FK Hodonín v FC Viktoria Otrokovice
Stadion u Červených domků / Moravian–Silesian Football League / 14th October 2017
I send a message to Ralph RE going to watch football in Hodonín…
‘What’s the town like?’
‘The football ground?’
‘Crap athletics ground’.
‘Oh…so why should we go to Hodonín?’
‘Well there are two breweries in the centre…’
‘See you there.’
This is a very loose paraphrasing of the messages sent between me and Ralph when discussing where to go for a Saturday football fix. Breweries aside, there was one other reason why we eventually opted to go to Hodonín: its location. Hodonín is located just a small step over the Czech border, meaning it wasn’t too far for me to travel from my Slovak home in Trnava and Ralph’s Czech dwelling in Brno.My journey would take me first of all to the ever dodgy realms of Bratislava train station and it was here I met up with Sunderland fan Andrew, who was on a week-long holiday in Bratislava and Vienna. For some reason he wanted to also join us for some crap Central European lower league football too.
En route to the Czech Republic we frequented the train bar and sadly had to make do with the dull Hungarian beer of Soproni on board (it was either that or Staropramen, so only one winner there really). In Břeclav we made a quick train change onto one of the Czech Republic’s ‘Panther’ trains, which then took us the final 20 minutes to Hodonín. We disembarked to find a smiling, double thumbs-upping Ralph. Being the Czech expert and knowing Hodonín well, he led the way.As per usual, many of my colleagues were questioning where I was adventuring to on the weekend and, also as per usual, they were mythed by my choice. ‘Why the hell do you want to go to a place like Hodonín?’ Their reviews of the town of Hodonín were scathing. To be honest, I found it to be a fairly ordinary Czech town. Nothing beautiful and awe-inspiring, but nothing to cause eyesore either. However, the town did play a big part in the history of Czechoslovakia, as the first president of the nation, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, hailed from the town. He was the one who pushed Czechoslovakia towards independence following World War I and helped create the nation. He was nicknamed ‘President Liberator’. Ralph led us away from the main street to see if another of Hodonín’s breweries was still open, but, as he predicted, it had been turned into a crappy bar. However, next door was the hockey stadium and it was in the bar within the stadium that we began our day in Hodonín. We found ourselves literally under the stand and the sounds, smells and slight chilly feel of a hockey game could all be felt present on the other side of the wall. We enjoyed a quick Svijany beer each, but the hockey game above was a bit pucking loud so we moved on.
We then walked through the main centre of the town and aside from the usual pretty, ornamental church (where there was a wedding today it seemed) there was nothing much else to see. Thankfully, the Kunc microbrewery was just along the street from here.
First of all, I was already enjoying the Kunc brewery before I’d even stepped foot in the place, as Ralph revealed that it is pretty much pronounced very similar to ‘cunts’. Many jokes were made around this. However, the brewery itself was a beauty too and the beer was excellent too; especially compared to the adequate, yet unadventurous Svijany we had just drunk before. The menu at Kunc was cheap and cheerful too, so we all ordered battered pancakes to keep us ticking over for the afternoon. They were awesome! The beer was of such quality that we stayed for a second, which led to us having no time to visit any other drinking establishments in the town centre. But who needed somewhere else when you could enjoy good beer in very random Jeep glasses, complete with a picture of a Jeep and the company logo on it. We had no idea either.
When we did arrive, the game was almost 10 minutes old, although the scoreboard informed us that we hadn’t missed any goals. We were in no rush to get pitchside and we made sure that we got some local beer from a small ‘beer-mobile’ around the back of the stand, before heading pitchside.The ground really is a bit crap and certainly nothing too memorable. This is mainly down to the usual soul-sapping fact of it being an athletics stadium with a running track around it. The large main stand has some character, but still nothing that I hadn’t seen in Central Europe before. We decided to go around to the other side of the ground and watch on from the corner of the concrete terrace that went down the one side of the ground.
Hodonín are one of the wealthier teams in the 3rd tier of Czech football and as a result, they now have themselves a renowned Czech manager leading them: František Komňacký. Komňacký has managed many clubs across both the Czech Republic and Slovakia and has brought success to many of them. In the early 2000s he led Púchov to the Slovak Cup, before years late winning a Slovak league and cup double with Ružomberok. He is also fondly remembered by Baník Ostrava fans for winning them the Czech league in 2003-2004. But, now, aged 65, Komňacký’s task is to help send Hodonín up the league’s. With Komňacký being local to the area, I’m sure that will give him extra motivation too.
Hodonín also have a bit of a reputation of producing excellent young players. Regular readers may recall that when I visited Sparta Prague, I spent much of the time purring over young midfielder Michal Sáček; I even had the audacity to compare the midfielder to Joey Allen! Well, he was with Hodonín until he was 17 and before being lured away by the big dogs at Sparta. Also, current Hull centre back Ondřej Mazuch began as a youth player at Hodonín.Today, there was less clear talent on show, but the game against FC Viktoria Otrokovice proved to be a fairly entertaining one, although with some sad moments too.
