FK Željezničar Sarajevo
|Full name||Fudbalski Klub Željezničar Sarajevo|
Plavi (The Blues)
|Founded||19 September 1921|
|Website||Club home page|
Fudbalski Klub Željezničar (English: Football Club Željezničar) is a professional football club based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The name Željezničar means "railway worker", given because it was established by a group of railway workers. Željezničar is one of the two most successful football teams in Bosnia, having won 6 Bosnian Premier League titles, 5 Bosnian Cups and 3 Bosnian Supercups. The club has never qualified for UEFA Champions League as best club could reach was 2002–03 Champions league third qualifying round, losing to Newcastle United 0-5 on aggregate. The club is a fierce local rival of FK Sarajevo.
During former Yugoslavia, FK Željezničar were national champions once in 1971–72 season, qualifying the club for European Cup during 1972-73 season where they were eliminated in first round. The club has also finished as runners-up once in the league, as well as, playing in a 1980–81 Yugoslav Cup final. In Europe, the club is most famous for reaching both UEFA Cup semi-finals during 1984–85 season and quarter-finals during 1971–72 season. They became the first Bosnian team to reach the UEFA Cup semifinals and one of the few teams ever to do so from entire Yugoslavia.
According to the IFFHS list of the Top 200 European clubs of the 20th century, an organization recognized by FIFA, Željezničar is the highest ranked Bosnian club, sharing the 110th position on the list with AZ Alkmaar and Vitória F.C..
- 1 History
- 1.1 Pre-independence (1921–1992)
- 1.2 Post Bosnia and Herzegovina independence
- 2 Stadium
- 3 Name of the club
- 4 Colours
- 5 Rivalry
- 6 Current squad
- 7 Notable players & managerial history
- 8 European record
- 9 UEFA rankings
- 10 Honours
- 11 Records
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Željezničar was formed by group of railway workers. During the early 20th century, there were several football clubs in Sarajevo. They were rich and usually backed by various organizations. The most of them on ethnic principles: Bosniaks, Serbs, Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Jews. But Željezničar was a club for common people, people interested in football and fun. Since it was a financially poor club, they used to organize dance nights and all the profit made was later used to buy shoes and ball(s).
Financial problems were not the only ones. Multiethnicity of the club was seen as a threat by many, so Željezničar was suppressed in various ways. Despite that, club managed to survive, and even beat stronger and wealthier clubs.
In 1941, World War II came to Sarajevo, and every football activity was stopped. Many footballers were members of the resistance troops, and some of them were killed. After the war, Željo was formed again, and in 1946. it won the Bosnian championship. That secured them a place in the final tournament with champions of other Yugoslav republics. Soon after, Sarajevo citizens formed a new club FK Sarajevo, club that become an eyesore to Željezničar fans The Maniacs all to this days. That had a devastating influence on the club, so it needed several years to come back to first division. For most of the time, Željezničar played in the top level. It was relegated four times (last time in 1976/77 season), but every time (except the first one in 1947) it would return quickly.
UEFA Cup 1971–72 quarter-finalists
The club first appeared in European competitions during 1963–64 Mitropa Cup, however serious competitions had to wait until early 1970's when the team finished the 1970–71 Yugoslav First League season in second position, result which allowed the club to play in 1971–72 UEFA Cup where they made the quarter-finals on their very first appearance losing to Ferencvárosi on away goals rule.
1971–72 Yugoslav champions
Biggest domestic success at the time came in 1971/1972 season when the team won the championship title, their only top tier title in Yugoslav period, which qualified the club for European Cup during 1972-73 season where they were eliminated in first round by Derby County.
FK Željezničar also finished the top-tier league in third on two occasions in a league traditionally dominated by the big four clubs (Red Star Belgrade, Partizan Belgrade, Hajduk Split and Dinamo Zagreb).
