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Friday 8th November 2013 ko 19.00

Hungarian NB-1 Liga

VIDEOTON 1 (Kleinheisier 87)
MEZŐKÖVESD ZSÓRY 0

Att 2,300

Entry 2,200 HUF (approx. £6.20)

No Programme

Videoton play in the town of Székesfehérvár, about 65km south-west of Budapest. The distance is significant if you’re taking the train from Budapest-Déli pályaudvar, or Budapest South station, as return tickets aren’t available for journeys of less than 100km. Its easy enough to buy a single ticket costing 1300 HUF, around £3.67, as ticket machines have an English button!

Simply getting to Déli pályaudvar is interesting though if you travel from the south on the metro, you’ll use the Russian-built M3 line then change to the more modern, western-style M2 line. That theme of old and new cheek by jowl was a constant wherever Andy and I travelled.

Szekesfehervar, or to translate “Seat of the White Castle,” was a royal residence and was one of the most important cities of Hungary. In the Székesfehérvár Basilica, 37 kings and 39 queens consort were crowned, 15 rulers have been buried here, the parliaments were held and the crown jewels were kept here.

The Sóstói Stadion is visible from the frankly beautiful station, but isn’t straightforward to walk to as you have to find a road that gets you over the railway! You should allow at least 20 minutes to get there, and buy your ticket. You’ll pass the Ottokár Prohászka Church on the way, its dome rather reminiscent of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The stadium was started in 1963, but was only finished in 1967 when the club, then called VT Vasas, hosted East German side FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt. The ground used to hold 40,000 and that capacity was reached on 8th May 1985, for the UEFA Cup Final first leg between Videoton and Real Madrid.

But why are the club called Videoton? Well the club was founded in 1941 as Székesfehérvári Vadásztölténygyár SK by the defence manufacturing company of the same name. The change of name came in 1968 due to sponsorship by the perhaps surprisingly privately-owened electrical goods manufacturer Videoton, based in the town, and today the firm still maintains its base in Szekesfehervar. And when your name is this iconic, why change it?

To the British football fan Videoton is most famous for their beating of Manchester United in the 1985 UEFA Cup Quarter Final on penalties after the two-legged tie finshed 1-1. Footage of the 2nd leg in Szekesfehervar here.

That little fact proved to be handy after the game. I fancied a team sheet, so called in at the club offices after the game. I joked that Videoton are popular in the UK because they beat Manchester United, so the beaming secretary handed me 3 teamsheerts, plus a small pile of brochures too. Some things are clearly international! I’m not sure what Andy made if it all as I shot up the stairs to the offices, passing a nonplussed guard on the way, but I hope he likes his souvenirs!

With Videoton both champions, and top of the table, they must have expected their struggling visitors to be straightforward to beat. The problem for the spectator was that the visitors obviously thought along the same lines. They put 9 behind the ball at all times, and Videoton spent far too much time trying to pass through the massed ranks of Mezőkövesd players without success. It was turgid in the extreme and the only people other than the gallant 30 away fans that seemed to be enjoying it were the sunflower seed sellers.

The humble seed is a real staple of the Hungarian football match as the fans nervously shell and chew as they watch their team. They’re cheap, a bag costs less than a £1, and the vast majority of fans seem to indulge.

The seeds were nearly exhausted when substitute midfielder László Kleinheisler rather optimistically nicknamed “Scholes,”  finally fired Videoton to the win that their dominance if not their shooting deserved. After the afternoon’s goal-less draw the last thing the 7 strong English contingent wanted was another!

We strolled back to the station, and soon found ourselves back in Budapest. Unfortunately the M2 metro line was closed for engineering works, but the replacement bus did drop us off near the Danube. It may have been nearly midnight but the view of the Parliament building is not one even a football tourist should miss.