- Founded – 1919
- Honours – None (Gambrinus Liga runner-up 1995-96)
- Stadium – Andrův – 12,556
- City – Olomouc (pop. 102,004)
- Pronunciation – Olom-outs
- Nickname – Hanací (The Hanas); Modrá Lavina, (The Blue Avalanche)
SK Sigma Olomouc is one of the big six of Czech football never to have played outside of the Gambrinus Liga. Despite this lofty status Olomouc’s trophy cupboard would bring shame to Old Mother Hubbard herself. They’ve come close, reaching the quarters of the UEFA Cup in 91/92 only to be humbled by Real Madrid, and finishing runners-up in the Gambrinus Liga in 95/96. This is about as good as it gets, although you may or may not remember the thorough dismantling of Aberdeen in Europa League qualifying in 2009.
The club is a late bloomer. Despite being founded by a sixteen-year-old in 1919, Olomouc only punctured Czech football’s top tier in 1982. A green, yet evidently talented Karel Bruckner established the club in Czech football’s elite with eight very successful seasons during the late 80’s and early 90’s.
This progress undoubtedly corresponded with the club’s association with the Sigma Group (a disappointingly unglamorous pump manufacturing firm), which started its alliance with the club in the 70’s and oversaw the switch to the club’s blue and white colourway. The five-pointed black star on the crest is a nod to the clubs’ original moniker SK Hejčín Olomouc.
This old city is part of Moravia, and a smaller ethnic region known as Haná, from which the club’s other nickname Hanací is derived. Olomouc’s strong regional identity is illustrated by a terrific local colloquialism, ‘Hanák velké panák’, which literally translates to ‘a Haná man is a big man’.
As the sixth largest city in the Czech Republic it is no backwater, and unlike many provincial footballing cities it boasts a number of surprising delights including a central square protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. One can only assume the cronies at UNESCO missed the Andrův stadium during their visit, as how this beauty never made it onto the list is truly mystifying:
I couldn’t find an aviation connection with the club despite the jet-engine floodlights and this gem of a bar I discovered just beyond the stadium’s perimeter. If anybody has enjoyed a pre or post match pivo in this place, please get in touch to divulge its interior. The anticipation is too much.