I decided to eschew a shirt from the store at Sparta’s Letna stadium since the only ones on offer at the time were fairly boring Nike designs; I saved my money for a Bohemians Praha shirt. But that didn’t stop me from finding a Sparta Prague shirt via the internet upon returning home. I had wanted a Sparta shirt sporting this classic Adidas design (please see my Liverpool and Levski Sofia entries) since watching Sparta face Galatasaray in the 1995/96 Uefa Cup as a kid.
Amazingly, I remember the night like it was yesterday. We were in my grandmother’s house as my late grandfather sat on the couch listening to his classical music. On TV was the team I would learn to love, Galatasaray. My eyes caught Sparta Prague’s maroon Nike kits—with the Opel sponsor in the center of the chest. To a kid growing up in America it was all foreign—especially the Opel. Weren’t they just Chevrolets, after all? Still, the shirt reminded me of a fake Bayern Munich shirt my parents had bought me, which carried the Opel sponsor as well. Later I learned that the Bayern shirt was a copy of the era’s design (the same Adidas template and same Opel sponsor as this shirt only on a red background with blue stripes) which Sparta had also worn. Ever since that night I had wanted a Sparta Prague shirt with an Opel sponsorship and here it is.
The fabric is standard Adidas from the era and in Sparta’s trademark maroon with “Opel” printed on the front but with no club badge. I honestly have no idea if this is a latter-day imitation of the shirt (photos and videos from the period include shirts with no badge and the tags are definitely from the era, but one can never know). Still, this Sparta Praha shirt represents a childhood dream fulfilled and that is all I can really ask for at this point.
The shirt being worn against Werder Bremen: