Hrvatski nogometni klub Hajduk Split, commonly referred to as Hajduk Split (Croatian pronunciation: [xǎjduːk splît]) or simply Hajduk, is a Croatian professional football club based in Split, that competes in the Croatian First League, the top tier in Croatian football. Since 1979, the club's home ground has been the 33,987-seater Stadion Poljud. The team's traditional home colours are white shirts with blue shorts and blue socks.

Hajduk Split
Full nameHrvatski nogometni klub Hajduk Split
Nickname(s)"Bili" (Whites), Majstori s mora (Masters from the Sea)
Short nameHAJ
Founded13 February 1911; 113 years ago (1911-02-13)
GroundStadion Poljud
PresidentMarinka Akrap (interim)
Head coachJure Ivanković (interim)
LeagueCroatian Football League
2022–23Croatian Football League, 2nd of 10
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The idea to form a football club was started by a group of Split students who were studying in Prague. After observing a game between Slavia and Sparta Prague, the group gathered at the U Fleků tavern and talked of creating a football club at home. When they returned to Split, they put their plan in motion and Hajduk was founded on 13 February 1911. Between the early 1920s and 1940, Hajduk regularly participated in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia national championship. Following World War II and the formation of the Yugoslav league system in 1946, Hajduk went on to spend the entire SFR Yugoslavia period at the top level. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the club joined the Croatian First League in its inaugural season in 1992, never having been relegated from its top tier. Hajduk is thus the only ex-Yugoslav side to have never been relegated from the top flight since the foundation of the original Yugoslavia, though a number of ex-Yugoslav clubs have long spells in the top flight dating to the SFR Yugoslavia era.

They are one of the most successful teams in Croatia and ex-Yugoslavia, having won nine Yugoslav and six Croatian league championships, in addition to nine Yugoslav and eight Croatian cup titles, and five Croatian supercup titles, without ever being relegated from its country's top football league.

The club's golden era came in the 1970s, when they won four Yugoslav Leagues and five Yugoslav Cups. Hajduk is also the only club in Yugoslav football history that has won five-straight Yugoslav Cups (between 1972 and 1977), and also the only unbeaten champion (season 1950). Hajduk's biggest European achievements are appearances in three European Cup quarter-finals, one UEFA Cup semi-final and one Cup Winners' Cup semi-final.

The club's main rivals are Dinamo Zagreb, with matches between the two referred to as the "Eternal Derby". Hajduk Split fans are called Torcida Split, who are the oldest organized firm in Europe, being founded in 1950. The inspiration of the name were the Brazilian fans at the 1950 FIFA World Cup, which were called Torcida.

As of 2008, the club is a stock company, although not listed on the public stock exchange, with majority of the stock owned by the City of Split. It is one of two fan-owned sports teams in Croatia, having over 43,000 members in 2016,[1] and reaching 100,000 members in 2023. There are also over 50 Hajduk fan clubs situated mostly across Croatia and Germany, but as far as United States, Ireland and Australia.[2]

History edit

Origins edit

Founding members of Hajduk, in the U Fleků inn in Prague

The club was founded in the centuries-old pub U Fleků in Prague (then also part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), by a group of students from Split: Fabjan Kaliterna, Lucijan Stella, Ivan Šakić and Vjekoslav Ivanišević.[3] They went to the pub following a match between AC Sparta and SK Slavia and decided it was time their own town founded a professional club. They all knew how popular the sport was in their home city of Split, and how well their friends can play.

The club was officially registered with the authorities on 13 February 1911.[4] While trying to come up with a name for the club (other options being "Velebit", "Uskok", "Marjan"...), the students went to their old teacher Josip Barač for advice and according to accounts, after enthusiastically storming into his office, he told them to take the name "Hajduk" which symbolized "that which is best in our people: bravery, humanity, friendship, love of freedom, defiance to powers, and protection of the weak. Be worthy of that great name".[5]

Hajduks were romanticized bandits that fought the rule of the Ottoman Turks. It is speculated that famed hajduk Andrijica Šimić, who triumphantly arrived in Split in 1902 to cheering crowds (after a long stint in an Austrian prison), was perhaps the inspiration for the name.[5] The founders subsequently designed the club's emblem, and a group of Catholic nuns from a monastery in Split, created copies which were distributed to fans.[6] Both the name and the checkered board on the crest were found provocative by the Monarchy, but it eventually allowed them having been convinced that a football club is a good way to train soldiers.[7]

Hajduk gathered the pro-Croat party of citizens of Split, Croat unionists or puntari. That is why the club specifically has the name "hrvatski nogometni klub" ("Croatian football club") and has the Croatian coat-of-arms in its crest. The club itself was against the Austrian-Hungarian government's policy of not allowing the unification of the Croatian provinces and keeping them separated (the government and the emperor did not allow the reunion of Dalmatia with the rest of Croatia). Hajduk's first opponent were Calcio Spalato, the club of an autonomist party from in Split, and the match ended with a 9–0 (6–0) victory for Hajduk. The first to score for Hajduk was Šime Raunig, legend has it – with his knee.[8]

Before the match: Hajduk played HŠK Zrinjski Mostar on 13 August 1939, winning 3–2.

