Wednesday 17 September 2008

Sparta Praha B; TC Strahov, Prague, Czech Republic

Scroll down and you can see pictures from a previous visit here, from 2008. It is the training complex of Sparta Praha. I returned on October 26th 2011, for an Under 19s match against Hradec Kralove on a Wednesday morning. Not the best of days, as the drizzle became quite steady & heavier, but I  took more photos, a lot more, because I managed to 'explore' parts of the old stands that were officially out of bounds. They complement the older set quite well. I couldn't get to all parts, but saw a lot more than the previous time. Once you look through these new ones, you can see my original snaps.

The entrance to the complex from the road outside.

Ahead, inside is the changing room, clubhouse building, This photo is taken from one of the old areas that were 'closed'.

This is inside the clubhouse.

Lots of scarves adorn the walls. I love it when places do this!

Back outside we see the vast expanse of the old arena, where the training ground has been built into.

The other side of the building, the changing rooms are up the stairs, on the first floor.

This is the Czech Republic...the no smoking signs are just for show!

The new sections are kept extremely tidy.

I am presuming this is when it was officially opened.

The pitches stretch ahead, left & right.

Some are all-weather.

Others grass.

The brick pathway separates them.

Here we are in the far left corner, as we walked along the path, & turned.

This terrace runs the full length of the far side, in front of old, higher seating.

The pitch where our game is, pitch one, is down the far end of this terrace.

The terracing is quite shallow, the higher seating is shut.

An old gantry high up on the roof, which you can see in the previous photo.

Speakers for the tannoys run the length. They weren't in use, so I have no idea if they still work.

This part is the section by the main pitch one.

Walking back along, this is the pitch adjacent.

The path where we walked into the complex, our pitch is to the left.

Here we are looking across it, from the corner, terracing behind us.

Now at the back of the terrace.

And from the other 'corner' of the pitch.

Above us is disused bench seating.

On the terracing, over the halfway line.

Turning left toward the corner. You can see the old section is crumbling in parts, as you shall see later, it is actually much worse than this.

The 'side' behind the goal is all closed.

This lower part looks modern. Perhaps there might have once been terracing along here too?

By the corner flag, the complex stretches in the distance.

A nice shot of the terrace, and closed stand behind it.

The dugouts are on the other side of the pitch, scoreboard inbetween, with the closed bank of bench seating as a backdrop.

Now for the pre-match ritual handshakes, as the games is about to start with a few shots of it.

That is normally where my set would end, but I managed to sneak up into some of the closed section around the perimeter. We start on the side of the entrance, with the main building in front of us, then go round to the right, up to the pitch where we saw the game. After that we re-trace our steps, and go further along this side, below, and along to the other end. I couldn't get through to the far side, above the terracing. No doubt I could have climbed up there, if I tried, but it was raining quite steadily now, & I was soaked! I think there's stil lenough snaps to give you a 'flavour' of the place. It's clear that the place is not just falling apart, but is also home to homeless people, until they are kicked out, and a base for bored youngsters &/or drugtakers. It all added to the place for me, although I must confess it was with some trepidation that I stealthily crept round! It includes the seating, looking over the complex, and the derelict concourses underneath.

I won't really comment on the rest of this set, they speak for themselves, with the explanation, above.

And that concludes my October 2011 visit, below is what I have previously published:

I'm not on top of Prague names really, so bear with me. Sparta Prague B, aka their reserves, are currently playing in the Czech Second Division, and the opposition are a mix of First Teams & First Division reserve teams. Thier home games are either at the main Axa Arena, or listed as somewhere called 'Evzena Rosickeho'. This is a multi-use stadium, with a track, up on a hill. On my first ever visit to Prague, with the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Team in May 2003, we walked around that ground, and actually got inside, without being stopped, and strolled around the pitch and track! Slavia Prague played here for a number of years , from August 2000 to May 2008, while their new Eden Stadium was completely demolished and rebuilt. I have seen Slavia play here. It was also used by Sparta Krc, when they were in the Second Division last season.
Looking at fixtures I think Sparta use the 'other' venue, when the main ground has a First Team game on the same day.
Last season they used their training complex, next door to the Evzena Rosickeho Stadium, when there was a clash on the same day. This is the TC Strahov, which is inside the huge old Strahov Stadium, which I've not been able to get inside on previous visits. It is situated at the top of Petrin Hill, & was, in it's heyday, the second biggest sporting arena in the world. It could comfortably hold over two hundred thousand spectators. Now it has, I'm not sure, seven or eight full size football pitches within. I was fortunate to catch a league match in the Czech Second Division clash between Sparta & Slavia Praha reserves, in a local derby, before dashing off to the Kladno First Team match at the main ground.

It is simply one of the most amazing & unique venues I've ever watched a football match at. I know some 'groundhopping purists' don't consider foreign grounds if second elevens are playing, wither as the home team, vistors, or both. But that is their loss. If ever you are in Prague, & there is a game on here, do not miss the opportunity!

A reserve team local derby, in the Czech Second Division....less than half the price of what I had to pay to watch Dulwich Hamlet Reserves in the Capital League last season!

There were no 'programmes' but I managed to get a team sheet, from inside the complex buildings front desk, though they were not available at the entrance, where you paid to get in.

This is the entrance from outside, on non-match days I've never been allowed through the first gates, by the security men.

Just inside is the car park, which gives you an intial 'wow!' regarding the scale of the place.

All of the outer seating, appeared to be no longer used, and is very dilapidated in places.

Here is a modern building inside, this is through where I picked up the team sheet. There were also some old Sparta First team programmes lying about for people to take. As well as the changing rooms being in here, there was a also a public cafeteria area.

The changing rooms are on the higher level, here is the view from the other side of it, from the pitches.

I won't 'walk you round' the place as such, as it really is too big to describe properly. I'll just make some comments on various photos. But imagine the changing rooms are directly behind me, the pitch for the Reserve game I saw would be in the far right hand corner pitch.

This is the far side of the complex, with this terracing running all the way along it.

This was bench seating along one of the sides.

A view down the terracing. 'My' pitch was at the far end.

Some pitches are 'proper' grass, others all-weather. this angle gives you a bit of an idea af the huge scale of the grounds.

It stretches into the distance!

Close up the old seating is in a bad way.

One of the old entrances.

Concrete crumbling. You can see why specatators aren't allowed in these areas.

Old, boarded up exits.

A good view of the terrace, with stands behind.

The game begins, with the spectators all on one side, standing on the open terrace at this corner of the complex.

Difficult to gauge, but I'd guess there were at least 300 spectators present.

the stands in the background show the scale of the place.

With the stands at the far end looking way in the distance!

Looking across from the back of the terrace.

Similar, from another angle.

And looking across from the far corner.

Another good view of the decay.

A close up from the corner.

A glimpse of the two famous Prague club shirts.

Final whistle, time to dash across the city to the First Team game!

Another panorama of the complex.

I manage to clamber up into the sectioned off seating area.

This is the view behind the ground, which shows how high up we are. That tower in the background is a mini replica of the Eiffel Tower, in the part. It's quite a walk to the top of it, with no lift!

Looking down toward the pitch again. you can see the floodlights of the Evzena Rozsickeho Stadium, adjacent, behind.

Another sign of decay, up in the benches.

This is the dark, disused, concourse below the benches.

One last snap-an official club car, as I make my way out.


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