Hajduk: A team from the pub

Today Zenit will take on one of the most interesting and famous teams from Croatia.

Hajduk was founded in a pub in the Czech capital of Prague. The famous pub – U Fleků – has many centuries of history. A group of students from Split, among them Fabijan Kaliterna, Lucijan Stella, Ivan Šakic and Vjekoslav Ivanišević, went to the bar after watching a match between Sparta and Slavia, and decided that it was time for them to make their own professional team in their home town. The club was officially registered on February 13th, 1911, and its name originates from the hajduks, romanticized bandits who fought on the open roads of the Ottoman Empire against the Turks. The design of the club’s emblem was also created by students, and a group of… Catholic nuns from a monastery in Split created copies which were distributed to fans.

The team’s “golden” years came in the 1970s. Over the period from 1972 to 1979 the team won five national cups and one the Yugoslav League three times. The first cup was won in an especially amazing way: Hajduk beat Partizan Belgrade away 4:3 after trailing 0:3 in the first half. The match was particularly important to the Croatian club. Back in the 1940s Tito twice required that Hajduk be moved to Belgrade, and that it be renamed Partizan. Tito was denied twice, and in the end formed the club from scratch. The 1970s were also important to the club because it reached the serious stages of European cups. In the Cup of Cups in 1972/73 the club lost to the English side Leeds in the semifinal. In the end of the 1970s the club moved to its current stadium – Poljud.

The most famous player in Hajduk history is their forward Frane Matošic, who scored 729 goals in 739 games for Hajduk.