By James Baxter, britskibelasi
As a neutral fan, I’ve got all sorts of questions about Slovan Bratislava’s dream of playing in this season’s Champions League group stages. Would it be good for Slovan as a club? Would it be good for Slovak football? Do I want them to make it? The answers to all these are, at best, ambivalent.
As for the first question, I’d say Slovan ought to look warily at the experiences of Slovakia’s previous group stage representatives. Košice and the former Artmedia might well now view the competition rather as an average Joe might view a supermodel who agreed to get together with him before walking out a few weeks later with her suitcases full of his money and possessions. For both clubs, the experience was good – and glamorous – while it lasted but they haven’t fully recovered from the trauma it created even now. Žilina, who made last season’s group stages, will wait for time to judge whether that campaign is ultimately going to contribute to their long term happiness and prosperity.
For the Slovak game as a whole, group stage participation for Slovan would mean that its profile, already raised by the national team’s achievements in the 2010 World Cup and Žilina’s efforts last season, would be further enhanced. The stadium issue, however, would be a cause of deep embarrassment. The idea of Europe’s best teams playing at Pasienky is beyond laughable (though the prospect of, say, Man Utd’s fans in the away end in the rain isn’t totally without appeal) but it would also be pretty demeaning to have to stage home fixtures in Vienna or even, heaven forbid, in Trnava or Žilina.
On a personal level, I’m torn between wanting Slovan to do well for those of their fans I know personally, including (and especially) the main author of this blog, and wanting them to fall flat on their faces. It’s largely the running of the club and the source of its current wealth which gives rise to the latter wish. As for the players, the club has plenty of admirable performers who deserve the chance to show what they can do on Europe’s best stage. But then there are those seemingly throwaway quotes that emanate an air of self-satisfaction, such as Filip Šebo’s assertion ahead of last night’s first qualifying round first leg tie that facing FC Tobol was going to be ‘like any game where a stronger side is playing a weaker one. The weaker team will just defend. It will be a bit like Slovakia v Andorra’. When I read that, my first thought was ‘you arrogant git’. My second was that my sympathies were going to be with the Kazakh side.
But Slovan won’t care too much about winning neutrals like me over and why should they? For them, the most important question for now is whether they will manage this first stage of qualification and, on last night’s evidence, the answer looks like being yes. Tobol, in their yellow and green strip (another excellent reason to support them), weren’t quite as defensive as Šebo had predicted. They employed a 4-3-3 formation when attacking and attempted to mix a passing game with occasional long balls forward to Zebeljan, their tall number 18. But they rarely looked good enough to seriously question Šebo’s assertion about the relative strengths of the sides.
Slovan, though their squad is largely unchanged from last season, had a slightly unfamiliar look about them. One new signing they have made, Jiří Kladrubský, lined up in midfield, while Marián Had (in central defence) and Juraj Halenár (in a support striker role behind Šebo) were making their first appearances for several months. Kladrubský looks like an excellent addition. His defensive play was intelligent, his passing was simple and precise and he got forward to hit two wickedly swerving long-range shots in the first-half. The Tobol goalkeeper Petuchov tipped the first over the bar but could only knock the second one down to the feet of Šebo, who, as ever, was in exactly the right place and finished without fuss. Coming just three minutes before half-time, that goal eased the frustration that had begun to make itself heard in sections of the home crowd.
Tobol’s best spell of the game was at the start of the second-half when Džolčijev, their left-sided attacker, had two presentable opportunities. Zebeljan won a long high ball to set up the first and it needed a magnificent recovery tackle from Had to deny Džolčijev the chance of a one-on-one with home keper Putnocký. A few minutes later, the number 22 went clear again but was too slow to make up his mind whether to shoot or pass and ended up doing neither.
