Who was John William Madden?
Very first manager in the history of Czech football. As a former striker of Celtic FC and national team of Scotland he accepted the offer from Slavia officials and became manager of the red and whites in 1905. He has spent 25 years in charge of the club (1905-1930). Nicknamed “the Codger” (Dědek in Czech) he has introduced new training methods (e.g. athletic and gymnastic trainings) and put emphasis on daily regime, football players health and hygiene.
During the first decade of the 20th century he has made Slavia one of the best teams on European continent. He has won four Charity cups (first ever tournament organised in the Czech Lands), became Czech champion in 1913, 1915 and 1918 and won the Czechoslovak league three times after the first world war (1925, 1929 and 1930).
Madden walked into the Slavia dressing room for the very first time on 5 February 1905. He said his farewell on 4 July 1930 after Slavia beat 3-2 their city rival Sparta, finished the season undefeated and retained the Czech title. “You won everything, I can give you nothing more. Sorry, I am done,” he said to his players after the “invincible” season.
During Madden’s era Slavia played 169 competitive games winning 134, 12 finishing in a tie and losing just 23 with 717 scored goals and only 206 conceded. The red and whites also played 429 international games under Madden with 304 wins, 52 ties and 73 defeats.
Slavia with J. W. Madden (first from left) in 1911.
Interesting facts about J. W. Madden
Born in 1865 in Dumbarton, he came to Prague in 1905 in his 40 and stayed here until his death in 1948. He has never learned proper Czech though, only to understand and to give his players some roasting. He was strict manager, but his players loved him as well as he loved the club.
Madden introduced trainings with no football (twice a week) which was very unusual at his time.
In Prague Madden has also found a love of his life. 17-year younger Františka Jindřiška (born Čechová) soon became his wife. Their son Jindřich Richard, nicknamed Harry, grew into a talented forward and played several games for Slavia reserves. Unfortunately, his life ended in tragedy when Harry committed suicide because of an unhappy love.
Madden with his wife and son in Prague.