Ladislav Vízek, a legend of Dukla and Olympic champion in 1980, told his teammates at the klander: “Guys, I’m definitely a cup player, I won’t be of much use in the league.” He went home satisfied, his Dukla is looking forward to the spring cup quarter-finals.
In addition to Vízek and other icons, the promotion euphoria was also enjoyed by over five hundred fans of second division Dukla who preferred football to school, work or an afternoon walk. Just for comparison: 925 people arrived at the last home game of the Dejvice team against Chrudim on the traditional date of Saturday afternoon, which is a fairly common number in Juliska (the autumn maximum is 1196).
“Honestly, I expected worse. The fact that it was played at such a crazy time, quite a few people came. It is admirable that our fans from Moravia also came,” Vyskov captain David Němeček bowed.
Why was the game played on Wednesday from 1:30 p.m.? Dukla calculated with the fact that not so many people would come to the second league opponent, and in addition, significant savings were made on lighting. “We are partly sorry, because this term is suitable for children, students and pensioners, but definitely not for working people,” acknowledged Bohumil Paukner, chairman of the board of Dukla.
“However, as you know, Czech football has been underinvested for a long time, so all clubs are counting costs. And they are so high that we decided on this term,” explained Paukner. “If at least three thousand people don’t come, the match is lost. And when you shine, you increase the loss by 100 to 120 thousand crowns. To compensate, we would have to raise admissions dramatically.”
Five hundred people in the stands? What a contrast to last year’s third round of the cup between Dukla and Slavia, at six in the evening and after a successful marketing campaign, almost four and a half thousand fans came. On the other hand, this time the coaches’ instructions and the heated home coach Petr Rada’s banter with the referees could be heard perfectly. Journalists were not counted on either, the press center was only open before the match.
“I don’t know how many people would have turned up for a second-division opponent if we had played from five, for example. Moreover, in the Bohemians cup derby competition with Sparta. When I read in the tabloids that the billionaire Paukner would not light the lights on Juliska, it seemed completely out of the ordinary,” coach Rada said, alluding to Dukla’s owner, energy trader Petr Paukner. And then he raised his voice: “Why don’t we solve, for example, the fact that the second league is played in the morning? Because of children? Football is always played in the afternoon or evening.’
Hopeful news at the end: if Dukla plays the cup quarter-finals at home, they may not have to rush to Juliska right after lunch. “Depending on the attractiveness of the opponent, we will consider a later kick-off time and the aforementioned increase in the entrance fee,” said Bohumil Paukner.