AC Sparta Prague

Last updated

Sparta Prague
Sparta Praha logo.png
Full nameAthletic Club Sparta Praha Fotbal a.s.
Nickname(s)Železná Sparta (Iron Sparta)
Rudí (The Reds/The Maroons) [note 1]
Letenští
Founded16 November 1893;127 years ago (1893-11-16)
Ground Generali Česká pojišťovna Arena
Capacity19,416
OwnerJ&T Credit Investments (60%)
Daniel Křetínský (40%)
President Daniel Křetínský
Head coach Pavel Vrba
League Czech First League
2020–21 2nd
Website Club website
Soccerball current event.svg Current season

Athletic Club Sparta Praha (Czech pronunciation: [ˈaː ˈt͡sɛː ˈsparta ˈpraɦa] ), commonly known as Sparta Prague, is a Czech football club based in Prague.

Contents

It is the most successful club in the Czech Republic and one of the most successful in central Europe, winning the central European Cup (also known as the Mitropa Cup) three times as well as having reached the semi-finals of the European Cup (now the UEFA Champions League) in 1992 and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1973. [1] [2]

Sparta have won a record 36 domestic league titles, the Czech Cup (formerly Czechoslovak Cup) 27 times, also a record, and the Czech Supercup twice. [1] Sparta was long the main source for the Czech Republic national football team, however lately this has ceased to be the case, as the best Czech players almost exclusively play in foreign leagues.

Sparta play at Prague's Generali Česká pojišťovna Arena, also known as Letná Stadium.

History

Early years

At the close of 1893, a small group of young people based around three brothers – Václav, Bohumil and Rudolf Rudl – had the idea of setting up a sports club. On 16 November, the founders' meeting approved the club's articles of association and one month later, on 17 December, the first annual general meeting took place. Soon after that, the Athletic Club Sparta came up with its tricolour, in which blue symbolises Europe, red and yellow being the symbols of the (then) Royal City of Prague.

At the very beginning of the club's football history, the players used to wear black jerseys with a big "S" on the front. They then played for two years in black-and-white striped jerseys, which they returned to, wearing them as a reserve strip, for two years in 1996. In 1906, club president Dr. Petřík was in England where he saw the famous Woolwich Arsenal play with their red jerseys and decided to bring one set to Prague. At that time, he did not realise he was setting up one of the club's greatest traditions. Together with the red jerseys, Sparta players wear white shorts and black socks.

Shortly after World War I, a team was put together that triggered off the famous period of the 1920s and '30s referred to as "Iron Sparta". A football league in Czechoslovakia was established in the mid-twenties and the club collected title after title. To this day, the fans still recall the names of the players of that period with admiration: Peyer, Hojer, Perner, Káďa, Kolenatý, Červený. A few years later, some no less famous names appeared, such as Hochmann, Burgr, Hajný, Šíma, Silný, Čtyřoký, Košťálek and in particular Oldřich Nejedlý, the top scorer at the 1934 FIFA World Cup. Shortly before this most famous era kicked off, Vlasta Burian, the man who later became the king of Czech comedians, played in goal for the club.

The milestones of the first golden period of the club's history are two Central European Cup titles, which in the '20 and the '30s enjoyed the same recognition as that of today's Champions League. Sparta's three titles are important milestones in the cup's history. After two triumphs in 1927 and 1935, the third came in 1964, at a time when the cup's importance was gradually falling behind that of other European cups.

In 1946, AC Sparta toured Great Britain opening with a 2–2 draw against Arsenal on 2 October. [3]

Golden years

Golden periods alternated with years when Sparta fans only nostalgically remembered the "good old times". After substantial changes driven by the socialist regime, bringing frequent changes of the club's name rather than achievements to be proud of, the title in 1954 was the last one before a long period of misery. Only the great era of the team around Andrej Kvašňák in the 1960s brought back memories of the club's golden years.

