The founding year of the Athletic Club Královské Vinohrady. The club’s first pitch was located in Holešovice, on Na Maninách street, with Max Švagrovský assuming the role of the club’s first president. The founding meeting was held on the 16th of November, establishing the club’s constitution. The first general meeting took place a month later, on the 17th of December. The team’s first uniform was black, bearing a large white S on the chest.
It was at the general meeting of 9th of August 1894 held in the Demínka café where Vladimír Horejc uttered his famous phrase: “Henceforth, let our club be called AC Sparta!” Since then, the name has only seen minor changes, with “Sparta” always included in some form or another. At the time, the club practiced at the military training grounds near Invalidovna. A stadium of their own was still just a dream.
The year of the first match with Sparta’s rival club, Slavia. The match took place on the 29th of March 1896, with Sparta winning with a score of 1:0, but the referee disallowed the goal after the match due to Slavia’s protests. And thus, a long-standing rivalry begun.
For a short time, Sparta, who hosted home matches at a pitch across the street from a brewery in Holešovice, became the best team in the entire Austro-Hungarian Empire. Jan Košek, Jindřich Rezek, Jindřich Baumruk and Rudolf Krummer were the top stars of a team that managed to beat the then-famous teams of the empire, such as First Vienna and MTK Budapest FC.
Sparta is going through some tough times. Key players have left for Slavia – only Mr Rezek, the captain, has remained faithful to the club. Sparta’s debt has climbed over 25 000 crowns and the club is proclaimed bankrupt. It is saved by a big fan, the architect Rudolf Schindler, who vouches for the club with his property.
The club finds a new home at Letná, building the very first stadium to call their own at the site that is nowadays occupied by the National Technical Museum. The stadium hosted home matches up until 1917.
During his visit to London JUDr. Petřík, the club’s official, was so impressed with Arsenal’s performance that it inspired him to buy red uniforms for Sparta’s players – the same colour worn by Arsenal at the time. He presented the uniforms to the team, wishing it the same worldwide renown as that of Arsenal. Sparta has been sporting red uniforms ever since.
The new, young generation is slowly beginning to assert itself, with the core of the “Iron Sparta” forming around Václav Pilát and Antonín Fivébr.
The year of the first of the famous Spanish trips. The team tours the Basque country, beating England twice, and defeating the carefully assembled team from Paris. It was during this time that Sparta also finally replaced Slavia as the best team in the country, affirming its dominance with a victory at the first official Bohemian Football Union championship.
Karel Pešek-Káďa, a legend, a symbol of two famous generations of Spartans, and the soul of the team for the next 20 years, dons the red uniform for the very first time. At the same time, an energetic defender, Atonín Hojer, and the future king of comedy and a skilled goalie, Vlasta Burian, also join the team.
The beginning of World War I sees most of the players join the military and march off to the front. Sparta doesn’t have enough players left and is forced to seek them from other Prague-based teams, thus acquiring another legend, Antonín Janda Očko.
The last big move in the club’s history. The team “migrates” a couple of hundred meters closer to Stromovka park, where it is based to this day.
The team wins the Central Bohemian Region Cup as soon as the war is over and the players have returned from the battlefield, starting the famous era of the first Iron Sparta.
Johny Dick, who had been a captain of London’s Arsenal team for many years, assumes the role of the team’s coach, introducing many innovations and instantly earning the respect of the players, fans, and journalists alike.
The red-clad team does not concede a single goal during its tour of Italy, scoring many in return and crushing Genoa C.F.C. by a score of 0:8.
Bilbao is captivated by Sparta’s performance after its two victories over the strong local team with the scores of 3:1 and 4:1. The daily newspaper La Gaceta del Norte commented on the matches: “Seeing Káďa, Janda, Pilát, Mazal and the rest of those amazing football prodigies play means to a sports fan the same thing the city of Naples means to a traveller – you need to see it with your own eyes before you die!”
New bleachers are built at Sparta’s stadium at Letná, becoming the first real grandstand in Czechoslovakia, with the capacity for seating 1700 spectators, decorated with an English-style sign reading A.C. SPARTA.
A day after Christmas, Sparta enters the stadium of FC Barcelona to face the home team in a match for the right to claim the title of the beast team on the continent. Even without Pilát, who is absent due to an injury, Sparta comes out victorious by a score of 3:2, further asserting its dominance in Europe.
Sparta wins the national championships for the fourth time in a row, never losing a single point, with a total score of 230:40. The team led by Káďa, Pilát and Janda has no equal.
