Ferenc Puskás Stadion – Budapest, Hungary

11 Apr

Debrecen – 1

PSV Eindhoven – 2

Europa League Group I – 21st October 2010

On my trip around Europe last year, I used a variety of transportation to get around, the worst was a random Thursday – with a train from Zagreb in Croatia to Budapest in Hungary, which was seven hours long.

The train was long and relatively painful, stopping at a bazillion stops as soon as we crossed the Hungarian border, in one of those classic trains last seen in TV adaptations of Agatha Cristie novels. I can see why a lot of people died on these trains, not because they were brutally murdered, it was because they were dying of heat exhaustion. Sharing my cab with two old guys and 3 other young nubile Hungarian girls (which – unfortunately – didn’t speak a word of English), meant that 7 hours from Zagreb to Hungary were tough. I wish I flew.

The reason to go to Hungary? Not only because I wanted to explore one of the most beautiful cities in Central Europe, but on top of that I was meeting Danny Last of European Football Weekends, to experience why grown men from all over Europe meet up in a random part of the world to watch a game of football where they have no emotional investment. The game was Debrecen vs PSV in the Europa league.

Despite being the Europa League, tickets were stupidly reasonable and available on the door, of 3000 Hungarian Florints (less than £5). I arrived in Budapest at around 5pm, 3 hours before kickoff. Still in those three hours I had to avoid the scammers at the station, find the hostel, check in, find the stadium, get tickets, get some food & optinonally – get pissed.

Luckily I managed most of this (bar the getting pissed) within two hours. Unfortunately, I also pined for the warmth of the stuffy Hurcule Poirot train & the three hot girls from earlier that day, with temperatures on the ridiulously low side of Baltic. Also, Hungarian football is gleefully undercommercialised, with only a small selection of scarves for sale. Unfortuantely, they haven’t learnt the ability to serve hot food & drink, with a sugary pretzels, coca cola, popcorn & seeds. Yes, seeds. It’s like if Gillian McKeith did football food.

The PSV Contingient.

Inside the stadium there was a similar choice, but to be honest, we didn’t care. After taking my seat in the cheap seats behind the goal, with zero protection from the elements. We were greeted to a fabulous open top stadium, the kind familiar with those old enough to remember the Communist Olympics in the 70’s & 80’s. The Puskas Ferenc Stadium is a wonderful old multi purpose stadium, with colluseum like seating, an old scoreboard (which works fantastically), a minimum corporate area, a needless athletics track, and girraffe esque floodlights.

 

Unfortunately, they couldn’t fill it with mad Debrecen fans, but as well as the European Football Weekends lot (who also occupied the cheap seats behind the goal), the PSV fans (occupied to our left, and it was reported that they coached from Eindhoven, which I found the day after to not be the case), and the Debrecen fans in a sweeping wave to the right of us culminating in a manic support opposite us – what they lacked in numbers (18000 being the official attendance, doubt it to be completely honest), they made up with fine voice.

The non existant roof came off half way through the first half, when Mijadinoski – after a period of Debrecen pressure – nodded the home team in the lead. The crowd erupted, before returning to the glorious state of noise. The coach tripping PSV fans couldn’t compete. They couldn’t compete 5 minutes after the goal when Orlando Engelaar scored from distance to equalise for PSV. These Debrecen fans were still singing their guts out. After 45 minutes, 1-1.

Normal games, at half time, we’d explore the ground & concession stands, but there weren’t any. So instead all we did was take photos off our scarves & us at the stadium. At Debrecen vs. PSV in a positively Baltic Thursday night in October – we were there.

PSV attacked for large swathes of the second half.

PSV kicked off the second half with a more attacking formation, and it paid off with more pressure, the second half was all PSV, and they duely scored with the Hungarian Balázs Dzsudzsák on the 70th minute. Following this, PSV became more defensive, but they had nothing to worry about. Debrecen fans were still in fantastic voice, singing the whole game and well into the final minutes. Bless the Eindhoven boys, but they couldn’t be heard.

Not a good day for Debrecen

Following the final whistle, we returned to where the EFW Oktoberfest hotel – the Hotel Arena, to which I met fans from all over Europe (the best being a Royal Antwerp fan – we shared stories on Colwyn Bay‘s captain fantastic Damien Allen), before retiring back to my hostel for a good night sleep.

 

Unfortunately, a monumental fuckup meant I couldn’t attend the rest of the weekend’s festivities, but I really enjoyed my second ever match abroad.

About Rhys Wynne

Rhys Wynne is the editor & creator of You're Supposed To Be At Home. For his sins, he is a Colwyn Bay & Liverpool fan, and a serial blog creator. You can follow Rhys on twitter here.

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