Hajduk Split FC is a football club. And there are football clubs everywhere. And it is not a novelty, strangeness, or miracle that a city has a football club or that its residents support it. No wonder they love him, adore him and live with him. Why should Hajduk and why should Split be an exception? And yet, they are. You’ll understand this as soon as you arrive in the city. The first ride from the airport or the entrance to the city will bring you a world of countless murals, painted walls, verses, and symbols that will seem the same or at least similar. You will continue to see them on tattoos, car flags, and on T-shirts. And the first time you ask someone what it is about, what those letters symbolize, why everything is red and blue and white – be prepared. The story begins and you are part of it.
Hajduk Split FC is much, much more than a football club. More than the sport itself, more than the players, formations, and coaches. Hajduk Split has long gone beyond football and many locals will tell you that Hajduk is a religion. In population censuses, many people regularly say so. Officially. Hajduk is the identity of the city, it’s an inseparable part. And so it is throughout Dalmatia and beyond. Hajduk is the axis around which everything revolves, even if you are not interested in football as such at all.
The best way to experience the passion and emotion is through the story that everyone will be happy to tell you about Hajduk, and they will certainly recommend that you go to the match so that you can feel the combination of the song, the turf, the vibrations of the concrete under your feet and the emotion that overwhelms you. And that holds for 112 years. Hajduk experienced and survived for a century and a little more, a lot. its history is rich and exciting, certainly too extensive to fit in this text. Since its foundation, it has been a symbol of rebellion and resistance, turbulent emotions, and everything imbued with dišpet (a local term for spite) that made it and still makes it different and special, and maybe that’s why it’s so close to its fans and many others.
In the rest of the text, we provide basic information as your preparation for talking to locals and going to the match.
11 most important things to know about Hajduk Split FC:
Hajduk Split FC was officially founded on February 13, 1911. on the initiative of four people from Split who studied in Prague, Fabijan Kaliterna, Vjekoslav Ivanišević, Lucijan Stella, and Ivan Šakić, with the help of Vladimir Šora and professor Josip Barač, who named the club Hajduk. It is important to remember the year of the foundation and the connection between Hajduk and the city of Prague. The students who studied there were enchanted by this new game and decided that they would bring it to Split and that their club would become the best in the world and beyond. The establishment itself did not go smoothly due to opposition from the authorities, but the invitation was finally obtained. The very name Hajduk is of Hungarian origin, and it denoted fighters against Ottoman rule who represented the people as fighters for the freedom and protection of Christians.
Hajduk played its first matches in a part of the city then called Kraljeva njiva, and later on Stari Plac /Old Field, which has retained the image of the mythical place of the first big victories, celebrations and important moments for the club to this day. Today, it is very close to the city center, and after a walk, you can enjoy the shade of the Hajduk mulberry tree, a more than 120-year-old tree under which many generations of players grew up.
In 1979, Hajduk moved to a new stadium, which is still its home today, called Poljud. The stadium was built for the Mediterranean Games, and it was then and remains to this day an architectural masterpiece. It has a unique appearance in the form of a shell and a specific construction. Following the example of Poljud, many stadiums were later built throughout Europe and the world.
The Torcida has been following Hajduk since 1950 and is the oldest firm in Europe. The idea and name, as well as the style, were inspired by Brazil. Torcida has always been a faithful and unconditional supporter and, along with the club itself, it is one of the symbols of the city. In addition to supporting Hajduk, Torcida is also a movement whose many members participated in the Homeland War, and they are there both for the celebrations and to help in fires, earthquakes, and floods… In the stadium, the north stand is reserved for Torcida.
If you visit Hajduk’s stadium, you will see the statues of Frane Matošić and Bernardo Bajda Vukas, who left the club with great success and goals and were written in golden letters in its history. However, many names have made an ineffable contribution during the 112 years that the club has existed. You will surely hear and see some of them on the walls: Beara, Holcer, Nadoveza, Žungul, Gudelj, Jerković, Bokšić,and many, many others.
You must hear one name during your visit to Split and Dalmatia, even if you are not interested in football at all. Marko Livaja. He has the status of almost a deity, he is an icon of the club and Dalmatia. A football virtuoso about whom songs are written, who is worn on T-shirts, and whose skills are amazing. One of the players that makes football so popular. Along with him, it is worth highlighting other internationally known names such as Nikola Kalinić, Lovra Kalinić, Filip Krovinović, and Daniel Subašić.