1971–72 Yugoslav First League table (top 5 only):
||Qualification or relegation
|1||Željezničar (C)||34||21||9||4||55||20||+35||51||1972–73 European Cup|
|2||Red Star||34||19||11||4||57||21||+36||49||1972–73 UEFA Cup|
1980–81 Marshal Tito Cup finalists
In 1980/1981 season, Željezničar reached Yugoslav cup final (Marshal Tito Cup), but lost 2–3 to another Bosnian side Velež Mostar with both Mehmed Baždarević and Vahid Halilhodžić scoring a brace for their respective teams. The venue of the final was Stadion Crvene Zvezde in Belgrade played in front of 40,000 football fans. That season Željezničar finished the 1980–81 Yugoslav First League at the disappointing 14th position which meant that club did not play in Europe even though it made the Yugoslav Cup final.
UEFA Cup 1984–85 semi-finalists
The biggest international result was recorded in 1984/1985 season when team, led by manager Ivica Osim, reached semi-finals of the UEFA Cup (renamed to UEFA Europa League since the 2009–10 season) where they were eliminated by Hungarian team Videoton, having finished the domestic championship in third place to qualify for the competition. Željezničar appeared to have had the result at home, leading 2–0 (3–3 on aggregate) against the Hungarians that would send them into a final against Spanish giants Real Madrid on away goal rule, however two minutes from full-time Videoton scored a crucial goal eliminating the home side in gut-wrenching fashion 4–3 on aggregate. Entire Yugoslavia was crying that night. Just one of things that proves special place Željezničar has in people's hearts. Not only in those who are supporting it, but everyone. Edin Bahtić finished the competition as the second top scorer with 7 goals, one short of József Csuhay. source
Prior to this success, the team played the Quarter-Final stage of inaugural year of the UEFA Cup competition.
|Team 1||Agg.||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Videoton||4–3||Željezničar||3–1 (Report)||1–2 (Report)|
Post Bosnia and Herzegovina independence
After the breakup of Yugoslavia, another war. Grbavica stadium was occupied and football was off again. Players like Mario Stanić, Rade Bogdanović, Gordan Vidović, Suvad Katana and many others went abroad to escape the horror of war. Somehow, club managed to rise again. At first, young players were practicing indoors in school gyms. Stadium was at the first / front lines, destroyed, and yet they played in the Bosnian war championship held in 1994. Fourth place is not so important as much as the presence.
The war ended in 1995 so a regular championship was formed. Željezničar have since won five titles, one more striking than the others. In 1998. championship, a play-off was held and the final match saw two big rivals at the opposite sides, playing for the trophy. FK Sarajevo played well, their shots were cleared from the goal-line twice. In the 89th minute, one ball was intercepted on the left side, and after a couple of passes it came to Željezničar forward Hadis Zubanović who scored a dramatic winner.
Modern era; new beginnings
FK Željezničar are the only club that were able to defend the title in Premier League, being champions in 2000–01 and 2001–02 season under the command of the son of Ivica Osim, Amar Osim. The club repeated this success again in the early 2010's. Under Amar's command, Željezničar also won the 2000–01 national cup, which completed the double, the first time any club in Bosnia and Herzegovina archived that, securing him also the trophy of Bosnian Super Cup of 2001. In 2001–02 they were runner-ups in the cup, but they were not able to defend the title of the Bosnian Super Cup even though they won the league as it was discontinued. He was expelled from the club in October 2003 after the club was runner-up in 2002–03 season, won the 2002–03 national cup and reached the club's biggest European success since they compete as part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is the 2002–03 Champions league third qualifying round which they lost against Newcastle United and continued they journey in UEFA Cup, losing to Málaga from a penalty they scored in the second leg. The two seasons after Amar Osims departure, Željezničar both ended as runner-ups. After they secured competition in 2005–06 UEFA Cup through their league position, they failed to get the licence for European competition, therefor missing to compete in it and the financial gain from UEFA, which resulted in clubs many problems and the next four seasons Željezničar struggled in the middle of the league.