Midway through the half, Tobol defender Bogdan was left clutching his face after an aerial challenge with Halenár. The Slovan man was shown his second yellow card of the evening – perhaps partly as a result of the pre-match Zlatý Bažant, I couldn’t recall the first – and it seemed we were in for a tense final quarter. But, as often happens, the team with the numerical advantage didn’t seem to know what to do with it, while their opponents appeared to grow in determination and belief. It was no real surprise when, after 83 minutes, Karim Guédé, running onto a clever pass from Igor Žofčák, lifted the ball over the advancing Petuchov to make it 2-0 to Slovan and, you would imagine, render the second leg a fairly straightforward prospect.
Not a bad night for Slovan then. They weren’t brilliant but then they didn’t need to be. The occasional looseness in their play is forgiveable on the grounds that, in contrast to their opponents, this was their first competitive game of the season and one or two players are not yet fully familiar with each other. Especially positive signs include Had’s performance and the continuing goalscoring form of Šebo. Most encouraging of all, I would say, is that Kladrubský looks like he has much to offer. If he continues to play as he did last night, he and Guédé could give Slovan (should they progress further) the mixture of strength and assurance in midfield that Žilina were short of in last season’s Champions League.
Off the field, Slovan also had a decent night. Their fans still don’t like Pasienky of course but, apart from those few moans that were audible before the opening goal, they made what they could of their surroundings and provided colourful, noisy, completely trouble-free backing. The players, no doubt fed up with Pasienky themselves, clearly appreciated it. That’s a bond that needs maintaining, especially in the event that this shabby venue finds itself playing host to some of Europe’s biggest names later this autumn.
NEWS FLASH . For the record and as stated as coming in a previous post , Dan is now censoring and moderating in his favour, any and all comments placed on his precious Blog ….
” God forbid anyone should be write and be critical of your Blog Dan , or standup to your quite nasty manners towards a critical reader of your Blogs , as all you would do is censor and have a wobberly over the comments, unless they were all nice .
BTW , No Dan you cannot take valid criticism. ””
…………………..I guess the truth hurts him ????
Dear Britskibelasi,please thank to George M for his words. Criticism is often a disguised compliment. It means that you have aroused jealousy and envy because you have achieved something which is worth noticing. Mr. George is criticising you because with his comments he feels that he is important. He also probably feels a great deal of satisfaction after posting each comment. So Britskobelasi – keep up the good work, laugh and enjoy life.. You have better things to do then answer some bored pc geek anyway:)
Dale C, you totally off your head …are you on drugs ?
Don’t you realise that there are enough people to hate in the world already without your working so hard to give us another?
‘ Green Army ‘ !!!!!!!!!!!
Rules before thinking of posting a BLOG on websites.
Be careful whose toes you step on today because they might be connected to the foot that kicks your ass tomorrow.
I am free of all prejudices. Hate everyone equally.
My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I’m right.
Those are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.
You shouldn’t compare yourself to others as they are more screwed up than you think.
The people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon and all the less important ones never go away.
If we crush the caterpillars then why complain there are no butterflies
Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead
Don’t give other people a piece of your mind unless you can afford it.
Foresight is knowing when to shut your mouth before someone suggests it.
If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.
Madness takes its toll. Please always have exact change
Do you wanna be different just like everyone else ?
Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not commit adultery. Don’t eat pork. I’m sorry, what was that last one?? Don’t eat pork. God has spoken. Is that the word of God or is that pigs trying to outsmart everybody?
I believe that imagination is more important than knowledge.
You can’t argue with a sick mind
I used to have a handle on life, but then it broke ,
Robert , for the record , I no longer live here and jumped country , but still have business here, so feel the right to comment and expose myself :-). I kinda gave up on Slovakia as a place to live, a couple years ago . Dont get me wrong thou , Slovakia would be a great place to live, if it was not for the bloody Slovaks ! I am not unique in this thought, I have discovered and I know at least 10 couples ( of mixed national origin ) that came to Slovakia , all bright eyed and bushy tailed , and who all left in total despair of the people and/or business failure. And all because the place just drags you down to ‘their sad level’ . I have been chastised over the years for being very negative about Slovakia and Slovaks ..and heard for years from these smiling ‘Lover of SK ‘ cretins , what a great place it is, and better than their former , home but very quickly people discover this country, is not a very level playing field for non Slovaks . To put you finger on reason , is impossible , you just have to live here a while longer that a year and not be astudent, language teacher ( ie in real business ) to understand, that everyone here, just makes life and everything, just so difficult for everyone else, because the old ( over 40 ) are a quite miserable race of people . Perhaps it will change with a new generation?
