Gragjanski Skopje (Macedonian: Гpaѓaнcки Cкoпje, Serbian: Гpaђaнcки Cкoпљe, Serbian Latin: Građanski Skoplje) was a football club from Skopje. The club's major achievements were the two participations in the Yugoslav First League during the period of 1923 till 1940, and playing in the Bulgarian championship between 1941 and 1944. Between 1941 and 1947 it was called Makedonia Skopie (Bulgarian: Македония Скопие, Macedonian: Македониja Cкoпje).
Formed in 1922, Gragjanski was the most successful and the only club to participate in the Yugoslav First League from the present day territory of North Macedonia in the period between 1923 until the WWII.
Initially it competed within the Belgrade Football Subassociation, one of the Subassociations of the Football Association of Yugoslavia, until 1927 when it became one of the founding members of the Skoplje Football Subassociation (SLP). The Subassociations were responsible for organising leagues, corresponding to the second or third Yugoslav tiers, depending on the exact period. After 1927 Gragjanski played mostly in the First Division of the SLP League having become SLP champion in 1936, 1938 and 1939. After this last title, as the Yugoslav league system was being modified drastically, Gragjanski qualified directly to the 1939–40 Serbian League. This league, along with the Croato-Slovenian League, were now the two leagues forming the Yugoslav Championship, and the winners of each one of them will dispute the Yugoslav Championship title. In 1937 it was adopted that the clubs playing in the top league (or leagues as in this case) will no longer play simultaneously in the Subassociation Leagues as well, so Gragjanski became completely focused on the Serbian League, and it paid-off, as the club made an impressive season by finishing 5th in the league, only 3 points behind the second placed team, SK Jugoslavija.
Gragjanski was the only club from Vardarska Banovina to compete in the Serbian League, and while SSK Skopje took the opportunity to take advantage in the SLP First Division to win titles and thus play in the qualifiers, it always failed to pass and join Gragjanski in the highest national League, thus indicating the difference in quality that existed at this time between Gragjanski and the rest of the clubs which competed only in the Skopje Subassociation (SLP).
However, the exhibition from the season earlier was hard to repeat in the 1940–41 Serbian League, and Gragjanski finished 8th out of 10 clubs. It came to be the last season before the beginning of the war.
The club ceased to exist in 1941, at the beginning of World War II and the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia. Most of the region of the then Vardarska Banovina was occupied by the Bulgarian forces. Most of the players of Gragjanski just as their coach Illes Spitz joined the FC Makedonija, a newly formed club by the Bulgarian authorities by the merge of several previously existing clubs in Skopje: Gragjanski, SSK (Skopski sport klub), ŽSK, Pobeda and Jug. The club competed in the Bulgarian Championship between 1941 and 1944 and finished second in 1942, losing the final against Levski.
After the end of the war, in 1947, the club was merged with Pobeda to become the newly formed FK Vardar which went on to be the most successful club from Macedonia within the Yugoslav First League.
Yugoslav First League participationsEdit
Gragjanski became a regular participant in the Yugoslav top flight during the second half of the 1930s.
- 1935–36 (Cup system):
- 1938–39 (League system):
- 10th place among 12 teams, 16 points from 22 matches; 7 wins; 2 draws; 13 losses; goal difference of 31–57.
- 1939–40 Serbian League (League system)
- 5th place among 10 teams, 21 points from 18 matches; 10 wins; 1 draw; 7 losses; goal difference of 33–34.
- 1940–41 Serbian League (League system)
- 8th place among 10 teams, 14 points from 17 matches; 5 wins; 4 draws; 8 losses; goals difference of 24–37.
- Kiril Simonovski – played as a left defender for Gragjanski and FC Macedonia in the period 1938–1945 having afterwards played for Partizan Belgrade until 1950 where he won two national championships and one cup. After retiring, he became a notable coach having worked mostly with top league clubs in Yugoslavia and Greece. In 1942 he played 2 matches for Bulgaria, and between 1946 and 1947 he played 10 matches having scored once for Yugoslavia.
- During the period of World War II, the Bulgarian national team selected several players from the club, namely Kiril Simonovski (named Kiril Simeonov at that period), Todor Atanaskov, Stoyan Bogoev, Atanas Lukov, Blagoy Simeonov, Bogdan Vidov and Lyuben Yanev. These players played in the Yugoslav league before 1941 as Kiril and Blagoje Simonović, Svetozar Atanacković, Stojan Bogojević, Atanas Luković, Bogdan Vidović and Ljuban Janević.
List of coaches:
- Спортскиот живот во градот at staroskopje.vestel.com.mk (in Macedonian)
- Sijić, pag. 136
- Sijić, pag. 142
- Sijić, pag.99
- Sijić, pag. 105
- Sijić, pag.111
- Sijić, pag. 121
- Sijić, pag. 101
- Sijić, pag. 121
- Milorad Sijić: "Football in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia" Archived 2012-05-12 at the Wayback Machine, pag. 129 (in Serbian)
- Илеш Шпиц најнова филмска инспирација at Utrinski Vesnik (in Macedonian)
- Го смени ли Вардар името? Archived 2012-04-05 at the Wayback Machine at Dnevnik.com.mk (in Macedonian)
- Yugoslav First League tables at RSSSF.
- Sijić, pag. 121
- 1940–41 season at fkvojvodina.com
- FK Makedonija at EU-Football.info
- Građanski (Skoplje) Archived 2018-08-15 at the Wayback Machine at exyufudbal.in.rs
- Građanski Skopje at fkvojvodina.com (in Serbian)