Sparta Rotterdam (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈspɑrtaː ˌrɔtərˈdɑm]) is a Dutch professional football club based in Rotterdam. Established on 1 April 1888, Sparta Rotterdam is the oldest professional football team in the Netherlands.

Sparta Rotterdam
Full nameSparta Rotterdam
Nickname(s)De Kasteelheren
(The Castle Lords)
De Rood-Witte Gladiatoren (The Red-White Gladiators)
Founded1 April 1888; 135 years ago (1888-04-01)
GroundSparta Stadion
ChairmanLeo Ruijs
Head CoachJeroen Rijsdijk
2022–23Eredivisie, 6th of 18
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Sparta currently competes in the Eredivisie, the top flight of Dutch professional football, which they have won six times, having earned promotion from the Eerste Divisie in 2018–19. The club is one of three professional football clubs from Rotterdam, the others being Excelsior (est. 1902) and Feyenoord (est. 1908).

History Edit

Origins Edit

Sparta Rotterdam vs Blackpool F.C., August of 1957

On the Easter Sunday of 1 April 1888, eight students from Rotterdam founded a cricket club called Rotterdamsche Cricket & Football Club Sparta. It was established in the garden of the house of the first treasurer, Hartevelt Hoos Oostvestple, a building located on the 11 in Rotterdam.[1] The club was founded by eight students between the ages of 13 and 16.[2] Five of them were students of the then HBS at the Van Alkemadeplein, and the remaining three were students of the Gymnasium Erasmianum on the Coolvest, the name of the Coolsingel before it changed in 1888.[1] All the founders came from wealthy families in Rotterdam, because at the time, it was only the high and middle classes who had the time and money to practice sports, such as cricket.[1] All the founders, along with the other early members of Sparta, lived in the Stadsdriehoek, Cool, Rubroek or Crooswijk neighborhoods of Rotterdam, which had become a fast-growing port city of the Netherlands in the second half of the 19th century.[1]

Sparta initially started as a cricket club, with the NRC of May 1888 already reporting a victory for Sparta over Achilles by 45 runs.[1] However, when the boys were given a suitable ball, they also engaged in the sport of football, which had recently come over from the United Kingdom.[1][2] The young Sparta members began playing this sport in the terrain that was located on the Noordereiland, west of the Burgmeester Hoffmanplein,[1] and in July 1888, a football branch of the club was thus established. In the Netherlands, it was Sparta who introduced the goal with a crossbar and nets. Before them, only a rope was stretched between the posts.[1]

First Matches Edit

The members of Sparta only played matches against each other in the first year. These matches were played in various compositions between the 35-hour lesson week and the subsequent 20-hour working week at the Delftsche Poort, at the Heineken brewery or on the square in front of the church of the Grote or Sint-Laurenskerk.[2]

In 1888 there was not yet an umbrella organization for football, so there were no organized competitions. Therefore, the clubs had to invite or challenge each other, which resulted in a lot of mutual challenges between the existing clubs.[2] The first challenge to come and play a football match that Sparta received dates from 28 December 1888, more than 38 weeks after the foundation date, but the game, scheduled for 30 December 1888, was not played due to the unplayability of the opponent's field.[3] From April 1889, the training and matches began to take place on a site designated by the alderman to the west of De Heuvel in Rotterdam.[2][3] In the same period, the club also got its first clubhouse on the Delfshavensedijk.[2]

Federal Football Edit

In March 1890, Sparta joined the Dutch Football and Athletics Association (Nederlandse Atletiek en Voetbal Bond, NVAB), founded by Pim Mulier on 8 December 1889, the predecessor of today's KNVB,[1][2][3] and they played their first real match later that year. In 1892 Sparta disbanded the cricket branch. On 18 December 1892, Sparta defeated the Amersfoortsche FC (AFC Quick 1890) with what is still a record result for a Dutch league match: 17–0.[1][2] The right winger Freek Kampschreur scored 9 of the 17 goals and is still the shared record holder for the most goals in a single Dutch league match.[1] The next home match against Go Ahead [nl] from Wageningen is an important one as both teams have a claim to the 2nd division championship, and thus it attracts 1500 spectators.[1] Sparta lost 2–4, which still is their only loss in the 2nd division, but then won the away game (0–2) in February, thus finishing the season with the same amount of points, and since there was no tie-breaker at the time, both teams were promoted to the highest league of Dutch football on 23 April 1893.[1]