There are still many people who recollect the era of Andrej Kvašňák, Jiří Tichý and Václav Mašek. Those were the days when Sparta hosted the biggest number of fans in its history, with the stadium at that time accommodating almost 40,000. All three of the above-mentioned heroes were part of the national team that finished second at the 1962 World Cup in Chile. Other important players in these "golden years" were Josef Vojta, Vladimír Táborský and Ivan Mráz.

Relegation and comeback

Up until 1975, Sparta was the only Czech club that had never been relegated to the second division. In this year, however, due to a number of circumstances, the team dropped to division two. The club only spent one year in this division, with the crucial matches for the club's comeback to the elite being sold out.

Nevertheless, the club did not win another league title until the early 1980s. Built around Chovanec, Berger, Hašek, Skuhravý and Griga, the team regained its former status and won five league titles in a row between 1986 and 1991. In 1983–84, the team got as far as the UEFA Cup quarter-finals, falling to Hajduk Split. In the early 1990s, this successful era was continued by the next generation of players, such as Siegl, Horňák, Němeček, Frýdek, Němec and Kouba.

1990s to present

Sparta has achieved a number of international successes, including two Central European Cup titles in the period of "Iron Sparta". More recent high points include Sparta's performance in the first year of the UEFA Champions League, in 1991–92. Sparta defeated Rangers, then Marseille and reached the semi-final group. Playing Barcelona, Dynamo Kyiv and Benfica, Sparta finished second. Unlike today's system, only the group winner reached the final. Being second in the group, Sparta was unofficially Europe's third or fourth best team.

Sparta participated in the group stage of Champions League between 1997 and 2006. The club enjoyed their best Champions League performances in the 1999–2000 and 2001–02 seasons, reaching the now-defunct second group stage on both occasions. [4] In 1999–2000, it won its initial group under the management of Ivan Hašek, and was then third in the quarter-final group. In that group, Sparta came up against a Barcelona squad which went on to reach the semi-finals.

In the 2001–02 season, Sparta was drawn against the eventual winners of both the European competitions during the course of its run. Feyenoord lost twice to Sparta in the champions league group stage and managed to qualify for the UEFA Cup, which it went on to win. Sparta went on to meet Real Madrid in the quarter-final that year. Sparta did not qualify for the group stage in 2002–03, when it was beaten by the Belgian club Genk in the third round of qualifying. 2003–04 saw Sparta take on two Italian giants; initially, the club beat Lazio in the group stage, but after an initial draw Sparta failed to get into the quarter-finals past Milan. The group stage in 2004–05 did not work out at all well for Sparta. After drawing with Manchester United at the sold-out Toyota Arena, the other matches were lost and the club finished last in the group with the club achieving their worst-ever return of just one point from the six matches. [4]

Sparta, usually along with Slavia, has always been a base for the national team; Sparta players contributed to the biggest achievements of the Czechoslovak and Czech national teams. It all started in 1934, when Oldřich Nejedlý was the top scorer at the World Cup in Rome; four years later, seven Sparta players were part of the national team at the World Cup in France. In 1962, Kvašňák and Tichý played for the "silver" team in Chile. In 1990 in Italy, where the national team got as far as the quarterfinal, the team's play was mainly created by Chovanec, Bílek, Hašek and other Sparta players, such as Skuhravý, who went on to become a star of the Italian league. Sparta players also contributed to the last big achievement of the already independent Czech Republic team in 1996. Kouba, Frýdek and Horňák returned to Letná from England with silver medals. On top of that, the team was coached by Dušan Uhrin, who had spent his best years at Sparta, and Pavel Novotný came to Sparta two years later. Sparta players also featured in more recent qualification and tournament games of the Czech national team. Miroslav Baranek, Tomáš Votava, Vratislav Lokvenc, Milan Fukal, Martin Hašek, Libor Sionko, Jiří Novotný, Jaromír Blažek and the outstanding talent of Tomáš Rosický helped the team in its UEFA Euro 2000 campaign in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The next era culminating in the bronze medal in the Euro 2004 in Portugal saw Sparta players leaving their unmistakable mark in the national team successes. Zdeněk Grygera, Tomáš Hübschman, Jaromír Blažek, Karel Poborský and academy products Petr Čech and Tomáš Rosický helped Czech football to become recognised as being amongst the elite in Europe and most have played for elite European clubs. Currently, Sparta is one of only two teams in the domestic league which supplies players to the national side. It goes without saying that the club also supplies players to the country's various youth teams.

