Milestones

The Football Association of the Czech Republic originated in 1901, which was formed to keep an eye on the order and organization of football. After the birth of this association on the 28th February 1901 the Football Association for the Royal City of Pilsen was established. Disagreements among clubs caused a quick end of this Pilsner association. Not until 23rd March 1909 did the Football Association of the West of the Czech Republic succeed. In those days of Pilsner football there appeared names of football clubs, such as SK Plzeň, FC Union, SK Slavia, SK Olympia, SK Český Lev and AC Sparta. A big rivalry was noticed among these clubs not only on the football pitch but also in terms of the life of clubs.

The roots of FC Viktoria Plzeň can be traced in Dobytčí trh, a place where nowadays an ice-hockey stadium is situated, where boys living near Doudlevecké Street would come to play football. When the soldiers finally left their barracks near this street, these buildings were soon occupied by young fans of a new kind of sport. They then learnt basic techniques with a special ball and played until the dark chased them home. They established their own club (kroužek) called Blesk.

At this time there were no rival teams for Blesk to play against, but the boys had to play some real matches. That is why all of them moved into FC Union and after some time into a newly born club SK Smíchov Plzeň. However, they found out that the idea to establish their own club and to defend its colours was the best. The members of Blesk found a manager, a clerk of the national railway called Jaroslav Ausobský who applied for the licence to give rise to a new football club in Pilsen. The foundation meeting of Viktoria Plzeň took place in 1911. Right before it Viktoria played its first match against Olympia Plzeň on 27th August 1911. Viktoria in the red-blue team kit lost 3:7.

In 1917 Viktoria became a winner of the District Cup for the first time and they were placed in the 2nd class of the championship. After the 1st World War the club fixed its position among the best clubs. Although Viktoria worked in purely amateurish conditions in 1922-23 they won 6 matches out of 9 in Spain, which was the first destination of the tournament abroad. In June 1929 there was an extraordinary meeting of the members of the club, whose task was to decide the question about entering the professional football league. Viktoria applied to enter the 2nd professional league, in which there were 8 teams in 1929-30: SK Náchod, Meteor VIII, SK Libeň, SK Rakovník, SK Čechie VIII, Nuselský SK, Slavoj Žižkov a SK Viktoria Plzeň.

In the first year of the 2nd league Viktoria ended up in 7th place, but immediately the next year this club lifted to 2nd place, so it meant historical progress into the 1st league. In the highest league the football players played really well and in 1935 they fought their way to the Middle-European Cup. In those days this was the highest competition the clubs could reach, because of their 4th place in the home league. Due to two matches with a famous club named Juventus Turin, Viktoria became noted in European football.

After the successful years in the 1st league some failures came and in 1938, Viktoria fell to a division from where after a year they came back among the Czech top teams. All the football competitions were affected by the war and that is why there were no Slovakian teams anymore. In 1942 Viktoria slumped in this division again, but after only one year they returned to the highest level where they maintained their position until 1952. In this year they ended up at 11th place in the Championship of the Czech Republic (1st league), however, it paid off the absurd reform of the football competitions, which were henceforth organized according to industrial fields. As a result of this reform, Viktoria, coupled with 7 other clubs were set aside from the 1st league. They played one out of two groups of the National League (2nd league), they finished in 6th place, however, because of another reorganization they dropped down to the Western League, which they won in a sovereign way.

In those days the name of the club was at first Sokol Škoda Plzeň and then changed to Spartak Plzeň. An effort to come back amongst the top teams of the Czechoslovak Republic took 9 years to succeed. Finally in 1961 Spartak succeeded. They celebrated the 50th anniversary of their origin in a worthy way; nevertheless they kept their position only for two years. In 1963 they dropped down this league again and came back up only for one year in 1967. It was a time of ups and downs within the club. In 1972 Sparta changed its name to Škoda Plzeň and settled down in the highest league for the next 8 years.

Before that in 1971 they won the Czech Cup and as a finalist of the Czechoslovakian Cup they entered the Cup Winner´s Cup and played two incredible matches with the famous club Bayern Munich. After 1980 there was again a long period of oscillating between the 1st and the 2nd leagues, but in the beginning of 1990´s after the dividing up of Czechoslovakia, the situation was getting better and better.

