Man City Transfer Target!
Aug 8, 2019, 3:35 PM
Location: North London
Team(s): Oxford United / Groundhopper
Slovak Republic, 3.Liga (East Group) 5 pm
FC Kosice 3 FC Bardejovska Nova Ves 1 (H/T 2-0)
Entry – 2 euros
Programme – 4 pages, A5 size, free with entry
Attendance – 210 (official figure - looked very accurate to me)
Having travelled on the overnight train from Prague to Kosice, I was looking forward to making my first ever trip to Slovakia’s second biggest city. I had held off making a visit for many years because I was unsure if the Lokomotiva stadium (where this match was being played) was going to be rebuilt on the same footprint, as I prefer to tick stadiums after rather than before if they are being rebuilt completely. However, I discovered that the second biggest football stadium (the VSE Sportovy) in the city is currently undergoing a total rebuild. Although satellite photos do not yet show anything other than an empty space where this now-demolished stadium used to be, I remember recently seeing a photo somewhere on the web showing a new stand being built. Consequently, I decided that it would be a good idea to do the Lokomotiva stadium after all because it is probably now less likely to be rebuilt as well, at least for the foreseeable future.
It was an extremely hot day (the temperature was probably around 35 C) and once I had checked in at my hotel, which was 4 miles south-east of the city centre I returned to the main railway station by tram and then walked to the Lokomotiva stadium, which is about 35 minutes walk north of the railway station. By the time I got there I was in desperate need of refreshment so I spent some time inside a bar next door to the stadium as it was the only cool place I could find, and spotted an unusual drink on tap, which was some sort of very low alcohol grapefruit cider. I have rarely tasted anything as refreshing as that, even if it did leave a lingering bitter aftertaste of grapefruit in my mouth for a while. After that, I entered the stadium through the main door of the hotel that occupies part of the main stand, which was where gate money was being taken from. The stadium is in the shape of an athletics venue, although without a running track at present. There is a continuous tier of uncovered seating around the whole stadium, with the addition of a covered upper tier on the main stand side. The latticed floodlights are very unusual, bending over in the direction of the pitch.
FC Kosice had already won the divisional title so this game was a ‘dead rubber’ and so it wasn’t surprising that they won fairly comfortably, although in view of their success I would have expected a much bigger crowd than just 210. Presumably Lokomotiva Kosice, who play in the second tier, are traditionally the better supported of the two clubs. Curiously though, according to Soccerway, they were not playing home games at the Lokomotiva stadium in 2018-19 but in the town of Druzstevna pri Hornade, some 12 miles north of Kosice. I’m not sure what the reason for this might be – does anyone on here know more?
At first it appeared that only the main stand was open, but shortly before kick-off a small group of home ‘ultras’ turned up in a corner of the terracing on the far side, and watched the whole match from there, even when it started to rain early in the second half. The rain was actually part of a thunderstorm which had developed during half-time, but fortunately the rain was never heavy enough for there to be any danger of the game being abandoned. It was quite welcome in fact as the temperatures plummeted from around 35 C to a more pleasant 20 C by the end of the game. I only had to wait about 15 minutes after the game before the rain stopped altogether for a while, giving me enough time to walk back to the city centre without getting wet. However, I got a rude shock on arrival back at the main railway station when I found that all the local tram routes had been suspended, presumably because the lightning strikes had knocked out the power somewhere. With the heavy rain suddenly returning, I was not sure which bus route ran to my hotel so I ended up taking a taxi instead. This would have been quite expensive in a Western European country, but as this was Slovakia, I was charged just seven euros. The following morning, I flew back to London from Kosice airport, which was a new tick for me. This is about six miles south of the city centre, but not really walkable (due to the lack of pavements) so I went there by bus. An excellent trip to both the Czech and Slovak Republics.
(This post was edited by Chris1963 on Aug 8, 2019, 3:39 PM)