This lady started all bright eyed and bushy tailed, a website a few years ago, but discovered and fell out of love with Slovakia , and left for London . read with my complements !
Well done Robert …..at least one person on the ball , if not football :-))
George M is not a real person , but a created web wilderbeest 🙂
Thought I’d better fill poor Dan in , or he would be slitting his wrists, all this afternoon 🙂
Still think the blog is crap thou ….as for Dan , well others will have to judge !
Blimmy, I missed a huge food fight 🙂
What a hoot !
IMHO , britskibelasi just get over yourself , nothing is that important and George’s comments, whilst harsh and sharp, are is own and one man . If I back read here , you were the one first making this very personal, ( exposing himself) rather than George, as he was commenting on the Blog reporting not you personally, well until you started calling him Mr Sad etc. What did you expect from George when you started mud throwing …him to fall over 🙂 ??
Now it appears, as you lost the game (the war of words) your now threatening to take your ball home early, because the other players are not all playing by your own set of rules ????
In the words of Oscar Wild, Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing and Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
Er…are you writing in the 3rd person or did you forget to change your name, George? 🙂
I think this guy has been found out 🙂
One final point – keep up the good work with the blog.. Of course, some people will like it and some people won’t. Those who don’t will choose not to read it ..their loss in my opinion..
P.S Well done on the wind up, George. You had me going.
I really can’t see why you are being so critical. It is a blog written about Slovak football for people that are interested in ..er.. Slovak football. If it doesn’t appeal to your tastes, then don’t read it. There is absolutely no point in coming on here and criticizing the blog, that I and I am sure many others enjoy.
No offence intended, just disappointed that somebody could be so miserable.
All the best,
Dear Robert , If you read many of my other posts , you will find I am often critical of many Blogs and Reviews , mostly written by the geeks, trainspotters and the hobbyist and always because they appear here and fail to address the needs of what is quite a professionally put together newspaper .
If The Daily newspaper is happy headlining articles that are, poorly written, off topic and appear just because they report a glint of ‘Slovakia’ in connection with them, then sadly The Daily will never raise the bar .
Dan calls me sad for spending 10 minutes a day critically commenting on news,reviews items , yet does something most people on the planet would feel was most odd, and travel around Slovakia and by public transport to watch Hackney Marshes Park grade football matches several times a week ??? Oh and he has a huge Union Jack flag with his name on it to hang on a fence …….errrrr why ???
It a not a case of me being miserable , it is case of being candid, rather than just always joining the fellow toastmaster’s , of lying and being kind about articles that are utter crap.
For the record,
our articles appear here on The Daily when they are copied and pasted from my blog site without my knowledge. If you think they are written especially for The Daily, you are very much mistaken. They are written for my own personal site and the only correct thing that has been said in this outrageous sequence of comments is that they are ‘taken by an editor desperate for sports content’. The original agreement that was reached with the editor of this site has been completely disrespected and taken advantage of, so there will be no more articles from us appearing on The Daily.
I can take valid criticism but I am not prepared to be called ‘a retarded village idiot’ and an ‘egotistical moronic twat’.
Oh Dear Dan , I thought you have left the building never to comment again??? One wonders what would have happened, if The Guardian readers had been as honest as ONE READER on the Daily. I expect you would have been sobbing in the corner by now ? ….Still it is your ball and if you don’t want anyone else to play with it …….WELL except the article, was written by James Baxter not you , so is it not up him who cut & pastes it into this Newspaper , not you ?
God forbid anyone should be write and be critical of your Blog Dan , or standup to your quite nasty manners towards a critical eader of your Blogs , as all you would do is censor and have a wobberly over the comments, unless they were all nice .
BTW , No Dan you cannot take valid criticism.
