Slavia Praha’s troubles are well documented; the finances are limited, much like the current crop of players. Trying to resurrect this famous club will need much more than a quick fix and a few loan signings.
Recent performances have quelled the initial optimism of the spring campaign, two consecutive 0-0 draws with Teplice and Příbram has given more ammunition for the Slavia Ultra’s to pelt at Straka and his coaching team.
When František Straka replaced Michal Petrous as coach of Slavia back in Oct 2011 I was excited to see what all of the fuss was about. Stories were told of his garish dress sense and outlandish interviews, but his time at Slavia has been very low key.
His debut in Slavia dugout was a tense affair, flanked by two security guards, Straka looked as nervous as his team on the pitch. They lost the game 1-0 to bottom placed side and local rivals Viktoria Žižkov.
There was no sign of his infamous white checked jacket he wore in Australia when coaching New Queensland Fury. No smiles, no crazy interviews, no personality, no Straka it seemed.
Straka’s stint in Australia was a happy time despite the Fury finishing bottom of the A League. The fans and players seemed to respond to Straka’s personality and European style – one player remarked he sounded like ‘The Terminator’ when speaking English.
A sun tanned and seemingly content Straka was celebrating every Fury goal as if it was his last. The famous white/cream checked jacket that Straka used to wear for matches was becoming iconic, the Fury ultras “The F Troop” used to wear replicas in the stand.
“He was really good for the town of Queensland and wore his heart on his sleeve,” said Queensland Townsville reporter Antony Stewart “Franz was a master motivator and always lifted the mood inside the stadium. Although I am not sure if Queensland was ready for his fashion sense, but Franz assured us that everyone in Europe would appreciate it.”
“The Queensland Fury might have been a doomed project, but Franz bought a little fun to it all.” added Stewart.
Fun is definitely not a word you would hear at Slavia right now.
Unfortunately, financial constraints saw Straka unable to continue his work at the Fury. Keen to stay in the warmer climes of Australia, Straka applied for the manager’s role at Melbourne Victory, but to no avail.
Returning to Europe, Straka ended up in Poland for 6 months as manager of Arka Gdynia before Ales Řebíček offered him a chance to revive Slavia.
A scroll through Straka’s CV and you soon realize he has made more jobs than the office temp. The kind of employee that endears himself to everyone at first, with his novelty tie and outspoken views, but is soon left out of the weekly office drinks and forced to find a new job.
His league record at Slavia is quite promising (P9 W3 D4 L2) but statistics never paint the whole picture. The performances from Slavia haven’t been easy on the eye as the side struggles to score goals and string more than two passes together.
Reports have emerged that Straka is a dead man walking and will leave the club in the summer, an inevitable conclusion to this sordid affair. It’s just a shame that Straka and Slavia couldn’t work out, as football needs a strong Slavia Praha as much as it needs a happy František Straka.