Earlier that same year, on 18 March 1893, Sparta was the first Dutch club to play a match against a foreign opponent, Harwich & Parkeston F.C. of England, whose football was much more developed, and they showed their clear superiority with a resounding 8–0 victory.[2][3] When a match against the English Felixstowe FC was scheduled a year later, the NVAB, in order to avert another humiliation to Sparta, forced them to field a team that included a few non-Spartan players, and the plan worked as the game ended in a 1–1 draw.[3][4] On the following day, 6 February 1894, Felixstowe FC played another match, this time against a Dutch squad with the best players of the Netherlands, which fielded only two players from Sparta, Weinthal and Freek Kampschreur.[4] They did no better than the Sparta squad as they lost 0–1,[4] but this game is now considered to be the first unofficial match of the Netherlands national team.[3][4]

In August 1893, Sparta debuts a new field on the Binnenweg which has a real fence and some seats. The players could even dress up and wash in a nearby house, but because it was continuously flooded, Sparta received permission from the municipality to move to the Schuttersveld in Crooswijk. There, they remained undefeated from January until the end of the season as they finished in fourth.[5] Sparta founded the Rotterdam Football Association in 1894.[3]

Innovations Edit

Sparta introduced women's football in late 1896 by trying to organize a competition between a women's team from Sparta against the English Ladies Football Club from London. However, no permission for this match was given by the Dutch Football Association, which forbids it from happening.[2][6]

Sparta also showed itself to be an innovator in other areas during this period. Over the years, Sparta introduced in the Netherlands, among other things: the header, a goal with a crossbar and nets, and brightly colored shirts. That red and white outfit was copied in 1899 during a visit by the Sparta board to Sunderland in England. Apart from being an innovator, Sparta was also known as a club that was sometimes difficult to deal with. For instance, in March of 1897, Sparta temporarily withdrew from the competition because of the alleged continuous dubious arbitration of Sparta matches, but especially due to turmoil at a match in Amsterdam against the apparently rather arrogant RAP, in which the referee did not act against the verbal abuse.[6] Sparta's remaining two matches are awarded to their opponents (5–0) and the club is fined 10 Dutch coins, but it still finishes fourth.[6]

In 1899 the board of Sparta visited a match of Sunderland. Impressed with the red-and-white jersey of the English club, the board decided that Sunderland's colours (red-white striped jersey, black shorts) would henceforth be the colours of Sparta.[1][2] The first Sparta shirts were purchased second-hand Sunderland shirts. Today, the signature red and white shirt is combined with black trousers and red and white striped stockings.[1]

First golden age Edit

From 1900 Sparta played a pioneering role in the organization of Dutch football because, at the time, the board of the Dutch Football Association consisted largely of Spartans,[2] and in 1901, Sparta began to organize competitions for the Silver Ball, the most important cup tournament at the time.[3]

In 1905, Sparta initiated and organized the first home match of the Netherlands national team, against Belgium. The match, won 4–0 by the Netherlands, was a rematch of a game two weeks prior, when the Netherlands beat Belgium 4–1 in Antwerp, Belgium. The match took place in what had been the Sparta stadium for about ten years at the time, the Schuttersveld in Crooswijk, and the Dutch squad was coached by former Sparta player Cees van Hasselt.[2]

From 1893 onwards, the football players of Sparta built up a reputation as "the eternal number 2" because, in its first fifteen years in the top division of Dutch football, Sparta reached second or third place six times. This changed in 1909, as Sparta won the national championship in that year as well as in 1911, 1912, 1913, and 1915; while the Silver Ball was won in 1910 and 1913, and the NBLO Cup in 1909, 1910, and 1911.[3] During this period, Sparta hired a coach for the first time, the Englishman Edgar Chadwick, which undoubtedly contributed to the success. Star players Bok de Korver, Huug de Groot, and Cas Ruffelse also played a pivotal role in helping Sparta dominate the nation during these years.[2][3]

On 15 October 1916, Sparta moved for the last time, this time to Sparta's new stadium, Het Kasteel (The Castle), in the Spangen area of west Rotterdam. The move was largely privately funded by a group of 27 residents of Rotterdam. Following the English example, the Sparta stadium became the center of the later-built residential area and was soon known as Het Kasteel because of its facade with two turrets.[2][3] The stadium was renovated in 1999 and is still Sparta's stadium.