Sparta makes its first-ever trip across the ocean, playing in New York, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Detroit, attracting over 200 000 spectators in total.
Sparta claims victory at the first Mitropa Cup, the predecessor of the Champions League, playing a finals match at home stadium against SK Rapid Wien and winning by a score of 6:2. Though Sparta has lost a return match by a score of 1:2, it had no impact on the results of the Cup.
The strongest players are slowly retiring from football, leaving the team much less dominant than it had been. But, with the arrival of a brilliant Belgian marksman, Raymond Braine, from Beerschot, the fame was about to return.
Oldřich Nejedlý, the best scorer in the entire history of Sparta, joins the team after being transferred from Rakovník.
A fire in the stadium destroyed the beautiful wooden grandstand from 1921, as well as the entire team’s archive and all the equipment. Despite everything, the tragedy brought the team and the fans even closer, and the stadium reopened in just six months. The newly built grandstand welcomes football fans to this day.
Oldřich Nejedlý is the best shooter at the World Championships in Italy, scoring a total of five goals. The Czechoslovak national team comes in second.
After eliminating First Vienna, ACF Fiorentina and Juventus Torino from the Mitropa Cup, Sparta faced Ferencvárosi TC in the final game that sold out the entire Strahov stadium, beating the Hungarian team with the score of 3:0 and reclaiming the European title after seven years. Braine scored twice, with Faczinek scoring a third goal during the match.
The year before World War II marked Sparta’s ninth title, the third they won in the last four years, and the end of an era – after the war, the original team would never reunite.
The crisis is at its peak and the team desperately lacks players again. Vlasta Burian, who is now a famous comedian, helps the team stay afloat and look for new players.
The last football season marked by the war sees Sparta win the national championships again after five years. The main stars of the team are Jan Říha, Josef Ludl, Karel Senecký and Josef Košťálek.
In the summer of 1948, Sparta wins the Czechoslovak First League for the 12th time. It is also the year of big political changes that cause things to go downhill for the team.
The best players are forced to join the military football clubs and, on top of that, the communist regime also disapproves of the name “Sparta” and its reference to antiquity, making the team change its name to Spartak Sokolovo.
This year’s victory in the Czechoslovak First League will be the last one for years to come. The post-war generation of players represented by Senecký, Koubek and Preise is retiring.
Sparta must fight to stay in the first league for several years in a row, each time managing to keep its spot in the competition. Another of the club’s legendary players, Andrej Kvašňák, is transferred to Sparta from Jednota Košice, and things are starting to look better.
The team comes in second at the World Cup in Chile thanks to the efforts of Mašek, Kvašňák, Tichý and Pospíchal.
Václav Ježek, who was only 40 years old at the time, is appointed the team’s new head coach. He builds a new team, introducing it to a modern, more attractive style of play.
Sparta returns to the European-level of competition, taking part in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, losing to West Ham United in the second round.
Finally, after eleven long years, Sparta is victorious in the Czechoslovak First League again, winning 20 matches in a row in front of a sellout crowd at Letná, and praising new heroes after every game – Kvašňák, Kraus, Vrána, Tichý, Mráz, Mašek and Kramerius.
The relaxed atmosphere preceding the Prague Spring allows the club to return to its original name, becoming Sparta again.
Sparta narrowly missed a chance to get into the semi-finals of the European Cup, winning the first home leg against Partizan Belgrade by the score of 4:1, but then unexpectedly losing the second away leg by the score of 0:5.
Ježek’s team celebrated its second first league title after facing two tough Slovak opponents, Trnava and Slovan. Sparta also says goodbye to the old stadium that is to undergo complete renovation, leaving only the grandstand intact.
Sparta leaves the European Cup in the quarter-finals again, succumbing to the famous Real Madrid, although the second leg home match with two goals scored by Kvašňák and Dyba, securing the team’s victory with the score of 2:1, will always be remembered as one of the greatest matches in the club’s history.
Two key persons, Václav Ježek and Andrej Kvašňák, sign contracts abroad and depart from Sparta, leaving the team to sink lower and lower in the league tables.
The only good thing to happen to the club in the 70s – the team, struggling to stay in the highest league, defeats Standard Liège, Ferencvároš and FC Schalke 04 and makes it into the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, losing to A.C. Milan.
The crisis of the normalization era culminates with the team’s demotion to a lower league, for the first and the last time in Sparta’s history.
The team stays in the second league for a single season, making its way back into the first league after the season’s end, but again struggles to survive the competition for the next two years. Some consolation for spending a season in the second league could be found in the team’s participation in the Czech Cup that Sparta ended up winning, much to everyone’s surprise.
