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Let’s Go to Viktorka!

Location: in front of the Viktorie Žižkov stadium, in the park 

Football was first played in Žižkov in 1897. The first clubs and teams were organised about 1900. The first club under the name Viktoria was formed then but ceased to exist soon after. An after-school club of the same name was re-established in 1903 by the Czech Sokol members Karel Pittl, Josef Friedl and Rudolf Bus. The year may be considered the start date of one of the oldest Czech football clubs. The first team consisted primarily of Žižkov school children. The best-known players of the time included students from the Žižkov high school, Antonín Hušek, Rudolf Klapka and Jaroslav Mysík. The club’s articles were passed in 1904, the after-school club metamorphosed into the real Viktoria Sports Club. The first important success arrived in 1906 when the club beat Sparta 1:0. Viktoria had no home pitch for a long time; only in 1909 did it manage to acquire the ex-cycling track land at Ohrada and a new field opened there in September 1909. In 1911, the club committee welcomed a remarkable person, Rudolf Henčl, who later became the club’s president. Viktoria also succeeded in winning over Slavia for the first time, 1:0. In 1925, Viktoria Žižkov was one of the founders of the highest domestic football league; the first match with SK Libeň was a tie at 4:4. Viktoria performed best in the 1927/28 season when it celebrated its first and so far the only Champion title. Three years after the triumph, writer Karel Poláček paid a tribute to his favourite club in his novel Men Offside. 1928 brought the decision to demolish the Ohrada field and build new apartments there instead. The team found a place for its new stadium in Stare Strašnice, Třebešín.  The club’s last big success came in 1929 when it ranked second in the league, and third in the subsequent year. Since then, it has been gradually deteriorating. The final dot after Viktoria’s league presence was the third relegation from the top football competition in 1947. From then till 1993, the club played lower football leagues. Since the early 1950’s, Viktoria Žižkov used multiple names, Sokol Viktoria Žižkov, Sokol ČSAD Žižkov, Slavoj Praha Údržba, some players transferred to Avie Čakovice in 1952 and the majority left to play for other clubs, so after fifty years, Viktoria more or less ceased to exist. Its successor was Slavoj Žižkov, which joined the 2nd league in 1960 from the lowest level. Only in 1965 was the club renamed Viktoria Žižkov again, and acquired the present stadium on Seifertova Street which can accommodate 15,000 fans. The new turf promised a new era for the club, although the return to the top league only arrived in 1993. Viktoria succeeded in domestic as well as international championships, and got within reach of its second Champions title. Afterwards, a difficult time of relegations and promotions, economic problems and corruption scandals followed. Nowadays, the club with a tradition of more than a century is stable and ready to fight for its return amongst the Czech football elite.  

The location of the Viktoria Žižkov stadium was occupied by the first municipal gasworks for Prague and environs, commissioned in 1867. The gasworks facilitated lights for all of Prague; thanks to the prices which were interesting for the consumers, gas became popular with households, too. Ten years later when the City purchased the Smíchov gasworks, the gas pipe systems were interlinked by pipes within the Charles Bridge. The Žižkov gasworks was modernised and extended multiple times; in 1884 even a small test electric power plant, powered by the gas produced, was built there. With the increasing use of electricity and competition of other gasworks, the importance of the Žižkov gasworks diminished and, in 1926, it closed down; its function was overtaken by the new Michle gasworks. The buildings on the site were gradually demolished and replaced by the General Pension Institute and the square; some of the vacant areas remained unused for a long time, with the youth of Žižkov undertaking their adventurous expeditions there. The last unbuilt part was taken by a residential and commercial complex, Viktoria Center. In front of it is the Radost Park whose southern part touches one of Žižkov’s backbone roads, Seifertova (previously Karlova) Street, originally the ancient Olšany road heading towards the Olšany Cemeteries.  

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