In 1918, Prince Hendrik was the first member of the Royal House to pay an official visit to a Sparta match. In the years that followed, Queen Wilhelmina, Princess Juliana, and Prince Bernhard also visited the stadium, among other things to attend the annual Blood Transfusion Competition, a charity initiative that earned Sparta a high award from the Dutch Red Cross on its golden jubilee.[citation needed]

Recent years Edit

Until the 2002–03 season, Sparta had always played at the highest level, but after they appointed the former international player Frank Rijkaard as a manager they were relegated from the top-level Eredivisie in 2002. That made Rijkaard resign from his position.[7] Sparta returned to the Eredivisie for the 2005–06 season. They were relegated again in 2010. On 20 August 2010, they equalled Ajax's and Heracles Almelo's Dutch league record win when they defeated Almere City 12–1[8] with Johan Voskamp scoring an Eerste Divisie record 8 goals on his debut.[9]

After six years in the Eerste Divisie, Sparta again won promotion to the Eredivisie in April 2016 after a 3–1 win over Jong Ajax won them an unassailable lead over second placed VVV-Venlo.[10] However, they were relegated for the third time in their history in May 2018 after they were beaten 1–3 on aggregate by FC Emmen in the promotion/relegation play-offs. The result proved to be a historical one since Emmen won their first ever promotion to the Eredivisie.[11]

Sparta has won six national titles (1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1915 and 1959) and three national cups (1958, 1962 and 1966).

Meuse/Scheldt Cup Edit

The best footballers of Rotterdam and Antwerp contested a yearly match between 1909 and 1959 for the Meuse- and Scheldt Cup (Maas- en Schelde Beker). It was agreed to play the game at stadium Het Kasteel in Rotterdam and at the Bosuilstadion in Antwerp. The cup was provided in 1909 by Kees van Hasselt from Rotterdam and P. Havenith from Antwerp.

Youth program Edit

The Sparta Jeugdopleiding (English: Sparta Youth Academy) is a four-star certified youth academy and amongst the strongest in the nation, having won the national academy of the year award on several occasions.[12] Several International footballers have progressed through the ranks of the academy, including Danny Blind, Danny Koevermans, David Mendes da Silva, Ed de Goey, Winston Bogarde, Memphis Depay, Henk Fräser, Jan van Beveren, Georginio Wijnaldum, Anwar El Ghazi, Jetro Willems, John de Wolf, Kevin Strootman, Rick van Drongelen and Nick Viergever, Marten de Roon amongst others.[13]

Honours Edit

National Edit

1908–09, 1910–11, 1911–12, 1912–13, 1914–15, 1958–59
1957–58, 1961–62, 1965–66

Others Edit

  • Rotterdam Easter Tournament

Runners-up (2): 1934, 1948[14]

Domestic results Edit

EredivisieEerste DivisieEredivisieEerste DivisieEredivisieEerste DivisieEredivisie
Historical chart of league performance

Below is a table with Sparta Rotterdam's domestic results since the introduction of the Eredivisie in 1956.

Sparta in Europe Edit

  • Q = Qualifying Round
  • 1R = First round
  • 2R = Second round
  • 3R = Third round
  • 1/4 = Quarter-final
Season Competition Round Club Score
1959–60 European Cup 1R   IFK Göteborg 3–1, 1–3, 3–1
1/4   Rangers 2–3, 1–0, 2–3
1962–63 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Q   Lausanne-Sport 0–3, 4–2
1966–67 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1R   Floriana 1–1, 6–0
2R   Servette 0–2, 1–0
1970–71 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1R   ÍA Akranes 6–0, 9–0
2R   Coleraine 2–0, 2–1
3R   Bayern Munich 1–2, 1–3
1971–72 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1R   Levski-Spartak 1–1, 2–0
2R   Red Star Belgrade 1–1, 1–2
1983–84 UEFA Cup 1R   Coleraine 4–0, 1–1
2R   Carl Zeiss Jena 3–2, 1–1
3R   Spartak Moscow 1–1, 0–2
1985–86 UEFA Cup 1R   Hamburger SV 2–0, 0–2 (4–3 n.p.)
2R   Borussia Mönchengladbach 1–1, 1–5

