Jun 23 2011

12 Years on: A Tribute to Peter Dubovsky

Published by at 8:07 pm under Domestic,Guest and tagged:

Absolutely delighted to welcome Ralph Davies back to the site with a very fitting tribute to one of Slovakia’s greatest ever footballers, Peter Dubovsky, on the 12th anniversary of his tragic death:

The first and the only time I saw Peter Dubovsky play was 8th September 1993 in Cardiff. He was part of a talented Czech and Slovak team that were challenging for a place at USA 94 . In the 67th minute, Czech giant Tomas Skuhravy won a free kick (Eric Young never touched him) about 40yards from Neville Southall’s goal. At that moment in the game,  I remember turning to my friend and saying there was no way the RCS could score from there, firstly we had Big Nev in goals and secondly it really was „miles out“.  Up stepped the RCS number 10 and smacked it straight into the top corner. It was  a stunning free kick and I am sure if it had been scored by a bigger nation, we would still be seeing it on our tv screens now.

Peter Dubovsky was quite simply an outstanding footballer and tragically taken from us on June 23rd 2000. The Slovak forward, who had been climbing with his brother, died when he jumped from a 10 metre high waterfall while holidaying in Ko Samui, Thailand. He hit his head on the rocks below and died almost immediately, he was 28yrs old.

12 years on and he is still fondly remembered as the greatest of all Slovak footballers by fans and his fellow professionals. Peter broke onto the Czechoslovak scene as a 17yr old striker at Slovan Bratislava and two years later was a full international making his debut after the world cup in 1990. At 20 he won the Czechoslovak golden boot having scored 27 goals in one season (this included a scoring streak of 18 goals in just 14 games), a quite incredible amount in a league not known for high-scoring games. The following season he „only“ managed 24 goals including Slovan’s only goal in a UEFA cup game against world giants, Real Madrid. Scouts flocked to Tehelne Pole and Slovan were to receive two serious offers from two of the big players in European football, Ajax Amsterdam and Real Madrid. When Peter Dubovsky turned down Ajax in favour of Spain, they signed up a young Jari Litmanen, that says everything about his talent.

Dubovsky in action for Oviedo in 1999

In his first season at the Bernebau,  „Dubak“ played 25 games scoring 1 goal , but  a year later and following the emergence of Raul Gonzales found himself out of the first team picture and on his way out of Madrid. In his final season he managed just 6 games scoring 1 goal. However, he stayed in Spain and spent  5 years at Real Oviedo , while continuing to  regularly turn out for his beloved Slovakia, managed by former Celtic and Aston Villa manager Dr Josef Venglos.

I found an article where Venglos compared the loss of Dubovsky to when Manchester United lost Duncan Edwards when he said „ The fans and the players loved this man like Man Utd fans loved Duncan Edwards.He will be remembered as a legend of Slovakian sport. It is so sad that he was never able to fulfil his potential.“ Like many Slovaks he was deeply affected by his  death.

Lubos Moravcik , a close friend and Slovak teammate tells a story of  the RCS playing an inform Romanian team in Kosice. The Romanians had arrived in Slovakia expecting to win and with the scores level at 2-2 and the RCS down to ten men, Dubovsky scored a hat-trick which Moravcik described as „the best hat-trick I ever saw“ and that Dubovsky had made Hagi and co look ordinary.

The legend lives on in Slovakia with an award for the the best Slovak u21 player, bearing the name of Peter Dubovsky. It was created in the search for players who have the same qualities and  the current stars of Slovak football, Hamsik, Weiss and Stoch have all won the trophy.

Even now, his boyhood team Slovan Bratislava hang a flag with his picture at home and away matches.

Dubovsky Flag next to ours at Senica away

The  greatest shame is the game lost a player perhaps approaching the peak of career and a footballer that was not only the best  ever Slovak footballer, but one of the best Europe has ever produced.

The final word goes to Josef Venglos  who summed Peter Dubovsky up perfectly when he said „ Peter Dubovksy was a Slovak, who played like a Brazilian“.

Follow Ralph on Twitter as he follows the ups and downs of Czech & Slovak football

19 responses so far




19 Responses to “12 Years on: A Tribute to Peter Dubovsky”

  1.   Georgeon 24 Jun 2011 at 1:37 am

    Grande Peter, en España nunca te olvidaremos. M da pena que el Madrid no brillaras mas pero pudimos verte mejor en Oviedo. Aun recuerdo las alineaciones, tu figura y tu juego. Vives en todos nosotros¡¡¡

  2.   James Baxteron 24 Jun 2011 at 10:31 am

    Great piece Ralph. Cheers. I’d been in the CR around a year when he died. It was obviously well-covered there, not that I understood much of the coverage at the time. Wish I’d seen him play, though.

