Meteor Prague v Motorlet Prague
Fotbalový areál Libeň / 4.Liga Division B / 30th March 2018
Hale and Pace, Paul Daniel and Debbie McGee and Jedward – all great double acts. Oh…well, they’re not are they? Well, in groundhopping circles in previous years, me and Gibbo probably fell into this weak double act bracket, as we regularly scaled the land together watching bang average football in backwater towns. In recent years, thanks to the both of us making meek attempts at doing real life things – like new jobs and me moving abroad – our cojoined groundhopping travels together have halted; although it seems like we’ve still ploughed on with doing silly things apart. But, when Gibbo declared that he was finally visiting my part of the world, along with Ollie, it was agreed that I’d join the two of them for a three day, four game football bonanza across Prague and Dresden.
I’d arrived in Prague from my Slovak home hours before Gibbo and Ollie were landing in the Czech capital, giving me plenty of time to wander the Old Town and the surrounding bars solo. But where did I end up meeting Gibbo and Ollie later that evening? In a Coyote Ugly themed bar called Coyotes complete with scantily clad women singing and dancing in front of the various Prague stag dos in town for the Easter weekend. Such ‘laddish’ settings with average beer is not my thing really, so I was much happier once we went to the excellent Illegal Bar (just a name, not a description) I’d found earlier that evening. Although I did enjoy Prague and Illegal Bar maybe a bit too much that evening it seemed, as I got a little bit sleepy in the bar. Anyway…
The next morning I was up bright and early and ready for game one of a four game weekend; three games in Prague and one game in Dresden in between. Game one of today would be a 10.15am kick-off at 4.Liga Meteor Prague (which Gibbo and Ollie decided to miss for a longer line-in) and later that evening we’d be heading to Dukla Prague. Incidentally, as I was walking through a sunny Prague that morning, I realised that the last time I did two games in one day was way back in May 2018: a great combo of Rochdale Town v Formby in the NWCFL on a Sunday afternoon followed by Manchester United U21 v Liverpool U21 at Old Trafford (featuring one of the best goals I’ve ever seen live from a young Jonjo Shelvey). Prague is lot different to Castleton in Greater Manchester to say the least.
I was out the door of my hostel at 8am and a quick Starbucks stop to recap the route and re-energise myself with much-needed caffeine and I was on my way. With plenty of time to spare, I opted to see a bit more of the suburbs of Prague and make the trek to the ground on foot. According to my phone, it would take about an hour, but thanks to several factors, that wouldn’t prove to be the case.
After walking through the Žizkov area and climbing the hill in Vítkov park, I realised I’d gone wrong somewhere and found my route blocked by a train line. I’ve never been a fan of turning back and knowing this part of Europe’s more laidback attitude to crossing a track, I soon found myself heading through a construction site and was back on course.
A whole load of the area around Meteor’s ground is covered in construction work on the local tramlines, so again my way was impeded. But, finally, after walking through the Prague 8 district, I spotted a sign for the Meteor restaurant, which I soon found beyond the gates of the footballing home of Meteor Prague.
For the pleasure of attending a game at Meteor Prague, one of the oldest clubs in the Czech Republic I am told, entry costs 1 Euro – but it’s definitely it. On this pleasant Good Friday morning, Meteor Prague’s little ground looked glorious. There may not be a lot to the place, but it has plenty of charm. Most of the ground is open with one small, standing terrace behind the goals. One side of the ground is flanked by a small grassy banking leading up to some adjacent tennis courts. It is on the opposite side of the ground that Meteor offers its little masterpiece; the one real stand in the ground is a brilliant little, wooden thing draped in the green and white of Meteor. Beautiful.
My long detour around the suburbs of Prague had meant I’d arrived at Meteor just 15 minutes before kick-off and such a long walk had made me thirsty, so my first port of call was the Meteor restaurant behind the goal. A fairly spacious two room place declaring its love for all things Kozel beer. Of the generic Czech beers, I never find Kozel too bad, but I do sometimes thing this may be down to the cool two-thirds of a handle glass that they serve it in.
