HŠK Građanski Zagreb

HŠK Građanski (alternatively spelled Gradjanski or Gradanski), also known as 1. HŠK Građanski or fully Prvi hrvatski građanski športski klub (English: First Croatian Citizens' Sports Club), was a Croatian football club established in Zagreb in 1911 and dissolved in 1945. The club had a huge influence on the development of football in Croatia and Kingdom of Yugoslavia and achieved its greatest success in the period between the two World Wars.

Full namePrvi hrvatski građanski
športski klub
Nickname(s)Purgeri (The Citizens)
Founded26 April 1911
Dissolved6 June 1945
GroundStadion Maksimir (1912–1924)
Stadion Koturaška (1924–1945)
LeagueYugoslav League (1923–1940)
Croatian League (1940–1945)


The golden eraEdit

Građanski squad which won the 1939–40 Yugoslav Football Championship;
Standing (L to R): Jazbinšek, Cimermančić, Đanić, Belošević, Lešnik, Urch, Brozović;
Crouching: Antolković, Matekalo, Žalant, Kokotović and coach Bukovi

In 1911, when Croatia was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Građanski was founded in Zagreb by Andrija Mutafelija and a few of his friends in response to rumors that a football club that was meant to play in the Hungarian football league (as opposed to the Croatian Sports Union) was about to be established. Građanski was therefore founded as a multi-sports club with a distinctly Croatian identity intended to cater to citizens of Zagreb, with sections dedicated to football, handball and cycling. At first they used grounds in Zagreb's neighbourhoods of Tuškanac, Martinovka and Kanal, until they built their own stadium at Koturaška street, which was officially opened in 1924 by Stjepan Radić, a prominent Croatian politician.

The club lost their first ever game to city rivals HAŠK (5–1) but soon became popular and were widely supported by Zagreb's working class (in contrast to HAŠK, which was an academic sports club and was generally seen as a club affiliated with the University of Zagreb and its students, and popular with the middle class). In the following years, a healthy rivalry developed between the two city clubs, and after the Kingdom of Yugoslavia First League was launched on a national level in 1923, Građanski's greatest rivals outside Zagreb soon became BSK Belgrade and Hajduk Split. During the 1920s and 1930s Građanski became the most popular club in Zagreb as they won five Yugoslav championship titles (1923, 1926, 1928, 1937, 1940 and were runners-up in 1925 and 1939).

International gamesEdit

Internationally, the club went on several successful tours – on one of these, in 1923 in Spain, Građanski beat Barcelona[1] and Athletic Bilbao. The club often toured to Austria and Hungary and played friendly matches with top local sides. In 1936 they went on tour to England where they adopted the WM formation which helped them win the 1936–1937 Yugoslav championship. Márton Bukovi, who started using the formation as Građanski manager in 1936, introduced it to Hungary in the late 1940s and later modified it into the now famous WW system which brought the Hungary national football team to the final game of the 1954 World Cup and which was later exported on to Brazil as the 4–2–4 formation.

Građanski were also hosts to friendlies with prominent European teams. In June 1934, Građanski hosted a 0–0 draw with the Brazil national football team[2] (with football legends such as Leônidas and Waldemar in their lineup), and in May 1936 Liverpool FC suffered their first continental defeat in Zagreb, a 5–1 thrashing[3] in front of an audience of 10,000 with August Lešnik scoring a hat-trick and Berry Nieuwenhuys claiming a consolation goal for the Reds. Also in 1936, the club visited Scotland where at Tynecastle they drew 4–4 with Heart of Midlothian.

Građanski in EuropeEdit

The club competed in the Mitropa Cup, the first European international club competition, on three occasions – in 1928, 1937 and 1940. In 1928 Građanski were knocked out in the two-legged quarterfinal by Viktoria Žižkov of Czechoslovakia with 4:8[4] on aggregate. Nine years later, Građanski exited early again after suffering a 1:6 aggregate loss to Genova 1893 FBC.[5] In 1940 they beat the Hungarian side Újpest FC (5:0 on aggregate) in the quarterfinal, only to be defeated by Rapid Bucharest in the semifinal. Both legs ended without goals, so a playoff game in Subotica was held, which ended 1:1.[6] Rapid progressed to the final on a coin toss, but the final game (against Ferencváros) was never played because of the outbreak of World War II.

World War IIEdit

Having been invaded and occupied by the Nazi Germany in 1941, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was dissolved and sports competitions in the nation were suspended. One exception was the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which, as an Axis member, enjoyed peace so the NDH continued to hold national competitions featuring prominent Croatian clubs. Four of these seasons were started (1941, 1941–42, 1942–43 and 1943–44) but only the second and third editions were actually finished, with Građanski winning the 1942–43 season.[7]

When the war ended in 1945, the club was formally disbanded by the new communist government (along with city rivals HAŠK and Concordia Zagreb) and its archives were destroyed, in retribution for competing in the wartime fascist-sponsored football league. The club's last official game was a 2–2 draw against HAŠK on 10 April 1945.

In June 1945 Dinamo Zagreb was established to take its place as Zagreb's foremost football powerhouse. The newly established Dinamo club adopted Građanski's colours and nickname, and inherited its pre-war fan base, and in 1969 even introduced a club badge which strongly resembled Građanski's old emblem. Initially, Dinamo also used Građanski's Stadion Koturaška, before moving to an expanded version of HAŠK's former ground at Stadion Maksimir in 1948, where it remains to this day.

Many former Građanski players continued their career at Dinamo after the war (including Ivan Jazbinšek, August Lešnik, Zvonimir Cimermančić, Milan Antolković) as well as their coach Márton Bukovi, while some others moved to FK Partizan in Belgrade, which was established after the war as the official Yugoslav Army club (these included Florijan Matekalo and Stjepan Bobek).

Notable playersEdit

Since Zagreb was home to the Croatian-named Nogometni Savez Jugoslavije (Football Association of Yugoslavia) since its establishment in 1919[8] and both Građanski as a club and Zagreb as a city were regarded as local football powerhouses (with three of the city's clubs winning national championship titles between 1923 and 1940 (Concordia Zagreb and HAŠK Zagreb along with Građanski), Građanski players often earned caps for the Kingdom of Yugoslavia national football team, mostly for games at Olympic tournaments, the Balkan Cup and World Cup qualifiers.

In late 1929 the association dissolved after disagreements between the Zagreb and Belgrade regional branches and this resulted in the association being moved to Belgrade in May 1930 where it adopted the Serbian name Fudbalski Savez Jugoslavije. Because of this, Croatian players boycotted the national team which was scheduled to compete at the 1930 World Cup in July in Uruguay, so Yugoslavia sent a squad consisting entirely of Serbian players[9] called up from Belgrade clubs (mostly from BSK Beograd, BASK and SK Jugoslavija). The team managed to beat Brazil 2–1 and Bolivia 4–0 but were then crushed by Uruguay 1–6 in the semi-final. Since Yugoslavia failed to qualify for the next two World Cups in 1934 and 1938, this meant that no Croat appeared at World Cup tournaments until Yugoslavia's next appearance at the 1950 World Cup. By that time Građanski had ceased to exist, although Stjepan Bobek, who initially played for Građanski 1943–1945 before switching to newly formed Partizan after the war, was a key player of the national team at both 1950 and 1954 World Cups and at the 1948 and 1952 Olympic tournaments.

The following is a list of Građanski players who earned at least one cap for Kingdom of Yugoslavia national team while playing at the club in the period from 1920 to 1941. Appearances and goals are taken from Football Association of Serbia database, and represent players' career totals. During WW2 the fascist Independent State of Croatia fielded its own FIFA-registered national team which played a total of 15 friendlies between 1941 and 1944. The team was largely composed of Građanski players, and initially managed by Jozo Jakopić, director of Građanski. Players who appeared for Croatia in that period are marked with †. After the war and dissolution of Građanski some of its players were called up to play for the newly established communist SFR Yugoslavia team. Only four players appeared for all three national teams during this politically turbulent period – Miroslav Brozović, Zvonimir Cimermančić, Branko Pleše and Franjo Wölfl).

