Mar 08 2011

Slovan Bratislava 4-0 Tatran Presov

Published by at 10:10 pm under Domestic and tagged: , , ,

Vstante, ked’ ste belasi


On-the-field action returned to the Slovak capital for the first time since 27th November 2010.  As the autumn season came to a close what seems like an age ago, the relationship between Slovan Bratislava and their fans had deteriorated to such an extent that attendances were plummeting at an equally alarming rate as the 2008/09 Champions’ league position – a lowly 5th after 18 games raising real concerns over even the minimum return of Europa League qualification, in reality the fans round here want Championships and Champions League qualifications.

It is hard to pinpoint exactly went wrong during the first half of the season.  The club was probably on a hiding to nothing with the fans after failing, for the second consecutive season, to announce any firm plans over a renovation or new build of the beloved Tehelne Pole.  The fans dislike of their current temporary home coupled with poor league performances and elimination before the group stage of the Europa League meant that much hard work was required by those with Slovan in their hearts, both on and off the pitch.

As the spring season starts, evidence of that hard work is plentiful.  A former Belasa Slachta member has been employed as PR manager of the football club and will be working as a direct liason with the fans.  This shows that the club have surely realised the effect the fans have over their players’ performances.  With the leaders seemingly pointing in the same direction, much hard work is still needed by Belasa Slachta.  Slovan potentially have a large and passionate following, they just need to distance themselves from the unpleasant element and concentrate on supporting their team through good and bad times.

As far as the players are concerned, they have been working harder than ever during the close season.  Altitude training camps and a testing friendly program appear to have been judged just right to bring the best out of a strong squad this spring.

speaking of altitude training camps, I'll have a beer & a hot dog please!

I arrived just in time for the match, paid my €4 entry and rushed up a random flight of stairs, seeing the players walking out I figured better run back down the stairs, grab a beer [€1.20] and head for an area just to the side of this week’s ‘kotol’ the ‘ultras’ section, which had been migrating to different parts of Pasienky, before finally disintegrating completely at the end of 2010.

kotol returns

 

Now, I’d bought my flag all the way from Holland and was determined to hang it for the first time at this match.  I have two ‘Britski Belasi’ flags, one of which is a Slovakia flag intended to show my support for the National Team and Slovak players around Europe.  The other is a Union Jack that was made while Britski Belasi was nothing more than a catch phrase for a British lad who wanted to start following his local team in Bratislava.  Now I’ve learned a lot since then and the image of a Union Jack is perhaps not to everyone’s taste, however I am proud of it and the embroidery work that went into the Slovan badge is too good to leave it collecting dust.  So I hopped down over a few rows of seats and hung the flag off the fence.  Seemingly unnoticed, I hopped back, took a big gulp of my beer and observed from a distance.  Job done, like it or not, I’m happy with it, this is my first flag and it will follow me on my travels with Slovan.

Vstante, ked’ ste belasi

 

 

"Leave your heart on the pitch", or just to the side of it ;-)

 

I’d managed all this and the match still hadn’t kicked off, the only thing I wasn’t aware of was the reaction, if any, given by the Slovan fans to Presov coach Ladislav Pecko, the last Championship winning coach of Slovan who was consequently sacked, in 2009.  I’d read that they wanted to acknowledge him, and the atmosphere was certainly friendly on this sunny Saturday afternoon.

plenty more gools this season please

 

Presov brought a travelling support of 9 [nine] including two flags, positioned up in the far corner in the ridiculously fenced away section [the fences remain after the Crvena Zvezda game and haven’t been touched since, it seems].  Slovan fans certainly weren’t bothered about the away support, or the away team for that matter.  Not one anti-Presov song was heard, I think these teams quite like each other.

this one's for you, Mr Last

The match quickly settled into a pattern, Slovan dominating possession and showing their superiority as they would have expected to do against a Presov team who struggle on the road.  An early penalty was awarded after a fairly soft-looking push, Slovan captain Igor Zofcak eventually scoring from the rebound after his original effort was saved.  As Zilina discovered last week though, Presov are no mugs, and they showed some threatening signs on the counter attack.  Either Presov were off the pace today, or Slovan’s defence was functioning perfectly, but any attack by the visitors ended with an offside flag, it must have been frustrating for Pecko and the nine fans up in the far corner.

Slovan’s second came from a header by Kresimir Kordic, I think the cross was supplied by Zofcak, most things were going through him at this stage.  Kordic, together with Akos Szarka formed an unfamiliar looking strike-force for the home team.  Szarka worked hard and showed some good touches, it seems like Slovan have plenty of strength in the attacking department.

More noteworthy for myself though were the performances in Slovan’s midfield.  Zofcak looked assured and led by example, excellent technique, creative and prepared to shoot from distance.  Based on this performance, James Baxter’s case for Karim Guede to be recognized as one of the most consistent performers in the Corgon Liga in recent seasons cannot be disputed. The player with Togolese routes is on the verge of gaining Slovak citizenship and will be a welcome addition to the National team if and when that is finally sorted.  At 26 he seems to be in the form of his life.

Guede strides forward

With new signing Marko Milinkovic, Erik Grendel & Filip Kiss all fighting for places in the midfield and a solid defence even without Dosoudil, Slovan’s squad looks to be in good shape, possibly worrying for a Zilina side now fighting to hold on to top spot without established players Tomas Oravec, Robert Jez and Mario Pecalka who all left in the winter.  When Filip Sebo came off the bench for Slovan midway through the second half, it was fantastic to see him add two more goals to a game that had become too comfortable for Slovan and had threatened to peter out.  Four-nil probably a fair reflection of a comfortable afternoon for Slovan.

4-0 thanks very much

As the sun went down beyond the distant floodlights of Tehelne Pole, Slovan fans were obviously content with their team’s performance.  The emotion when they sing for Tehelne Pole is impressive and it’s the only time when other sections of the stadium join the singing.

 

"Tehlne Pole, Tehlne Pole, Tehlne Poleeee .. repeat until fade"

Six points still separate Slovan from Zilina at the top, and after their 0-5 win at Nitra, Senica have to be considered ever more serious title contenders.  However, as quickly as a side can drop in Slovakia, it can rise again, and while the fans will never accept Pasienky as home, it could yet be the scene of a minor miracle this spring.

 

plenty more seats to be filled here

As acknowledged in this morning’s Sport by Igor Zofcak and Martin Dobrotka, the players really recognize the support of the fans.  For the first time at this stadium, before leaving the pitch, the players came over to the fans to join in the ‘emotivnu choreografiu’ –

“ Vstante, ked’ ste belasi // Stand-up if you’re belasi ”

I was certainly standing.

Attendance: 2,515

 

9 responses so far




9 Responses to “Slovan Bratislava 4-0 Tatran Presov”

  1.   James Baxteron 08 Mar 2011 at 11:53 pm

    All this good form and optimism at Slovan is worrying but didn’t stop me enjoying the article. Great read.

    This Szarka ; is he the one who was with Petrzalka in the autumn? Very tall with quite a bit of pace? If so, I’m even more worried. With Halenar, Dosoudil Obzera etc etc to come back, it’s a very strong squad. An interesting two or three months ahead…

  2.   Stary Jazvecon 09 Mar 2011 at 3:03 am

    Arent Belasa Slachta a bunch of wannabe neo-Nazis tho?

    There was an interesting dynamic when Kmotrik decided that Slovan wld b his new play thing and he stole our first team. Not all of the players were accepted by the fans, indeed Slovan – Zalka at Pasienky last season was boycotted until half time and the faithful unfurled a massive banner telling Kozak Jnr. to f*ck off to Trnava, which I had to sympathise with. If all the Belasa Slachta are now rooting for Karim Guede, then maybe something good has come out of if all.

  3.   britskibelasion 09 Mar 2011 at 9:46 am

    Dobre ranko Jazvec, I know there is that history and there are / have been sections of Slovan’s support who are that way inclined. I think Belasa Slacha is evolving. On Saturday the group was really not much more than a hundred or so kids, really nothing sinister about it at all. There were no abusive or offensive songs to anyone and that was reported as such in yesterday’s Sport.

    This is all part of the communication between club and fans. Trying to rebuild the mutual respect and I think that’s why some of the players went public this week – to show that this is the way they would like it to continue. I may be missing something, but this is why I started at Slovan v Presov, a relatively friendly fixture. I still have an open mind and will also distance myself from anything unpleasant. The cup semi final against Trnava or the upcoming league fixture with DAC may be a good indication of progress, if any, that has been made. Although the hooligans will always come out for these type of fixtures, we all know that.

    I’m also aware of the Slovan – Petrzalka recent history and that obviously still wrangles in many quarters. However we cannot live in the past forever, and the timing of my arrival and interest in Slovan meant I just missed all those Kmotrik-related antics.

