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Sunday, 13 February 2011

Now It's Official - Hajduk Split Celebrate 100th Anniversary

Well, it's official now. Hajduk Split are officially 100 years old. The celebrations have been coming to a climax over the last few days especially with today, the 13th of February 2011, officially marking the milestone.  (Some fans of rival soccer team Dinamo Zagreb however, may disagree with the distinction of oldest Croatian soccer team going to Hajduk. The roots of of Dinamo  can technically go back to 1903 or 1911 as well,  when they were partly formed from "HAŠK" ( Hrvatski akademski športski klub) and  HŠK Građanski Zagreb  (First Croatian Citizens' Sports Club) These days their Prva Liga rivals in Zagreb are offically named GNK Dinamo Zagreb (Citizens Soccer Club Dinamo Zagreb) it could be a tie. That's your other Croatian soccer history lesson for the day).

Be that at it may, Hajduk have continued since day one to play with the same logo and name since 1911 up to this very day. Even an invite to local Canadian celebrity Adam Zapple to perform his happy swell fun time skit for the Split crowds was given. Unfortunately, he had to turn it down because of it was against his ethics to perform in cities that allows bikini clad women to walk around, also, it would disrupt work on his epic "Meatball Lot and Meatball Pillar of Salt". You can read more about the interesting history of Hajduk, which I previously posted about  HERE.....

Some scenes throughout the city of Split during the past week leading up to today's historic day.

Even Grgur Ninski was a Hajduk fan today.

Fireworks lighting up the Split sky. (Photo: CROPIX). Photogallery:

Fireworks before the friendly match with Slavija Prague. (Foto: Filip Brala/Ivana Ivanovic/Nino Strmotić/PIXSELL). Photogallery:

I really enjoyed doing this post, hunting for pics and footage and really wish I could have been there taking part in the celebrations. For weeks the streets, avenues, bridges, parks and buildings were adorned with Hajduk Split decorations and logos. Hajduk are definitely much more than just a soccer team to this city. Split lives and breathes "Hajduk." Thousands of people came out to greet the current roster of players. Some couples even got married today, as a way to celebrate simultaneously 2 important events. Fireworks and musical entertainment took place along the 'Riva' as the whole city was in a celebratory mood and looking forward to the festivities. CNN and Yahoo called Split the craziest city in soccer and the fireworks display could actually bee seen from images taken in outer space.

Hajduk Split 100 Years. (Official Video)

 The younger people were especially excited to wish Hajduk a 100th birthday.  (Photo:CROPIX)

A couple of short videos of the citizens soming out to greet the players, and of scenes of Hajduk symbol decorated Split. Many well wishers arrived from outside of Split, even including (believe it or not) the capital city of Zagreb, ie: Dinamo country. Some came from other parts of Europe. (I definitely should have been there) Some traveled from as far away as Australia especially for todays celebrations. And it was all thanks to a small group of Croatian students at a pub in Prague, exactly 100 years ago today. Who woulda thunk it?

(As a personal sidenote, the above scenes bring back some cool memories from my trip to Split last time. I wasn't far from where these images were taken where I bumped into some people having some cold ones on a cafe (gostionica) patio. I was walking by wearing my newly purchased Hajduk jersey, in anticipation for the match later that evening. The two guys and their female friends were singing Hajduk cheer songs among others. When they saw my jersey, they called me over. One of the guys was from Germany, born and raised, but spoke fluent Croatian and visited the Adriatic coast every summer. The other 3 were from nearby towns, one girl was a cousin. Long story short, after some introductions, I kept getting beers bought for me, we took photos and I met the acquaintance of some very hot babes, who were very into my story when I told them I travelled from Canada and digged my tats. A very cool evening overall. (Ahhh, it feels so good to leave a ghetto city, as the younger people call it, and be with your people, so to speak.)

Over 100,000 people came out to celebrate on the streets and meet, take pictures with and and get autographs from  the players on the seaside 'Riva' promenade. About 40,000 people packed themselves into Poljud Stadium to watch the friendly match and enjoy more fireworks. Split though wasn't the only city celebrating Hajduks 100th anniversary. Many towns and cities in Croatia that are bastions of Hajduk support took part in fireworks and other celebrations. Down the coast in the city of Dubrovnik, fireworks and flares lit up the town and it's historic walls. I think today, every Croatian can be a Hajduk Split fan. Even if for a short time. (I'm acutally wearing my Hajduk jersey that I bought in Split when I was there last time) You can click onto the links I left at the bottom for more video footage and photogalleries in Croatian and in English.

More images and videos:


Image: Cropix

Image: Cropix

Image: Cropix.

What the hell, here's a few extra bonus Hajduk Split cheerleader pics from previous years I came across. Image: Ante Čizmić, CROPIX.

Image: Cropix

(Joško Ponoš/Cropix) 

(Jadran Babić/CROPIX) 

Some footage of the fireworks that were taking place across the city.

Down the coast in the medievel walled city of Dubrovnik, fireworks and flares ushered in the Hajduk milestone. Similar celebrations took place in Knin and Imotski as well as other locations along the Dalmation Adriatic coast.

The players of Hajduk Split strolling and meeting the supporters and well wishers.

Some footage of the celebrations in Poljud Stadium before the friendly match with Slavija Prague.

The "Friends of Hajduk Society" from the city of Osijek. This northern Slavonija region of Croatia has a sizeable Hajduk Split fan base so they threw together a commemorative calendar for the occasion.  All copies were quickly sold. Celebrations are also planned throughout the year in the region. (Photo: Ivana Ivanović/Pixsell)

From an updated  2013 post with more images from the calendars HERE

A look at the past before a match: Hajduk Split playing HŠK Zrinjski Mostar on 13th August 1939, winning 3-2.

Champions of the Croatian Football Federation in the Banovina of Croatia for the 1940-41 season. The Banovina of Croatia was an autonomous territory between 1939-1941 with Zagreb as it's capital. 

The 100th anniversary special edition home and away kit for the 2011 HNL season. Image: 

Some footage of celebrations taking place at U Fleků pub in Prague, Czech Republic. It was in 1911 that the club was founded by a group of visiting students from Split (Fabijan Kaliterna, Lucijan Stella, Ivan Šakić i Vjekoslav Ivanišević) who were in this pub after watching a local soccer match, they then decided right then and there that their hometown of Split should have a professional football club also and the rest is history.

A plaque commemorating the founding of Hajduk Split in U Fleků pub at the exact table where the visiting Split students were drinking and made history. Image:

Lots of people, especially over the past year, decided to get Hajduk Split tattoos. There's some really large elaborate and very creative ones. I decided to just throw this one here.

Hajduk Split supporters could be found in some of the most least likely of places. In this instance, among Croatian soldiers in Afghanistan. Photo:

Here's a sneak peak into a short 3D projection show that will be shown in a full version as part of celebrations this summer.

I thought I'd finish off by throwing in this short vid in as well.  A U.K series called "Real Football Factories." This episode dealt with the passionate (and at times over-passionate bordering on religious zeal) fans and hardcore supporters of Dinamo and Hajduk. This is the Hajduk Split excerpt, part 1 of 2:

And now....."Hajdučko beer"

As a last interesting related piece of news, Carslberg Beer in Croatia started a marketing initiative where Hajdučko beer will be produced and sold locally until the end of the year. 1 Croatian Kuna from every liter of the beer will go the the soccer team to be used for however they see fit. Full story here and here.

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