    On a more frivolous note, the idea that Eric Young ‘never touched’ someone made me smile.

    And on a totally unrelated theme, congrats on Swansea’s promotion. Just hope they can defy the patronising ‘the new Blackpool’ crap.

  3.   Ralphon 24 Jun 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for the comments on the article and the congratulations. Looks like we may struggle as our defence seems to be ‘chasing the dollar” , but I will enjoy our season there.

    Apologies for posting a non-Slovak video, but this is one from the archive for you, James…I remember it like it was yesterday :-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=watY71JBkGg

  4.   Seven of the Best #1 « MIRKO BOLESANon 24 Jun 2011 at 6:59 pm

    [...] win overed (2)! And from just over the border in Slovakia britskibelasi has a lovely piece on Peter Dubovsky (3) who sadly passed away in his [...]

  5.   Dubo en el corazónon 25 Jun 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Verano de 1995, tras 2 años logrando una más que meritoria 9ª posición en Liga con el serbio Radomir Antic en el banquillo, el Real Oviedo perdía además de al entrenador, que se iría al Atletico de Madrid para ganar el “doblete” (Liga y Copa del Rey) a varias piezas basicas como Robert Prosinecki o Slavisa Jokanovic. A cambio, la directiva fichaba a varios jugadores de dudosa calidad que no aportaron nada, a excepción de uno, Peter Dubovsky, un eslovaco que aunque no habia demostrado demasiado en el Real Madrid, se le suponia talento y condiciones para convertirse en una pieza importante. La temporada, como se suponia pasó con más pena que gloria, pero sin excesivo sufrimiento para mantener la categoría, sin embargo algo llamó la atención de los aficionados desde la primera jornada de liga, ese eslovaco llegado desde el Santiago Bernabeu con una clase fuera de lo normal, pocas veces vista en esos años en el estadio Carlos Tartiere. Comenzaba así la trayectoria en el Real Oviedo de uno de los jugadores mas queridos y recordados para siempre en la historia del club. Dubo, como se le empezó a conocer tanto en el vestuario como en la grada era un tipo peculiar, un chaval tranquilo y despreocupado, a veces demasiado y quizas por eso nunca llegó a explotar del todo el grandísimo talento que guardaba dentro. Esa actitud le hacia ser imprevisible, podia hacer un partido perfecto y los 2 siguientes encuentros pasarselos sin apenas tocar la pelota, algo que en ocasiones le valia las reprimendas de una grada que sabia que si a algun jugador del equipo habia que exigirle más, era a Dubo, porque él era el que más tenia para ofrecer. Fueron 5 las temporadas que Dubovsky estuvo en el equipo, algunas más dificiles que otras, como la 97/98 en la que el equipo se salvó del descenso jugando una eliminatoria ante la UD Las Palmas, en la que Peter fue clave, con una gran actuación en el primero de los partidos. Durante ese tiempo goles de todas las clases, de falta directa, de penalty, en jugada personal, de cabeza o con cualquiera de las 2 piernas que manejaba a la perfección. Pero todo eso acabó un 23 de junio de 2000, cuando la noticia de su trágica muerte fué un auténtico mazazo para el Real Oviedo y sus aficionados, ninguno queriamos creer que Dubo no volvería a vestirse la camiseta azul, ni estrenaría el Nuevo Carlos Tartiere, el estadio que el club inauguró ese mismo año. De ese mazazo podriamos decir que ni el Real Oviedo ni sus aficionados aun no se han recuperado, como si los destinos del club y del eslovaco se unieran desde entonces, el club comenzó a vivir los peores años de su historia desde que se fundó en 1926, esa temporada se descendió a 2ª división y 2 años mas tarde una temporada desastrosa acabó con el equipo descendiendo 2 categorias en una misma temporada, a 2ªB al acabar en penultima posición y posteriormente a 3ª division por primera vez en la historia debido a los graves problemas económicos. Un ascenso posterior para volver a descender y la muerte de Armando Barbon, otro jugador del Real Oviedo en un accidente de tráfico completan las desgracias del club. Y ahora en 2011, 11 años despues de aquel triste verano, el Real Oviedo sigue vivo y luchando por volver a dónde se merece, dónde lo dejó Peter cuando se marchó y dónde le gustaría estar viendolo desde el cielo, seguro que nos echará una mano y desde ahí arriba empujará como un oviedista más para que así sea, aquí nadie le olvida, su camiseta con su nombre y el número 10 jamás ha dejado de verse entre los aficionados, porque hace 11 años se nos fué un ídolo, una gran persona y un excelente futbolista pero nació un mito para el Oviedismo: PETER DUBOVSKY

