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Hajduk Split football club celebrates 109th birthday 

Hajduk Split turns 109 today (Photo credit: Jure Grm/CC)

13 February 2020 – Croatian football club Hajduk Split, which has a cult following in Dalmatia and also around the world in Croatian communities, celebrates its 109th birthday today.

Hajduk Split was founded by a group of students from Split in a pub in Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They went to the pub following a match between AC Sparta and SK Slavia and decided it was time their own town of Split founded a professional club.

Split students in Prague, amoung them the founders: Lucijan Stella (seated, first from left), Fabijan Kaliterna (first from right back row) and Vjekoslav Ivanišević (seated, first from right) (Photo: Public domain/CC)

The club was officially registered with the authorities on February 13, 1911.

While trying to come up with a name for the club, the students went to an old teacher Josip Barač for advice, and according to accounts, 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.”

On Thursday morning a mass in honour of all former players, coaches, fans, and members who passed away will take place. This will be followed by the laying of wreaths at the memorial plaque at the north stand at Poljud stadium and at Lovrinac grave in memory of all the fans and members of Hajduk Split killed in the Homeland War.

Wreaths and candles will be lit at the Memorial (Photo credit: Hajduk.hr)

Hajduk Split have won 18 league titles and 20 domestic cups over their history. In the 1994-5 season of the UEFA Champions League, they famously advanced through to the quarterfinals. In October 2016, the Hajduk Split fans’ association ‘Naš Hajduk’ signed a contract that saw them take control of 24.53% of Hajduk Split shares and become part owners of the club.

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