Historical names:

Club symbols

Colours of Sparta Flag of Sparta prague.svg
Colours of Sparta

The name Sparta was inspired by the fighting spirit and courage of the people from the ancient city of Sparta. From the very beginning, the colours of Sparta were blue (symbolizing speed, athletics and sport in general), red and yellow (the official colours of Royal City of Prague). [5] In 1906, one of the members of the committee brought (from his trip to England) jerseys of the London club Arsenal. From that time, Sparta has typically played in their red (or, to be more precise, dark red or maroon) colours. [5]

Another symbol of Sparta is the big "S"; thus, Sparta and Slavia Prague are usually collectively called the Prague "S" and contest the Prague derby. Sparta Prague has three stars above its crest to signify winning 30–39 national league championships, adding a new star for every ten league titles.

The Czech films Why? , Up and Down and Non Plus Ultras take the culture of Sparta fandom as one of their subjects.

Supporters

The supporters of Sparta Prague are called Letenští, meaning "From Letná". They sit in the sectors D33-D36, which is behind the goal in the southern stand. The fans have good relations with those of FC Nitra and the now defunct FC VSS Košice in Slovakia. They also have historical ties to the Premier League club Arsenal F.C..

Stadium

Interior of Generali Arena on a matchday in November 2002 Spartastadium.jpg
Interior of Generali Arena on a matchday in November 2002

Sparta play their home matches at Generali Česká pojišťovna Arena in the Letná district of Prague. For training Sparta use a football centre at Strahov Stadium (formerly the second largest stadium in the world) whose space was rebuilt to eight football pitches (six fields of standard sizes and two futsal-sized). These are currently used as a training facility by both youth academy and reserve squad.

Players

Current squad

As of 21 June 2021. [6]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.Pos.NationPlayer
1 GK Flag of Romania.svg  ROU Florin Niță
3 DF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Ondřej Čelůstka
4 DF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Adam Gabriel
6 MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Filip Souček
7 MF Flag of Sweden.svg  SWE David Moberg Karlsson
8 MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE David Pavelka
9 MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Ladislav Krejčí
10 MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Bořek Dočkal (captain)
11 MF Flag of Bulgaria.svg  BUL Martin Minchev
14 FW Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Václav Drchal
16 MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Michal Sáček
17 DF Flag of Denmark.svg  DEN Casper Højer Nielsen
18 FW Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Matěj Pulkrab
19 DF Flag of Slovakia.svg  SVK Lukáš Štetina
No.Pos.NationPlayer
20 FW Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Adam Hložek
21 MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Jakub Pešek
24 MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Matěj Polidar
26 MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Jan Fortelný
28 DF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Tomáš Wiesner
29 GK Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Milan Heča
32 DF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Andreas Vindheim
33 DF Flag of Slovakia.svg  SVK Dávid Hancko
36 MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Adam Karabec
37 MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Ladislav Krejčí II
39 FW Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Lukáš Juliš
40 GK Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE František Kotek
41 DF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Martin Vitík
77 GK Flag of Slovakia.svg  SVK Dominik Holec

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.Pos.NationPlayer
GK Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Jan Čtvrtečka(at FK Teplice)
GK Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Hugo Jan Bačkovský(at Bohemians 1905)
GK Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Vojtěch Vorel (at České Budějovice)
DF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Matěj Hanousek (at Wisła Kraków)
DF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE David Lischka (at Baník Ostrava)
No.Pos.NationPlayer
DF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Dominik Plechatý (at Mladá Boleslav)
MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Michal Trávník (at Kasımpaşa)
MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Jiří Kulhánek (at Dukla Prague)
MF Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Filip Havelka (at Slovan Liberec)
FW Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Ondřej Novotný (at Slovan Liberec)