This part of the story is almost impossible to briefly retell and summarize, and it is extremely important for understanding Hajduk today. A book was written about that period, and a film was made. We will try to be as brief as possible.
At the beginning of the 21st century, Hajduk found itself on the verge of ruin and bankruptcy thanks to bad management and political interference. This is unacceptable to the fans, so they organize a series of protest actions and riots, and in 2011, Torcida founded the association Naš Hajduk (Our Hajduk), which aims to gather membership and organize elections for the Supervisory Board. through years of struggle, fans managed to make the membership massive, hold elections for the Supervisory Board, remove politics from the club, and remain a club of its members. They buy back the club’s shares through the Za sva vrimena (Forever and beyond) project and currently own 30.12% of Hajduk’s shares. The crown of the fan project is the Za sva vrimena park next to the entrance to Poljud, where the names of the donors are located, and which, viewed from one point, forms the inscription,Hajduk. Be sure to visit!
Since its foundation, Hajduk has been a fan club that had members, and that tradition is still alive today. Members are the driving force of the club, last year more than 90,000 fans paid membership fees for 2022! Fans are organized all over the world, there are almost 70 Hajduk friend associations. You can also find them in New York, Los Angeles, Germany, Ireland, Sweden…
Tickets for Hajduk Split FC matches can be purchased at sales points in the stadium and in fan shops in the Joker shopping center in Split and the fan shop in the city of Makarska. Tickets can also be purchased online.
Considering a large number of members (more than 90,000 last year) and talarge number of subscribers (more than 12,000), as well as the identity of the club, of which membership is an extremely important part, its foundation and driving force, the right to buy tickets is exclusively available to its members.
When buying tickets, make sure that the north is reserved for Torcida, there is cheering and singing throughout the match. There is a little less singing (but it is still sung) in the eastern stand, and the west is quieter. The south stand is reserved for away fans.
You can find official fan shops at the stadium itself, next to the main entrance, in Split in the Joker shopping center and in Makarska on the Riva. As a member in ofch of them you get a 12% discount on everything you buy. In addition to standard items such as jerseys, there are various other collections for everyday wear, as well as products and toys for children, accessories for the home, beach and entertainment.
There is also a web shop and items can be delivered anywhere in the world.
The official mascot is called Rico. It’s a boy with a curly hair. It was named after the famous player of Hajduk, Nikola Gazdić, who played for Hajduk with his last atom of strength. Rico entertains the youngest at various events, and his home is really special. The entrance under the letter U at the Poljud stadium is reserved exclusively for children. It is a well-known children’s stand where little ones are welcomed by Rico, balloons, juices and games for the youngest, and it is a favorite choice of children and parents.
According to some data, Hajduk is the most sung football club in the world and officially there are more than 120 fan songs. There are many more if you include various fan modifications of songs, short songs and similarThere is no official anthem, so you can just choose your favorite.
The very first time you google Hajduk and celebrations, you will understand what is meant when it is said “out of love, out of spite”. the celebration of Hajduk’s hundredth birthday and the celebration of 70 years of Torcida traveled the world through videos and pictures. The illuminated sky over the city, some claim, can be seen from space, and all to the honor and pride of the club and the city.
Victory celebrations are also spectacular, as well as smaller ones that symbolized resistance. One of those was the one after the unplayed Croatian derby in 2014. What happened? Some of the Hajduk fans were banned from entering the stadium in Zagreb, which was completely illegal. The players and the club showed solidarity and did not go on the field. Upon their return to Split, they were greeted by thousands of fans at the Poljud stadium. Out of love and spite.
What has been written is only one small layer of the story about Hajduk, about the city and its fans and the ways in which they intertwine, forming a unique ball of loyalty, faith, spite, respect and love with the additions of rebellion and originality. And it may seem to you, viewed from the side, that the sports results are not brilliant, that Hajduk has not won the title for a long time, and that all these fans are exaggerating, but when you feel that unstoppable energy, you will understand why Hajduk does not need to be explained and why it should be lived . It is real and true love at first spite.