Jan 17 2011

Myjava v Trnava; a Slovak Security Convention

Published by at 8:16 pm under Domestic and tagged: , ,

James Baxter follows up the story on the riots in Zlin with details on what was required to maintain the peace at Trnava’s latest Tipsport (friendly) league match in the small provincial town of Mjyava, incredible:

Two photographs taken at Saturday’s Tipsport League match in Myjava between the hosts and Spartak Trnava adorn page 4 of Monday’s Šport. One shows Ľubomír Bernáth, Trnava’s skillful if unathletic forward, bringing the ball under control. The more striking image is of a large group of visiting fans attempting to follow the game from behind a high wire fence. They had been denied entry to the ground as the Myjava authorities enforced a ban on Trnava followers imposed by tournament organisers in the wake of serious trouble at their side’s game against Zlín in Luhačovice the previous week.

A closer look at that second photo is revealing. Given the reputation of Trnava fans and indeed the trouble a number of them caused in Luhačovice, you might expect to see a bunch of fearsome looking, tattoed skinheads. In fact, the image reveals only one or two people remotely like that and, in general, portrays pretty much the typical cross-section of the male football-going public (there don’t appear to be many women). There are middle-aged and oldish guys in anoraks and flat caps, fathers with young sons and a few teenagers. It’s hard to believe that hundreds of police-officers, some on horseback, fifty private security men, water cannons, a town-wide alcohol ban and a strict ID card system for buying tickets were needed to keep such a harmless-looking group under control. The undoubted truth is, as Myjava captain and former Trnava player Martin Černáček suggests, that the decent majority of Trnava fans are now suffering the consequences of what happened in Luhačovice. Černáček goes on to hope that Spartak followers will ‘learn a lesson’ from having been banned from watching their side in the Tipsport League.

The general manager of third-tier Myjava, Roman Vajaš, reckons that, if Saturday’s game had been played at the club’s main stadium, it would have attracted a bigger crowd than the 2,500 who turned up for the Slovak Cup quarter-final against Slovan Bratislava in the autumn. As it was, it took place on an artificial pitch at an enclosed training-ground, where a temporary stand had to be erected. Only people with local addresses were allowed to buy tickets, all of which (500 or so) were sold well in advance of the game. Besides the security measures deemed necessary to keep Trnava fans out, firemen with several extinguishers were also present inside the ground in case locked-out visitors attempted to lob flares or smoke-bombs (which could have damaged the pitch) over the fence.

If the action off the field sounds surreal, what took place on it was fairly mundane. Myjava took the lead after 17 minutes and, according to the Šport report, should have added an immediate second. But Bernáth equalised on the half-hour before the sides played out a goalless second half, leaving them joint top of the group with identical records. Bernáth, perhaps mindful of Šport’s rather unflattering picture of him, admits to not enjoying all the running he has to do in pre-season and pre-spring training but was full of praise for the playing conditions on offer in Myjava. The artificial pitch, he says, was just like a natural grass one and was a pleasure to play on.

Myjava, given their current lowly status in the Slovak football pyramid, have clearly done well to be selected to play in the Tipsport League and comments elsewhere from club officials suggest that they take participation as quite an honour. They will presumably be joined by competition organisers in hoping that their side’s result against Zlín in the final round of matches betters that achieved by Trnava against Zlaté Moravce. After all, the sight of mounted police, water cannons and the rest would hardly be welcome at the semi-final or final. Longer term, let’s continue to hope that something can be done about Trnava’s idiot element so that the decent fans can watch their team in peace whenever and wherever they want.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Myjava v Trnava; a Slovak Security Convention”

  1.   Iain Thomsonon 20 Jan 2011 at 1:59 am

    I’m a supporter of Baník Ostrava over here in CZ and have been to a fair few (mostly) away games in recent seasons, most (but not all) of the time going in the away end, so I can sympathise with what the Trnava fans are going through. Actually, I was in the away end when Dunajska Streda played away to Trnava in October 2008 as well, although that went off fairly smoothly…

    Isn’t Myjava’s participation in the TL largely due to their recently installed, heated all-weather pitch…?

  2.   James Baxteron 20 Jan 2011 at 9:32 am

    Yes, but this pitch is not at their main stadium, which I think holds 3,000 or so. I too sympathise with the genuine Trnava fans but have no sympathy whatever with the thuggish minority who attach themselves to the club. Because of them, the 2008 Cup Final between Trnava and Petrzalka, played in Zilina, was a thoroughly nasty occasion and frankly I don’t think that much has changed since.

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