  6.   James Baxteron 27 Jun 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Bit of nostalgia there with the Baggies-Swansea clips. Bad bad day – but the post-match demos at least spurred the board into funding the signing of ‘Super’ Bob Taylor. So perhaps not all bad.
    Don Goodman had not long left then, of course ; one or two other clips linked there reminded me of what a good player he was. Interesting how empty the ground looked on the clips – the Brummie Road terrace never felt that empty when you were standing on it, even with a crowd of 12,000 odd (as I think there was for that particular match).

    Guess next season’s fixtures will be ‘must-win’ (another tired cliche) for both clubs. With Hodgson having a pre-season with Albion, I’m reasonably confident they’ll have at least learned how to defend.

  7.   Estojaon 27 Jun 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Great article Ralph.

    Peter Dubovsky is still very much remembered not only in Oviedo but in whole Spain. He really played some great seasons in Oviedo and I remember his death as a huge shock for the whole Spanish football. It is still amazing to see in Bratislava when Slovan plays that they still remember him (as you show in your picture).

    Google translation to the spanish text is not that bad. I anyway did it myself as well and I hope is at least a bit better:

    “Summer of 95, after 2 years achieving a more than meritorius 9th position in League with Serbian Radomir Antic on the bench, Real Oviedo lost not only his trainer, who moved to Atlético de Madrid to win the double (League and Cup) but also other key players like Robert Prosinecki or Slavisa Jokanovic.
    The board brought then some new players of doubtable quality that contributed with nothing, except one, Peter Dubovsky, a Slovak that, although had not shown much at Real Madrid, was supposed to have talent and conditions to become a key part. The season, as supposed, went with more pity than glory, but without much suffering to stay in the league. But what took the attention of the fans since the first round was this Slovak who came from Santiago Bernabeu with an outstanding class, very seldom seen at that time in Carlos Tartiere Stadium. That way began the trajectory in Real Oviedo of one of the most loved and remembered players in the history of the club. Dubo, how he was known in the changin room and in the stands was a peculiar guy, quiet and easygoing, sometimes too much, and maybe because of that he never managed to show the great talent that he was keeping inside. His attitude made him be unpredictable, he could do a perfect match only to spend the 2 next ones without touching a ball, what made the fans get angry with him at times because they knew that if there was a player in the team that could be asked for more, that was Dubo, who was the one who had more to offer. It was 5 seasons that he remained in the team, some of them more difficult than the others, like season 97/98 in which the team avoided relegation after a play-off against UD Las Palmas, in which Peter was key, with a great performance in the first leg.
    While his time at the team, all sorts of goals, free kicks, penalty shoots, personal play, headers or with any of both legs, that he mastered perfectly. But it all finished on 23rd of June 2000, when the news of his tragic death came as a real blow to Real Oviedo an his supporters, none of us wanted to believe that Dubo wouldn’ wear the blue t-shirt, and wouldn’t play for the first time in the New Carlos Tartiere, the stadium that the club opened that same year.
    We can say that neither Real Oviedo nor his fans have still recovered from that blow. As if the fates of the club and the Slovak got together since then, the club began to live the worst years of its history since being founded in 1926. On that season came relegation to second league and 2 years later a desastrous season saw two relegations in one season, 1st one on the pitch and 2nd one due to financial trouble, that way the team was for the 1st time in the history in the 4th category (Tercera División). A promotion and another relegation and the death of Armando Barbón in a car accident (another player) brought more misfortune to the club. Now in 2011, 11 years after that sad summer, Real Oviedo is still alive and fighting to come back to where it deserves, where Peter left it when he left and where he would like to see it from heaven, sure he will help us and from there he will push like one oviedista more so that it happens like that. Nobody has forgotten him and you can still see a lot of number 10 t-shirts between the fans, because 11 years ago a here left, a great person and an outstanding player but a mythos was born for the Oviedismo: PETER DUBOVSKY”

  8.   Ralphon 27 Jun 2011 at 7:56 pm

    That’s a fantastic article.. Apart from the youtube videos, it’s hard to find anything on Peter Dubovsky’s time at Oviedo. Thanks for the translation.