As the best Bosnian club, the club played in European cups every year. Biggest result (for the Bosnian club football as well since the independence) came in 2002. when Željezničar reached the third qualifying round of UEFA Champions League having eliminated Akraness and Lillestrøm in previous rounds to get there. Sir Bobby Robson's Newcastle United, captained by Alan Shearer, were too strong winning 5-0 on aggregate when Sanel Jahić received a red card in 69th minute of the reverse leg at St James' Park. The game was held at Koševo Stadium in front of 36,000 football fans (fans from all over Bosnia attended), and to this day is one of the games most attended in Bosnian club football, short to match between Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team's 2–1 friendly win over Italy of November 1996 which was attended by 40,000 (at the same stadium).
2002–03 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round:
14 August 2002
28 August 2002
Newcastle United won 5–0 on aggregate
Osim returns; multiple champions
With the return of Amar Osim in summer 2009, Željezničar once more succeeded to claim the championship in 2009–10 season, but failed to claim the double as they lost in the final of 2009–10 Bosnian cup to Borac on away goals yet remaining undefeated. In the following 2010–11 season, the club failed to defend the Premier League title, finishing third, however managing to win the national cup instead, their fourth, against Čelik in the final. During the 2011–12 season, they brought back the league title to Grbavica, their seventh domestic league title, three rounds before the end of the season, breaking many records on the way and also winning the 2011–12 Bosnian cup, claiming the second double in their history, both won under the coaching of Amar Osim. As the result, Amar Osim became the most successful manager according to won trophies since the creation of the football club. He is responsible for nine trophies the club won. The club is yet to lose a single Bosnian Cup match since the first round of the 2008–09 Bosnian Cup season, having won two Cup finals and losing one on aggregate since 2008–09 season.
In season 2010/2011 Željezničar have won their fourth cup of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They have advanced to the final beating Široki Brijeg on 3:0 aggregate. In the final they clash with rival from former Yugoslav League Čelik. First game was played at Grbavica Stadium which finished 1:0 in favor of the home team. Second game was played at Bilino Polje Stadium which Željezničar won 3:0 and won 4:0 on aggregate. That concluded Željezničar's season in they automatically gives them to compete in Europa League. Željezničar celebrated their 90th birthday with a trophy.
In season 2011/2012 Željezničar has won their 6th title in the teams existence. They won the title with three rounds left in the competition. They repeated the successful campaign in cup competition also when they won the title with 1-0 on aggregate against NK Široki Brijeg. That was the first double for any club since unified Bosnia and Herzegovina football competitions started in 2002-2003 season.
European results in decline
In the past few years, financial problems (due to Bosnian War and slow recovery from such), frequent coach changes, and weak club management above all, resulted with bad results and supporters' disappointment. Upcoming privatization and stadium ownership issue are the main cause of problems. Supporters were boycotting the club and the attendance is lowest in years. In 2010 the team had a lot of changes including the chairman and the coach President FK Željezničar Sabahudin Žujo and Nijaz Brković. With Amar Osim coming back as a head coach the team started to play much better than previous years domestically.
In Europe however, the club struggles having failed to record any meaningful result in European club competitions since the club faced Newcastle United in 2002–03, with the exception of narrowly beating Sheriff Tiraspol 1–0 on aggregate in 2011–12. This has become a problem each time club entered early stages of Champions league qualifying rounds, loosing immediately upon arrival having played 6 games and lost all. albeit against opponents which have progressed all the way to group stage of Champions league and/or Europa League. Similar patterns have started to manifest in Europa League qualifying stages playing 8 games and winning only twice. It is a horrid record for a club with such football pedigree (UEFA Cup 1984–85 semifinalists).
Post Bosnia and Herzegovina independence, all continental football competitions organized by UEFA Željezničar hosts at the Asim Ferhatović Hase Stadium (Koševo Stadium) as Grbavica stadium (which is used in domestic League and Cup only) does not satisfy UEFA requirements. This could be another reason to explain club's poor performances in Europe. Asim Ferhatović Hase Stadium is a traditional home of fierce local rivals club FK Sarajevo.
