NK Istra 1961

Nogometni klub Istra 1961 (English: Istra 1961 Football Club), commonly referred to as NK Istra 1961, or simply Istra 1961 or Istra, is a Croatian professional football club from Pula, currently playing in the Croatian First League.

Istra 1961
NK Istra 1961.svg
Full nameNogometni klub Istra 1961
(Istra 1961 Football Club)
Nickname(s)Verudeži
Zeleno-žuti (The Green-Yellows)
Short nameIstra, IST
Founded1948; 73 years ago (1948)
GroundStadion Aldo Drosina
Capacity9,800[1]
PresidentBranko Devide Vincenti
Head coachGonzalo García
LeaguePrva HNL
2020–21Prva HNL, 9th
WebsiteClub website
Current season

It is a common opinion amongst many people that Istra 1961 was founded in 1961 by merging two clubs from Pula, NK Uljanik and NK Pula, forming NK Istra. However, NK Istra is not the same club as NK Istra 1961. NK Istra was the best club from Pula for decades. NK Istra 1961, then named NK Uljanik, was founded in 1964. NK Istra were competing in Prva HNL since the first season, but were relegated in the 1996–97 season to Druga HNL. They were promoted back to Prva HNL in the 1998–99 season, but they were relegated again in the next season, never coming back to Prva HNL. Meanwhile, NK Uljanik was in the shadow of NK Istra, but they were promoted to Prva HNL in the 2003–04 season and are the best club in Pula since then. NK Istra, now under the name NK Istra Pula, is competing in Prva ŽNL, the fifth football level in Croatia. The greatest club success was in the 2002–03 season when they finished runners-up in the Croatian Cup, losing to Hajduk Split 5–0 on aggregate.

In the 2004–05 season, the club changed its name into NK Pula 1856, because 1856 was the year that the Austro-Hungarian Empire made Pula the port of its arsenal and the shipyard Uljanik was opened. Also in the same year, it competed in the Prva HNL for the first time. In 2005, it was renamed again to NK Pula Staro Češko due to a sponsorship contract with the brewery Daruvarska pivovara (Staro Češko is a beer brand). Just one year later, the name was once again changed, this time to NK Pula. Again, just a year later in the middle of 2007, the name was changed for the fifth time in as many years, to NK Istra 1961. The change of name came after an ultimatum from the local fans Demoni who said the club would have their support only if the club changed its name and club colours to the traditional city colours (yellow and green). After renaming club was sold in 2011 to a Russian who achieved promotion for the club and sold it in 2015. NK Istra 1961[2] was bought by an American investment group in 2015. The NK Istra academy system is very strong and consistently competes for top spots in the rankings.

Nk Istra 1961 has a rich fan history. The group of die hard fans are referred to as the Demoni, and are known for their explosive chants and celebrations as well as their extreme pride for the club. In summer 2018, club's ownership changed once again, this time to Basque consortium Baskonia - Alavés Group which acquired the majority share package and became sole owner of NK Istra 1961.[3]

Its crest features the city's Roman arena in Pula, as well as the old team crest. Istra 1961 play their home matches at the recently renovated Stadion Aldo Drosina, which has a capacity of approximately 10,000 spectators.

HistoryEdit

The first incarnation of NK Istra was NK Uljanik, a club founded by the Pula shipyard Uljanik in 1948. The first club success was in 1959–60 when they qualified to the Yugoslav Second League. In 1961 NK Uljanik merged with NK Pula to form NK Istra 1961. The club stopped functioning shortly thereafter, but was restarted by Silvan Farangua and Ivan Čehić in 1964, when they played in the Pula county league.[4]

After the founding of an independent Croatia, the club played in the Druga HNL between 1993 and 1998, when they dropped down to Treća HNL. In 2001 they became the champions of Treća HNL and returned to Druga HNL.[5]

Two years later in the 2002–03 season, under the leadership of manager Elvis Scoria, Istra played in the final of the Croatian Cup, losing to Hajduk Split. It is the only time, in the history of Croatian football, that a Druga HNL league club played in the cup final.[6]

In season 2003–04 the club was managed by Igor Pamić. He managed to win the Druga HNL South, and beat Međimurje (0–2, 2–0) in the play-offs, after penalties.

The club played first league football for the first time in their history in the 2004–05 season, and managed their first Prva HNL win against Osijek in the fourth gameweek. The club lost only one game at home, but failed to win a single away game. They finished tenth, and won the play-offs to remain in the first league.

In 2005–06 the club president Gianni Rossando was replaced by Orsat Zovko. After a bad season start manager Pamić was replaced by Milivoj Bračun. The new manager managed a streak of good results.[7] In the second half of the season Bračun resigned from the managerial position and was succeeded by Krunoslav Jurčić. The club finished in the season in seventh place.

