2017: A look back at our top trips

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As the year draws to a close and we hammer mince pie shaped nails in to 2017, we at TBK have decided to go over some highlights from what must have been our most “interesting” year yet. From some of the most remote villages to some of the best beers, via the scrappiest games to the most beautiful castles – we have gone in search of adventures and found them at every turn. So here are some highlights from the last 12 months.

Landek Mine in Petřkovice, Ostrava

We went “mining” for points in Petřkovice and literally ended up in a mine. Attempting to win a well deserved point and pleasant service at the local restauarant proved both to be just as gruelling work. The visit to the mine was a treasure though, as was another trip to Ostrava which always seems to bring about the biggest Klobasa drinking sessions. This was no different. (Read more here)

Budapest – The Musical

TBK love a trip to Budapest anyway but this was a real highlight of 2017. After four hours in the dining car of the train along Ralph’s favourite river we arrived in Budapest to a rollercoaster of a trip which found us queing up for the whole first half of a Honved game for a second 45 minutes of purely forgettable football. And it was all downhill from there (well physcially anyway) as we ran around Hungarian’s capital taking in as many pubs as possible, Craggy getting the come-on from dodgy guys selling belts and being asked if we’d like some cocaine with our sausage. We even dreamt up a musical production. Click here to find the soundtrack – apologies in advance.

The Hunt For Pav the Drummer in Blansko

As far as happy endings go the finale to this trek through the snowy streets of Blansko on the hunt for our missing game-day drummer is right up there. Early in the year we braved 90 minutes of below freezing tempatures watching the mighty Blansko host Bohunice before we went off in search of Pavel, who had been missing for many months from the Blansko stands. Our search took us to several pubs in this industrial Moravian second home of ours before a spectacular conclusion in the final pub we tried.

Milan Pacanda – Lost and Found

Although you may well have never heard of him, Milan Pacanda could have been one of the European greats alongside other famous Czech names. This year he was at Vicemilice, where one third of TBK headed to catch a glimpse of his footballing genius. (Read the full story here).

Opava

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Opava is a nice town in itself but a trip there was extra special this year. We visited it on 17th November – the anniversary of the fall of communism in the Czech Republic, and we began the trip in the small town of Hradec nad Moravaci which has a pretty fancy castle and a great “post office” pub. The highlight though turned out to be the game of the season – Opava came from 1 – 2 down to win 3 – 2, scoring 2 goals in the last 20 minutes. Crackin’.

A 2-0 defeat is “Hrad” to take in Břeclav

 

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As many may know the Klobasa likes a good walk, and with the summer coming to a close we thought we’d take the opportunity to get a good trek in before the rainy season begins. With Blansko travelling away to Breclav, Ralph suggested we could take a train to the village of Lednice and get a couple of beers and castles in before we wander through the forest to the game.

We set of from Hlavní nádraží (thankfully open again) early. Too early in fact to find an open bar upon our arrival in Lednice. Being quite a small place (approx 2000 people) we walked around it three times until one of the pub doors opened, and stepped inside with anticipation of beer and breakfast. U Volhy unfortunately, could only provide us with a liquid breakfast this time but we weren’t complaining. We followed up by buying some cheese biscuits and a couple of beers for the journey from the corner shop and we were off.

Castle number 1 was Lednice itself. Which sparked off some debate about what a castle actually is. In Czech Lednice is a ‘Zamek’ which translates to many as ‘castle’ but we are not convinced Lednice is a castle, more a chateau or, as Ralph threw in there, a stately home. Regardless, it is a dominating feature of the town and sits nicely for a photo or two in the picturesque gardens which encircle it. We didn’t go in. We had other things to do.

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We headed in to the woods and cracked open a beer and didn’t even have time to finish it before finding the next watering hole at castle number 2 – Januv Hrad (John’s Castle). And there you have it – ‘hrad’ translates as ‘castle’. I took this debate in to a lesson and no one could agree on a final outcome. Anyway, to us it looked more like a castle, if a bit small.

