Fireworks at Football
Prague Travel Blog› entry 8 of 10 › view all entries
We thought Polish trains were slow. Try getting to Praha from Krakow. 3 trains and 8 hours. The first carried us from Krakow to the Polish boarder, aboard which we bumped into Josh and Lindsey who had the same idea as us - coach to Krakow from Zakopane, then train to Praha. Both our plans were floored in the fact that we didn't really have one. Once at Czechovice nearl the Polish-Czech boarder we had an hour to kill and ended up thrashing the Ozzies at Fussball in a punk bar close to the station. I for one had learned my lesson and decided to buy some beers for the the next train to keep me entertained.
On the platform we had bumped into American couple Lenny and Wendy. Lenny was a big guy, a restaurant owner, and Wendy was a lightweight (in the drinking sense only of course). They too had bought some beers for the journey and before long the six of us were having great banter on the train (at least the 5 of us were, the Gerbil was getting worried cos some Pole and begun to stare at him from the next carriage). Once over the Czech boarder and a quick change at Ostrava, the quality of train significantly improved! This one had a bar (instead of you having to hide your tinnies every time the ticket inspector walks by as in Poland) manned by the lovely Sonja who couldn't have imagined a worse shift after Lenny ordered a whole crate of beer and we scrounged 4 different currencies together to try and pay for it. We were rowdy and after a few drinking games started singing Don McLean's American Pie. At one point I could see four Si Dixons. "Don't worry" he said. "There is four of us".
We got a cab to the hostel and headed out that night to a coulpe of bars before returning to the hostel at 5AM. It was a late one, but Friday night in Prague - it had to be done!
The next day Josh had told us we don't need to buy a tram ticket cos they never check. We got on the tram. We got fined. 700 Crowns! about 30 odd euros so not too bad. Prague is charming too, though 8 million tourists come through each year. That's just 2 million less people than the population of the Czech Republic. That night the Hostel (Hostle Sant Jordi - which was excellent at putting socials on) organised a bar crawl and we got to meet a few more folk after we had returned from dinner with Lenny and Wendy who were staying nearer the centre of the Old Town. We'd decided to stay another night seeing as Bohemians Prague were playing Sparta Prague on the Sunday, right by our hostel.
We made the game this time, unlike in Vilnius where we had got the time wrong. Bohemians were at home (they stadium share with Zirzkov), but were massive underdogs in comparison to Sparta, now captained by former Liverpool star Patrick Berger. Si, the Canadian couple in our dorm Rhys and Lauren (with whom we'd been on a walking tour of Prague with during the day, including a climb up to the palace on the West side of the river), and I had all bought green Bohemians scarfs, only to discover our seats were bang in the middle of a load of Sparta fans. We weren't too concerned at this stage.
Bo's took the lead through a stunning 25 yard strike, only to go down to ten men after the 12th minute or so. Sparta began to dominate much to the appreciation of the hardcore Sparta fans behind the goal to our right who were beginning to remove their shirts on what was a bloody freezing evening, and it had just started to rain. Bo's got a second though on the counter attack. Up we leapt! Opps - Down we sat... Sparta got one back before half time, and another just after the restart, but the Bo's just weren't giving up - they scored again to take a 3-2 lead. I believe it was at this point the Sparta fans, who were getting particularly disgruntled, began to rip the stadium apart and throw parts of it on to the pitch. Missiles made of flares and broken chairs flew over the fance separating them from the pitch. Being a regular goer of English football I had never seen anything like this, though the fact that there were 2 firemen on standby suggests that such an occurance is not so irregular in Czech football. Funny how we English still get a bad rap for such behaviour...
The game went on and Sparta equalised. At one point a catherine wheel had made it made it on to the pitch, it was right by the keeper as his goal weas being attacked, the ref waved play on! Unbeliveable how a firework on the pitch did not warrent use of the whistle yet a few fair challenges did... Anyways it was 3-3 for a while before Bo's stole it late on and held off Sparta for the 8 minutes of time added on - mostly a result of a break in play due to fog (from flares, not the sky of course). What a game. An historic win for Bohemains Praha and all for 54p per goal. It's amazing how you can spend 120 Czech Crowns (about 3.50 GBP) on 100 minutes of pure entertainment, yet fork out 50 quid back at the Bridge for a boring 0-0 draw at home against Liverpool.
The aggression of the Sparta fans was shocking, though in fairness one or two of them, whom i had definitley pissed off in the first half with anti-Sparta chants (their English was better than I thought), came and shook hands after the game which was a surpising show of sportsmanship give that his compadres had been removing furniture for the majority of the second half.
A quiet movie night in the hostel proceded what was a loud afternoon. Cesky Krumlov was our next destination...