I walked out of the bar 5 minutes into the first half with the action well underway with Meteor in their usual green and Motorlet Praha in a horrible sort of luminous light blue shirt. I wasn’t expecting too much in the form of good football in the Czech 4th tier, but the game was a decent one all round.
Like most in the ground, I headed for the wooden stand to take in the match action. There were only a few half chances in a half mainly dominated by Meteor, however, the squad numbers of the players on the pitch was upsetting me. They were chaotic to say the least. Think of the pain I went through having to watch a no.9 play centre back and a no.8 play left back. Oh, the horror!
There was one real shining light on the day in the shape of a player who may well be the greatest on the planet (I think I’ve written that a few times on these pages now mind). Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Meteor no.10 Eric Ezeala Chimezie. Just wow. He seemed to play playmaker, winger and striker and all at once. The magic of the man is even furthered by the fact that a quick google of him only brings up his Football Manager 2018 database, where it says he’s Nigerian and is contracted to FC Litol (which I’m guessing isn’t a thing now). An enigma. Hipster footballer at its finest.
Anyway, my new favourite Eric was causing havoc, but no goals at the interval.
Half-time: Meteor Prague 0 – 0 Motorlet Prague.
By half-time, I had found a small bar area next to the stand, so I now had easy access to beer during the game. The chap behind the bar was a funny but friendly character too – although I think he seemed to think I was a funny character too, judging from the way he laughed every time I ordered a drink from him.
10 minutes into the second half, I left my perch on the wooden stand and began another lap of the ground. As I headed back up to the top of the banking the first goal of the game went in…sort of. A cross from the right into the box led to Meteor firing at goal, before a brilliant defensive block denied a certain goal. However, the ref and the linesman, after a few seconds deliberation, were waving to indicate that Meteor had scored. Everyone in the ground look bemused at what certainly didn’t appear to be a goal, but decided to accept the goal.
The game would have one more goal in it in the 62nd minute, but this one definitely went in. Wonderman Eric Ezeala Chimezie got the ball on the halfway line, played a neat little through ball and in surge Meteor to score a 1v1 and to make it 2-0.
Full-time: Meteor Prague 2 – 0 Motorlet Prague.
After making sure I got to shake hands with the almighty Eric Ezeala Chimezie as the home players thanked the fans, I decided I’d have one more beer in the bar. On my way back down to the front, I spotted a lovely green Meteor scarf lay on the front of the stand. I asked the owner of the scarf could I pose for a photo with it and was surprised to hear him respond in an English accent. This was Martin who then introduced me to his Scottish mate Stephen, along with Stephen’s rather hyperactive little boy. Both Martin and Stephen are expats living in Prague and both are fans of Bohemians, but both had adopted Meteor as a sort of second team as 1) they usually have morning kick-offs which don’t clash with other local games and 2) they wear green just like their beloved Bohemians.
It was now good to have some company to chat to in the bar and share tales with about central European football. It seemed we knew similar people too as they knew my Prague-based, Scottish pal Iain (“He’s a proper groundhopper!”) and they also recommended I track down a small band of British expats in Moravia who follow a 4th tier team called FK Blansko – they sounded familiar…
Meteor had been the perfect way to spend my morning and if you don’t have too big of a ‘sesh’ the night before in Prague, then I’d highly recommend a visit to Meteor. A quite charming little ground with a nice little atmosphere around it.
I left Martin and Stephen to enjoy their food in the bar and I made way back into the suburbs of Prague. I was not walking all the way back to the centre again, so I decided to just tram hop my way as close to the centre of Prague as possible, before I finally recognised the streets of Žizkov again. From here I now knew my way to the main square, where I went to the place I call the ‘cat pub’ (or U Dvou Koček to normal people) thanks to the large portrait of a giant cat being milked for beer on the wall. Their own brew is excellent and I believe no cats were milked in the making of it. It was here I finally met up with Gibbo and Ollie and so the second part of our Friday Prague football fest was about to begin…
Highlights: great little ground, nice morning atmosphere, cheap entry and beer, decent game, Eric Ezeala Chimezie for the Ballon d’Or.
Low Points: getting lost en route.
See all my photos from my morning at Meteor Prague here.