In 1912, Hajduk played their first match in Zagreb against the HAŠK football club, and lost 3–2. The first international match against an eminent opponent was held in 1913 against Czech club Slavia Prague,[9] which at that time were one of the strongest squads in Europe. Hajduk ended up losing the match 1–13 (0–13). After the formation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, Hajduk first entered the Yugoslav league in 1923, losing their first and only match that season against SAŠK. However, that same year while on tour in North Africa, Hajduk defeated Marseille 3–2 in their first international match, sparking mass celebrations in Split. The next year, the squad was considered so strong that 10 out of the 11 players which played an international friendly for Yugoslavia against Czechoslovakia were contracted to Hajduk (only exception being the goalkeeper, as Hajduk had an Italian goalkeeper at the time).

In 1926, in honour of the club's 15th birthday, composer Ivo Tijardović dedicated an operetta "Kraljica baluna" to the club, making it the only football club in the world to have its own operetta. Apart from national championship, from 1920 to 1936 Hajduk continuously competed in Dalmatian Championship, having won all but one of them.[10]

Hajduk reached their first period of glory in the late 1920s, when they won their first two Yugoslav championships (1927 and 1929), which earned them a slot in the Central European Cup.[11] Some of the best players in that period were Leo Lemešić and Vladimir Kragić, with Ljubo Benčić managed to become the best goalscorer of the 1927 season. Long-lasting coach of the team was one of clubs greats, Luka Kaliterna. During the 6 January Dictatorship the adjective "Croatian" in "Croatian Football Club" was forcibly replaced by the adjective "Yugoslav" to the dismay of the team. Furthermore, the 1930s proved disastrous for Hajduk, as they won no tournaments or championships, recording only a few successes in international matches.[12]

They did manage to win one title during the Banovina of Croatia era in 1940–41, with an impressive 14–3–1 record. As a Croatian champion the club was about the play the playoffs for Yugoslav championship, but with World War II emerging, the championship was never finished. During this time, Hajduk could have had a fantastic generation led by young Frane Matošić, Ratko Kacijan, as well as prominent Czech international Jiří Sobotka.[13]

World War II edit

In April 1941, during World War II, Yugoslavia was invaded, occupied and carved-up by the Axis powers, with Split being annexed directly into Italy. Residents and players were both opposed to the assimilation to Italy, thus the club ceased to compete in defiance throughout the occupation of Split, declining an offer to join the Italian first division under the name "AC Spalato". Instead, Benito Mussolini founded Societa Calcio Spalato, and renamed the club's home ground after his son's name.[13] After the capitulation of Italy in 1943, the Partisans temporarily liberated Split and disarmed the Italian garrison, but the German Army quickly re-occupied the city and granted it to the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) they had installed in Zagreb back in 1941. The attitude of the club did not change when the NDH authorities attempted to include Hajduk in the Independent State of Croatia Cup, as NDH earned resentment in Split for allying and partitioning them to Italy. With the Allies invading southern Italy and controlling the Mediterranean, the Adriatic islands became a haven for the resistance, prompting Hajduk's rebirth on one of them in 1944.

The club's players then joined the Partisan general headquarters on the island of Vis in the Adriatic. On 7 May 1944, on the Feast of Saint Domnius, the patron saint of Split, in presence of Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito's and British officers (one of them being Randolph Churchill)[14] Hajduk was formed again and began playing as the official football team of the Yugoslav resistance. They competed with Allied service football teams from across the Adriatic in Italy, where they famously played the British Army in a friendly match in Bari on 23 September, in front at least 40,000 spectators, losing 2–9.[15][16] The match is considered to be one of the most attended football games during the war years, with a rematch in liberated Split few years after (Hajduk won 1–0). At this time, the club leadership adopted the Partisans' red star as the badge on the white-and-blue club dress. During 1945, Hajduk embarked on a tourney through Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Malta. Traveling roughly 30,000 kilometers, and playing over 90 matches, the club won 74 of them, while at the same time Allied airplanes dropped fliers all over Europe prompting other football clubs to follow Hajduk example.[17] While in Beirut, Charles de Gaulle gave Hajduk the title of honorary team of Free France, the trophy being treasured ever since.

With its proficiency and its "unique Dalmatian spirit", the club reportedly impressed Tito, who frequently attended matches. After the war, he invited Hajduk to move to the Yugoslav capital Belgrade and become the official Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) team, but the club refused, wanting to continue to play in their hometown of Split.[15] One of their biggest future rivals, FK Partizan, were founded instead. However, Hajduk continued to enjoy the reputation of "Tito's favorite" long after the war, and it was because of the friendly relationship with the resistance, it became one of the few Yugoslav football clubs (and the only prominent one) not to be disbanded after the war by the communist government (as was the case with a number of other clubs, especially prominent ones such as BSK, Građanski, Jugoslavija, Concordia, HAŠK and Slavija).

