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Red has always been Sparta's color, one might say. But that's not quite true, which is clear from the fact that Sparta play their annual matches in black jerseys. So how did the red Spartan jersey come about and what combinations have Spartans played in the past?

White S on the chest

The oldest surviving photograph of the Sparta team from 1896 shows the players wearing black shirts with a large white S on the chest. For example, they played the first derby with Slavia in them, but due to the small number of football matches that took place at that time, this set of jerseys was little used and we have no further information about it. In the following years, the Spartan footballers' clothing was affected by the crisis, due to which our club was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Red and white stripes

In 1902 Sparta played in worn shirts with black and red stripes, and black trousers. They were given free of charge by the Vinohrady club ČAFC (which had previously acquired them from ČFK in Smíchov), which had in the meantime got a new green and white combination and no longer needed the old jerseys. However, they did not last long for the Spartans. We don't know if it was for technical or aesthetic reasons, but the next year they came out in the set we know from many photos and in which our club achieved its first major success.
When Union Žižkov fell apart in 1903, Sparta reacted immediately and not only brought in several skilful players, but also took over Union's newest jerseys - jerseys with red and white stripes. The following year, they famously defeated First Vienna in Vienna and made their presence known outside of Prague for the first time. And as Sparta became more and more famous, it was clear that they had to replace the borrowed jerseys with their own colors once and for all.

Red jerseys and white shorts

One of the founders of the club and at that time a member of the Spartan Committee, JUDr. Otakar Petřík, visited London in 1906, where he went to see, among other things, a local Arsenal match. He was so impressed with the team's play that Petřík, a savvy businessman, decided to buy the same set of red jerseys and white shorts that Arsenal were wearing at the time in the English capital. After returning to Prague, he donated it to his Sparta team with the words that one day they would make this jersey as famous as the Arsenal cannoneers.
Our club has been faithful to the red jersey, white shorts and black leggings for 107 years. From the original white collar polo shirts, we have gradually moved to the traditional shirt. The second half of the 1980s then started a revolution throughout the football world - clothing companies gradually dismantled the most famous clubs and began to outdo each other in innovation, not only in terms of functionality but also in design.

90s and present

The first big supplier of jerseys for Sparta before the revolution was the German Adidas. With its logo on the chest, the team experienced great success in the early 1990s. However, the new models for the 1992/93 season were not met with enthusiasm, the red became red and the three large white stripes across the right shoulder looked distracting. First a return to tradition, and a short while later a major revolution was brought to Letná by Italian Lotto. Its jerseys for the 1994/95 season were adorned with neat white collars on exemplary red jerseys, and met with great success. The following series, on the other hand, brought a red and white mosaic across the sleeves, reflecting the then modern style of jerseys that many traditional teams had switched to.
A big change came in 1995, when Sparta signed a contract with the American company Nike and started a very successful cooperation, which lasted until 2021. Experimentation with the sacred red jersey set ended then, with one minor exception, the period between 2002 and 2007, when the traditionally black shorts and white leggings were given a red color. Much more creative designers were and still are with the second, alternative set of jerseys. For the 1997/98 season, they opted for black and white stripes instead of white shirts, a combination made famous in the world by Juventus Turin. In 2006, after exactly 100 years, Sparta returned to the red and white stripes for away games. And two years later, the middle color of the Spartan flag, yellow, was given a chance for the first time.

Our club has been faithful to the red jersey, white shorts and black leggings for 107 years

Although Sparta's short-lived history has also seen more curious jerseys, such as the blue shirts from Nacional Montevideo, loaned for a match against Argentina's Independiente in the 1969 Copa Montevideo tournament, or the black and white combination worn by the team in several matches in 2005 as part of a campaign against racism, the more than a century-old tradition of red jerseys is immortal.
In 2021, the three stripes returned to the red jerseys after twenty-seven years. Sparta has entered into a new long-term partnership with adidas.