During the summer manager Jurčić was fired, and replaced by Stjepan Deverić. Unstatisfied with the board, Deverić left before the start of the season.[8] Branko Tucak became the new manager. After a string of bad results and clashed with the players, he was replaced by Krunoslav Jurčić. Bad results, compounded with a poor financial situation threatened the club with shutdown.[9] The intervention of the Istria govurner and arrival of new sponsors managed to save the club, while the new president became Darko Jergović.[10]

Pula finished the 2006–07 season in eleventh place, and lost the play-offs to Zadar (3–0, 2–3). They would then return to the Druga HNL.[11][12]

Valdi Šumberac was appointed as the first manager. During this time, Istra was adopted by Demoni, who became the club's first group of ultras. At the end of August 2007 the club appointed Elvis Scoria as the new manager, while Šumberac remained as an assistant manager. Istra finished the season in the third place. However, the club finished the 2008–09 season as the champions of the Druga HNL and were promoted to the Prva HNL.[13]

NK Istra achieved their best domestic success in the 2013–14 season, when they reached the semifinal of the Croatian Cup.[14]

In June 2018, NK Istra was bought by the Baskonia-Alaves Group, who acquired the majority stake in the club, buying a total of 85% of the shares.[15][16]

On 14 April 2021, Istra 1961 repeated the success of the 2013–14 season, qualifying for the final of the Croatian Cup, with a 3–2 home victory over Rijeka in the semifinal. They fell 6-3 to Dinamo Zagreb in the final.

Recent seasonsEdit

 
Former crest
Season League Cup Top goalscorer
Division P W D L F A Pts Pos Player Goals
1992 3. HNL West B 14 4 8 2 21 9 16 3rd
1992–93 3. HNL West 30 16 7 7 56 32 39 1st R1
1993–94 2. HNL South 30 7 7 16 21 43 21 14th
1994–95 2. HNL West 36 12 8 16 40 48 44 13th
1995–96 2. HNL West 34 18 8 8 58 36 62 5th
1996–97 2. HNL West 30 19 6 5 65 21 63 3rd
1997–98 2. HNL West 30 12 7 11 42 31 43 6th
1998–99 3. HNL West 30 13 7 10 33 35 46 3rd
1999–00 3. HNL West 30 17 6 7 56 30 57 3rd R1
2000–01 3. HNL West 30 17 11 2 73 26 62 1st ↑
2001–02 2. HNL South 30 17 8 5 57 26 59 2nd PR
2002–03 2. HNL South 32 20 7 5 63 31 67 2nd RU
2003–04 2. HNL South 32 18 8 6 59 33 62 1st ↑ QF
2004–05 1. HNL 32 7 14 11 28 31 35 10th QF Josip Jerneić, Vedran Stošić 6
2005–06 1. HNL 32 13 6 13 44 36 45 7th R1 Stiven Rivić 12
2006–07 1. HNL 33 6 11 16 28 40 29 11th ↓ R1 Marko Radas, Almir Halilović 5
2007–08 2. HNL 30 17 7 6 42 14 58 3rd R1 Saša Šest 8
2008–09 2. HNL 30 18 6 6 46 20 60 1st ↑ R1 Mohamed Kalilou Traoré 9
2009–10 1. HNL 30 9 8 13 31 40 35 11th R2 Asim Šehić 15
2010–11 1. HNL 30 9 4 17 24 44 31 15th QF Siniša Linić 5
2011–12 1. HNL 30 11 9 10 35 33 42 9th QF Sandi Križman 7
2012–13 1. HNL 33 11 11 11 35 32 44 6th R2 Goran Roce 11
2013–14 1. HNL 36 12 8 16 45 56 44 6th SF Dejan Radonjić 9
2014–15 1. HNL 36 7 14 15 36 59 35 9th QF Dejan Radonjić 16
2015–16 1. HNL 36 4 12 20 23 58 24 9th R2 Stefan Nikolić 5
2016–17 1. HNL 36 10 9 17 33 49 39 6th R2 Goran Roce 8
2017–18 1. HNL 36 6 9 21 28 60 27 9th QF Five players 3
2018–19 1. HNL 36 6 7 23 31 73 25 9th R2 Ramón Mierez 9
2019–20 1. HNL 36 5 10 21 27 59 25 9th R2 Mario Ćuže 7
2020–21 1. HNL 36 7 8 21 27 52 29 9th RU Matej Vuk 6

KeyEdit

1st 2nd
Champions Runners-up Promoted Relegated

Top scorer shown in bold when he was also top scorer for the division.