Iconic 1950s edit

Hajduk's squad in 1955, wearing the red star badge

After World War II, Hajduk continued to play in the Yugoslav championship and its cup. In 1946, they won Croatian championship and established the magazine Journal of Hajduk. In 1948–49, Hajduk visited Australia and became the first team from Yugoslavia to play on all continents. The club won the 1950 Yugoslav championship without a single loss,[15] setting a record that no one managed to accomplish before the breakup of Yugoslavia 40 years later. On 28 October 1950, a day before a decisive match against one of its biggest rivals Red Star Belgrade (a 2–1 win), the official fan organization Torcida was founded.[18] It was created by engineering student Vjenceslav Žuvela, who chose the name after the enthusiastic Brazilian fans, and Torcida become the first organized group of supporters in Europe.[19] The following year, reconstruction of "Stari Plac" stadium was finished, and it homed the club for more than three decades.

Consequent seasons showed Hajduk's supremacy, but also the political manipulations to prevent them winning the championships. For one, Torcida was viewed as a hostile organization by the communist authorities, which posed a risk to the national consciousness of the new Yugoslavian state.[18] Hajduk's leadership was sanctioned, the team's captain expelled from the communist party, and Vjenceslav Žuvela imprisoned.[18] Also, during the winter break of the 1952–53 season, following an invitation from Juan Perón, Hajduk went on tour to South America and eventually extended their stay there.[20] This caused them to come home late, but instead of promised delay of games in the Championship, they faced defeat against BSK and a draw with Spartak Subotica as their youth team and couple of veteran players had to play them.[20] Although Hajduk later beat both Red Star (4–1) and Partizan (4–2) in Belgrade, Red Star became the champion by only a two-point margin.

Next season saw a similar occurrence, with players Vladimir Beara and Bernard Vukas arriving late for national team training and receiving a month-long ban from football. Without these essential players, Hajduk lost important matches and Dinamo Zagreb finished as champions. All this prompted club legend Frane Matošić to storm a meeting of the Yugoslav Football Association and say, "Have you at least a gram of integrity?"[21] On 3 April 1955 in Zagreb, Hajduk defeated Dinamo 6–0, recording its biggest win in the derby between the two largest Croatian clubs, and later won the championship. However, the Football Association of Yugoslavia qualified them to the European Mitropa Cup, while Partizan was chosen to participate in the inaugural European Cup.[21]

During the early 1950s, the club had one of its most iconic generation of players, winning three Yugoslav championships. Two such players – goalkeeper Vladimir Beara and Zagreb-born midfielder Bernard Vukas (called "Bajdo") – were called to represent Team Europe in friendly matches against Great Britain. In one of the matches, Vukas scored a hat-trick. Apart from them, Frane Matošić scored his 729 goals in 739 official and unofficial games, setting a club record likely never to be broken. Other famous players included Božo Broketa, Ljubomir Kokeza, Slavko Luštica and Lenko Grčić.

Miserable 1960s and another Golden Generation edit

Hajduk's red star logo from 1960 to 1990

Generation of 1950s broke down after 1955 title, with Matošić retiring, Beara moving to Red Star Belgrade and Vukas to Italian club Bologna. The 1960s were remembered as some of the hardest times in Hajduk's history. In four seasons (1963 to 1966), the club finished no better than tenth and no better than fourth in the next half of the decade. In the 1965–66 season, due to the "Planinić affair" accusing Hajduk of rigging matches during those unsuccessful seasons, five points were deducted (down from the initial penalty of relegation), and Hajduk managed to stay in the top flight with much thanks to Petar Nadoveza, who managed to become the league's top scorer with 21 goals. During this era, the club won just one trophy – the 1967 cup, which was also their first Yugoslav cup trophy and send the team to European Cup Winners' Cup the next year, their first appearance under UEFA-organized international competition.[22] Prominent players of the time included Ante Žanetić (member of 1960 World Soccer Team of the Year), Ivica Hlevnjak, Vinko Cuzzi and Andrija Anković.

From 1970 to 1980, Hajduk had achieved its most successful years in Yugoslavia. The new "Golden Generation" won five consecutive cups and four championships in the period from 1972 to 1979, accompanied by notable international success.[23] In 1971, and after a 16-year wait, Hajduk won the title after a memorable 4–3 away win over Partizan in a decisive match Hajduk were at one time behind 0–3. This unexpected success was achieved with a team of youngsters, and Nadoveza as a league top scorer yet another time. After winning their first out of five consecutive domestic cups in 1972, the team achieved first major international success, playing in the semi-finals of next year's Cup Winners' Cup against Leeds United. The team's manager at the time was one of Croatia's finest, Branko Zebec.

