Saturday 26th September 2015 ko 12.00
4 Liga Ilfov
ATHLETICO FLOREASCA 4 (Dorlan 20 Trendo 25 Nicolau 57 Brinza 59)
ACS CORBEANA 2 (Timesol 28 Serban 90)
Bottle “Ursus” Beer 5 Lei (c 84p)
How many godly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.”
William Shakespeare “The Tempest” Act V Scene I
It’s simple enough to get to Stadiunul Athletico Floreasca, just take the Bucharest metro north on the M2 line to Aurel Vlaicu station, a day’s pass on the underground costs 8 lei, about £1.34. From there you cross the road and head south passing the Floreasca Park retail development a modernist vision of concrete, glass and steel before going to through the double gates into the altogether more humble surroundings of the football ground.
The ground is utterly dominated by two huge skyscrapers, owned by likes of Price Waterhouse. Those you can see anywhere there’s money but when you’re like Athletico Floreasca and have little or no money you live by the adage “Necessity is the mother of invention.” You do wonder though whether the nearby multinationals are even aware of the community club at their feet, and if so whether they even care.
The ground has seen football for years even if Floreasca were only formed in 2012, moving sideways from Division 4 Bucharest to Division 4 Ilfov County for last season due to the latter’s FA having easier administration! But as notably friendly as the club are it’s the ground that draws the eye. Because if what is needed wasn’t there the club have used whatever they can find to provide it.
So with no stand a timekeepers’ stand has been co-opted from an athletics stadium, fencing has been made with old nets, and a patio area made of spare wood.
There’s even a kennel provided for the stray dogs that call the stadium home. Street dogs are a problem in Bucharest from the 1970’s when Ceauşescu borrowed the policy of Systemization from North Korea’s “Juche” philosophy. It involved demolition and reconstruction of existing villages, towns, and cities including large sections of Bucharest with the stated goal of turning Romania into a “multilaterally developed socialist society.” It saw families moved with little notice, and so family pets were simply left behind to fend for themselves, and interbreed. In recent years the numbers of dogs have reduced massively, due a controversial euthanasia programme, now in abeyance, and by animal charities sterilising strays.
It is a unique home of football and the antidote to the kind of stadium where you feel you could be anywhere, and the friendly club were happy to offer a beer and a seat on the home bench to watch the action.
They were far too good for visitors Corbeana despite the early loss of star midlfielder George Alexandrescu to a badly broken ankle. He’ll be absent for at least a year, but his team mates rallied well and had the game won within an hour.
Afterwards we all sat in the patio, and enjoyed another beer. The players were fascinated by my note taking and clipboard, and I would love to have lingered a little longer, but there were more adventures to be had.