Current squadEdit

As of 13 September 2021[17]

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   AUT Ivan Lučić
2 DF   CRO Luka Hujber
3 DF   NGA Erhun Obanor
4 MF   CRO Frano Mlinar
5 MF   ARG Facundo Cáseres (on loan from Vélez Sarsfield)
6 MF   ESP Antonio Perera (on loan from Deportivo Alavés)
7 MF   CRO Slavko Blagojević
8 MF   ESP Einar Galilea
9 FW   CRO Miroslav Iličić
10 FW   CRO Robert Mišković
11 DF   SRB Damjan Daničić (on loan from Dinamo Zagreb)
12 DF   ESP Rafa Navarro
14 DF   CRO Luka Marin
16 MF   ARG Gonzalo Desio
17 MF   MTN Abdallahi Mahmoud (on loan from Deportivo Alavés)
No. Pos. Nation Player
18 FW   BFA Hassane Bandé (on loan from Ajax)
20 MF   CRO Antonio Ivančić
21 GK   CRO Lovro Majkić
23 FW   CRO Dion Drena Beljo (on loan from Osijek)
25 GK   CHI Gonzalo Collao
26 MF   WAL Robbie Burton (on loan from Dinamo Zagreb)
27 DF   CRO Bernardo Matić
28 FW   RUS Serder Serderov
31 DF   CRO Fran Vujnović
32 DF   CRO Mihael Rovis
34 FW   CRO Mateo Lisica
35 DF   CRO David Legović
36 MF   CRO Mateo Tomić
39 DF   CRO Mauro Perković
44 DF   POR João Silva (on loan from Deportivo Alavés)

Out on loanEdit

As of 29 August 2021

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
MF   CRO Donato Bernobić (at   BSK Bijelo Brdo until 30 June 2022)
GK   CRO Jan Paus-Kunšt (at   Karlovac 1919 until 30 June 2022)
MF   CRO Antonio Siljan (at   Karlovac 1919 until 30 June 2022)

RecordsEdit

The following are lists of top players in terms of number of appearances and goals for Istra 1961 in the Croatian First Football League, as of 22 September 2020.[18]

Bold denotes players still playing for Istra 1961.

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsorsEdit

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt partner
2007–2010 Legea Puljanka
2011–2012 Jako Croatia Osiguranje
2012 Puma Croatia Osiguranje
2013–2016 Errea Croatia Osiguranje
2016–2018 Nike Croatia Osiguranje
2018–present Kelme Croatia Osiguranje

HonoursEdit

Winners (2): 2003–04, 2008–09
Winners (1): 2000–01
Runners-up: 2002–03, 2020–21
Semi-finals: 2013–14

Head coachesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Stadion Aldo Drosina - NK Istra 1961". www.nkistra1961.hr. Archived from the original on 26 November 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  2. ^ "About". nkistrafan.weebly.com. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Grupacija koja je podignula NK Rudeš preuzela Istru 1961: Slijede bolji dani za Istrijane!" [The group that raised NK Rudeš took over Istria in 1961: Better days for Istrians are coming!] (in Croatian). Gol.hr. 28 June 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  4. ^ "FOTO/Rivalitet pulskih i riječkih nogometaša postoji od samih početaka organiziranog igranja nogometa u Puli, odnosno od kraja 19. stoljeća. Tako će biti i za nekoliko dana kada ISTRA 1961 I ORIJENT 1919 BUDU IGRALI KVALIFIKACIJE ZA POPUNU PRVE HNL". glasistre.hr. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  5. ^ Zagrebačka burza Archived 18 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine Prospekt Tehnomonta, Zagreb, July 2003, Page 3 (Retrieved 25 February 2018)
  6. ^ Finale kupa 2003.
  7. ^ Novi sponzor, ime i predsjednik prvoligaša iz Pule
  8. ^ Deverić otišao nakon mjesec dana
  9. ^ Istra-istria.com[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Jergović novi predsjednik Pule
  11. ^ Svilokosu najniža ocjena u povijesti HNL-a
  12. ^ Poljakova hrabrost za dobrobit nogometa[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Lisjak: Ovo je bila teška smijurija
  14. ^ "Rijeka ponovno bolja od Istre". mojarijeka.hr. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  15. ^ "Baskonia-Alaves Group gets hold of the NK Istra 1961". deportivoalaves.com. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  16. ^ "Grupacija Baskonia – Alavés iz Španjolske preuzela NK Istru 1961". nkistra.com. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  17. ^ "Team". www.nkistra.com. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  18. ^ "Igrači". hrnogomet.com. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  19. ^ a b "Coach Marijo Tot's contract terminated, temporary coach Darko Raić-Sudar". nkistra1961.hr. NK Istra 1961 (published 19 May 2017). 1 June 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Darko Raić-Sudar novi trener prve momčadi Istre 1961, pomoćni Nenad Basta" (in Croatian). 1 June 2017.

External linksEdit