After Zebec left the club, he was replaced by the young and talented Tomislav Ivić, who would later become the club's coaching legend and one of the most successful managers in Europe, winning eight league titles in seven different countries.[24] The first three years under Ivić saw Hajduk win two Yugoslav titles and three cups. In 1976, Hajduk could have won a third-straight Double after defeating the top league team Partizan 6–1 away. However, there was a scandal in the last match of the season when Partizan defeated Olimpija after scoring in the 95th minute of the match (despite UEFA not yet introducing added time for another 20 years) after numerous dubious referee decisions during the match. With the season finishing, Ivić left Hajduk for Ajax, but would return two years later only to win another league title, the club's last in the former Yugoslavia.

During these years, Hajduk reached quarter-finals of both the European Cup and Cup Winners' Cup, with notable home wins against PSV (2–0), Arsenal (2–1) and Saint Etienne (4–1). Notable Hajduk and Yugoslav international players included goalkeepers Ivan Katalinić and Radomir Vukčević; defenders Ivan Buljan (1975 Yugoslav Footballer of the Year), Zoran Vujović, Dragan Holcer, Vilson Džoni, Luka Peruzović and Vedran Rožić; midfielders Jurica Jerković, Dražen Mužinić (1975 Yugoslav Footballer of the Year), Branko Oblak (1974 Ballon d'Or candidate); and strikers Ivica Šurjak (1976 Yugoslav Footballer of the Year) and Slaviša Žungul. The club's respected president at the time was Tito Kirigin.

Poljud curse edit

In 1979, Hajduk moved to the newly designed stadium at Poljud, built to host the 1979 Mediterranean Games. However, the 1980s were noticeably less successful, as the club won only three Yugoslav cups before SFR Yugoslavia fell apart in 1991. The club's struggles were often linked to their new home stadium, which had athletic running track around the pitch, as opposed to Stari Plac, where supporters could cheer much closer to their team. The club's Inaugural season at Poljud saw Hajduk's most iconic official international match: the 1979–80 European Cup quarter-finals against eventual finalists Hamburger SV, and a 3–2 home win after losing 0–1 away. Later years saw Hajduk achieve memorable home wins against Valencia (4–1), Bordeaux (4–1), Marseille (2–0), Universitatea Craiova (1–0), Tottenham Hotspur (2–1) and a friendly win against Manchester United (6–0), considered to be United's biggest loss outside England. Hajduk also eliminated clubs such as Metz (5–1, 2–2), VfB Stuttgart (3–1, 2–2), Torino (3–1, 1–1), Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (2–0, 1–0), Universitatea Craiova (0–1, 1–0, 3–1pen) and Sparta Prague (2–0, 0–1), reaching UEFA Cup semi-final in 1984 and quarter-final in 1986. In 1988, during a Cup Winners' Cup home match with Marseille, releasing tear gas from the crowd caused the game to be canceled at 2–0 for Hajduk to award Marseille a default 0–3 victory; Hajduk was also banned from all UEFA competitions for the next two years.[25]

Apart from international success, domestic results were not as impressive. Although Hajduk spent the entire decade near the top of the league table, competing with Dinamo Zagreb, Partizan and Red Star Belgrade to form what was known as the "Great Yugoslav Four", the club won no title before Croatia became independent. Prominent players of the time included goalkeepers Ivan Pudar and Zoran Simović (1983 Yugoslav Footballer of the Year); defenders Boro Primorac, Branko Miljuš and Jerko Tipurić; midfielders Blaž Slišković (1985 Yugoslav Footballer of the Year), Ivan Gudelj (1982 Yugoslav Footballer of the Year), Zoran Vulić, Aljoša Asanović, Stipe Andrijašević, Dragutin Čelić; and striker Zlatko Vujović (1981 Ballon d'Or candidate).[26] By the end of the Yugoslav era, a young generation of future 1998 FIFA World Cup bronze medalists began playing for the club. These included Igor Štimac, Robert Jarni, Alen Bokšić, Nikola Jerkan and Slaven Bilić.

In the wake of national tensions which would eventually lead to Yugoslav Wars, during a tour in Australia, Hajduk restored its traditional emblem with the Croatian checkerboard, omitting the red star and sparking a massive crowd celebrations upon return. In September of that same year, a home match against Partizan would be cancelled in the 73rd minute due to the crowd entering the pitch and burning the Yugoslav flag. Later, on 8 May 1991, Hajduk won the last held Yugoslav Cup final, defeating that year's European champions Red Star in Belgrade with a goal scored by Bokšić. Tito's trophy for Yugoslav Cup winners was therefore awarded to Hajduk to stay in the club's permanent possession.[27]

Champions League and financial breakdown edit

A Hajduk vs Dinamo match in Split

In the first four years of the HNL (the Croatian football league), Hajduk became far more successful than rivals Dinamo from Zagreb, winning three league titles, two domestic cups and two supercups, with the 1994–95 season still standing as the most successful since playing in independent Croatia. Hajduk entered that year's UEFA Champions League with a mix of young upcoming stars Milan Rapaić, Ivica Mornar, Tomislav Erceg, Goran Vučević and experienced players such as Igor Štimac, Zoran Vulić, Aljoša Asanović and Tonči Gabrić returning to assist them. After entering the group stage, Hajduk finished second behind Benfica, ahead of Steaua București and Anderlecht, before losing in the quarter-finals to eventual champions Ajax (0–0, 0–3). Domestically, the club won its first and (as of yet) last double crown. However, even though the team was performing well, the club was financially poorly managed, accumulating a massive financial loss that led to blocking of club's account.