In 1992 the club returned to their historical name FC Viktoria Plzeň and the year after they became a part of the 1st league, where they stayed until 1999. After one year Viktoria came back again but only for one year. This club was a good importer of football players of high quality especially for the teams from Prague. This is why the position of Viktoria in 1st and 2nd league changed a lot.

Viktoria transformed into a joint-stock company in those days, in which 99% belonged to an Italian company called Fotbal EAST Ltd. This situation did not change until 1995 when Plzeňská sportovní a.s. became a new owner of the club and gained 100% of them, so the club returned back to Pilsen in terms of property. Subsequently, the club was stabilized in sense of economics and sport and Viktoria has been playing 1st league since 2005.

The stabilization enabled Plzeň to embark on a road to glory, becoming Czech champions in 2011. At the same time, the reconstruction of the current stadium started with plans to redevelop stands and facilities in order to meet UEFA criteria. At the same time, the year 2011 brought celebrations of 100-year anniversary of the club with many cultural and social events taking place.

In fall 2011, Viktoria participated in group stages of UEFA Champions League for the very first time, continuing their European adventure also in spring the following year in Europe League. In the following season, Viktoria became the first Czech club to win a Europa League group.

In summer 2005 Viktoria dusted down their relations with world-wide known company Škoda that became the most significant partner of the club. At the time the real progress of the club was commenced and it culminated in 2011 by the triumph in the Czech highest competition Gambrinus League and by the reconstruction of the Štruncovy sady stadium. Before qualifying to the group stage of the Champions League, on 11th June 2011 Viktoria together with their fans celebrated 100th anniversary of the club establishment in the Plzeň´s brewery. It was also commemorated by the gala evening in January 2012 where there was an announcement of the best line-up of the whole century as well as the best Viktoria player who became Pavel Horváth.

First in their history, in 2011 Viktoria participated in the group stage of the Champions League. They continued in Europe in 2012 as well when they met Schalke 04. In the following year they played the Europe League. Viktoria as the first Czech team in the history won the group stage of the EL and finished against Fenerbahce SK in quarterfinals.

In 2012/13 Plzeň achieved to repeat the biggest domestic success - the Gambrinus League trophy for the Czech champion. It was not sure till the last match who was going to win the whole league and that is why the finish was really thrilling. Viktoria players burst of joy after the final whistle and could enjoy the title celebrations. The next European chapter of the club was added by the team around Pavel Vrba in the season 2013/14. In the qualifying rounds of the Champions League Viktoria Plzeň step by step saw off teams, such as Željezničar Sarajevo, Nömme Kalju and NK Maribor. After a year break Viktoria repeated their participation in the group stage of the highest European League where they played against Manchester City, Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow.

Those matches against the football giants that woke up further football madness in Plzeň. Although Viktoria did not perform as they planned against Bayern Munich, Manchester City and away match at CSKA Moscow, they made everything up in the home match against the Russian opponent. A fantastic finish of the match, when Tomáš Wágner scored and saved Viktoria´s advancing to the spring fights in the Europa League, ranks among the best football moments in Plzeň. Thanks to this result Viktoria could start their third straight spring season in the EL. After they edged out fancied Shakhtar Donetsk (1:1 and 1:2) their next opponent was French Olympique Lyon. Although Dušan Uhrin´s team beat Lyon in the home match, it was not enough to compensate their loss from the first match in France. Viktoria finished before the quarterfinal as in the previous season.

In the Czech league Viktoria was again fighting at the highest spots. Instead of coach Pavel Vrba leave to the Czech national team Viktoria earned more points than in the previous season, but it was not enough to win the league title. Plzeň ended as a second team also in the Czech cup.

Next season began with a loss in a 3rd qualifying round of Europa league, but ended with the third league title and the fifth trophy in five years.

In the next season Viktoria lost in the third qualifying round of Champions League against Maccabi Tel-Aviv, but then won the UEFA Europa League play-offs against Vojvodina Novi Sad and earned a spot in the group stage. There Viktoria faced Rapid Wien, Dinamo Minsk and Villarreal. In the Czech league Plzeň won the fourth title - for the first time in history they defended it.

Next year Viktoria was even closer to their third participating in group stage of UEFA Champions League after beating Qarabag Agdam in 3rd qualifying round, but in the play-offs Plzeň lost to Ludogorets Razgrad. In the group stage of UEFA Europa League Viktoria met with AS Roma, Astra Giurgiu and Austria Wien. The Czech league ended on the second spot for Viktoria.