Getting to the groundIt will take a good 40 minutes from the city centre (Deak Ferenc ter) to get out to the stadium. First take the blue metro line in the direction of Kobanya-Kispest, alighting at the penultimate stop, Hatar ut. Stick to the right as you leave the underground concourse and you should find yourself in small rundown market area, behind which is an Ibis hotel.
The Number 42 tram will take you to the stadium. Hatar ut is the end terminus for this route and a tram can usually be found waiting at the stop between the small market and the Ibis. Ride the tram (which leaves every 15 minutes) along the entire length of the line to Tulipan utca. When you get off the tram, keep walking in the same direction that the tram was travelling and you will find the stadium on the right-hand side.
Obtaining ticketsTicket windows can be found to the left of the main gate to the stadium complex. Look for the words ‘Penztar’. If you are not Hungarian, you will need your passport to buy a ticket. Every person who needs a ticket will need to have a passport (other photo identification may be sufficient).
The Kispest-szektor (if open) tends to be where the more vocal support tends to gather for Honved games otherwise you have the choice between the Csaladi szektor (Family Sector) or sitting in the Puskas-Tribun (Puskas Stand) itself. Tickets will start at about HUF 1,400 rising to HUF 3,000. The 1909-Szektor rarely (if ever) opens and the Honved Szektor has seemingly not opened since the mid-80s.
An alternative is to base yourself in the away section. Tickets for this can be obtained at the away gate. To get there, walk past the home ticket office for another 300 metres or so before turning right onto Temeto koz (following any signs for Vendeg penztar).
The whole ticket process whether home or away might be a bit hit or miss with finding English speakers, but you will not be the first foreigners that they have encountered so just have a little patience.
Pre-match drinksUm. Pick up some cans from the market at Hatar ut and enjoy on the tram. Street drinking is the way to go here.
FacilitiesThe main stand offers a small bar for all your beer needs (well, Soproni at HUF 450). There is also a couple of drinks outlets on the terrace that enable you to refresh without missing any of the game. Toilets are located down the stairs at either end of the ground (you will see one set to your left when you come through the turnstile with the other in the same place on the other side of the main stand).
BarIf you splashed out on a seat in the main stand then you will be protected from the weather. If you are in the Csaladi Szektor, you may find yourself somewhat exposed.
The away section is a bank of concrete steps, a surprisingly nice toilet and unreliable refreshments. Sometimes there will be a permanent drinks stand which will serve you through a gate near the toilets (not as ominous as it sounds) other times there may only be a few beers to around at sporadic intervals.
What to expect?Atmosphere wise do not expect much. Hungarian football is in a bad place at the moment with local football fans turning their back on the local game in favour of watching Barcelona, Real Madrid et al in the comfort of their living rooms. The atmosphere has certainly suffered as such. Typically, Honved will attract 1,500 to 2,000 for a run-of-the-mill league game and a few more for local derbies.
Quality wise, Honved have struggled for a while and seem to be in a perennial battle to escape the clutches of the lower mid-table. Attempts to bring in Alessandro del Piero on a short-term contract highlight one of the fundamental problems at the club, which is bringing in over paid, aging, foreign journeymen rather than trusting in their own academy.
Points of interest
- Just before you reach the main home turnstiles, you will walk past a bleak looking cream building. This is the sleeping quarters for the members of Honved’s youth academy, which is considered one of the best in the country.
- The chairman of Honved’s son is the owner of Hooters Budapest.
- If you are watching Honved from the home end, stick to red and black. Don’t wear green or purple.
- MTK are currently playing their home games at the Bozsik Jozsef Stadion whilst their own home is refurbished. As such, there is a game on most weekends at this stadium.
Points of cautionCertain games (definitely the visit of Ferencvaros and Ujpest and sometimes the visits of MTK and Diosgyor) may be considered high risk by the local police force. This means that no tickets will be sold on the day of the game and at present, there is no way for people without fan cards to purchase tickets beforehand (Hungarian bureaucracy). Be prepared that you may not be permitted entry before you trek all the way to the stadium. If you are in Budapest the day before such a game, it may be possible to collect a fan card and ticket at the ticket office in Balna Centre in central Budapest.
The FutureThe stadium is set to close in the Summer of 2015 to be replaced by a new facility to be opened in 2016.
Written by Tim Hawkins – author of TimmyBacsi, a blog about following MTK around Hungary.