We all remember our first game don’t we? Well not unless you are a few months old and then it the job of your Dad to record it for you. So here is Daniel Richardson’s account of his daughter’s first game….bless.
The lowest league of the pyramid in the 25th ranked domestic league of European football. What better place to kick-off a childhood if not a lifetime of watching football? Or so my Dad would like to think; the truth is I was just 6 months old and had no choice in the matter. My family who took me to the match didn’t even know who was playing. Dad found out the next day by scouring the depths of the Slovak Sports Daily Dennik Sport that it was Okoc / Sokolec v Pol’. Mocenok in the Slovak 5. Div West South.
Okoc, or Ekecs, as the locals call it [they speak Hungarian, see] is a village in the South of Slovakia. You can’t even find it on Wikipedia. Officially it must be the South of the West I guess, but anyway, it’s down there and not much goes on. Therefore the football is quite a draw because a home game provides the highlight of the fortnight to families in these sleepy villages. Kick-offs are always Sunday afternoon at 17:00 by which time people will have already spent a good 7 hours eating, drinking and generally being merry, together. Forget your I-pads and designer clothes, deadlines, twitter and ‘better things to do’; this is real family stuff, and that’s why I went to the footy and everyone, including the dog, came along too.
Free entry for ladies, babies and dogs. €1 each for the men, who can begrudge paying that when the sun is shining, the atmosphere is jovial, the bar is open and there’s a game on? Even the pitch was in good nick and the football wasn’t as bad as they said it would be. There was also a “10ft football in a magic hat” to quote Danny Last. I was asleep in the buggy, Dad was drinking too much with Granddad and the girls were talking about me, so no one really knows what happened in the match. We just know Okoc won 1-0, because Dad checked the paper the next day. Despite the win, they remained bottom of the league pyramid but no worries; there is no relegation from this league.
Crowds for village football, especially in this region of Slovakia, often better those in the 2nd or even the 1st Division, in some cases. There was no official attendance published but Dad estimates between 200-300 were in for this match, which, when compared to 347 at Senec v Petrzalka the previous day, is not half bad. It’s a meeting place, an open air bar, a Sunday afternoon party and a chance to support the local lads. Everything you need, what more could I ask for from my first match?
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