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Dolicek Stadium, Prague, Czech Republic – Bohemians 1905

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It was a warm summer day in 2010 when I visited the Dolicek, my head heavy with a vodka-induced hangover from the previous night. Bohemians are by no means on the same level as their more illustrious Prague cousins Sparta or Slavia–their main rival, whose stadium lies just 1 Kilometer away–but they still have an interesting story. The Kangaroo on their shirt, which serves as the team’s logo, was garnered from a 1927 tour of Australia. Fitting, I suppose, until you think of the absurdity of a Czech football team touring down under more than 80 years ago.

The Dolicek itself is a small ground which opened in 1932 and that now has a capacity of 7,500 (its been reduced over the course of several downsizings as the team have decreased in stature). Most recently it was Bohemians’ “B” team that played here–the “A” team played their Gambrinus Liga games at Slavia’s ground, the Synot Tip Arena, before being relegated to the second division after the 2012 season. Here is to hoping that the Dolicek survives to see 100 years, since it is indeed a quintessential neighborhood European ground:

 

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The oddities of World Football’s interconnectedness:

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Bad shots will end up in the trees, like Izmir’s Alsancak Stadium closer to home:

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I wonder how much one of those flats would sell for…:

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A Pristine Pitch at the Dolicek:

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Or these flats–an even better view:

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Generali Arena/Stadion Letna, Prague, Czech Republic – AC Sparta Prague

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As I’m sure most visitors to this blog already know, Sparta Prague are the most successful club from the Czech Republic. I visited their Stadion Letna–I use the colloquial name since sponsorships are ever-changing in the age of industrial football–in the summer of 2010. The club’s history is rich, having been formed over 120 years ago in 1893, and as such a visit to the Letna takes the traveling fan off the beaten path.

While the friends I visited Prague with decided to while away their afternoon in the city center with the beautiful girls, I decided to go on my own adventure to the Letna. Rest assured, it is a valuable trip for the intrepid football fan because it takes one off the beaten tourist path of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle (although both are essential spots to visit).

High above the Vltava river is a large park with inviting beer gardens, and after a few pints and a relaxing stroll through the park’s pathways one will find themselves squarely in an Eastern European scene. After overcoming the shock of the drab communist-era tenements, which are in stark contrast to the tourist-centric Old Town Center, one will come across Sparta’s ground, the Letna. Despite being built in 1969, its renovations have made it undeniably modern with a capacity of 19,784, and–I’m sure–would make a great place to take in a match. Hopefully, i’ll make it back for the Sparta-Slavia fixture in order to get a shirt from both sides–for my Sparta shirt, a vintage piece picked up from the internet, please see this page. In the meantime, my pictures from a summer’s day will have to suffice:

Communist-era Tenements Are In Stark Contrast to the Old Town’s Old World Charms:

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I’ve made it to the Generali Arena:

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What would Ultra Graffiti be without the obligatory “ACAB”?:

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I don’t know what it means, but I like it:

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Generali Arena or Toyota Arena? I prefer the pre-industrial football name–Letna:

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The Old Town Is in the background, but at least I know I’m still in Eastern Europe:

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Stadion Lokomotiv/Lauta, Plovdiv, Bulgaria – PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv

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Another Lokomotiv stadium, this one in Bulgaria’s second city of Plovdiv and home to PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv. Nicknamed the Lauta–after the (surprise) park its located in (this is Eastern Europe after all)–the Stadion Lokomotiv is a classic Bulgarian affair with lots of drab concrete capable of housing 12,000 football fans. The stadium is a walk from the city center, giving it some distance from their rival’s Hristo Botev stadium. Since this visit in the summer of 2010 the stadium has installed floodlights and received a small renovation to one of the stands (you can see some of the work being done in the pictures below). During this visit I was also able to grab a nice Lokomotiv Plovdiv shirt, which can be seen in the “Football Shirts” category.

 

The trees engulf the entry to the stadium:

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LAUTA HOOLS, courtesy of the ultras:

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A new team bus:

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Summer ’tis the season for renovations:

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An old team bus…but a new Mercedes:

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