Jan Košek (football)

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Jan Košek
Personal information
Full name Josef Bican
Date of birth (1884-07-28)28 July 1884
Place of birth Turnov, Austria-Hungary
Date of death 30 December 1927(1927-12-30) (aged 43)
Place of death Czech Republic
Playing position Forward (association football)
Youth career
Academic Gymnasium Prague
1899 Letna Circle
-1903 Union Letná
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1903-1904 SK Slavia Prague 28+ (64+[1])
1904 AC Sparta Prague
1905-1914 SK Slavia Prague 274+ (755+)
Total 302+ (819+[2])
National team
1906-1908 Czech Republic national football team 3 (4[3])
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Jan Košek (28 July 1884 – 30 December 1927) was a Czech Republic professional footballer who played as a Striker (association football). In his career, it is said that he scored over 800 goals and averaged just under 3 goals per game.[4]

Early life

Jan Košek was born in Turnov in 1884 and went to Prague to study. The first match that was ever recorded, that Jan played in, was in 1889 for Letna Circle. The score ended 5-4 to Letna Circle and Košek scored 3 of the 5. For the first few years of his life in Prague, Košek played for Academic Gymnasium Prague, Letna Circle and Union Letná.[5]

Club career

1903 he moved from Union Letná to SK Slavia Prague and in his first season with SK Slavia Prague he scored 64 goals, as a 19 year old.[6]

In 1904 he transferred to AC Sparta Prague and played less than a year there. He went there with fellow SK Slavia Prague teammates, Jindřich Baumruk and Rudolf Krummer, In the same year, both his parents and his sister tragically died.

In 1905 he returned back to SK Slavia Prague and met his new coach Jake Madden. The way SK Slavia Prague trained changed massively, it became more expertly done and more modern.

1906 was a great year for him and SK Slavia Prague. During this year, SK Slavia Prague played 48 matches and won 39 times, with a goals scored to goals conceded ratio of 340:62. By this point he had scored over 200 goals for the club.[7]

In 1907, SK Slavia Prague continued to play a vast amount of international friendly matches. Most of these matches were played against teams from neighbouring countries. Also this year, SK Slavia Prague won their biggest ever derby in a 9-1 against AC Sparta Prague. Jan scored twice in this match.

In 1908, SK Slavia Prague won the Charity Cup.

In 1909, SK Slavia Prague only played a total of 40 matches.

In 1910 Slavia played 21 matches and didn't lose a single one. These matches were played against amateur teams from England. SK Slavia Prague managed to win a second Charity Cup. In the semi-final SK Slavia Prague beat AC Sparta Prague 5-1 and in the final SK Slavia Prague won 5-2 against CFK Smichov Praha. In both of these games Jan scored a goal.

1911 was the best year for Jan as he scored 135 goals.[8] In a game against Aberdeen F.C.], the score was 2-2 and in the 82nd minute, Košek took the ball on the half turn and rifled it into the net from 30 meters. This goal was called, by many, the best of his 819. This year he also won another Charity Cup.

1912 was another great year for Košek, he notched up 68 goals.[9] For the third time in a row, SK Slavia Prague won the Charity Cup, in a 4-3 victory against FK Viktoria Žižkov.

1913 was Jan’s final full year at SK Slavia Prague as a player. On March 29 Jan announced that he was to retire from football at the age of just 29.

1914 sparked a change of decision from Jan, as he agreed to play several games for SK Slavia Prague, due to lack of players. During this year he played a total of 6 games and scored 8 goals.[10]

International Career

Jan Košek would regularly play for Czech Republic national football team as well as the Prague national team. In 1903 he defended the colours of the national team of Prague in a game against Budapest, which Prague lost 2-1.[11] Many of his games for Prague are not classified in his official statistics. The Czech Republic national football team played a number of matches under the regulations of FIFA from 1906-1908. Jan took part in three of them and scored four goals. On October 7 1906 Czech Republic national football team drew 4-4 with Hungary national football team and Jan scored a goal in the 88th minute to set the final. Baumruk scored 3 and Jan Jenny-Stary scored the other, however other sources claim that Košek scored 2 and so did Jenny Stary.[12] The next year they met again in a friendly, Czech Republic national football team won 5-3 and Jan scored a Hat-trick#Association football) and Josef Belka scored the other two. But again another source claims that Jan scored 4 and Josef only got one.[13]

In 1908, FIFA did not allow Czech Republic national football team to take part in the Football at the 1908 Summer Olympics

In 1911, Jan won the European Amateur Championship. On they way to the tournament, they played a team from City of Brussels], in which they defeated them 6-1 with Jan scoring two goals.

Style of play

Jan Košek was a very strong and fast athlete, clocking 100m in 11 seconds. He had such a powerful left-foot which allowed him to score many longshots. Due to his high speed, he always played on the final man on the attack and was able to spin away from the defender with ease. He would complete the attack from any position on the pitch.[14]


Staticians have claimed he scored over 800 times in his career, with the figures 804,812 and 819 coming up the most frequently. He scored a total of 819 goals for SK Slavia Prague, only second to Josef Bican with 1137 goals.[15] [16] As part of SK Slavia Prague 125th anniversary Jan was announced as one of the players in a “Historic Eleven” voted by the fans.[17]

Life after career

After his playing career Jan worked in senior positions at SK Slavia Prague for many years.[18] He died on December 30, 1927 at the age of 43 after a long illness.


Charity Cup: 1910,1911,1912 Silver Cup: 1911 European Amateur Championship: 1911


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