The agreement with Belasi was that I ask in advance, which I did (I wrote to the author James Baxter to request his permission). I am very sorry that the guys from Britski Belasi had to put up with so much criticism and verbal abuse, I was not monitoring the comments as I had some personal issues. The Belasi have now decided not to post any more of their articles on The Daily, and I can hardly blame them. It is a pity, because people really did enjoy the articles.
“our articles appear here on The Daily when they are copied and pasted from my blog site without my knowledge” – as I said, I requested James’ permission and would always ask you.
Sorry, George, just read your response. It is always good to get feedback on articles, bolgs anything that appears on The Daily. I just found that you comments were more personal than candid.. My opinion is that I enjoy the blog, your’s is that it isn’t to your taste..I just thought the attack on the writers was a bit unfair…
I note that you have lived here since 1997, do you ever write anything? It would be good to read something from somebody who has lived here for so long.
Good comment Bagpuss. Yes, time to expose myself again 🙂
I get the feeling that James Baxter, who wrote the current little ditty that appears here, actually believes himself to be some literary genus …you know a missed, Hemmin, Keatie or D.H L , when in fact he is an Enid Blyton, plugging out corrections typo’s for the next Noddy ‘goes’ book .
I just had a chance to read this report and some of The Blog, I think calling it boring and total crap George was a bit harsh . I myself would rate it between mundane and a bit mind numbing . I do agree with George it is a bit school boy essay format, rather that feature, story or news reporting . IMHO , not actually exciting, creative must read writing, and well John Boys own assessment , ie. a ‘back slapping well done’ is perhaps just a kind and a headteachers nodding actually from an Editor desperate for some different Sport content in his web paper pages.
I too am also not sure why Dan has to get so out his chair to defend his own blog over one man’s quite critical words , if so many other people love and admire reading his blog , as he claims ? However one suspects the real reason for the blogs recent popular viewing figures, so earlier in the pages life, is because The Guardian’s web master’s redirect. Many of the world popped in for a once over view, but maybe will never ever return , because I cannot see many world AKA on recent comments on the website ??
I await the next Football review with interest however !
Someone kindly just emailed this to me …:-)
Yawn Britney Sheep……… yet another dreary long rant , to follow a boring long winding road of a Blog . I mean why would I comment on Blog ? You don’t go to the desert looking for water ?
You call me sad , yet believe it is heroic to travel around the country to watch Blue Flag League league level football like a guy from the ‘Green Army , Plymouth Insurance advert’ . Spend hours writing a blog that hardly anyone perhaps reads and get up when one person has the courage to call it crap ….and then you count the numbers of geeks that view , the counties they live in like some trainspotter .
… and nobody asked you to read it either. George, you’re doing nothing more than exposing yourself here, I’m afraid.
One of the early things I was told when starting the blog was to consider criticism as a compliment, because people are taking the time to read the material on it and respond. You’re entitled to your opinion, I respect that, but I’ve also come to realise that you do nothing more than sit behind your computer screen all day waiting for new articles to appear on The Daily so you can sledge them. That is very, very sad. I’ve never actually seen you comment on my blog itself which you claim to have read thoroughly, nor have I ever seen you write anything positive, about anything.
Your request that I prove my visitor figures is obviously born from the sad nature of your own life. Personally I have better things to do than produce a print screen of my Google analytics report. In the world of blogging, you nurture a level of respect amongst contemporaries where you just don’t lie about these things and people just don’t query it. Another way of building respect is by responding to those kind enough to comment. Which is what I did to yourself, and you respond by claiming I am a “poor, sensitive soul”.
You think we only write about the rust on the handrails at Pasienky? You didn’t even know Slovan are playing at Pasienky, just like you don’t know that the team you claim to support actually kicked off all their home games like season at 10:30 on Sunday mornings. If you’d read the blog to the extent you claim to, you would surely have known these things already, besides, it was only a few weeks ago we went to Petrzalka v Trencin, at 10:30 on a Sunday morning.
I think there is only one poor soul here George, and you can reply once again in your ridiculous one, but I can tell you, there will be no further response because I know what you are about. Consider this comment politely phrased.
