Our football club DAC 1904

Our Hearts are Yellow-Blue

“There is so much more I should say,” begins the song, Familiar Faces Without You, and a euphoria hitherto unknown to me grips me at my first DAC match (FC DAC 1904 Dunaszerdahely-SK Slovan Pozsony).

The footballers step onto the field, the new stadium erupts in a huge clamour, and I turn my head wildly to see what is happening around me.  The man next to me leaps up and shouts that the referee has whistled against the DAC again, on my left a father and son, while munching on sunflower seeds, analyse the game moment by moment, while others watch the game holding their breath.  There are those in the B-Sector who sing and drum throughout the game.  “This feeling is my life,” they sing.  They have prepared a special choreography with the Slovan.  Yes, “this feeling” is truly their life.  Grandparents, children, and grandchildren, women and men shout: D-A-C.

Meanwhile, the Slovan fans run riot on the old bleachers: “The bus is leaving! The bus is leaving!” they chant behind me, and they escort out the football hooligans from the bleachers opposite.  Loud cheering, applause, yellow-blue scarfs are waved above heads, the situation heats up, the trouble-makers throw their smoke bombs at our sector.  I turn my head this way and that, but my hands are full of goose bumps. The game continues a few minutes later; everybody shouts and screams feverishly and I know that this will not be my last DAC match.

 

Kick-off

The Sports Club of Dunaszerdahely was established in 1904, when two acres were set aside for a sports field.  Later in 1908 they set the basic rules of the Dunaszerdahely Sports Club.  As we know the First World War did not favour football, so the footballers could only play friendly games. Later in 1920 they renamed the football team the Athletic Club of Dunaszerdahely. Allegedly, they chose this name, because after Trianon, they defied and wanted to defy the situation. (dac in Hungarian is to defy or challenge). The club changed its name several times over the years. At times it bore the name of the plant that sponsored it. Today FC DAC 1904 Dunaszerdahely is the club’s official name.

It was in the early 1950’s that the playing field was moved from the field next to the Vermes Villa to the new stadium, its present location. My grandfather, an experienced surveyor, measured the playing field. He too played football, remembered Krisztian Nagy, the press man of the DAC, who has been an enthusiast of the club since childhood. “The football of Dunaszerdahely reached the second league in 1980. Then in I985 it made the Czechoslovak Federal League, which was a huge success, as Dunaszerdahely, with its population of 20, was the smallest city in the championship. This was the first true golden age of Dunaszerdahely football.

Then in 1987 we won the Slovak and Czechoslovak cup too. Between 1985 and 1998 we spent 13 seasons in the front rank. Then deep troughs came in the 2000s, however, it is difficult to compare the two successful periods (the late 80’s and recent years), as there was no professional football in the eastern bloc during the years of socialism.  The footballers “officially” worked on collective farms. Or at least, that is where they were declared. Today we are talking about professional footballers, they are paid, the best not a small amount. The clubs buy and sell the players.

 

The First Half-Time or the New “DAC-Period”

The team was bought by the new owner, Oszkár Világi, three years ago.  Many people think that the football of Dunaszerdahely was saved at the last minute.  The arrival of the new owner has brought on many spectacular changes. A beautiful new stadium is being built (its name is MOL Arena, after its sponsor).  Many people make a pilgrimage here and take pictures of it.  And the DAC Academy is unique, even by European standards, football talents study there.  “This is a tremendous thing in the life of the Hungarian minority of Slovakia here. It has taken on a physical dimension, demonstrating that we exist, we are here,” says the new owner, Oszkár Világi. “I lived next to the stadium when I was a child, my mother still lives there. Football was our life.  Day after day my buddies and I went behind the stadium, to the stone pit and we played football,” continues the club owner.  The love of football is passed on from father to son in Dunaszerdahely.  The locals talk about the game for days afterwards. And not only the men, the women too. The more ardent locals even attended the training sessions in the old days, indeed, they had their own standing room in the stadium, which no one else could take.  Now that the new stadium is being built, a hard core (pensioners) sit there on the stands and comment on the construction. They come here, as others go to work.  “This city has not seen anything like this,” they say.  Human beings are made so that they want to belong somewhere and the football gives the locals a sense of belonging.  DAC is one of the symbols of the Hungarian minority of the Slovakia. An institution that we can be proud of. They identify with it, and it touches their feelings. A DAC football fan can tell you what football means to him, as it is part of his daily life. If the DAC wins, the sun shines. There are many Hungarians of Slovakia who think this, that is why the DAC was set up as an institution. And of course, because it could always bring quality football. If we, who live here want something to brag about that can be an example to the world, then everyone in Slovakia thinks of DAC. Even the foreigners. Few teams can boast of such loyal fans, as the DAC,” adds Oszkár Világi.

