She has a sinister look as dusk falls. Dark thunder clowds give the imposing structure an obscure character. Despite Mother Nature is taking over, all the beauty of this wonderful stadium can be seen. The fence must keep out uninvited guests, but it has already given up the battle. Yet many people will not dare to take a step inside. I am as happy as I child. Within seconds I will set foot inside Za Lužánkami stadium.
I run up the stairs. As you enter from above, the impressive stadium immediately grabs you. A powerful home which has frightened opponents without a doubt. If an empty stadium can already spook you, how must it feel when it is filled with 50.000 passionate people? At that moment I realize it is actually a mortal sin that this stadium isn’t used for playing football anymore. The reason? Because it doesn’t meet the high demands of the elite. The football association and FIFA disaproved the ground.
Luzanky as the stadium is called by the locals used to be the biggest stadium in Czechoslovakia, to be found in Brno. Build between 1949 and 1953. She had to close her doors in 2001. FC Zbrojovka Brno moved that year to the much smaller Městský fotbalový stadion Srbská. Several plans were presented to give Za Lužánkami a second life, but financial problems prevented to execute any of them.
The importance of Luzanky for the local community showed itself in 2015. As soon as Petr Svancara announced he wanted to play his farewell match in that ground, he received immediately a huge amount of support. The people of Brno started the renovation by themselves. Mother Nature was driven out, the stands were repared. A brand new pitch was installed. The dream of Svancara came true. In june 2015 a whopping 25.000 people gave him a proper farewell.
De stands are full of vegetation again. Some places grow entire threes. The red and white crush barriers plus several graffiti colour the place. The goals look a bit lost. Apparantly the clubs’ youth trains here, but it doens’t seem like it looking at the pitch. I feel powerful standing on the pitch. How must have felt it when the stands were packed with people?
I walk around and enter the main stand. Originaly the main stand had benches with numbers. Only the elite had seats. Later the complete section got seats, which are almost entirely lost now. I need to climb to be able to enter the second tier. All gates are welded and can’t be opened. All the way at the top you have a view over Brno. Another might perspective of the greatness of this stadium.
Darkness falls. I can still spend hours here, but lack of time prevents me of doing so. We need to go. I am happy to have enjoyed Za Lužánkami in her former glory. I hope she will get a second life. She deserves it. Rumours say new plans for a 40 million pound renovation are made. Hopefully the plans will turn into action. We shall see.