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Finishing up both a pint and our cans we headed deep in to the dark woods on our way to Breclav. The sky was overcast, threatening to open up above us – the forest dark and foreboding with winding paths in all directions. We were surrounded by trees, but we were brave and we strode on following the green (or is that blue to Ralph?) signposts and towards the next pub. We emerged from the forest behind us to the welcoming sight of the Breclav brewery. It was of course, not open to us, so we headed in the Zimni Stadion, listening to the thunder of hockey above us and ordered a schnitzel and potatoes – the only thing on the menu. The beer was bad enough not to finish – this is a rare occasion!

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Breclav also has a castle (zamek), and it’s er… shall we say, not the most beautiful. Never would we usually venture to be so negative, but really, it could do with a little TLC… or a bulldozer.

One thing we like perhaps more than a good walk, is an old pub with ‘atmosphere’ – and we certainly found one in Hospode na Rožku. We entered and ducked the darts being thrown over our head while stepping around the swinging regulars to take a place at the bar. We thrive on places like this, but are aware they are not everyone’s cup of tea. A good pint of beer though.

We got to the ground and put the flag up opposite one of the best stands in the game. The tall stand leaning against a house is becoming something of an attraction to lower league supporters of the game, and was indeed the most positive thing of the game – for us anyway. There were some promising performances from Blansko in the game but the lads just couldn’t find their feet against the better side in a 2 – 0 defeat of which there can’t be many complaints. It’s been a difficult start to the season, but one or two good performances should give the team some confidence – it just didn’t work here today. Our star striker Honza Trtilek came over at the end of the game to thank us… and offer us a 10% discount at Kaufland, for which we were grateful.

 

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On the way to the station we stopped in the Three Oranges and faced the unwelcoming atmosphere there for most likely our last time. One poor beer down and we jumped on the dining car for our last lager of the evening – taking us in to the beautiful sunset of  the Moravian autumn.

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TISNOV HAVE THE HORN – BLANSKO GET SHAFTED

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If you support a small club, you get used to there being ups and downs (or even quite big clubs – the lower leagues in England have several teams who were playing in the Premier League not so long ago, such as Portsmouth and Coventry City. And former league teams like York City, Stockport County and Darlington now play in the sixth tier). It’s something which you accept, as it is extremely difficult for a small club to punch above its weight for very long. The Klobasa have already seen two promotions and one relegation, and now we are on a downswing, and are probably facing going down again. Following relegation last season, Blansko lost a lot of their best players (including, it must be said, some who were the subject of our best songs) and have this season promoted last term’s successful youth team, with the obvious result of us having, with a few exceptions, a very young, inexperienced team. And it was this team that we came to see at Tisnov. The Klobasa were on a little high after seeing in our previous trip a decent performance and a one-nil win at Velka Biteš. But Ralph had a warning for us, as he was expecting a thumping. And so it came to pass.

I had made my way to Tisnov seperately, and the day started well enough when I found that I wouldn’t have to spend 50 minutes in the thoroughly unlovely town of Kuřím waiting for a connection. And I met up with the other Klobasas (and occasional guest Klobasa and Tisnov resident, Michal) in the centre (following a detour due to misunderstanding directions given (a salutary lesson for an English teacher). The walk to the ground involves a path under a tunnel of horrible creepiness, and then comes to a gate in a wall which brings to mind an entrance to allotments. Inside it’s not much better – the standard formula for a lot of grounds at this level (like Blansko) of the changies, bar, toilets etc in a building on one side, and main stand on the other. Although ‚stand‘ over-dignifies it, as seating capacity (unlike Blansko) is less than three figures, and barely two. And Ralph assured us (and he seems to know these things) that they were going to build a new stadium next door.

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To say things started badly was an understatement. Tisnov, who were fielding no less than seven former Blansko players (including the increasingly‚ circumferentially challenged Petr Svancara) were straight at it from the start, and it was little surprise when they went ahead after only three minutes, and a second was added after 13. It was quickly apparent that Blansko were totally outclassed and the priority was to prevent a rout. To add insult to Injury, Tisnov had thein own drummer, a strange little man who had a black curly wig (although no moustache, so this wasn’t some sort of Scouser homage), and a trumpet. (Our own Pav the Drummer has gone AWOL again, and is sorely missed. Pav, are you out there?). On our side of the pitch was someone with a vuvuzela (for those of you unfamiliar with this instrument, it’s a type of plastic horn which first made an appearance at the South Africa World Cup in 2010, and makes a horrible, mournful honking sound, and was promptly banned from British grounds, thank god.) and the two were making a call and response which was suggestive of sexually-frustrated geese. Tisnov added a third goal before half time, so that was game over, although in truth it had been from the third minute.

