Saturday, April 30, 2011

A bit to the East of DDR, Slovakian football continued its monopoly: Slovan (Bratislava) won their 7th Czechoslovakian title. In a way, it was normal – Slovan were traditionally strong, popular, and well funded. They were also the only Czechoslovakian club with international success, winning the Cup Winners Cup in 1969 – to the envy of Dukla (Prague), the ‘export’ team. By 1975 it was fellow Slovaks from Spartak (Trnava), not Czech Dukla, to reckon with – 7 titles restored the leading position of Slovan, since just in 1973 provincial Trnava equaled Slovan’s domestic honours.

Top, left to right: Bohumil Bizon, Marian Masny, Jan Capkovic, Marian Elefant, Anton Ondrus, Jozef Capkovic, Ivan Pekarik, Jan Haraslin, Koloman Gogh, Karol Jokl.

Sitting: Tibor Matula, Jan Svehlik, Juraj Novotni, Alexander Vencel, Jan Pivarnik, Peter Mutkovic, Marian Sedilek.

Interesting fauna, with Bizon (bison) and Elefant (well, elephant), but the strength of Slovan was not animalistic. Jozef Venglos was coaching them, building bigger and stronger reputation as a coach. His squad was practically the skeleton of the national team. Hardly surprising: Slovan had strong backing as a capital city club, both political and financial. Unlike Trnava, Slovan had no problem recruiting talented players when in need, which helped them to replace smoothly aging players with new stars. So far, transition was easy and by 1975 it had may be more former and current national players than the team from the 1960s: Masny, the Capkovic brothers, Ondrus, Gogh, Svehlik, Vencel, Pivarnik and potential candidates Novotni, Jokl, Elefant, Bizon, Pekarik. The sun was always shining in Bratislava – so far.