For the next five years, Hajduk stood in the shadow of wealthier and politically privileged rivals Dinamo Zagreb, and the Champions League was no longer realistically within reach. Between 1995 and 2000, the club won zero trophies. After continuous domestic and European failures, Hajduk fans began to seek the dismissal of administration officials and circulated the story about the possible privatization of the club, which at that time did not happen. While arch-rivals Dinamo (then called "Croatia Zagreb") won titles, Hajduk had problems with the registration of players for the league. Dissatisfaction among the fans grew so much that some broke into the club premises, causing a change in leadership and promises of new beginnings. After the death of the first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman, whom many saw as heavily preferring and financing Croatia Zagreb, 2001 saw Hajduk become champions once more after a memorable 4–2 win against Varteks in Varaždin, a match attended by far more Hajduk fans than locals. Unfortunately, financial conditions in the club were still dire, and the club was often on the precipice of bankruptcy and collapse.

And yet, even if operating with blocked account, chairman Branko Grgić boosted with promises of attractive signings and trophies. Although Hajduk did manage to win Cup in 2003 and league titles in 2004 and 2005, as well as sign Dinamo's promising young captain Niko Kranjčar and their legendary manager Miroslav Blažević, when finances and politically driven leadership finally broke down, so did the club's results. Hajduk spent rest of the decade finishing behind its rival, with numerous coaching and management changes and reorganizations, players of dubious quality and mediocre international performances, worst of which came after being eliminated by Shelbourne and 0–5 home loss to Debrecen. The election of new chairman Mate Peroš in June 2008, upon which he changed the entire professional staff and reorganized the administration, brought only temporary relief. Hajduk achieved first away win against Dinamo after five-and-a-half years (2–0), but again finished behind their arch-rivals, and reached Croatian Cup finals only to lose to Dinamo once again in a two-game thriller which saw two 3–0 wins by both teams, before Dinamo won 4–3 in penalty shootout. More importantly, the club's finances did not radically change until next season, when Hajduk became joint stock company owned by the City of Split. Even if financially secure, newly appointed chairman Joško Svaguša continued the policy of expensive signings and unsustainable expenses to regain the club's former glory. In 2010, Hajduk won the Croatian Cup, its first trophy in five years, and later managed to qualify for the group stage of 2010–11 UEFA Europa League which was the first time since 1994 club secured a place in the group stages of UEFA competitions. Home wins against Dinamo București (3–0), Unirea Urziceni (4–1) and Anderlecht (1–0) were, however, just a temporary reminiscence of former successes.

Notable players of 1990s and 2000s include goalkeepers Stipe Pletikosa, Danijel Subašić and Tonči Gabrić; defenders Igor Štimac, Igor Tudor and Darijo Srna; midfielders Milan Rapaić, Nenad Pralija, Dean Računica, Niko Kranjčar, Josip Skoko, Ivan Leko, Srđan Andrić and Senijad Ibričić; and strikers Ardian Kozniku, Nikola Kalinić and Tomislav Erceg.

On 13 February 2011, Hajduk commemorated its 100th anniversary with a massive celebration in Split and all of Croatia, with both Hajduk players and fans honouring the club. The entire city was decorated with Hajduk banners, flags, posters and paraphernalia, and there was a spectacular firework show over Split. Hajduk played a friendly game with Slavia Prague to honour Hajduk's Czech origins, losing 0–2.[28]

Naš Hajduk edit

All this time supporters led by Torcida led a struggle to end what they considered to be politically driven management of the club, and install experts to save Hajduk. In 2009, they started an initiative called "Dite puka" (People's Child) that should have prompted fans to buy up the club's shares and gain control of the club, which at the time didn't happen. However, in July 2011, inspired by examples in Germany and Sweden and organized under the association "Naš Hajduk" (Our Hajduk), fans managed to gain rights of organizing elections for members of the club's supervisory board, making Hajduk only fan-owned football club in Croatian First League, and one of only two in former Yugoslavia (the other being nearby HNK Trogir).

