It’s nearly nine years since I made it to a game of Bohemians Praha, a club a little bit special to me on account of it being a club I partly own. A very small part, it has to be said, as even my purchase of four shares doesn’t add up to a great deal.
That game was in Bohemians’ 2nd season since reforming, and although they did get promoted that year, it’s not been plain sailing since. Ground improvements, necessary to get a top division licence, hindered the playing budget, and the club came straight back down.
Bohemians bounced straight back, but a further relegation in 2012 (again, returning straight away) followed, but it’s not been easy. Ground issues also meant two unpopular years camped 1km up the road at Slavia’s Eden, and even though they are back at Ďolíček (“The Dimple”), capacity is limited to 5000.
It does appear that in the last few days though, a deal has been reached with the council of the Vršovice district about purchasing The Dimple, so maybe progress can be made.
The place has changed superficially, but is still the same place, squashed among the apartments of Vršovice, that I saw before.
The main stand now has modern tip-up seats rather than benches. The very thin open stand opposite, under construction during my last visit, now has its full contingent of three rows of seats. The end behind the north goal is now mainly seated. A central section of seats was removed when the club went down, and the seats have yet to be put back.
As well as having the seats put back, this end could do with a good spraying with a few litres of Roundup weedkiller, as nature is starting to win the battle with the concrete in a few places. One big disappointment at this end is that the line of tall trees that used to cap this end so well, have gone. What happened to them, I’ve no idea, but they were definitely a little part of the ground’s charm. That the ground has now gained floodlights again, is visually little consolation.
The south end is again, sadly, empty. Just a bare wall of the buildings looking out onto trams rattling up and down Vršovická street beyond. It was on one of these trams, boarded at the Bohemians stop, that I looked out and wondered when I would see Ďolíček again.
“About 10 minutes later” was the answer, as the No.4 tram route had changed, meaning I had to do a U-turn two stops later and come past again to get back to the centre. At least the rain, which looked mean enough to wipe out the rest of day after I stepped out of the club shop, had stopped by then. With a bit of luck the sun will shine on the club again soon too.