A promising new player, Jozef Chovanec, is transferred to Sparta from Púchov. He is soon joined by more young players as Sparta acquires Jan Berger, František Straka, Ivan Hašek and Stanislav Griga that help the team bounce back.
After spending some time in the Netherlands, Václav Ježek returns and reassumes his role of the team’s head coach.
After seventeen years, the young team, with seven future head coaches on the roster – Chovanec, Hašek, Ščasný, Griga, Lavička, Bílek and Straka – secures Sparta’s victory in the Czechoslovak First League once again.
Real Madrid has fallen! Sparta eliminated Los Blancos in the first round of the UEFA Cup, going on to knock out Widzew Lódž and Watford F.C. The team made it all the way to the quarter-finals where it lost to Hajduk Split, conceding a goal in overtime.
Again, Sparta made it into the quarter-finals of a European competition – this time the European Cup. Despite the 1:0 home win secured with a goal scored by Jan Berger, it was Juventus who qualified for the semi-finals with Michel Platini, the world’s best football player back then, on their roster.
Sparta sees the 80s off with another victory, winning the Czechoslovak First League for the fifth time out of the last six years.
The Czechoslovak team at the FIFA World Cup in Italy is made up of 9 Spartans. With the exception of Václav Němeček, they all sign contracts with foreign clubs right after the Cup is over, so the team is left to rebuild yet again.
Dušan Uhrin puts a new team together basically from scratch. No one has ever imagined that this generation would be even more successful than the one that came before.
Sparta makes it all the way into the semi-finals of the European Cup, defeating such foes as Glasgow Rangers, Olympique de Marseille, and even Barcelona, narrowly missing the chance to qualify for the finals.
Sparta has eliminated the defending champion, SV Werder Bremen, from the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, making its way into the quarter-finals, falling short in the match against Parma Calcio led by Thomas Brolin.
In the final seconds of the match, Pavel Nedvěd scores a decisive shot, securing a victory against Slavia at their home stadium, Eden, and bringing the team yet another victory in the Czech First League even after a poor start during the season, when no one had any hope left at all.
This year marks the beginning of a 9-year period in which Sparta has makes it into the group stage of the UEFA Champions League seven times.
Young Tomáš Rosický begins to show his talent in the first team. He scores some beautiful goals in matches against Spartak Moscow and Willem II Tilburg, playing a big role in the team’s qualification into the round of sixteen of the UEFA Champions League. Unfortunately, FC Barcelona and FC Porto come out ahead in the following matches.
Sparta qualifies for the round of sixteen yet again, playing an unforgettable home match against Real Madrid who won with a score of 3:2 and end up taking all the points. Nonetheless, Sparta’s players receive a standing ovation from their fans, showing their appreciation for a truly amazing game.
The fans couldn’t believe it when Marek Kincl scored a goal in additional time in the last game of the group, securing a victory in a match against S.S. Lazio and sending the team to the round of sixteen of the UEFA Champions League again, where Sparta was bested by A.C. Milan.
The team celebrates its 12th post-revolution victory in the Czech First League and, for now, the last qualification into the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
After a bad start to the season, Michal Bílek takes over as coach, replacing his former teammate, Stanislav Griga, and helping the team win both the Czech First League and the Czech Cup.
Tomáš Řepka secures another victory in the Czech First League for his team after scoring in a last-round match against Teplice. Jaromír Blažek, Juraj Kucka and Bony Wilfried also show stellar performances during the match.
Sparta fought until the very last moment, finally succumbing to Liverpool F.C. during a return match at Anfield Road stadium. Liverpool wins thanks to a goal scored by Dirk Kuyt, taking away Sparta’s chance to advance to the round of sixteen of the UEFA Europa League.
Under the leadership of Vítězslav Lavička, Sparta makes it into the spring season of the UEFA Europa League, giving a hard time to Chelsea.
The team, captained by David Lafata, regains its dominance in national competitions, celebrating yet another victory in the Czech First League after the last round of the season. Tomáš Vaclík, Pavel Kadeřábek, Michel Fernando Costa, Bořek Dočkal and Ladislav Krejčí all show great performances over the course of the season. The team also wins the season’s Czech Cup, beating Viktoria Plzeň in the penalty shoot-out during the final match.
The team shows an amazing performance in the UEFA Europa League, making it all the way to the quarter-finals with a winning streak of 12 games, beating such strong teams as Krasnodar and S.S. Lazio.