fter something of a hiatus, our next real away trip was to the North Western Hungarian town of Győr just over an hour away from BP. Tough one to pronounce this one, but sounds something like the noise you would make if you were ripping your shirt off in a half-arsed Incredible Hulk impression (Dzuuuur!)
Home of Audi. Or at least that is what they would have you believe. There is a large Audi manufacturing plant located in Győr (90% of all Audi engines are made here) which accounts for much of the town’s employment and apparent wealth. Also there is a significant German influence possibly also due to the proximity of the Austrian border. Enough of the cars.
The town is pretty, but a little dull. A pretty basilica, funky Modernist theatre, quaint city centre and pleasant enough waterfront. Any runners/walkers who visit Győr should head out to the parkland some 2km from the city centre to the North West of the centre. Lovely!
Bizarrely, there is also a British shop in the town centre. Still not quite figured this one out although the shop assistant claimed there were lots of Brits in the area!
After a quick flit around the centre and a walk in the park, we had once again achieved everything that we wanted to achieve approaching about 14.00. A notable absence of decent craft beer places meant we had to rely on second best option, a Czech beer bar. This combined with a fairly long walk with beer or two to the stadium meant we were well on our way by the time we arrived at…
Weird one this one. A capacity of 16,000 but stuck on the edge of a city in a complex containing a shopping centre and a hotel/conference centre. I have never been to the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, but this is kind of how I imagine it. The ETO Stadium is an empty corporate construct. Us away fans (16 of us) were stuck underneath the hotel on shallow metal terracing with two fairly imposing steep stands on either side of the pitch and nothing bar a malfunctioning score board at the other end.
The ETO Stadium has been used as a second venue for the Hungarian national team (in place of the Puskas Ferenc Stadium – yes, of course he has his own stadium) and even hosted Bayern Munich in 2011 for the inaugural (and last) Audi (surprise) Cup.
It was Győr who had chased down Debrecen for the title at the end of last season only to be denied by goal difference on the last day. The team features several ‘household’ names in Priskin Tamas, Rudolf Gergely and Liptak Zoltan all current Hungarian internationals with past experience in England or Italy. This one was going to be a tough one.
I don’t remember much of the first half to be honest other than Torghelle running around on a mission to make a nuisance of himself and the home fans not taking to him much. It seems that he is not the most popular player in Hungary although he is one of those players you want to have on your team. He will run through walls (and opposition players) for the cause. Much of the first half was largely overshadowed by what was to come.
‘POGGY…POGGY*,’ I shouted with the alcohol very much dumbing my inhibitions. The Gyor goalkeeper now standing in front of us. He was Krisztian Pogacsics. ‘POGGY…POGGY’ To be honest I was annoying myself somewhat, but I had started so I had to finish in my mission to distract/confuse the goalkeeper. Also it was distracting me from what I was seeing in front of us, Győr were on top with Rudolf giving Nagy Tibi all sorts of problems down the Győr left. Inevitably, the goal came down the (inside) right. One their players broke free and calmly slotted past Hegedus Lajos. Cráp.
MTK could have kept playing until Christmas and still not scored plus given the team’s record to date of going on to get humped whenever they conceded the first goal, this was not looking promising. ‘POGGY…POGGY’. Garami Jozsef made some substitutions bringing on Bese, Hrepka and Csiki for the Doctor, Vass and Torghelle. Pretty wholesale changes from a manager not known for his lack of conservatism when it comes to substitutions. ‘POGGY…POGGY’ Wait one second. He has only gone and sliced a goal kick straight into touch. ‘POGGY…POGGY’ A victory, a small and hugely annoying victory for me. I may never have become a professional footballer and made a career in the sport I loved, but I have (possibly totally incidentally) cause a man two years my junior to kick a ball in a direction that he did not want to. Now I feel bad. That feeling soon dissipates when MTK score!! The goal came in the only way possible: an own goal. Kanta corner being headed straight into the net under no pressure by the Győr played who had scored some twenty minutes earlier at the other end. YAAAASS. MTK wake up and start pinging the ball around like there is no tomorrow. Our traditionally deep defensive line seems to be squeezing the space from the back with our new front free running all sorts of line. Kanta as always looking composed but now with much more time on the ball. What follows next sends me and 15 other people in raptures…Kanta slides a ball to Hrepka who from a reasonably tight angle lifts the ball over Poggy’s legs and into the far corner. I have never seen 16 people run up and down shallow metal steps screaming (and squealing in the case of Gyöngyi) with quite so much and so little purpose. I definitely hugged someone who I have not been able to look in the eye since.
1-2 comeback and a belly load of beer made for happy Tim. And a seemingly happy Gyöngyi who starts blurting out ‘Szép volt fiu’ (‘Well played boys’ typically sung on or at the final whistle to signal approval of a victorious performance). At least 15% of the stand (3 or 4 people) immediately chastise her and rightly so. 5 minutes left in a game from which we have deserve nothing against a team with plenty of attacking talent. I don’t remember what happened in the last five minutes I was so nervous. MTK won. We sing! We dance! We are asked to leave by the stewards because they want to go home!
Only one way to celebrate this. With Halaszlé. Much better than Paks’ pale attempt at a decent Hungarian fish soup.
The next morning was a struggle as we headed back to Budapest to celebrate Gyöngyi’s parents’ birthdays by cooking them lunch.
Győr – pleasant enough town, great result, good Halaszlé. Hajra MTK. (Check out MTK’s second goal, eye of the needle stuff)
*A pogacsa – or poggy for short – is a delicious Hungarian baked good typically coming in cheese or pork scratching flavour. The closest comparison is probably the humble scone (although the Hungarian version is less dense)