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The second half started where the first left off with Tišnov adding a fourth while Ralph and I were still getting the beers in. And of course it had to be Svancara who got it. And that was about it. Tišnov added a fifth later from a free kick, but they’d already stepped down a gear, so it meant FKB avoided too much humiliation.

So, not much to cheer about this time round. The new keeper had a bit of a nightmare against an excellent team, the defence well-nigh non-existent (oh for Standa Pišek to return!), and poor Honza Trtilek was ploughing a lone furrow up front. There was some promise – Dominik Smerda had a decent game considering. But not much else. Ah well. As Ralph says, it’s going to be a long hard season.

Blansko bite back in Velka Bites

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There has been a lot of change at FK Blansko. After experiencing the dizzy heights of the third tier, we now find ourselves back in Divize and without most of the players,  without our old manager and assistant and a few of our supporters. (Pav the drum still AWOL).

We have no idea of the exact amount, but the MSFL budget must have been huge last season and out have gone many of our star players. Some back to their parent clubs and others have even dropped down a league. With our main sponsors pulling the plug on the finances, the team is now made up of a couple of 30 and 40 year olds ( Wingy’s close to a call up) and the majority of our youth team. Of course, Honza Trtilek, Petr Gromsky and Jakub Splichal are still in town, but you get the feeling we’re very much experiencing a season of  consolidation.

At TBK we try and look at things positively and away trips are now closer, if that makes any sense. Sunday’s trip to Velke Bites was a 40 minute bus ride north of Brno and this allowing us to be back in time for tea…

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Velka Bites is a small town just of the main motorway connecting Brno and Prague. When I asked a friend about Bites, he told me that he met his wife in a pub there 23 years ago, so it has a lot of fond memories. With none of us on the look out for a wife, he could add no more information and my research brought up nothing of any interest, so off we went into the unknown. I did once stop there for an ice-cream though.

Myself and Craggy met up for a prematch pint at Brno’s main bus station. If any of you have ever been there, it’s a dark piece of brutalist architecture and not the place you would recommend meeting for a pint. But, we’re intrepid, see… so we made our way to the station cafe and ordered a couple of pints of Hauscrecht… a lovely local beer.

By the time the pivo had been downed, it was time to meet Wingy.  For those familiar with queues in the Czech Republic, they don’t really work like they do back home. People do queue, but the moment the bus turns up it becomes a scrum with a pensioner grabbing the front seat. The 14.30 (which incidentally Wingy claimed never existed) was no different. The story ended with us all getting a seat.

Upon arrival in Velka Bites, we did what we usually do, we headed to the nearest pub. Which was just opposite the bus stop. Perfect. What we should have done is explore a bit more as VB is full of pubs, there was one on every corner up to the ground – they all looked better than the one we stationed ourselves in.

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We made kick off. We always do. Grabbed a beer and positioned ourselves (and the flag) close to one of corner flags. To make the new boys feel at home, new chants have been invented, most of them about our new right back. (Wingy is eager to tell our readers that he taught Tomas Feik in nursery school). The poor kid is only 17yrs old and he probably doesn’t even know who Status Quo, Carl Douglas or the Beastie Boys are…Well, past tense… he does now.

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The game was settled in the 15minute, Honza picked up the ball just inside the Bites half and just ran and ran, a fortuitous ricochet presented the ball to Kratochvil who lifted the ball over the advancing keeper and into the back of the net. 1-0 Blansko!

We can’t actually say whether the goal was against the run of play or not, as quite frankly the standard of football was not high, but who are we to care when the goal presented us with our first 3 points of the season.

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At this point I could bore you with a detailed match report, but if the truth be told, I am writing this a week after the game and there was so little quality during the 90 minutes, it’s best if I leave it.

We took the applause from the players at the end of the game, the players came over for the high fives and the congratulations from us, it had been a good day out. And naturally in true Klobasa style we missed the first and the second bus home as we were celebrating 3 points with 3 pints. Up the Blansko.

MOM – Honza

Highlights – Great ground and a small town full of pubs.

Lowlights – The realisation it’s going to be a long season.