Reserve squad

To see Sparta Prague's reserve squad, go to AC Sparta Prague B

Women's section

Notable former players

Player records in the Czech First League

As of 30 May 2021. [7]

Most clean sheets

#NameClean sheets
1 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Jaromír Blažek 111
2 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Tomáš Poštulka 40
3 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Petr Kouba 37

Coaches

Current technical staff

PositionName
Head coach Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Pavel Vrba
Assistant coach Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Zdeněk Bečka
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Luboš Loučka
Goalkeeper coach Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Michal Špit
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Martin Ticháček
Reserve coach Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Michal Horňák
Head of performance Flag of England.svg Ben Ashworth
Fitness coach Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Tomáš Malý
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Václav Polák
Team manager Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Miroslav Baranek
Sporting director Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Tomáš Rosický
Physiotherapist Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Jan Čápek
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Jitka Kamarýtová
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Adam Kuttenberg
Doctor Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Miroslav Sinkule
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Marek Žižka
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Štefan Dojcsan
Masseur Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Tomáš Havránek
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Kamil Maixner
Kitman Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Miroslav Kaftan
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Tomáš Majer

European statistics

The following is a list of the all-time statistics from Sparta's games in the three UEFA tournaments it has participated in, as well as the overall total. The list contains the tournament, the number of games played (Pld), won (W), drawn (D) and lost (L). The statistics include qualification matches.

As of 28 July 2021
CompetitionPldWDLGFGAGD
European Cup/UEFA Champions League 144542961189199–10
Cup Winners' Cup 30155106832+36
UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League 118483337169144+25
Total29211767108426375+51

UEFA club coefficient ranking

As of 12 February 2021, Source:

RankTeamPoints
90 Flag of England.svg West Ham United 17.713
91 Flag of Israel.svg Hapoel Be'er Sheva 17.500
92 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Sparta Prague17.500
93 Flag of Belarus.svg BATE Borisov 17.500
94 Flag of Austria.svg Rapid Wien 17.000

Honours

Domestic

Czechoslovak First League / Czech First League:

Czechoslovak Cup/Czech Cup:

Czech Supercup:

Continental

UEFA Champions League / European Cup:

UEFA Cup Winners' Cup:

Mitropa Cup (Central European Cup):

Worldwide

Small Club World Cup (Pequeña Copa del Mundo de Clubes):

Club records

Czech First League records

Notes

  1. Sparta Prague rivals, Slavia Prague, refer to themselves as "Červenobílí" (English: The Red-Whites) but refer to Spartans as "Rudí" (English: The Dark Reds/The Maroons).

Related Research Articles

SK Slavia Prague Czech association football club

Sportovní klub Slavia Praha – fotbal, commonly known as Slavia Praha or Slavia Prague, is a Czech professional football club in Prague. Founded in 1892, they are the second most successful club in the Czech Republic since its independence in 1993.

Bohemians 1905 Football club

Bohemians Praha 1905 is a Prague-based football club, which was founded in 1905 as AFK Vršovice. The club won the 1982–83 Czechoslovak First League, its only league championship. Its colours are green and white.

FK Teplice Czech Republic association football club

FK Teplice is a Czech football club based in the city of Teplice, 80 km north of Prague. The club currently plays in the Czech First League.

Stadion Letná

The Generali Česká pojišťovna Arena, previously, and still commonly known as Letná Stadium, is a football stadium in Prague. It is the home venue of Sparta Prague and occasionally hosts the matches of the Czech Republic national football team. The stadium's capacity is 18,887 people.

