It is the morning after your wedding. Mrs Timmy Bacsi looks into your eyes and says ‘Let’s got to Csepel.’ It must be love.
Csepel is an industrial island just to the South of Budapest proper. They are home to Csepel SC, a third division club with a long history including four titles back in the immediate post war period.
The club has seen better times and has not recovered its first division status since its relegation in 1996/97.
It is not just the club that has seen better times. The stadium is a glorious monument to football from another era. A classic Soviet bowl (small) that has fallen into a state of disrepair along with much of the facilities around.
Strangely, we were allowed to bring our own beer into the ground. Strangely, none of the remnants of the wedding party was in much of a beer mood. We got through about eights cans of beer between the ten of us.
Unfortunately, the game was not enough to wake us from our post-party slumber although there was a clear community spirit surrounding the club. This made me sad. In decades gone by, stadiums like this around Europe would have been the focus of the community. A place to gather and discuss. These stadiums were built to hold 14,000 people for a reason. On this day, I would guess 300 were inside the game. I am sad because football as a spectator sport is dying. 99% of people would rather stream Spanish football then go and watch their local club. I am just old fashioned I guess.
The players were committed if not talented. The ref did an admirable job given the robustness of some of the challenges and the first half gave a sense that the game was ready to bubble over. It did not, but there were no goals.
The second half was lower in intensity. The heat taking its toll on these players who were probably not in peak physical condition. Csepel broke their deadlock on about 70 minutes or so with a surprisingly neat finish.
Lowlight of the day was the purchase of the last remaining scarf. It would have been a nice memory of the wedding. I feel I need to spend some more time at Csepel without the blinding hangover.
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