Getting to know: Ferencvaros
News Sun 10 Aug 2014
Our penultimate pre-season friendly takes us to a brand new stadium to face opposition we have never played before.
With so much novelty factor surrounding our game against Ferencvaros, the official Chelsea website decided to get in touch with a locally-based Blue to find out a little more about tonight’s opponents, the Groupama Arena and the place of the sport in a country so steeped in footballing history.
Mark Ryan, 27, is a lifelong Chelsea fan who has been living in Budapest for the last five years. He explains a little more about Ferencvaros and their current standing in Hungary.
‘Historically, Ferencvaros are the most successful Hungarian team of all time,’ he says. ‘They were especially dominant before the Second World War and in the 1960s and 1990s.
‘In the last decade they have not been as successful. The last time they won the title was in 2004. The best Hungarian team in recent years has been Debrecen, another team who have also opened a new stadium, in the east of the country.
‘One player to look out for is Zoltan Gera, who originally made his name at Ferencvaros and is back with them now after successful spells at Fulham and West Brom in England.’
Tonight’s friendly marks the official opening of the Groupama Arena, situated in the south-east of the Hungarian capital. Its capacity is a little over 23,000.
‘The stadium is brand new but the location is the same as the original stadium which was completely demolished,’ continues Ryan. ‘It's a fantastic, state-of-the-art venue with all the amenities demanded of a modern stadium.
‘The opening is a huge story in Budapest. There were rumours going around before the game was even announced that Chelsea would be the team to play the opening match there. There are posters across the city advertising the game.
‘Chelsea's game is a big story in Budapest and a great chance for Hungarians to see a top quality team in action. It is rare for Hungarians to see a team capable of winning the Champions League playing in their country.
‘Football is huge in Budapest, at all levels from amateur to professional. It is also the most popular sport in the country. It has played a big part in Hungarian culture, with the name Puskas still arousing great emotions among Hungarians every time they hear it.’