FC Zbrojovka Brno Football club

FC Zbrojovka Brno is a professional football club based in the city of Brno, South Moravia, Czech Republic and named after Zbrojovka Brno, a firearms manufacturer. Founded in 1913 as SK Židenice, the club later became known as Zbrojovka Brno. Brno won the Czechoslovak First League in the 1977–78 season and finished as runners-up in 1979–80.

1. FK Příbram Football club

1. FK Příbram is a Czech football club from Příbram. The club currently plays in the Czech National Football League. It is the legal successor to Dukla Prague, a club which won 11 national league titles between 1953 and 1982.

FK Viktoria Žižkov Football club

FK Viktoria Žižkov is one of the oldest football clubs in the Czech Republic, from Žižkov. It plays in the Czech National Football League, the second tier of football in the country. The club won the Czechoslovak First League title in the 1927–28 season. It has also won two editions of the Czech Cup.

FK Mladá Boleslav Football club

FK Mladá Boleslav is a Czech football club based in the city of Mladá Boleslav [ˈmladaː ˈbolɛslaf]. The club currently plays in the Czech First League.

Martin Hašek Czech footballer and coach

Martin Hašek is a former Czech football midfielder and currently a football coach.

The 2007–08 Czech First League, known as the Gambrinus liga for sponsorship reasons, was the fifteenth season of Czech Republic's top-tier of football. The season started on 4 August 2007 and concluded on 17 May 2008.

Vítězslav Lavička Czech footballer and manager

Vítězslav Lavička is a Czech football manager and former player. He has been the manager of Polish club Śląsk Wrocław.

Václav Ježek

Václav Ježek was the coach of the Czechoslovakia national football team when they won the 1976 European Championships.

Bořek Dočkal Czech footballer

Bořek Dočkal is a Czech professional footballer who plays as a midfielder and captains Sparta Prague. He has previously spent time with Turkish side Konyaspor and Norwegian side Rosenborg. Dočkal represented the Czech Republic at youth international level, and was the captain of the under-21 team, and has later become captain of his nation at senior level.

Petr Rada is a Czech football coach and former player. He represented Czechoslovakia internationally in the 1980s and managed the Czech Republic national football team between 2008 and 2009. He is well known for his arguments with fans or trainer colleagues and also for impulsive style of coaching.

Zdeněk Ščasný Czech footballer and manager

Zdeněk Ščasný is a Czech football manager and former player.

The women's section of AC Sparta Praha is a women's football club from Prague, Czech Republic. Together with their local neighbour Slavia, Sparta dominates the national league having won 21 of the 28 titles while Slavia has won the other seven. They have taken part in UEFA competitions several times and got their best result in the 2005–06 UEFA Women's Cup when they reached the quarter-finals, losing over two legs to Djurgården.

SK Slavia Prague (women) Football club

SK Slavia Praha Ženy is a Czech women's football team from Prague representing SK Slavia Prague. It competes in the Czech First Division.

BC Sparta Praha

Sparta Praha is among the oldest and most popular sports clubs in the country, with a number of fans not only in Prague but throughout the whole of the Czech Republic. The foundation of the club dates back to 1893. Club colours are red, yellow and blue.

Lukáš Masopust Czech footballer

Lukáš Masopust is a Czech football player who currently plays for Slavia Prague in the Czech First League and the Czech Republic national team.

Václav Drchal is a Czech professional footballer who plays for Czech First League club Mladá Boleslav on loan from Sparta Prague as a striker.

References

  1. 1 2 "Achievements – AC Sparta Praha". Sparta.cz. Archived from the original on 18 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  2. "Sparta Praha –". Uefa.com. 16 September 1964. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  3. The Times, 3 October 1946; Association Football Sparta Draw With Arsenal
  4. 1 2 "Drubbing in Lyon ends Sparta Prague's worst ever Champions League campaign". Radio Prague . 9 December 2004. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  5. 1 2 "Colours of Sparta Prague – Czech Vexillological Association". SpartaForever.CZ. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  6. "A-tým". AC Sparta Praha.
  7. "Detailed stats". Fortuna liga.