahead of the others, so I was happy to find a big tank of Budvar behind the bar. The bar was a far cry from the shitty little dives I usually find in these sorts of villages and everything was gleaming and shiny. Like everywhere else though, the place was empty.

It was a ten minute walk down a pleasant residential street and then the ground suddenly popped up from nowhere. Beforehand, I had struggled to find any photos of the ground online – not many people venture to and document shit Slovak football aside from me after all. The ground is a low-key setting with it basically being a field with one small stand on one side of the ground. I do enjoy a bit of quaintness in a football ground though. Saying that, the clubhouse was more like a fairly sizable house  than a quaint bar in the 6th tier of Slovak football. This was my first stop.

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Arriving at  ŠK Cífer.

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The lovely little stand.

My heart had already sunk on seeing the Staropramen umbrellas outside the bar and sadly that was the beer on sale within. However, that was the only downside of a very cool club bar. There were leather sofas around the large, spacious area, table football, lots of football shirts and scarves and the best beanbag ever: if anyone wants to buy me an awesome Christmas present, then buy me this Slovak national football team beanbag pictured below.

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Slovak football beanbag.

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Football memorabilia.

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And some more.

There were also screens showing football. strangely, they were showing VVV Venlo v PSV in the Eredivisie; that game finished 5-2 to PSV, so maybe I should have stayed in the bar to watch that . Although the game I watched at Cífer was not as goal crazy as that in Venlo, it was not a bad game either.

Just like every time I go to these small Slovak villages to watch football, there was a relatively decent attendance. Of course, many spectators turned up on bicycles, as well as one chap on a snazzy tricycle, leaving one side of the stand overtaken by said vehicles.

As the game got underway, I sat in the stand, before deciding to go complete an early lap of the ground. There wasn’t too much to see really, but luckily the game was a lively affair – a proper gutsy, full-blooded game like the non-league encounters back home.

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Pitchside.

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Match action.

I thought Cífer had started well, but it would take me until half-time to realise that Cífer were actually the team in black and yellow, not blue; I’m not sure how it took me so long considering the words ‘ŠK Cífer’ were written in big letters on the back of their shirts. So in fact, it was the away team who had started much better, although it would be Cífer who would take the lead in the opening 15 minutes. Still in my ignorance about which team was which, I was wondering why everyone was cheering the away team scoring. I thought Zvončín must have a legion of fans or something. It was great to see the Cífer coach celebrate so vociferously too – he was clearly a mentalist.

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The Cífer masses.

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Match action.

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Match action.

The rest of the half was basically just Zvončín hammering away at Cífer with little luck. Goals were certainly coming for the away team, but they wouldn’t come in the first half.

Half-time: ŠK Cífer 1929 1 – 0 TJ Družstevník Zvončín.

The half-time whistle seemed to be the cue for the PA system to slam out ABBA’s Dancing Queen, which was then followed by a few other ABBA favourites. It was probably the campest I’ve ever seen/heard Slovak non-League. I went back to the bar for a beer and to be perfectly honest I was not really arsed about leaving and took my time.

I was back pitchside about ten minutes into the second half, just minute before Zvončín equalized. Usually, I make notes about goals on my phone, but my phone had died on this Sunday afternoon; also I can’t really remember how they scored. Oops. That tells me it was nothing too exciting anyway. So instead of describing  it, here are some photos instead…

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Match action.

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Match action.

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Sun in the eyes.

More cutting edge Lost Boyos match reporting now. Zvončín made it a very deserved 2-1, but again, I can’t remember the goal. I’m writing this a week a late, so let me off. Plus, although my day in Cífer was a quiet one, my mind was probably still muddled from my all-dayer at Hodonín the day before. So here’s some more photos…

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From the stand.

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Match action.

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Thumbs up.

That was it for scoring fortunately, so I don’t have to try recall anymore goals. Zvončín definitely deserved to win though – I remember that much.

Full-time: ŠK Cífer 1929 1 – 2 TJ Družstevník Zvončín.

And that was it really. With my train back to Trnava just 20 minutes after the final whistle, I left the ground, surrounded by an armada of cyclists (and one tricyclist) and headed straight for the station.

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The badass tricycle.

It had been an uneventful day devoid of hijinks and thrills, but it had been a pleasant very chilled Sunday really. 6th tier Slovak football beats going to church. More so when it is a fun game to watch (even though I can barely recount it!)

Highlights: quaint little ground, easy to get to, good club bar, decent game.

Low Points: not much in Cífer, too much Staropramen about.

See all my photos from Cífer here.

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