The leader of the DAC Academy’s youth wing, Krisztián Németh says that everybody in Csallóköz can think of the club as theirs, from the grandmother to the grandchildren. Why? Because finally the training of reinforcements has got underway and the DAC Academy is being built next to the stadium. Krisztián Németh’s whole life has turned round football. He experienced the golden age of Dunaszerdahely football, when everyone admired the star players and he just picked up the ball. Then he joined the team and could pull on the yellow-blue jersey.  “We are family here and the DAC lives in us, it is a feeling of life, which goes beyond the sport.  I am so very glad that the Academy is being built, for finally we can give our children quality training.  The goal is to train their own players for the A-team.

The Academy currently trains 300 children and it works together with the schools and parents.  They urge that the schools provide a good education, not everybody is going to be a professional football player.

 

Second Half, or What is the Point of Football without Supporters

It is definitely the supporters that create the atmosphere at today’s DAC games. They create a festive atmosphere with songs, choreography, drums, loudspeakers. Yellow-Blue

Supporters - they are the ones whose hearts are literally yellow-blue.  The ultras introduce themselves. They are wearing the same jerseys and yellow-blue scarfs around their necks, they cheer the team on behind the nets. They are precisely organised. There is much work and study behind the spectacular appearance. They offer their lives and their blood (sometimes literally) for the team. One day on a Wednesday one of the capos, Róbert Bögi sits opposite me in the Turul bar, the hangout of the YBS Fanclub.  Every DAC supporter knows him.  Robi (Roberto) is a football fanatic, a DAC fanatic.  He is an encyclopedia, he remembers everything connected with the club.  He lists the names, the games, the years and goals. Immediately at the beginning of our conversation, he stresses: “We organise the next game on the day of the game.  The match does not begin for us when the referee blows his whistle.”

“Several supporter groups were formed in 2008, including the YBS (that is the yellow-blue supporters). Since then the leaders, the members, even the attitudes have changed.  We have been working officially since 2015 as a civic association. Our logo has a turul,* for we are Hungarian supporters. We meet several times before the bigger games and we meet every Wednesday. Officially there are 100 members of the group, YBS supporters number several hundred,” says Roland Domokos, the YBS Fanclub president. Roli is a real boss, the driving force behind the supporters. “Are they afraid of him?” I ask, whereupon he smiles. The others interject that they listen to him.  They respect him.

Member of the YBS presidium, Viktória Petőcz (whose presence proves that we are equal to the men as supporters).  Viktória adds that they regularly organise cultural and sports events. “We have a fan shop, we do charity work, we present project proposals and with the money we subsidize the choreographies. For it is important that there always be a pageant or a leitmotif in the programme.  Sometimes there are ideas that cannot be carried out.  For example, a three-minute pageant behind the gate would cost several thousand euros…”

There is a lot of work in organising, if the team is not playing at home, the ultras organise the trips of the supporters.  And the football club works together with them. Currently both sides think that the relationship between the club and the fan club has never been better.  “There is very little ultra-culture in the world and we are glad that cooperation is very good here.  The club and the fans stick together.   So the atmosphere is better too,” affirms Martin Tornyai, the commercial manager of DAC.

The most important, of course, is that the fans see that the footballers do everything in their power to make a good game.  “Once we boycotted the game, because we felt that the players were not doing their best,” says Roberto, the kápó.  I ask him how does he do it, since he tirelessly rouses the crowd throughout the 90 minutes or so.  “Angrily, firmly. Imagine a class, in which you are the form-master.” He adds that nowadays he does not lose his voice any more after the games.  And there is another kápó, Attila Bartalos, to help him out.  In addition, the B-middle sector of the YBS Fan club has its own rules.  For example, no selfies are allowed during the game. And the team must be supported and encouraged throughout the game, no matter how the game is going.

*Turul. A large mythical bird of prey, like a large falcon or hawk.  It is the national symbol of Hungarians.

 

Overtime

“We know where we have come from and where we are going,” the older DAC supporters tell me.  If one does not know something, you have to ask them.  Although they do not care for modern things, such as online media and the cashless system, they think that they “got a new ball” with the new stadium.  I catch György Lépes, the manager responsible for youth, among the happy urchins on the field.  “The world has gathered speed, many things have changed. But the DAC cult lives on and will continue to live.  I am happy, for I see generations side by side in the stadium.”

“…whatever happens, while we live and die, we are of the same blood.”  I remember everything, the adrenalin, the cheering, as my hand moves and when I shout for the first time in my life on the bleachers, for the corner kick fails.  Overtime will soon be over.  And suddenly, in the last second, GOOOOOOOOAL!  We won! We won!” I shout.  I suddenly realise with shock that I am using the first person plural…

 

 

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