Well hardly unequivocal praise of the Britski Blog there John , surely you need to do a lot more brown nosing and sucking up there, to make this poor sensitive soul feel the entire world loves him …..
I am not sure why those that write ‘ Blogs’ always need to be hugged&kissed so much and are so sensitive to valid critic ? No one actually asks them to write the bloody things .
I read on the BBC website, FC Tobol Kostanay 1-1 Slovan Bratislava (agg 1-3), so Slovan go through to the next round . I guess no one from The Blog made the trip to report, or to update up date the wandering drivel reporting of the first leg ? Perhaps we are all waiting for one of the few Slovaks that made the drive to arrive back home, after 4 days being on the road ???
I do find it a bit rich that the actual Champions of a EU nation are made to play in these First k.o rounds, where the likes of 3-4-5th place sides in some leagues get a pass almost to the Champ League stages, let alone those that come 2nd !
Perhaps Baxter & Britski would like to comment on that, rather than the state of the rust on the safety handrails at Pasienky ?
BritskiBelasi, you do a fine job and your articles are much read and appreciated
George, if you took the time to actually read the original blog post you would notice several differently toned comments to this excellent article. Yes there was a group of us who went to the match last week and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all!
You obviously don’t know much about britskibelasi so just a couple of facts you may consider digesting before you launch your next attack on us. We’ve been running the blog for over a year now during which time we’ve had over 15,000 unique visitors from over 100 countries. Figures The Daily would probably be proud of. We were credited by The Guardian as being one of the ‘Top football blogs to follow in 2011’ but you obviously never looked too closely to see the range of subjects, number of guest posts and comments we get.
I won’t even discuss football with you, I know the game here has it’s share of detracters, all the more reason for us to continue doing what we are doing.
Oh my god , I actually feel like I have been savaged by a Slovak sheep …
I did read the entire blog, in fact I read your entire website …that is why I was able to make an informed comment about how you just repeating the same boring facts of Slovan life , over and over and over again .
The Guardian eh ? Now there is a paper we can all be identified , and with a readership of what , 5 % of the UK population ???? Still with such an esteemed newspaper licking you private parts, I am now wondering why you are so troubled and sensitive by my own very few cutting observations of the lack of any new Football content and real reporting innovation …ie I think the blog is self centered and plain ‘yawn’ boring .
Any factual support, or evidence of your claimed viewing figures , other than loud mouthing it, or are we all just finger counting ?
BTW , I have been watching Slovak football since 1997 , although since Artmedia gave up of the ghost of playing at a real home, a real team and the lack Sunday morning kick off’s I have been a less frequent attendee . I did travel to see them in Porto, Celtic, Rangers and even was one of the fortunate ones of some 250 people to get in and see them loose 4-0 to Inter Milan .
Interesting, ….those that are interested ? Is that the entire two of you then , the Brits ie. one Slovan and one Zilna supporter ???
Being a Blog should not be an excuse for it being a bit of a yawn to read, from start to finish . Show a bit of creativity man ! There are enough repeats on TV , without you just turning the same pork mincer each time you mention the subject of Slovan …even Slovak football .
When is the second leg BTW ??
It’s a blog piece George – written for those of us with enough interest to know that Tehelne pole has been out of action for the last 18 months or so and that Pasienky is Slovan’s temporary home (how temporary we don’t quite know but, as you yourself might say, this is Slovakia).
BTW , have the club moved home ?? I thought the home ground was Tehelne pole not Pasienky , which I thought was a lake among other things ?
This report does drone and meander up the mountain a bit , with same old wounds, same old moans, same old worries … all rather cut and paste, rather than saying anything new and that has not been uttered before about Slovan, Sebo or the tip of a ground that is known as the national stadium .
What about a cutting edge comment , sharp to the point , rather than a school essay James? This is all rather like The Spectator Editorial , where Beata Blockhead starts to lecture her entire viewing public of 4 readers , on good governance, by as paid for for the Greedy political party, sponsored by Penta or J&T .