    I have a fresh and open mind and I like Slovan’s squad, I like a lot of what I saw of their support at Ajax, at Crvena Zvezda and at home against Presov on Saturday. We’ll see how things continue.

    And in between, I’ll be heading to a few Petrzalka games too.
    Cheers for the comment!

  4.   James Baxteron 09 Mar 2011 at 10:36 am

    Yes, I think the neo-Nazi aspect has been and perhaps still is a problem at Slovan but, even with no great love for Slovan as a club, I like to think that some sort of change in attitude is going on. I’ve written it elsewhere but when Slovan came to Zilina in July, it was Zilina fans involved in racist chanting. And I’ve seen Confederate flags – never a good sign, I feel – at Petrzalka too.

    Things are dynamic and I don’t feel it is right these days to lump all the ‘their fans are Nazis’ stuff on one club.

  5.   James Baxteron 09 Mar 2011 at 11:45 am

    Jazvec, good point about Kozak though. Wasn’t the point there that, when he was at Petrzalka, he was quoted as saying that he didn’t like Slovan, the fans were thugs etc? As I recall, he didn’t have too much of a moral conscience later when it came to accepting Kmotrik’s loot and joining Slovan. But the fans hadn’t forgotten and ultimately, I guess we can say, hounded him out. Very elegant player but a foot-in-mouth interviewee.

    Sorry to bang on about the neo-Nazi stuff but I recently found an interesting comment to the European Football Weekends article ( I personally found the article itself a bit of a whitewash) on Trnava last autumn. The EFW lot were with the home ultras, some of whom became a bit suspicious and hostile. This guy explained that he and his mates were groundhoppers, bloggers etc and were from all over the place, including Israel. One Trnava ultra, with the chap’s best interests at heart, suggested he keep that particular fact quiet.

    We can draw our own conclusions from that, I guess, but I took the story as vindication of my own instinct to steer clear of ultra groups. I have no wish to dance, sing, have a good laugh etc with people whose ideology is hateful to me. Not saying all such groups have such ideologies (a lot publically espouse tolerance)but still, when I don’t know, my logic goes, best be safe and steer clear. This also goes part way to explaining why I love going to Dubnica. There, it’s just a bunch of people, a drink, a laid-back atmosphere, no pressure, no hostility and usually plenty of nice football too.

  6.   Danny Laston 09 Mar 2011 at 2:33 pm

    @James – I’ve only just read that comment underneath the Trnava post on EFW, and I had no idea that any of that had happened.

    Unless I know a group or some its members personally, I will nearly always observe ultras from afar. That day was different as we’d been invited by an official from the club who was with us on that stand. As we were such a big group that day, people inevitably went their seperate ways.

    A few mates and I were getting on famously with the home fans around us. It was only then that I stood back and took a few photos.

    There was no neo-Nazi stuff or talk of hateful ideology from the fans I was with. Just clinking of beer glasses and songs. Otherwise, I’d have been out of there like a shot. You can only speak as you find I guess.

    And on a lighter note – Thanks a million for the floodlight photo, Dan.

  7.   Stary Jazvecon 09 Mar 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I take your point that nobends attach themselves to all clubs. As far as Petrzalka goes, there has never been an ultra fan group at the club. By which I mean a group looking for fights. In 15 years of sporadic attendance I can count on the fingers of one hand violence at games involving Petrzalka fans.

    There is now, however,a younger group who have recently started coming to matches and decided that they are the hardcore fans. This group has decided to call itself “Engerau”, which the club was briefly called during the Nazi occupation of Petrzalka, and uses German slogans. I have also noted links to antisemitic, white power bands on their facebook page. Obviously this is rather unfortunate and distressing. What can you do? Improve the level of education in Slovak schools,? Talk to the parents? I dont know.

  8.   Stary Jazvecon 09 Mar 2011 at 4:02 pm

    …and obviously the most disappointing thing is that his is not an issue for the club itself or they are blissfully oblivious to it.

  9.   James Baxteron 10 Mar 2011 at 1:46 am

    Danny,

    Speak as you find indeed. I do agree there. Your experience of Trnava was different from mine, as well as Chris’s but all are valid. The word ‘whitewash’, given that, is probably unfair and anyway nothing will change what I think of EFW. Few sites do a better job of highlighting cultural differences for a start.

    The snipey tone of my comment can be put down partly to one or two unpleasant experiences at other games involving Trnava. I’ve already written on here about these so not much point reiterating.

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