Saturday 8 November 2008

FC Predni Kopanina; Prague, Czech Republic

I spent an enjoyable Sunday morning visiting FC Predni Kopanina, once I worked out how to get there!
Here's my little write-up from the Tony Kempster forum:

"Sunday morning came, and it was a bit of a challenge...I hadn't reckoned with the Prague Sunday service bus timetables! I guess being a Londoner, & never having been a car driver, with no interest in learning, despite being sober, I'm totally spoilt by our superb public transport system in good old London town! Anyway, I decided to catch the Prague A1A league game at FC Predni Kopanina. This is on the edge of Prague, and not far from the airport. I check my, by now not so new, but trusty, map & headed for the end of the green line on the Metro. There are three Metro lines in Prague, A, B & C; all in three colours-red, yellow & green. Plus they cross at three strategic stations in the centre. It's very simple to follow. So I went to Dejvicka, at the end of the line, where I was hoping to get my bus to Predni Kopanina. But...they're about every two hours! And the next one wasn't until after the game started! So I jumped on the 119 bus to the airport, & hoped to pick one up going the other way. No luck, that had gone. It was twenty to ten now. I followed the roads on my map, fairly easy, but not helped by a little morning fog, and these were main roads, with no pavements some of the way. I presumed pedestrians were alowed to walk along the 'hard shoulder'/grass verg, there were no signs indicating no pedestrians, and it wasn't motorway. Anyway, I got away with it! The route was fairly straightforward, though & after taking time at cross junctions rather than panicking & rushing into a left or right, as is easy to do, I got there. It took about forty minutes, which suggests two miles or so. Not bad. The 'town' itself is only a village, & though part of the City of Prague, it's not really to me, as there's fields surrounding it, which makes it a small place in its own right. I checked the bus stop in the 'town'-yess THE bus stop, there's only one!-& I was in luck! The bus back to the centre was at 12.30! I took the small turning up to the ground, and the tannoy was blaring! Marvellous! Call me sad, but isn't there always a 'tingle of excitement' when you're on your way to a match at somewhere completely new? Or is it just me? I'll get my coat... ;-) I'd wrongly thought it was a 10.30 kick off, it was actually 10.15, and they were a few minutes late, so the whistle was just going as I got through the gate. A bargain 25Kc, with a free colour 12 page A5 programme. This was the first match I've been to where there were some spares lying around after, so I've got a four spare, anyone want one PM me & I'll chuck it in the post. There was a league table inside,Predni Kopanina were top, & were taking on lowly SK Aritima Praha, who were 14th out of sixteen. Now I'm not a 'proper' groundhopper, so I wasn't unduly concerned when it was 0-0 at half time, if it stayed like that I wasn't not going to 'tick ' the ground that's for sure! Some crazy folk have crazy rules! ;-) To be honest Predni Kopanani wasted a few chances, but didn't look outstanding top of the table material to me. In fact when they took the lead in the second half I felt a little sorry for Aritima, as they didn't quite deserve to be behind, as it was fairly even to me, but then the home team took control, and ran out 2-0 victors. It was an open ground, on s bit of a hill, with fields behind. Luckily it wasn't windy, or it would have been freezing, but it was still a bit nippy, as the morning fog took time to clear, the sun only breaking through in the second half. The entrance was behind the goal, with the club bar, changing rooms to the right. There was the 'tea bar' on the open paving in front. Not sure what Czech call 'tea bars'...sausage stalls I suppose. There's a bright red greasy, fatty one called kopassa, or kobassa, or similar! Delicious! With that grilled 'burnt black' taste on the outside! Trust me, it sounds nicer than my description! Walking left as you come in, there's a a childrens playground, and a narrow path, hardstanding down to the corner, and all the way down the side. It has a metal railing, with advertising hoardings down the side. There is a single row of bench seating down the side. You can't get behind the far goal, just netting to prevent the ball going into the field. Narrow open standing on the far side, no benches, with the dug outs, and then back to the open bar end. There's a balcony, where the game is being filmed, and it's wired up, so you watch it 'live' in the restaurant on the first floor! During the break music was played over the sound system,a mix of local, & English language. One of them was that song about a girl called alice... you know the one, ever popular, if you've ever been to a 'Millwall wedding'... Predni Kopanina play in red & blue stripes, a la Crystal Palace. And having grown up in a 'Millwall manor' I'm not too keen on 'crypled palarse'! So that song about a girl called Alice is always played at 'Millwall weddings' with the entire hall booming 'Palace, Palace! Who the F*** are Palace!' And that's was I was singing at half time today! ;-) Despite being basic, a delightful little ground, an entertaining enough game, and a thoroughly pleasant way to spend a Sunday morning! The crowd looked around the 120 mark."

The street sign which pointed me in the right direction, though Predni Kopanina was such a small place it wouldn't have been difficult to find.

It's uphill a little, up this sideroad. At the end of it you see the main club building.

This is the entrance to the ground.

As you enter there is a childrens' play area to the left.

Straight ahead is the pitch. That is fog in the background, not cloud!

And to the right is the clubhouse area, with changing rooms.

We turn left, going clockwise, the playground you've seen is behind this hedge.

There is no cover at this ground, and from the corner we look across to the far side.

Before moving along down this narrow side.

Benches running all the way down it.

From here we look back to behind the goal.

Before reaching the bottom corner.

There is no spectator standing behind this goal, with open fields behind it.

Again we look back to the clubhouse end.

It's halt time, so I can move behind the open goal & look back down the side, before moving to the other side.

Here, as the mist starts to lift, you can see how close the field actually is.

Narrow open standing on the far side, & the dug outs.

A hoarding advertising their website.

Another look at the dugouts, with a new housing development being built behind.

Just a narrow path on this side, no benches.

A tight squeeze behind the dugouts!

And now we look across to the club buildings, with the half time tombola being drawn on the pitch.

A glance back down the side.

These tables are outside the clubhouse. I'll bet it's really pleasant in warmer weather.

This is the view from up on the balcony that overlooks the pitch, from the clubhouse.

And a nice shot of the outdoor food & beer stand.

Another view from up here, looking across the pitch.

"D.J. Kopanina"...or whatever he calls himself!

This is the upstairs restaurant area. Note the camera through the door, & the live feed to the television!

This is the bar downstairs. Hopefully their colours owe more to Barcelona than Crystal Palace!

And here is an indoor seating area next to the bar. I actually like the picture!

This plaque was on the wall outside. Paying homage to club members who've passed away presumably. A nice touch.

Here is the food 7 beer stand, which did a steady business, including my sausage for breakfast!

A little close up, showing the kits.

Here you can see the fog has clearly lifted.

And that was the end of the game.

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