Current squad Edit

As of 7 September 2023[15]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   NED Nick Olij
2 DF   COM Saïd Bakari
3 DF   NED Bart Vriends
4 DF   NED Tijs Velthuis
5 DF   NED Django Warmerdam
6 MF   NED Jonathan de Guzmán
7 MF   NED Pelle Clement
8 MF   NOR Joshua Kitolano
9 FW   NOR Tobias Lauritsen
10 MF   BEL Arno Verschueren
11 MF   JPN Koki Saito (on loan from Lommel)
No. Pos. Nation Player
12 DF   NED Dylan van Wageningen
13 DF   NED Rick Meissen
14 MF   COD Metinho (on loan from Troyes)
15 DF   NED Djevencio van der Kust
16 MF   ALG Camiel Neghli
17 MF   ESP Pedro Alemañ
18 FW   USA Agustin Anello
19 FW   CAN Charles-Andreas Brym
20 GK   NED Youri Schoonderwaldt
21 DF   NED Mike Eerdhuijzen
22 DF   NED Delano Vianello
30 GK   NED Delano van Crooij
DF   ESP Sergi Rosanas

Out on loan Edit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
MF   NED Patrick Brouwer (at Emmen until 30 June 2024)

Jong Sparta Rotterdam Edit

Jong Sparta Rotterdam is the second team of Sparta Rotterdam, consisting mainly of players who are not yet eligible for a spot in the first team's squad. The team has been competing in the third-tier Tweede Divisie since 2016. Previously, it played in the Beloften Eredivisie.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
GK   NED Rafael de Heij
GK   GER Kaylen Reitmaier
GK   NED Dylan Tevreden
DF   NED Max de Ligt
DF   NED Jay den Haan
DF   TOG Augustin Drakpe
DF   NED Jason Meerstadt
DF   NED Kjeld van den Hoek
DF   NED Tiziano Vianello
No. Pos. Nation Player
DF   NED Marvin Young
MF   NED Hamza El Dahri
MF   CPV Rayvien Rosario
MF   NED Constantijn Schop
FW   NED Luuk Admiraal
FW   NED Jesse Bal
FW   NED Mike Frimpong
FW   NED Dano Lourens
FW   NED Mehmet Yüksel
FW   NED Dean Zandbergen

Former players Edit

Club staff Edit

Position Name
Head coach   Jeroen Rijsdijk
Assistant coach   Nourdin Boukhari
Goalkeeping coach   Frank Kooiman
Video analyst   Wesly Lisboa
Chief scout   Jesper Gudde
Scout   Bart Latuheru
Club doctor   Simon Knops
Physiotherapist   Rogier Hoek
  Kohej Sagara
Team Official   Ronald Hanstede
Kit Manager   Ben Wessels
Academy manager   Jason Oost
Technical director   Gerard Nijkamp

Former coaches Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Sparta – Historie Betaald Voetbal" [Sparta – History Professional Football]. (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Sparta de oudste voetbalclub van Nederland" [Sparta the oldest football club in the Netherlands]. (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Sparta Rotterdam (1888)". (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d "Beste spelers van Nederland niet opgewassen tegen Engelse ploeg" [Best players in the Netherlands are no match for the English team]. (in Dutch). 6 February 1894. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  5. ^ "Eerste klasser Sparta verhuist naar Schuttersveld" [First division Sparta moves to Schuttersveld]. (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  6. ^ a b c "Spartaans vrouwenvoetbal wordt verboden" [Spartan women's football is banned]. (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  7. ^ "Rijkaard quits at Sparta". 31 May 2002. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  8. ^ Sparta evenaart record Ajax en Heracles Archived 7 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine - De Telegraaf (in Dutch)
  9. ^ Acht treffers bij debuut Archived 7 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine - De Telegraaf (in Dutch)
  10. ^ Sparta Rotterdam terug in de eredivisie Archived 14 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine - NOS (in Dutch)
  11. ^ Emmen schrijft geschiedenis met promotie, Sparta degradeert uit eredivisie Archived 21 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine - AD (in Dutch)
  12. ^ "Jeugdopleiding Sparta beoordeeld met 4 sterren". Rijnmond TV. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  13. ^ Hamilton, Chloe (22 October 1995). "Exponenten uit de jeugdopleiding van Sparta Rotterdam". Sparta Jeugdopleiding. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Easter Tournaments Sparta (Rotterdam) 1934 and 1948".
  15. ^ "A-selectie | Sparta Rotterdam".

External links Edit