Player Position Yugoslavia career Appsa Goalsa Olympic squadsb
Milan Antolković Forward 1937–1939 8 1
Dragutin Babić Defender 1921–1931 10 2 1924 OT, 1928 OT
Ivan Belošević Defender 1933–1939 11 0
August Bivec Defender 1933 1 0
Dragutin Bratulić Goalkeeper 1934–1935 3 0
Miroslav Brozović Defender 1940–1948c 17 0 1948 OT
Zvonimir Cimermančić Defender 1940–1948c 9 3 1948 OT
Slavin Cindrić Forward 1920–1928 5 3 1920 OT, 1924 OT, 1928 OT
Eugen Dasović Defender 1923–1927 10 0 1924 OT
Ernest Dubac Defender 1938–1941 14 0
Svetozar Đanić Midfielder 1940–1941 3 0
Fritz Federber Defender 1922 1 0
Franjo Giller Midfielder 1926–1932 13 3 1928 OT
Franjo Glaser Goalkeeper 1933–1940 35 0
Ivan Granec Midfielder 1920 1 0 1920 OT
Bernard Hügl Defender 1934–1939 24 0
Rudolf Hitrec Midfielder 1926 1 0
Ivan Jazbinšek Defender 1938–1941 7 0 1948 OT
Hugo Kinert Midfielder 1921–1922 2 0
Mirko Kokotović Midfielder 1931–1939 23 4
Gustav Lechner Midfielder 1931–1940 44 0
August Lešnik Forward 1937–1940 10 4
Florijan Matekalo Midfielder 1940 1 0
Maksimilijan Mihalčić Goalkeeper 1925–1931 18 0 1928 OT
Emil Perška Forward 1920–1927 14 2 1920 OT, 1924 OT, 1928 OT
Branko Pleše Midfielder 1937–1946c 6 3
Antun Pogačnik Defender 1937 2 0
Danijel Premerl Defender 1925–1932 29 1 1928 OT
Marko Rajković Defender 1931–1933 2 0
Rudolf Rupec Defender 1920–1924 9 0 1920 OT, 1924 OT
Jaroslav Šifer Defender 1920–1922 6 1 1920 OT
Vilmos Sipos Forward 1934–1939 13 1
Josip Urbanke Midfielder 1926 1 0
Dragutin Vragović Midfielder 1920–1923 7 0 1920 OT, 1924 OT
Dragutin Vrđuka Goalkeeper 1920–1924 7 0 1920 OT, 1924 OT
Franjo Wölfl Forward 1938–1951c 12 6 1948 OT
Aleksandar Živković Forward 1931–1935 15 15
† Player also appeared for Independent State of Croatia team (1941–1944).
a. Career totals earned for Kingdom of Yugoslavia national team (1920–1941)
b. Olympic tournament squad which the player was on (whether or not he actually played)
c. Player also appeared for the communist SFR Yugoslavia national team, established after World War 2


List of managers:[10]


Domestic competitionsEdit

Winners (5): 1923, 1926, 1928, 1936–37, 1939–40[11]
Winners (2): 1941, 1943
Winners (2): 1937-38, 1940[12]
Winners (1): 1941

Regional competitionsEdit

Winners (1): 1939–40
Winners (8): 1920, 1922–23, 1923–24, 1924–25, 1925–26, 1927–28,[11] 1942–43, 1943–1944
Winners (6): 1922–23, 1926–27, 1927–28, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1935–36

European competitionsEdit

Semi-finals (1): 1940


  • Andrija Mutafelija (1911–1914)
  • Artur Weintraub[13]
  • Vladimir Premrou (1932–1936)
  • Josip Torbar (1936–1941)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "FC Barcelona – Complete International Record". RSSSF. 6 March 2000. Retrieved 2008-06-29.
  2. ^ "Brazil National "A" Team – Unofficial Matches". RSSSF. 16 August 2007. Archived from the original on 13 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-29.
  3. ^ "Liverpool FC Season Archives". LFCHistory.net. Archived from the original on 2005-11-24. Retrieved 2008-06-29.
  4. ^ "Mitropa Cup 1928". RSSSF. 10 August 1999. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  5. ^ "Mitropa Cup 1937". RSSSF. 10 August 1999. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  6. ^ "Mitropa Cup 1940". RSSSF. 10 August 1999. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  7. ^ "Croatia – List of Champions". RSSSF. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-29.
  8. ^ "Povijest – počeci" (in Croatian). Croatian Football Federation. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  9. ^ Историја. fss.rs (in Serbian). Football Association of Serbia. Archived from the original on 2011-12-27. Retrieved 2011-12-25.
  10. ^ Treneri kroz povijest at Povijest Dinama (in Croatian)
  11. ^ a b I.HSK Gradjanski Zagreb at RSSSF
  12. ^ Yugoslavia/Serbia (and Montenegro) – Cup Finals at RSSSF
  13. ^ Buljan, Ivica (March 2011). "100 godina Građanskog" (PDF). Povijest Hrvatskog Sporta (in Croatian). Hrvatski olimpijski odbor. 42 (156): 6–8. Retrieved 20 May 2011.[permanent dead link]

External linksEdit