In 2012, the club fell into yet another financial trouble caused by former Hajduk presidents, leaving it with more than 100 million kunas in debt, and one town meeting away from being bankrupt. After forming lines in front of the City Hall on 15 October 2012, fans convinced the town leaders to sign a loan insurance to the newly elected chairman Marin Brbić and start the club's long needed financial recovery. Since then, according to the club's annual financial report, Hajduk is under continuous financial and managerial recovery.[29][30][31] On 1 April 2015, Brbić was sacked by the club's supervisory board and on 18 May replaced by Ivan Kos.[32]

Notable successes include 2–0 away win over Internazionale and winning the 2012–13 Croatian Cup. By the end of 2016, the club numbered 43.339 members, more than any club in the region.[33]

Stadium edit

Panoramic view of the Stadion Poljud

Hajduk's home ground is one of the two largest stadiums in Croatia, designed by architect Boris Magaš, chosen among 20 other projects in a 1975 competition. The stadium was built for the 1979 Mediterranean Games, but was also a venue for the 1990 European Athletics Championships and the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup. The stadium is affectionately known to the locals as the Poljudska ljepotica ("Poljud Beauty"). The largest crowd recorded was in 1980 at a match against Hamburger SV – 52,000 spectators. Two years later, after the stadium was fully completed, its capacity was increased to 62,000 for a derby against Dinamo Zagreb.

From 1911 to 1979, Hajduk played on a stadium called Kod stare Plinare, used today by RK Nada rugby club. The stadium's first name was Krajeva njiva, but after club moved to Poljud, the old ground has become known in Split as the Stari Plac or Staro Hajdukovo ("Old Hajduk's Place"). During this time, the stadium hosted a match between Yugoslavia and the Netherlands in the UEFA Euro 1972 qualifying tournament. Hajduk supporters who would later reestablish the once forbidden name of Torcida, were situated in the east stands. 3,148 games were played on it, with 9,542 goals scored, 11 championships and six cups have been won.

Crest and colours edit

Colours edit

Hajduk's original home colours

Hajduk played its first game in a strip with red and white vertical stripes, which symbolized the Croatian coat of arms. The former Austrian City Council did not want to be seen as partisan and would not allow club colors to be made up from the emergent Croatian tricolour. Hajduk changed its kit design to red and blue vertical stripes with white "Hajduk" written in the middle. 1914 saw the club choose a white shirt, blue shorts and socks; a combination that symbolizes white sails on a blue sea. The color white has since then become a symbol for the club, along with the nickname 'Bili' ('Whites').

Its away strip consists of red and blue shirts with vertical stripes (sometimes narrow, sometimes wide), blue shorts and socks, to symbolize the Croatian flag. From 2008 to 2011, the stripes were made horizontal. Although UEFA has not introduced compulsory registration of the third set of colours, one possibility was shirts of vertical red and white stripes, but were not adopted due to the resemblance of club colours of Red Star Belgrade. Third set of colours was therefore often a combination of first two (most often completely white outfit), until a new gray design, composed of small triangular fan flags was introduced in 2015.

At one time the main colours were to be a combination of navy blue, white with blue horizontal stripes, but this kit was only sporadically worn by goalkeepers Stipe Pletikosa and Danijel Subašić.

Crest edit

Hajduk's crest consists of the Croatian checkerboard with 25 red and white checkers bordered by a circle of blue ribbon, with two white vertical lines on each side. The words Hajduk and Split are written above and below the checkerboard respectively. The symbolism of the white vertical lines is still under discussion, with theories such as being a symbol of the four founders, the equals sign or quotation marks.

The modern crest is almost identical to the one created in 1911. The original was designed by one of club's founders Vjekoslav Ivanišević. It was then taken to Ana, the sister of the Kaliterna brothers who took a drawing of the crest to a convent where nuns created 20–30 pieces by hand. The crest first appeared in public in 1926 during a performance of the Tijardović opera "Kraljica baluna" as part of the scenery.

However, Hajduk did not wear the original crest before World War II as it was not obligatory at the time. After the club's rebirth following the end of WWII the new crest became just a red star – a symbol of anti-fascism which Hajduk stood up for during the war. In 1960, a new crest was made, similar to the old one but with the red star in the middle instead of the former red and white traditional checkerboard. In 1990, while on tour in Australia, the original crest was returned and has been used ever since.

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers edit

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1995–1996 Diadora Agrokor
1996–1997 Kaltenberg
1997–1999 Splitska banka
2000–2002 Umbro Privredna banka Zagreb
2002–2006 Agrokor
2006–2010 INA
2010 NTL
2011 Konzum
2012 Atlas d.d. (only 3 times)
2013 Apfel (only Croatian Cup final)
2013– Macron Tommy

Supporters edit

Torcida fans decorating the stands of Poljud Stadium during the Eternal Derby in 2006

Hajduk Split supporters, Torcida, were formed on 28 October 1950 by a group of students in Zagreb, namely Ante Dorić, Ante Ivanišević and Vjenceslav Žuvela, and are the oldest organized supporters group in Europe. They took their name from the Brazilian fan group they idolized, which comes from the Portuguese 'torcer' which means 'to cheer on'. "Hajduk lives forever" is their slogan.

Torcida members and other fervent fans gather in the north stand at the Poljud stadium from where they support their club. The 'Heart of Hajduk' (Croatian: Hajdučko srce) is an annual football prize which was established in 1994 and is officially awarded by the Hajduk Split supporters' to the team's best performing player during the season. It is awarded during the annual futsal competition Torcida Cup.

In-between clubs Hajduk developed kinship with SK Slavia Prague.

