28 December 2012

In memoriam: Vaclav Drobny

Vaclav Drobny: 1980-2012.

Sad news from the Czech Republic - former defender Vaclav Drobny, who was on the books at Aston Villa for a season, has died.

According to the Czech website iSport.cz, Drobny was killed in a bobsleighing accident at the mountain resort of Špindlerův Mlýn in the north of the country. He was just 32 years old.

If Aston Villa fans don't instantly recognise the name, then they can be forgiven. Drobny was loaned out to Villa Park for the 2004/2005 season but did not make a single appearance for David O'Leary's team.

I have to admit that when I found out he had died, I recalled hearing of him some time ago, but still had to Google him to find out where I came across that name before. It appears that he was one of many foreigners to come to the Premier League unnoticed and leave in a similar vein.

Drobny arrived at Villa at the same time as fellow defender Martin Laursen. Despite having won his only two caps for Czech Republic earlier in 2004, he didn't make as much impact in the claret and blue half of Birmingham as Laursen, who is still greatly respected by the club's fans today despite the premature end to his own career.

After starting his career at Czech minnows Chmel Blsany, he signed for French side Strasbourg in 2002, making just over 40 appearances for them. It was Strasbourg who sent him to Villa two years later. When his brief stint in English football didn't go to plan, he was sold off to Sparta Prague.

Sadly for Drobny, a European Under-21 Champion with the Czech Republic in 2002, his career went into freefall. He was loaned to Jablonec 97, and spent some time at German second division team FC Augsburg before returning home with Spartak Trnava and Bohemians Prague.

It appears that Drobny's career ended following his release by Bohemians in 2011. A career with so much promise was over. With his playing days finished, he went into coaching and also became a TV pundit.

Drobny passed away this morning from injuries suffered in a bobsleigh crash. According to the news source, his bobsleigh went off the road or track (I'll confess that my knowledge of the Czech language isn't great) and he crashed into a tree. He was taken to the University Hospital in Hradec Kralove, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Any death is sad, but Vaclav's passing at such a young age is also tragic.

Rest in peace, Vaclav.

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