I didn’t arrange to fly back to Budapest to see this season’s newcomers and latest representatives of the Great Plain, Bekescsaba Elore, match up against MTK: it was just a coincidence. Honest.
Not sure this needs a caption…
It also meant a return to the Illovszky Rudolf stadium, the new temporary home of MTK, and one of my favourite Soviet Concrete Bowl (Small). It was actually here that I watched my first ever game of Hungarian football between Vasas (the usual tenants) and Pecs (now defunct/relegated to the third division). All I recall from that game was a sickening head collision and a local buying me palinka at the strangely accessible club house bar at half time.
I never did become a Vasas fan for whatever reason – probably attracted by the bright lights of Budapest’s glamour club. Ahem. However, I still reserve a soft spot for this ground tucked away in the ironically-named Angyalfold (Angel’s Earth). (I am now rereading this and realize that those unfamiliar with Angyalfold may not appreciate the irony: Angyalfold is a fairly gritty working class/industrial part of Budapest. Irony explained.)
So what is going on with MTK and the esteemed Nemzeti Bajnoksag I. Let me give you a little run down.
Ferencvaros have walked away with the league winning 14 of the first 15 games and drawing the other before suffering a humiliating 1-0 defeat to none other than MTK with a Torghelle volley (sounds better than it was) grabbing the victory. Their form has not been so prolific since then, but they will still win the league with some half dozen games to spare.
As I write this MTK currently sit in second, but the season has not been hugely impressive. Garami Jozsef’s replacement, Csaba Laszlo (two first names alert), was dismissed shortly before the restart of the Spring season. The timing was odd, but the general feeling being that he was not a great fit at the club and he was not playing the MTK way (whatever that means). I guess there may have been some sort of behind the scenes bust up. His replacement, Teodoru Vaszilisz, is straight from the Garami stable having been his assistant for many a year. He has taken MTK on a five match unbeaten run since his appointment so the club is looking up rather than down. The first part of the season was very stop start with MTK unable to get any real run of form going. The games I caught were fairly insipid as the club struggled with the loss of some good players at the end of last term.
Fradi are somewhere at the top of there…
The rest of the league is as expected. Vidi, Debrecen and Ujpest are all in and around MTK. Bekescsaba and Vasas are both struggling. Puskas Akademia are down there, but will inevitably survive. Honved are showing a little more promise than usual. MLSZ are still dysfunctional; Orban still rules.
I write this a few weeks late. I am still cold from this game. It was freezing. Football being back is good, but I did (briefly) question whether the Danish four month was actually a good thing. It is definitely not.
It was so cold that even the beer was not going down too easily. That is how cold it was. In hindsight, I should have had a nip or two of palinka pre-match. But I didn’t. The bar closed just after half time as well so any hope of keeping warm through ice cold beer was eviscerated.
Even Borsodi could not save me
The game was not great. The boys from Csaba (aka Sausage Boys*) were happy to take time off the clock at every opportunity. They made it clear that a point would suffice from the game. MTK did not offer any huge attacking threat. It is clear that Gera Daniel and Stretsik Marek do not offer the same pace and threat that Csiki Norbi (now in Thailand) and Horvath Zsolt (now in Debrecen) offered last year, which makes MTK more reliant on some magic from Kanta or the battering-ram that is Torghelle. Neither player was able to do his thing.
Hrepka ‘we will always have Gyor’ Adam missed an absolute sitter with about five minutes left. An absolute sitter. Before new for the season Serbian centre-half pulled out a Yugoslav chop as a Sausage Boy was about to clear earning himself a red card.
0-0. Probably not in my Top 10 games.
* Bekescsaba is the home of the Hungarian sausage industry. Before I stopped eating meat because animals are cute, I ate many a Csabai sausage and was even lucky enough to go the Bekescsaba Sausage Festival where I pulled off a dance move that was so spectacular it threw Gy to the floor.