And now we go for real. After the ‘gala’ opening ceremony against Sporting Lisbon about ten days ago, we are finally treated to our first competitive game at the Uj Hidegkuti Nandor Stadion (‘UHNS’) with the visit of Gyirmot.
Gyirmot (pronounced – Jeer-Mot) are from Gyor. Actually, they are from Gyirmot which is since 1970 has been a part of Gyor, a city from the NW of Hungary near the Austrian border. We have been to Gyor before, but Gyor’s main football team were relegated to the third tier of Hungarian football in 2015 after their chief financial backer went bankrupt and the government refused to provide financial support to football clubs. But that is another story…
Buzzing. Like a bee. A fucking dumb bee.
Gyirmot are hardly the most inspiring visitors to play in the first competitive match at the government funded UHNS. That does not stop this beign a potentially important game. After last week’s defeat at Vasas, MTK are in danger of beign dragged towards the bottom of the table with only one point and one place separating them from the relegation zone. In that place, is indeed Gyirmot. Only founded in 1993, the club is making its debut in the top flight this season after threatening promotion for much of the recent past. Indeed, the club won the second tier back in 2009, but was denied promotion due to lack of licence. The club has strong links to Alcufer, a company founded locally, which is big into recycling and waste management, and is the named party behind the new stadium in town, which has probably enabled the club to receive its licence (does this licence actually come in hard form and is it laminated?).
Amongst the ranks of Gyirmot is one Csiki Norbi. Norbi is an ex-MTK player who promised much, got injured, scored some screamers, became a free agent and moved to a club in Thailand on the border with Cambodia for six months before returning to Hungary. There were a few rumours knocking around that he would be returning to MTK, but he was probably asking for more than MTK were willing to pay. Which is a shame. Hopefully, he will not make MTK pay through the phenomena known as ‘Former Club Gonna Score a Goal’.
Good beer queue. Am I the only one here?
I turned up for the game about 40 minutes before kick-off to give me good time to collect my season ticket that I had pre-ordered via the MTK Ultras group. A series of queues snaked around the vicinity of the ticket office. Queues fill me with dread in foreign countries for a variety of reasons. Firstly, foreigners struggle with the concept of queueing preferring the push to the front method of waiting. Secondly, queues mean some sort of administration, which means bureaucracy. Thirdly, queues will force me to engage with the locals to make sure that I am standing in the correct queue. These locals will then take some perverse interest as to what a foreigner (with limited grasp of the language) is doing in aforementioned queue. So I plucked up courage, found the man with the clipboard, mangled some Hungarian at him and was escorted to the front of the appropriate queue and chaperoned through the whole ticket pick-up process all the while flashing my middle finger at fellow local queuers. That last part is not true and also autospell could have caused me some issues there.
The season ticket is made of paper. In fact, it looks like a normal ticket except it has season ticket stamped on it. The chances of me not losing this is limited. Limited until I stapled it to the inside of my passport. It cost me HUF 13,000 (EUR 40) for the remaining 11 home games, which feels pretty good. A usual ticket price is HUF 4,900 (EUR 16), which feels pretty scandalous. And many Budapestians agreed with that pricing policy with a meagre 1,183 ‘filling’ the UHNS.
Which leads me to the question of whether MTK can afford all this? The stadium was partiallty funded by the Hungarian government, but something must has gone from the club’s coffers. Throw in the upkeep of the facility, the legions of security etc. and it does beg the question whether this is financial viable. To which the answer is an absolute, not in a million years. Luckily, the government is happy to provide financial support to football clubs. Oh wait…
To the game. It was pretty soul destroying. Having been fairly positive about this new ground last time out, it now feels like a training camp mixed with a car park. There is so much concrete. The view from Sector B1 is pretty terrible although mercifully, there is an area where standing is permitted (or at least not outlawed). The whole occasion was not helped by the fact that the game was not very good and the first fangs of winter were ripping through my underdressed torso.
Action. Slightly blurry action.
Csiki was injured. But another ex-MTKer was in action for the visitors. Vass Patrick with now bleached hair was starting for them. He had been the Aaron Lennon of MTK when I first picked them up a few years ago. Occasionally causing havoc with his pace and furiously moving short legs. But for whatever reason, he found himself shipped off to Vasas on loan midseason before relocating to Gyirmot.
Myke Ramos (our Brazilian) made his first start of an injury hit season. Vass Adam missed out from the anchorman role meaning we would not be seeing Vass v Vass. That is about as exciting as I can make some team news for a team very few people have any idea about.
The first half was quiet. Torghelle missed a volley from six yards out and youngster Kormozan Kevin whistled one past the top corner from distance. Gyirmot looked well organized but happy to take a point and perhaps sneak more on the break. Vass was their most promising attacking outlet. It was more of the same in the second half with Gyirmot retreating more and more onto the back foot. MTK have never been particularly good at breaking down well disciplined teams and it looked like the game was heading for a stalemate. Until Torghelle, tensed his neck muscles to loop a header over the trousered keeper, off the bar and into the net. 1-0. No idea how he generated any power on the header, but it had just enough on it.
So lonely. But still dancing. With a tear. Or two.
And that was that although Gedeon was so lonely dancing on his own. Next to a wall. A grey wall. I headed off into the cold night with 1,182 other supporters. I am not sure how many will be back. I will. I bought a season ticket. Bugger.
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