In The Beginning… Sydney Prague FC

In NSW football, there are the well-known clubs such as Sydney United 58, Marconi Stallions, Bonnyrigg White Eagles that help set and pave the way for football not only in the state, but also for Australia.

These clubs as well as many others still exist today, either with their original name or an evolution from when they first started.

However, there are some clubs that were instrumental to football that died many years ago. One of those clubs is Sydney Prague FC

Sydney Prague FC was club formed by mostly Czech Australians in 1950. It started when Jimmy Chalwin stumbled across a group of Czech boys playing football in Rushcutters Bay.

Jimmy played football with the boys every Sunday afternoon until he was approached by one of the regulars Jerry Vilimek, who was interested in organizing a team to enter into a football competition.

The two men orgnaised a meeting at the local YMCA and shortly afterwards Sydney Prague Football Club was born. The first general meeting was held in a restaurant in Kings Cross where Jerry Vilimek was elected president, and Jimmy Chalwin as Vice-President.

The newly formed club gained entry into the NSW Metropolitan League. The club was able to gain entry into the N.S.W. Metropolitan League. Stan Slavik donated the team all the boots, Jerseys and balls and was made Patron of the club for his efforts. The club would play home games at ES Marks Athletics Field in Kensington.

Sydney Prague had a successful first season, narrowly missing out on being crowned premiers after being defeated in the final.

The club would win its first silverware in 1952, winning the Metropolitan Cup, shortly followed by winning the Metropolitan League in 1953.

The clubs success would continue in 1955, gaining promotion to the Southern League after winning the Metropolitan League twice, with a win over Sydney Austral in the final.

In the same year, Milos Muller would become the clubs first Australian International after being selected to face South Africa at the SCG. Muller scored 55 goals for Prague in 1955 and went on to score 378 goals in his time at the club.

After a hugely successful first seven years the club was one of the first selected as a foundation club by the newly formed NSW Soccer Federation.

The next year in March, the club welcomed the services of Austrian Internationals Leopold Baumgartner and Karl Jaros. Later on they were joined by Andy Saghi, Elrich Schwartz and Walter Tamandl.

Prague’s most successful year was 1959 where they became Premiers, Champions and Cup Winners, completing an historic treble.

In 1964, Prague became the first club in Australia to fully sponsor a tour by a major overseas club. Swiss team FC Basel were paid a total of £1785 for their visit. The tour was a huge success with the game making a profit of £5000, the match finishing 2-2.

VFB Stuttgart would be the next overseas side to head to Australia to take on Prague in 1965. Prague were able to gain Chelsea FC player-coach Tommy Docherty on a guest stint for the match. A crowd of 6000 would cram into ES Marks Athletics field to watch the match which Stuttgart took out 3-1.Mr Docherty would later return to Australia in the early 1980’s to coach Sydney Olympic.

As successful as the club was, it wasn’t without it’s controversies. There were accusations of players being handed £100 to throw the match against Pan Hellenic (Sydney Olympic). Ironically FC Prague took out that match 4-1.

Prague would go on to form an amalgamation with Sydney Soccer Club Yugal to become Yugal-Prague. Yugal was a club formed by Yugoslav immigrants in 1956. Unsuccessful Mergers in the 1980’s and early 90’s would lead to the demise of the club in 1992.

 

Club Honours

NSW State League

Regular Season Premiers: 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1963

Champions: 1959 (runners-up 1960)

AMPOL Cup Winners: 1959,1961, 1962, 1964, 1965 and 1969

 

Players that went on to represent Australia

Ron Lord- Australian goalkeeper from 1951 to 1964

Roy Blitz

Ray Rootsey

Geoff Slight

David Zeman

Jimmy Rooney

Les Scheinflug (who also went on to coach Australia in 1981 to 1983 and again in 1990 to 1994

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