This year, it will be thirty years since he took power in Sparta. At twenty-six, he became president of the club, at the end of 1993 he already owned it. Petr Mach (55) epitomizes the turbulent football of the 1990s in every way. I haven’t made any money for everything I’ve been through.” reveals who was the highest paid player, but also talks about the current Sparta. “He needs a good psychologist,” she says.
The club he owned is still in his heart. Although his bosses might as well cook on Twitter. “I remain Spartan, of course. I always will be, nobody can take that away from me. Even if Sparta doesn’t make it,” he adds. He “started” with her in June 1992, leaving her four years later.
|1991 Petr Mach, who represented Generals Motors Opel, owned gas stations and did business in bus transportation, begins to work with Sparta, the team drives a luxury bus.|
|1992 After Václav Mašek, he became the president of Sparta.|
|1993 He turns Sparta into a stock company, earning 91%.|
|1994 The reconstruction of the stadium for 300 million crowns obtained through the loan begins.|
|1996 He sells the club VSŽ Košice, which is in debt for more than half a billion.|
|2001 He goes to prison for not encumbering BMW.|
|2003 He was released after half of a five-year sentence.|
Being so young and commanding Sparta took courage. Did you feel the euphoria and energy of the 90s?
“You know, I had the great advantage that my grandfather built a furniture factory in Uhříněves in 1933. It was then taken from him at forty-eight. That was in 1900, died at the age ninety-three years old. And I grew up with him. He told me everything, prepared me for the new era, he was sure he had to come anyway. The factory then gave him was returned – broken, completely destroyed, without machines, without anything. And he said: Peter, show yourself now. So I introduced myself. When he broke his throat at the ninety-third, I came to the hospital with him and I said: I had it all, a lot of hits and misses, now I’m happy with what you made of it, and I won’t be here tomorrow. It wasn’t… I had a lot of energy and ambition in me at the time. I wanted to prove something.”
You were a symbol of predatory and aggressive businessmen. When did you look at each other with different eyes and realize you were acting too confident?
“I was arrogant, of course…I think things like that happen in my 40s. Since then I’ve changed a lot of things, my outlook on life, the idea that I still have to compete in something. At the on the contrary, I tried to catch up with the trials that took place. I was prosecuted for cases for ten years, they released me, but basically all this ruined my life. But I still have not doesn’t feel like junk. Therefore, I’ll try to show something else – but outside the Czech Republic. I don’t trust justice or politicians here. I think it will have to pass by some additional catharsis before the company stabilizes and has some moral qualities.”
But you also had sharp elbows when you got Sparta.
“Sparta needed help, this year it’s been thirty years since I joined the civic association. The first thing I did was the audit. It revealed some things, especially regarding the transfers of overseas players, lost money. I always hid it, I thought it might be useful once the story changes. There was no other way. I founded a company I invested the share capital of five million crowns in it and had to pay it back.I offered the Spartans what he was offering, they accepted it, they joined the joint stock company, and since then the modern history of Sparta has been written.”
At the same time, your approach is considered perverse, you called the General Assembly of 1993 on December 27th. Should it be arranged like this?
(smiles) “Not to arrange… It must have been necessary for Sparta. The civil association of the time was in great financial difficulty. Sparta had weak sponsors, it could not do business. It was essentially a non-profit, revenue-generating organization. There was no other way than to start a business that the Spartans would join. What did they lose? Nothing. They just won. We have brought in sponsors and built a new stadium in nine months. Someone is now claiming it was black…”
Doesn’t this correspond exactly to the 1990s, when many – including you – believed that anything was possible?
“You know, I fought to get Sparta when I put money into it. She really needed it. What was the alternative? Boris Korbel went to Slavia, there was none other. “
Your relationship with Korbel, who wanted Sparta ahead of you, was all sorts of things. How would you describe them?
“We met at Villa Voyta in Prague 4, where he often lived when he flew here. He invited me to dinner and we talked about everything there. We didn’t know each other until then. I gotta say he didn’t win the fight in the sense of Sparta, I did, it wasn’t ours, it was for the journalists and the like.”
In any case, ninety-one percent of Sparta’s shares were acquired by you, the rest had only non-voting ones.
“All members of the Sparta Prague club received priority shares. Some of them arrived within three months if we did not buy them. Even if they were fans, they probably did not know that if they kept to this day, they would have value. But that’s why I explained it, the general assembly is entirely on video. They were not token actions, their value would increase, like everything the club.”
But he ended up with a debt of half a billion and you had to sell him to Východoslovenské železárny Košice.
“Even well-known economists who have spoken about it in the media will tell you: with the Sparta project, the sale of its shares, I made our first business for a billion. I took it over, I set up a joint-stock company, built a stadium, won sponsors, players, titles, European cups. Its value has increased from zero to one billion. Of course, I didn’t cash it, there were debts for the reconstruction of the stadium.”
How did it go in terms of investment and profit?
“I collected $13 million at the exchange rate at the time. But not whole. Východoslovenské železárny withheld a break of $350,000, which they never paid me. Since there is no no audit after that,