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Saturday 9th November 2013 ko 12.00

U21 II Osztály Közép A

BKV ELÓRE 2 (Bajusz 9 Peinlich 16)

SZOLNOKI MÁV UTÁNPÓTLÁS 4 (Baté 12 Zskakái 45 69 Tóth 84)

Att 89

It seems that if you like football, and you’re in Budapest, the place to be is Népliget station. Apart from being the station for Ferencváros’ Stadion Albert Florian, currently being rebuilt, it also is handy for the “1” tram route which runs east to west along the Hungária körgyűrű  (Hungary Boulevard) and has the stadia for MTK, Elóre, and the National Puskás Ferenc Stadion, along its 13 km length.

Elóre’s Sport utcai stadion, or Sports Street Stadium is adjacent to MTK’s, with just the street, Sport utcai separating the two.

The street features tramlines snaking from the depot behind the goal. That gives a clue as to the history of the club. They were formed as the Tramway workers’ team, and thrived under communist rule, as an amateur team they could recruit players who were then exempted from military service. When communism fell the club struggled to adapt, and now finds itself in the NB-III, the third division.

The ground is one-sided, just the stand is open for spectators, with the second pitch being where presumably a terrace used to be. But what a stand it is, old cavernous and full of places to explore. And explore is precisely what Andy and I did, even finding an open window to take a shot of MTK next door! Elóre is more than just a football team, there’s tennis, weight-lifting, and ten-pin bowling as well, and I even found a self-defence class taking place in the hall. More than anything else the stand is the reason I go groundhopping, if I ever saw something like this and didn’t fall in love with it I’d have to give up.

With my game being on the second pitch, I had the perfect backdrop for my photos, and referee Tamás Berényi was happy to print me off a teamsheet. The system in Hungary is computerised at national level, but its on a secure site, so it’s not possible to simply access the details when you get home.

The game was a superb spectacle with both sides playing open attractive football. Szolnoki captain Dániel Zskakái was the star player, scoring two and setting up the others. We got talking to one of the home trainers who once he’d got over the shock of finding two Englishmen who were interested in a Hungarian under-21 Second Division match, rather approved of our schedule. “All clubs with a good history,” he commented, even if our tour was based in no small part on what was achievable geographically! Still the complement was appreciated, and where the language barrier allowed, all the clubs we visited were notably friendly.

As the game wound down, we made our way to the corner ready to catch our second and third trams of the day. Very quietly we were greatly enjoying the mode of transport as we rattled along.