You are eating fish soup in a restaurant in Budapest the lunchtime after the night before. With you are four of your best friends who are in town for your wedding. Someone says ‘I wonder if there is any football this afternoon?’. That someone is probably me. A quick search and it seems like we have a bonus round of Hungarian second tier games. Vac are at home. Vac is a small town 45km to the North of Budapest. This being Hungary though means Vac are playing their home games in Dunaujvaros: no one knows why.
30 minutes later we are on the train to Dunaujvaros.
The sun moves in mysterious ways.
The head is throbbing, but helped by the cold can of Dreher thrust into my hand. The journey is long. An hour and a half as we make our way to the South and onto the sun-baked Hungarian plain.
I have always wanted to go to Dunaujvaros. For those of you that don’t know, it is one of the Soviet New towns that popped up across the Eastern bloc such as Magnitogorsk and Nowa Huta. It was built in the 1950s during the industrialization of the country under Socialist rule, as a new city next to an already existing village, Dunapentele. ‘Hilariously’, it was established as Sztalinujvaros (Stalin New Town) until that name was dropped upon his death in 1953. The town briefly adopted its original name during the revolution before adopting today’s name meaning, Danube New Town.
The town was founded arounded its huge steelworks which now dominates the town along with the largest tyre factory in Europe. Nice!!
We arrived in that hiatus between hungover and drunk. The taxi driver liked what he saw and took us to the football stadium, the Dunaferr Arena. It is quite nice. Obviously, it has seen better days, but is a fine example of that new wave of football stadiums that was built at the turn of the millennium around Europe. It holds 12,000 although has only ever seen a maximum 6,000. As we arrived there were fewer than 60.
They served beer. This was a great relief and also terrible news. We were now at the point of no return, 80km to the South of Budapest with no clear way to return and me as the only ‘Hungarian speaker’.
Personalised security contingent
The game. Surprisingly good. An excellent pitch helped both teams with their passing game. It ended 4-2 to Vac against Balmazujvaros, who were my adopted team for the day. If it were not for the Vac keeper the scoreline may have been much more different. I remember little more than that.
We stumbled to a local pub. Another mistake where we met Pisti and a host of locals who showed us some hospitality.
Pisti and I exchange fighting techniques: I prefer the loving hug
We got a taxi back. It was one of the longer taxis journeys of my life.
Scottish people do not like mosquitoes. Dunaujvaros has mosquitoes.
Thanks guys. You know who you are.
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