Groundhopping: BKV Előre vs. Veszprém

Continuing our adventures around the grounds of Budapest, Kevin (Fitba & Foci), Mike, and I recently took a long overdue trip to the Sport Utcai Stadion, home to NBIII (Keleti) side BKV Előre SC.  After several weeks of writing individual reviews, Kevin and I have decided to co-author on this one.

There’s an absurd truism over here that every Hungarian team gets a brand spanking new stadium paid for by Viktor Orban’s football obsession and its resultant funnelling of Hungarian funds. The fact that Orban’s hometown of Felcsút (population 1688) has a beautiful, wooden football cathedral with a 3800 capacity tells you everything you need to know about the endemic corruption in the Hungarian football system, but also throws the “have-nots” into sharper relief.

BKV Előre’s Sport Utcai Stadium on the left, in sharp relief with MTK Budapest’s Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium on the right.
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A Map of Football Teams in Budapest by District

I’ve been travelling to a fair few grounds in Budapest recently, so thought I’d put this district map together. Teams in bold are in the upper leagues or have won league titles in the past.

I’ve updated it with a few of the notable historical connections and associations, either from when the clubs were founded or during the Communist Regime, when ones such as Honvéd and Újpest were co-opted into being army and police teams.

I’m always looking for more input, so let me know if you have any suggestions.

Groundhopping – BVSC Zugló

Vasas were (losing) away again this Sunday, so once again we used our free day to visit another of Budapest’s storied lower league teams, this time heading north to District XIV to see BVSC Zugló.

Szőnyi úti Stadion: built in its current form in 1952. Home of BVSC Zugló
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Baptism of Dire (Siofok vs. Vasas)

The latest sacrificial lamb in the Vasas dugout: Szabolcs Schindler.

Going one-nil down against Siofok within a minute was probably not part of new Vasas manager Szabolcs Schindler’s pre-match plan. Going 2-0 down after 15 minutes was probably a fair indication of what managing this ragged and panicky team is going to be like for him. He’s probably a nice fella – he doesn’t deserve this.

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Bye Bye Bene, Bene Bye Bye

At this point it’s not really worth my time learning their names.

So despite seemingly having the Hungarian Second Division equivalent of a Man City budget and a team containing pretty much every top scorer of every tier for the last four years, Vasas had started this season with a resounding “meh”.

Well sadly, that “meh” was downgraded to a “ffs” yesterday, as the 13th District boys managed to lose 3-1 at Budaors: a town in a landlocked country that’s primarily famous for its fishmarket.

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Corona Ends Vasas Promotion Hopes

On the long list of important things affected by Covid-19, a late promotion push by Hungarian second division team Vasas FC is probably not foremost in your brainspace, nor was it in mine. Football is not just secondary right now, it’s so low down the list of priorities as to be near-irrelevant given the loss and disruption inflicted by Coronavirus. Still, I started this season so I’ll finish it with a quick update.

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Budapest’s Coronavirus Shutdown

As expected, the government here in Hungary have introduced swingeing new measures to halt the spread of coronavirus, the biggest ones being a ban on entering the country from Italy, Iran, China and South Korea, and restrictions at the Austrian and Slovenian borders. Universities will hold remote classes, whilst making false statements about viral infection could result in prosecution. Employees have been asked to work from home where possible.

For life within Budapest though, it’s the ban on public events of 100 people (indoor) and 500 people (outdoor) that will have the biggest day-to-day effect for us sociable go-getter types, especially those without family here.

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Especially the Icy Bear… (Vasas vs. Nyíregyháza Spartacus)

Yesterday was a huge day for Vasas. Nine points off the promotion places but with the top two to play this month, it was vital that they kept up their glorious 4-game winning streak to keep pace with the leaders. First and second placed MTK and Budafoki both had tricky away games, while Vasas faced an eminently beatable Nyíregyháza. And what a day it proved.

Mike and I perfecting the anarok look.
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It’s Audi-town (Vasas vs. WKW ETO FC Győr)

A bout of sickness left me bedridden most of the weekend, so it’s was slightly groggy Englishman that headed over to the Illovszky Rudolf Stadion on Sunday to see Vasas-Győr. Győr is one of Hungary’s bigger cities and is known for its Audi-centric economy (there’s a big factory there). They’re also one of the teams nipping at Vasas’ heels for 3rd spot.

On the bus Mike and I end up talking to a 13 year old Chinese boy, who’s on the way to the game but has no idea which stop he needs to get off at. He seems to be jumping on and off the bus at random (narrowly missing the closing doors, no doubt to the ire of the ever-jolly BKK bus driver), but after hearing us discussing Vasas in English he approaches us and proceeds to demonstrate an encyclopedic knowledge of the NBii league.

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The Football Tourist’s Guide to Budapest

Planning a visit to Budapest this year? Fancy heading to a match in Hungary’s capital? Sure, it might not be Old Trafford on a Saturday afternoon or a Champions League encounter at the Bernabéu, but Hungarian football has its own unique charms. Here’s the lowdown on how and where to see the beautiful game. Whether you want a fiery top-flight derby or a unique grassroots experiece, this article has got you covered.

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