In popular culture edit

Hajduk Split features as the central theme of the television series Velo Misto (1980) and is one of the only football clubs to have a period drama filmed about its history.

Rivalries edit

Enthusiastic fans set of flares at Poljud during the Eternal Derby match

Today, Hajduk's biggest rivals are Dinamo Zagreb, as the matches between the two teams are referred to as "Eternal Derby". Former major rivalries used to include Serbian clubs Crvena Zvezda and Partizan who along with Hajduk and Dinamo were part of the so-called Yugoslav Big Four, the biggest and most successful clubs in the former Yugoslavia.

Players edit

Croatian teams are restricted to fielding at most six foreign players in the first eleven during the domestic league and cup matches.[34] The squad list includes only the principal nationality of each player; players who also hold Croatian citizenship are specifically noted.

Current squad edit

As of 4 April 2024[35]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
3 DF   CRO Dominik Prpić
4 FW   CRO Ivan Perišić (on loan from Tottenham Hotspur)
5 DF   CIV Ismaël Diallo
6 MF   CRO Mihael Žaper
7 MF   AUS Anthony Kalik
8 MF   BEL Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe
9 FW   CRO Nikola Kalinić
10 FW   CRO Marko Livaja (vice-captain)
11 MF   MAR Yassine Benrahou
13 GK   AUT Ivan Lučić
17 DF   CRO Dario Melnjak
18 DF   MAR Fahd Moufi
19 DF   CRO Josip Elez
20 MF   CRO Niko Sigur
No. Pos. Nation Player
21 MF   USA Rokas Pukštas
22 FW   GER Leon Dajaku
23 MF   CRO Filip Krovinović (3rd captain)
24 DF   CRO Dino Mikanović
25 DF   CRO Filip Uremović
27 FW   MKD Aleksandar Trajkovski
30 MF   HUN László Kleinheisler (on loan from Panathinaikos)
31 DF   CRO Zvonimir Šarlija
37 MF   CRO Noa Skoko
70 FW   CRO Josip Brekalo (on loan from Fiorentina)
77 MF   KOS Emir Sahiti
91 GK   CRO Lovre Kalinić (captain)
97 DF   POR Ferro

Players with multiple nationalities edit

Dual registration edit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
28 MF   CRO Roko Brajković (at   Solin)
40 GK   CRO Borna Buljan (at   Solin)
88 MF   CRO Ivan Ćubelić (at   Solin)
99 FW   BIH Filip Čuić (at   Solin)
DF   CRO Niko Đolonga (at   Solin)
No. Pos. Nation Player
DF   CRO Mateo Jurić-Petrašilo (at   Solin)
32 DF   CRO Šimun Hrgović (at   Solin)
MF   CRO Krešimir Nazor (at   Solin)
MF   CRO Ante Kavelj (at   Solin)
FW   CRO Jere Vrcić (at   Solin)

Out on loan edit

As of 16 February 2024

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   CRO Toni Silić (at   Sheriff Tiraspol until 30 June 2024)
23 MF   CRO Ivan Krolo (at   Radomlje until 30 June 2024)
33 DF   KOS Elvis Letaj (at   Radomlje until 20 June 2024)
34 MF   CRO Marko Capan (at   Široki Brijeg until 30 June 2024)
36 MF   CRO Tino Blaž Lauš (at   Koper until 30 June 2024)
No. Pos. Nation Player
66 MF   BIH Madžid Šošić (at   Radomlje until 30 June 2024)
GK   CRO Karlo Sentić (at   Ordabasy until 19 January 2025)
GK   UKR Davyd Fesyuk (at   Croatia Zmijavci until 20 June 2024)
DF   CRO Luka Vušković (at   Radomiak) until 30 June 2024
FW   CRO Mate Antunović (at   Monza until 30 June 2024)

Retired numbers edit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
12 12   CRO 12th man (reserved for the club supporters)

Reserves edit

Managers edit

Technical staff edit

As of 12 April 2024[36][37]
Staff Job title
  Mindaugas Nikoličius Sporting director
  Jure Ivanković Interim head coach
  Siniša Šegović Assistant coach
  Goran Milović Assistant coach
  Darko Franić Goalkeeper coach
  Šime Veršić Fitness coach
  Antonio Plenča Fitness coach
  Stjepan Badrov Team manager
  Antonio Sebežević Video Analyst
  Bruno Baćina Video Analyst
  Miro Čolak Kit Manager
  Zlatko Piteša Kit Manager
  Ante Bandalović, Head of medical staff
  Tomislav Barić, Doctor Vladimir Ivančev, Doctor
  Boris Bećir, Doctor
  Ante Turić, Doctor
  Marko Kordić, Doctor
  Marin Popović, Dentist
  Josip Gruica Head of physiotherapy staff
  Filip Brnas Physiotherapist
  Nikola Šarić Physiotherapist
  Tomislav Džeko Physiotherapist
  Ivan Gršković Physiotherapist
  Dragana Olujić Nutritionist

Club statistics and records edit

Vedran Rožić holds the club's overall official games appearance record by playing in 390 matches over the course of 12 seasons from 1972 to 1984. Hajduk's all-time leading scorer in all competitions is Frane Matošić, scoring 211 official goals for the club, while Zlatko Vujović is all-time leading goalscorer in European competition with 19 goals.

