Saturday 8 November 2008

SK Uhelne Sklady; Prague, Czech Republic

This ground was my first one in Prague, for my October 2008 visit. Once I found it I was pleasantly surprised to find an old, ramshackle ground. Here is the review I put on the Tony Kempster site:

"First up was a game from the A1A (top) division of the local Prague leagues, which I think makes it fifth level. SK Uhelne Sklady Praha v. SK Slavoj Vysehrad B. So that sets me against some of the 'proper hoppers' then...going to see a reserve team! ;-) I've bought a decent Prague street map at last, a book, rather than a less detailed fold up one, which should last me for a few more trips! Without it i wouldn't have found this ground, despite printing off a map from the internet. But find it I did, with ease. I didn't know what to expect, a railed off pitch, with maybe a small stand, if lucky. Well I was very lucky! An old terrace down one side, with about fifteen steps, the middle section having the clubhouse & changing rooms behind it. In the middle part of the 'terrace' were eight rows, I think it was, of three slat bench seating. The whole terrace, and some of the wooden benches, were a bit worse for wear, but 'character forming' rather than 'shabby'! Behind one goal there was nothing, just a wall. And the other end was open, a concrete path to stand on, which continued a little way down the side, as far as the penalty box. You couldn't go any further along, so couldn't stand behind the dugouts. It was 20 Kc to get in, with a 12 black & white A5 programme included, bar the colour in the cover, with the club badge on it. The league table told me that the home team were currently 6th, out of sixteen, with Vysehrad second to bottom, with only one win to their name. Clearly a home win was on the cards, & that's ow it turned out, in front of a crowd of about 55, my guestimate. Uhelne Sklady took the lead early on, and extended it, looking comfortably the better side, you could see why the Vysehrad players were stuck in their reserves! Having said that they did reduce the arrears, but there was only one outcome, as Uhelne Sklady restored their lead, before being given a slight fright, as their defence failed to get a tackle in as a visiting player took the ball down the wing, & shot, to score. But a free kick lofted over the box was nodded in to make it a clear 4-2 victory, in a match that was just as entertaining as the one I'd seen at Stansted last Tuesday in the Essex Senior League. "

When looking for a ground in a foreign city there's nothing more welcoming that the street sign you're looking for!

This was the entrance, you can see a small table by the entrance block, on the right, where you pay your admission.

This is the club building, with the ground set below it, on the other side. Note the clock on the right.

This was the poster for the game.

To the left of the clubhouse complex, as we entered, we see the pitch below.

I'd been sitting in the clubhouse, as it was a bit nippy outside, and just got out to catch the pre-match handshakes.

To the left you can see there is nothingbehind the goal.

To the right you can see the seats under the overhang from the clubhouse building.

A closer view of behind the goal. Behind the wall & fencing is not part of the ground. Note the man in black doing something like tai chi!

From this corner we look up & get our first decent view of the terracing.

Here we see a little bit of goalmouth action from this area.

The terracing appeared in blocks, like these.

With the benches in the middle sections.

The game progresses as I snap the ground.

Here we look down from the back of the benches.

And here we see the terrace from the other end of it.

The same angle, but i've moved closer to the middle.

In the corner was a path around the top, from where I took this photo.

From where there were these steps to the hardstanding behind the goal.

Moving behind the goal we get a good shot of the stand and terrace.

The path continues round the corner, but not all the way along.

The dugouts are further down the side, but you can't stand by them.

The path only going a third of the way along.

From this corner we look across to the main side.

Now I've gone back round to the seats, & am on the benches on the halfway line.

I then move back behind the goal to get another angle of the stand, with the game still going on.

A bit of goalmouth action.

Before moving back up into the stand before the match ends.

The players climb up to the chsanging rooms, some stopping to chat!

And when's the last time you saw an old fashioned stretcher like that at a game in England?

On the way out I notice that the 'old bill' aren't too popular here either! ;-)

AFK Olympia Seberov; Prague, Czech Republic.

I visited AFK Olympia Seberov in October 2008, for a local Prague League A2A division match, with Loko Vltavin B, which finished 2-2. An all-weather pitch, with very basic spectator facilities. It's luck of the draw when travelling abroad what sort of ground you get, and although the standard was very low, the match was entertaining enough.
Here is my little piece I posted on the Tony Kempster forum:

"Next up was a change of plan, thanks to my new map, if I wanted to get to Sparta Praha in the evening. There were no afternoon A1A Prague League games this afternoon, so I dropped a division below, but instead of Sokol Nebusice I saw AFK Olympia Seberov v. Loko Vltavin B. Being 'greedy' for grounds I was initially disappointed when I got off the bus from the Metro, & saw it was a railed off pitch, with no spectator facilities. How selfish! And I realised I had no such thoughts when I went to Worcester Park a couple of seasons ago! This was on an all-weather pitch, their only pitch. It looked quite new, & I think, from a sign in Czech, that it was installed in 2007, '08. There's a railing down one side, with hard standing, dugouts in the middle, and the changing rooms, part of the new pitch development behind, & the old bar set next to that, just behind. No programme, & no admission, I did a rough count, and made it about 25 spectators. The match itself? Hmm....Kent County League standard, I'd say. A 2-2 draw in the end, the finish of which I saw from the bus stop across the road (I could still see both goals!) as the match had kicked off late-by nine minutes!Why?- and just as the final whistle went my bus pulled up! I wouldn't have been too bothered at missing the end, but it's nice to know what the score was! The home side took the lead, with a superb volley that belied the lowly level, though the 'big boot' from the back showed that us English have no monopoly on the long ball, in fact the centre half would have fitted perfectly into the Hamlet Supporters' Team, such was his mastery of it! I lost count of the yellow cards in this match, they were handed out like crackers on christmas day, but only one red card, to one of the Loko side,towards the end of the first period. Star of the first half for me was a rotund number five for the home side, who certainly had a belly on him, but also a fair bit of skill, though he wasn't fit enough to come out for the second half! When Seberov went two up it should have been the proverbial 'game over', but not long before the break they pulled one back, to make for a decent second half, where it was hard to notice they were down to ten men. With about ten minutes left their battling was rewarded with their equaliser. "

The new looking building on the left houses the changing rooms, thesmaller white one on the right is the clubhouse.

it seemed strange to be watching Everton versus Manchester United on the box, in a small, obscure Czech football ground!

There were a number of scarves around the walls...& one for the rock band Iron Maiden!

This is the actual bar.

There is hard standing down one side only.

The railed off area ends at the corner.

Tucked behind this corner is an old wooden training goal! I wonder when that was lasted used?

This was on the wall of the changing rooms, presumably explaining the funding for the new facilities and pitch.

This is just behind the dugouts, with the pitch clearly railed off for the length of this side.

The usual pre-match pleasantries, being filmed by one of the visiting bench. Not the largest of camcorders, but bigger than the small handheld ones you see. it got me thinking of that sketch on 'Only Fools & Horses', when Delboy got a job-lot of dodgy Russian cameras!

Here are the dugouts, as i leant over, pitchside.

A bit of action from the match.

Here is the tubby Seberov player. He'd just been fouled, and the benches weren't too happy!

Looking down the railing, and some of the small crowd.

Down the far side there is no path, but small grass banking, which you could stand on.

Looking along the same side, but from the other end.

And as a corner is taken we get a good view of the facilities on the far side.

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.