  9.   Stary Jazvecon 28 Jun 2011 at 12:58 am

    I dont like to be a nay-saying quibbler but, for the sake of debate, “the greatest of all Slovak footballers?” Evidently a prodiguously talented footballer and the first big-money Slovak transfer to a mega-club. But in the end, he didnt make it at Madrid and what did he actually win? Not much. Unfortunate to have had to play in a weak Slovan side and a weak national side, and to have fallen to his death in his prime off a waterfall but there you go, you wanna be the greatest, think you have to win stuff.

  10.   britskibelasion 28 Jun 2011 at 10:23 am

    Who do you reckon is the greatest then Jazvec? Filip Sebo?! He won the double last season ;-)

  11.   James Baxteron 28 Jun 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Jan Popluhar would have to be a prime candidate – he’s also another Slovan great.

    I don’t like these ‘greatest ever’ type debates to be honest. Comparing eras is notoriously difficult and making judgements based on international honours is plainly ridiculous given that there are those like Best and Giggs (generally acclaimed as ‘great’) who have never even featured in a World Cup.

    Was Popluhar (who played in a final after all) just ‘lucky’ that he happened to be around at the same time as other Czechoslovak legends?

    God knows, to be honest. All I can say is that I can identify closely with this article on the grounds that the author once saw Dubovsky play and his performance resonated. Arguing that (say) Popluhar was greater would be an academic exercise based on viewing TV footage and reading the record-books.

  12.   StaryJazvecon 30 Jun 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Mainly, as a rugged slow defender type myself, I dont like all these flash c*nts getting the adulation. So, I vote whoever was centrehalf in ’76.

  13.   StaryJazvecon 30 Jun 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Apropos of nothing, I see Nike bookies are going to be sticking some cash into Slovan. Thanks to ifutbal for the heads-up that Nike bookies and the Sport daily are owned by the same people. Expect an avalanche of bullshit articles about how Kmotrik is going to rebuild TP with his own money and how there is no money to be made from Slovak football and I guess he just does it for the love. Its a real estate play, same as Petrzalka…

  14.   James Baxteron 30 Jun 2011 at 5:24 pm

    ‘Expect an avalanche of bullshit articles about how Kmotrik is going to rebuild TP with his own money…’

    And less coverage of last minute handball goals? After all, the Kmotrik-owned TA3 gave no hint that the Dobrotka goal at Nitra last season was even just a tad dubious…

  15. [...] comes as welcome news to the fans of the club desperate for Champions League qualification, but [judging by comments drifting off-topic at the bottom of this article] is apparently less than pleasing to fans of other clubs in [...]

  16.   Stary Jazvecon 07 Jul 2011 at 3:45 pm

    You BB guys do a good job, but the Daily Kmotrik just keeps raising the journalistic quality bar:

    http://www.denniksport.sk/article/180136/hamsik-pripraveny-odmietnut-ponuku-city

  17.   Seven of the Best #1 - Spirit of Mirkoon 09 Oct 2011 at 11:03 pm

    [...] win covered (2)! And from just over the border in Slovakia britskibelasi has a lovely piece on Peter Dubovsky (3) who sadly passed away in his [...]

  18. [...] As with any historical success, there’s a sense of poignancy in the recounting of these events. The Czechoslovak league continued for just one more season, and Sparta won its final edition, finishing five points clear of city rivals Slavia. Slovan were a further point behind, in third place. Despite some serious talk over the last couple of years of reviving the federalcompetition, it now seems certain that it will remain only a part of history. Slovan fans, meanwhile, will be far less bothered by their team’s (admittedly disappointing) third-placed finish in this season’s Corgoň Liga than by the continued sorry state of Tehelné pole. If you can look at pictures of the ground (there’s a lovely one in Saturday’s Šport) with full stands and joy on the faces of the fans without feeling sentimental, you’re either a hardened cynic ornot a football fan. Then, of course, there is the tragic story of Dubovský, arguably Slovak football’s greatest ever talent, beautifully related by Ralph Davies for Britski Belasi last year. [...]

  19.   Fat Eckon 07 Jun 2012 at 11:41 am

    Just followed James’ redirection to this piece and thoroughly enjoyed it, Ralph.

    Utterly ashamed to say I knew nothing of Peter Dubovsky before reading this and now, having handed back my anorak, I’m wondering if I’m really fit to call myself a fan. Bloody hell! How could I miss this guy??!!

    Great article though and a tragic story. Really enjoyed the You Tube clip too – brought it home.

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