The year is 1911: after SK Rapid’s enforced decision to move out of then home Rudolfsheimer Sportplatz due to financial issues and the city of Vienna’s decision to terminate the existing lease contract, the saviour of the stricken SK Rapid, Dionys Schönecker, formulated his plan to bring the club back from the brink. He was ably assisted in realising his vision by his brother, Eduard “Edi” Schönecker. “Edi” wasn’t simply a successful sportsman, who, as a sprinter had competed at the 1908 Olympic Games in London; he was also a reputable architect and builder. Together they would realise a new home for SK Rapid: The Pfarrwiese.
The Pfarrwiese (literally: the Parish Meadow) initially provided room for roughly four thousand spectators, before gradually increasing over the years to accommodate eight thousand Rapid fans. But it wasn’t long until Hütteldorf again became a hive of construction activity: due to the club’s rising popularity and growing attendances, the Pfarrwiese was extended between 1920 and 1921 and capacity increased to an impressive twenty thousand.
The new home proved to be a catalyst for on-field success: by 1923 Rapid had won the league eight times, only missing out on the championship on four occasions. In 1919 the club won the inaugural Austrian Cup, writing another indelible chapter into Green & White history. In 1920 Diony Schönecker’s side would retain the title. In the middle of the decade a difficult generation transition had to be negotiated, but the Hütteldorfers - as so often in the club’s history - came back stronger.
In 1927 the predecessor to the European Cup (and more latterly the Champions League) was founded. The Mitropa Cup was a pioneering international tournament contested between central European teams. In the cup’s first two seasons Rapid twice made the final, losing out to Sparta Prague and Ferencvaros of Budapest. It wouldn’t be long before Rapid finally lifted the trophy: in 1930 they came out on top in an exciting final against Sparta Prague, ensuring they returned to Hütteldorf with the Mitropa Cup in tow.
Model of the "Pfarrwiese" in Rapideum
Rapid would continue playing home fixtures at the Pfarrwiese until 1977. In just under sixty-six years the Pfarrwiese had played host to twenty-five league victories; nine cup wins; and importantly captured the public’s imagination, becoming the cornerstone of the Rapid myth that still reverberates around the club today.