Otrokovice took the lead in the 17th minute, as the wonderfully named Burundian, Renato Elekana Guy, smashed into the bottom corner from inside the box. And moments later the away team had the chance to make it 2-0 as they were awarded a penalty.
One of the saddest parts of football in central Europe, even at this low-level, is that racist incidents can still occur. It still sickens me every time I witness something and it was horrible to hear some of the fans in the main stand making monkey noises as Otrokovice’s Didier Kavumbangu (also from Burundi) stepped up to take his penalty. Not that it would have been much of a comeback against such disgusting behaviour, but I was really willing him to score the penalty to get at the home fans making the disgraceful noises. Sadly, his penalty was a poor one and the keeper easily saved.
On a more positive note, it was great to watch the skipper Tomáš Polách play for the home team. Polách was having a great first half in midfield, something made all the more impressive by the fact that Polách is 40-years-old! Polách had spent his career all around the Czech Republic with his most prominent spell coming in the late 00s at Brno. He was definitely showing some classy stuff here, even at his ripe old footballing age.Just before half-time, Hodonín deservedly made it 1-1 after they had created a string of chances. The goal proved simple enough as a clever through ball played in Filip Žák to poke home around the onrushing keeper.
Half-time: FK Hodonín 1 – 1 FC Viktoria Otrokovice.
Having only used the little beer-cart behind the stand for our football beverages, I had not entered the club bar at all, but the need of their toilet facilities gave me my chance to have a nose within. I wouldn’t be purchasing beer within as the stuff being sold outside was better than the Staropramen they had on tap, but I was impressed with the large Pavel Nedved mural on the wall. Apparently someone at the club is friends with the Czech legend and Nedved has some sort of link with the club too. I was less impressed with the depictions on show in the toilet though, so I did my own redecorating as shown below.
The second half retained the fairly decent pace of the first. I returned from our final beer run of the game just in time to see the balding Polách dispatch a penalty into the far corner to make it 2-1 to Hodonín.The scoring was rounded off in the final minute. Žák had scored in the last-minute of the first half and he was to score in the last-minute of the second to make it 3-1 to the home team. A simple pass across the 6 yard box led to him having an open goal to walk the ball into. Game over.
Full-time: FK Hodonín 3 – 1 FC Viktoria Otrokovice.There was only one bar I wanted to go to after the game, mainly for the randomness of it, but also for its convenient location opposite the train station: the Arsenal Cafe. Yes, weirdly, in the very, very south of the Czech Republic you can find a shrine in pub-form to all things Arsenal FC. It is a global game these days I suppose.
The bar was quite busy inside and outside, although I doubt that had anything to do with the Leeds v Millwall game on TV. As you’d imagine, everything was draped in the colours of Arsenal and there were photos and memorabilia of the club on every wall. It was a strange, but decent haunt to drink in whilst we waited for the train back to Břeclav and onwards to Slovakia though. Hiccups were ahead though.45 minute train delay. Bugger. After Ralph had headed back to Brno easily, me and Andrew found ourselves stranded in Hodonín for a bit longer, so we headed back to the Arsenal-philic pub to work out a plan. Sadly, the only option appeared to be to head to Břeclav, spend an hour there, before then hopping on the train back to Bratislava. Train connections would mean that I wouldn’t be getting back to Trnava until gone 11pm, instead of the originally planned 8.45pm. Nevermind. I always try to take positives from such situations and there was one huge positive to take from a stop off in Břeclav. No, not that weird, massive stone head in the town, but the brilliant Dvůr bar in the town. I had visited Dvůr on that fun day in Břeclav last season and I was excited to return. On this Saturday evening, 6 months after my last visit, the beer was as excellent as I remembered. However, the beer was so good that by the time we headed back for the train south to Slovakia, I wasn’t going to remember much else.
I do know I made it to Bratislava and drank in the bar upstairs in the train station whilst I waited for my train back to Trnava; and I do know that I made it back to Trnava and even spent an hour or so in my beloved local, Lokal Pub. However, the actions of me getting to these places is blurry to say the least. Apparently, Andrew lost me as I got off the train and in attempt to find me somehow ended up drunkenly phoning his work colleague, a pizza company and his next door neighbour. Fair to say, none of these people knew where I was or had any clue as to who I even was. If anyone ever loses me in Bratislava station I’ll probably be in either a) the bar upstairs or b) my beloved Fabrika pub down the road from the station. Just in case anyone needs to know for future reference.
A good day with some actually fairly good football to watch at times, but I doubt I’ll be rushing to get back to Hodonín either.
Highlights: Kunc brewery, decent game, Arsenal bar was interesting, return to Dvůr in Břeclav.
Low Points: Hodonín not too interesting, crap athletics stadium for ground, racist noises.
See all my photos from Hodonín here.