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Saturday 9th November 2013 ko 16.00

NB-II

VASAS BUDAPEST 1 (Gál 26)

SZIGENTSZENTMIKLÓS 1 (Takács 51)

Att 800

Entry 2000 HUF (approx. £5.62)

No Programme

Team Sheet FREE

From Elóre it was simple enough to get to the Stadion Rudolf Illovszky, just take the “1” tram still further away from Népliget passing the Puskás Ferenc Stadion before taking the “14” tram a few stops north-east in Budapest’s 13th district. If you’re travelling here by Metro the nearest stop is Forgach on the M3 line.

The club dates from 1911 and was set up by members of the Hungarian Union of Iron Workers,  as the Vas-és Fémmunkások Sport Clubja, the “Sport Club of Iron and Steel Workers.” The club’s heyday was undoubtedly in the 1960’s when the club won the Hungarian Championship 4 times, 3 under the stewardship of former player Rudolf Illovszky, he won a fourth in 1977 with the club.  Illovszky also managed the Hungarian national side from 1971 to 1974 with a fourth place finish in Euro 72. It is unsurprising that Vasas’ ground is named after him.

It is typical of the stadia I saw during my visit, bowl-shaped tracing the path of a former athletics track. Even the main stand has cover only for the back few rows, Andy and I paid extra for the shelter and that proved to be a good move as heavy showers punctuated the game. The capacity nominally is 18,000 but with large areas covered with tarpaulins the actual capacity looks to be a lot lower.

We did make one minor error though. As we approached the ground from the south we saw a ticket booth, so bought a ticket and entered the ground. It rapidly transpired that what we’d bought was for the away section, but the club kindly agreed to convert the ticket to a home one, with the requisite adjustment in cost! They didn’t have to do it, and we were and are grateful. Perhaps me not able to even pronounce Szigetszentmiklós helped me make our case, and our brief sojourn in the away pen did yield a few photos!

Vasas as a club does more than just play football. A trip to the club offices reveals pictures of champions of sports such as athletics, basketball, boxing, chess, fencing,  handball, ice skating, rowing, skiing, tennis, touring, volleyball, water polo and wrestling. We made use of the club’s café as the away team arrived, and soaked up the history.

One thing was odd though, and that was the complete absence of club merchandise. A little pidgin German from a club official revealed there is a Fan-shop, but since it is next to the changing rooms its closed on match-days! I did manage to get a team sheet but even that was an adventure, the guard turned out to be a Ferencváros fan, and his English was limited to “Are you Millwall?” “We kick Millwall a$$!” reference I assume to the two clubs’ UEFA Cup tie in 2004.

That little incident was all the more amusing since one of the English present, Eddie is a Millwall fan, but fortified with pretzel and gluhwein we settled down for some second division action.

The game was hard fought, with neither team deserving of the win, chances were at premium, but at least we got two goals, Matyás Gál opening the scoring but former OFK Beograd forward Tamás Takács equalising for SZTK. It wasn’t the most wonderful game you’ll ever witness, but for all the English present there was a bigger picture, and that was the final game of the day, at MTK.