Saturday, 5 December 2009

Slavia Prague Football Stadium

Ask any English football fan to name three Czech players and they will immediately think of Chelsea's Petr Čech, Arsenal's Tomáš Rosický and the former national captain Pavel Nedvěd. All of them played for Sparta Prague, one of the most talented teams in the European game, and not the subject of today's post. That club, formed in 1893, was originally based near here in Vinohrady, though it now plays at Letna, close to Prague Castle.

In a curious reversal, arch-rivals Slavia, founded one year earlier as the Academic Cycling and Football Club, moved from Letna in the 1950s to a new stadium built on the former site of the Eden fairground here in Vršovice (see picture below). Recently that stadium too has been rebuilt, and today's photo shows Slavia's new 21,000-seat arena, still known as Eden, and linked by a footbridge to one of the largest Tesco's supermarkets in the city.

Slavia played their first match here in May 2008 against Oxford University, a re-run of their first international game in 1899, which Oxford won 3-0.  This time, the tables were turned, with Slavia beating the ancient university's team 5-0 in the exhibition match - a perfect start in their new venue. In the end, though, what matters to Czech fans is whether Slavia can put paid to Sparta's greater success. Since 1993, the two main Prague sides have met 68 times, and currently Sparta have the upper hand, with 34 wins against the Vršovice team's 28.


Julie said...

Europeans and their devotion to all things football.

Tsk ... tsk ... tsk ...

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