Hajduk's record home attendance is 62,000 during a Yugoslav Championship match against Dinamo Zagreb on 28 February 1982. The record modern (all-seated) attendance is 38,000 for a match against Dinamo Zagreb on 22 February 2009.

Hajduk's first competitive game was a 9–0 victory against Calcio Spalato. 14–0 win over Slavija Sarajevo in 1934 was their largest league win during Yugoslav era. In Prva HNL club's largest league win was 10–0 against Radnik in 1994, while their biggest defeat was against Varteks in 2001, losing 1–5. Hajduk's biggest victory in European competitions was 8–0 against Gøtu Ítróttarfelag in 2002, while their heaviest defeat, 0–6, came against Ajax in 1993.[38]

UEFA club coefficient ranking edit

2023–22 season edit

Rank Team Points
146   BATE Borisov 9.500
147   Maribor 9.500
148   Shamrock Rovers 9.500
149   Hajduk Split 9.000
150   Aris 9.000
151   Lincoln Red Imps 9.000
152   Standard Liège 9.000
As of 8 October 2023


Honours edit

Hajduk won two Kingdom of Yugoslavia championships, seven Yugoslav championships,[39] six Croatian championships,[40] as well as nine Yugoslav Cup titles,[41] seven Croatian Cup titles[42] and five Croatian Super Cup titles.[43] Abroad, the club has reached five European quarterfinals: three times in European Cup (now UEFA Champions League), once in UEFA Cup and once in Cup Winners' Cup, as well as two European semi-finals: Cup Winners' Cup in 1973, and UEFA Cup in 1984.[44]

Domestic (40) edit

Croatian football league system
Yugoslav football league system

Doubles edit

Best results in European competitions edit

Season Achievement Notes
European Cup / UEFA Champions League
1976 Quarter-final lost to   PSV 2–0 in Split, 0–3 in Eindhoven
1980 Quarter-final lost to   Hamburger SV 0–1 in Hamburg, 3–2 in Split
1995 Quarter-final lost to   Ajax 0–0 in Split, 0–3 in Amsterdam
UEFA Cup / Europa League
1984 Semi-final lost to   Tottenham Hotspur 2–1 in Split, 0–1 in London
1986 Quarter-final lost to   Waregem 1–0 in Split, 0–1 in Waregem (4–5 penalties)
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
1973 Semi-final lost to   Leeds United 0–1 in Leeds, 0–0 in Split
1978 Quarter-final lost to   Austria Wien 1–1 in Split, 1–1 in Vienna (0–3 penalties)

Notable wins

Season Match Score
Champions League / European Cup
1974–75 Hajduk –   Saint-Étienne 4 – 1
1975–76 Hajduk –   PSV 2 – 0
1979–80 Hajduk –   HSV 3 – 2
1994–95 Hajduk –   Legia Warsaw 4 – 0
1994–95 Hajduk –   Anderlecht 2 – 1
1994–95 Hajduk –   Steaua 1 – 0
2001–02 Hajduk –   Mallorca 1 – 0
Cup Winners' Cup
1991–92 Hajduk –   Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 0
1993–94 Hajduk –   Ajax 1 – 0
Europa League / UEFA Cup
1978–79 Hajduk –   Rapid Wien 2 – 0
1978–79 Hajduk –   Arsenal 2 – 1
1981–82 Hajduk –   Stuttgart 3 – 1
1981–82 Hajduk –   Valencia 4 – 1
1982–83 Hajduk –   Bordeaux 4 – 1
1983–84 Hajduk –   Universitatea Craiova 1 – 0
1983–84 Hajduk –   Sparta Prague 2 – 0
1983–84 Hajduk –   Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 1
1985–86 Hajduk –   Torino 3 – 1
1985–86 Hajduk –   Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 2 – 0
2010–11 Hajduk –   Anderlecht 1 – 0
2012–13 Hajduk –   Internazionale 2 – 0

Presidents edit

HNK Hajduk Split presidents since 1997
Name From–To
  Željko Kovačević 1997–2000
  Branko Grgić 2000–2007
  Željko Jerkov 2008
  Mate Peroš 2008–2009
  Joško Svaguša 2009–2010
  Josip Grbić 2010–2011
  Hrvoje Maleš 2011–2012
  Marin Brbić 2012–2016
  Marijana Bošnjak (interim) 2016
  Ivan Kos 2016–2018
   Jasmin Huljaj 2018–2019
  Marin Brbić 2019–2020
  Lukša Jakobušić 2020–2024
  Marinka Akrap (interim) 2024–

Awards edit

See also edit

ŽNK Hajduk

References edit

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  2. ^ "Society of Hajduk Friends". HNK Hajduk Split. Archived from the original on 17 June 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
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External links edit