When the club was founded, it had no stadium. There were several football grounds in Sarajevo, but other clubs didn't want to allow Željezničar to use it. So they used military training pitch called Egzercir. It wasn't actually a football ground. However, it was the closest thing they could get and it will be remembered as a club's first pitch. It was placed in part of the city known as Čengić Vila. In 1932. new ground was prepared in Pofalići (yet another part of Sarajevo), close to railway station. It wasn't much better than the last one, but it was built by the club and because of that it had a special meaning.
After the World War II, Željezničar played on Stadion "6. april" on Marijin Dvor (there is a building now behind Secondary school of technical sciences) until 18 June 1950. Authorities planned to build a street, so the club made another move to military stadium in Skenderija. Club staff was tired of all that moving and they decided to build its own stadium in Grbavica (also part of the city). Friends, supporters, members of the club and even military, all helped in construction. Stadium was officially opened on 13 September 1951. with the second league match between Željezničar and Šibenik. Željezničar won 4–1.
Ever since, Grbavica is the place of joy and sorrow for the club and its supporters. Symbolically, old railway was passing over the hill behind the stadium, and every time it would sound its whistle to salute the present masses. Stadium had a small stands on the East and South side, while the wooden stands with the roof were on the West side. Because of the reconstruction, Željezničar moved again in 1968 to city Koševo Stadium. They played there until 25 April 1976 and even won its only Yugoslav title in 1972 playing there.
Grbavica was opened again that year, and in the '80s modern northern stands were built. Unfortunately, war began in 1992 and Željezničar yet again needed to play on Koševo Stadium until 2 May 1996 when it came back to Grbavica. During the 1990s war the stadium suffered heavy structural damage. The stadium was located between the first front lines and endured heavy fighting. Bosnian Serbs' forces burned the wooden terraces. It was not until 1996 that a football match would be played here again. Symbolically, the first match after the war was the local derby. Wooden stands that burned up during the war will be rebuilt as part of a project for new modern stadium but is on hold waiting for financial back-up.
Before the war, stadium capacity was more than 20,000, but now it officially has 8,898 seated places, but some 8,000 more can fill the unseated parts of the stadium.
Name of the club
Željezničar was formed as RŠD Željezničar (Radničko športsko društvo, eng. Workers' sports society). Željezničar means railwayman or railway worker. Later it was known as FK Željezničar (Fudbalski klub, eng. football club), and was a part of SD Željezničar (Sportsko društvo, eng. sports society) which includes the clubs in other sports (basketball, handball, volleyball, chess, bowling, etc.) with the same name. In 1993, initial acronym was changed to NK (Nogometni klub, eng. football club). In Bosnian, both fudbal and nogomet are equally used as a word for football. The word fudbal is dominant in eastern and nogomet in western parts of the country. Since 2000, club's name is officially with initial FK again.
In the modern times, there is even a restaurant named after the club's name. Such example is the national dish Ćevapi restaurant at the heart of Sarajevo called Ćevabdžinica "Željo".
Blue is traditionally colour of railway workers in this part of Europe. Since the club was founded by the railway workers, blue was a logical choice. Standard navy blue colour was always on the club's crest, but it is a different story with kits. Sometimes they were light blue, sometimes regular blue, and sometimes navy blue as it is on the crest. Sometimes kits were blue and white vertical striped. For some games in 1999–2000 season, kits were striped horizontally, and in 2002–2003 season they were even dark grey, without any traces of blue. Away kit was always white.
On the left side of the kit, by the heart, stands a crest. Since the foundation of the club, standard elements of the crest were ball and wings, also a traditional railway symbol. These standard elements were changed in design several times in the past. Some other elements were added or excluded in some periods of history. For example, circle around the original crest was added in the 1990s. From 1945. to 1992. red five-pointed star stood in place of the ball, and words "The Maniacs", "Sarajevo", "1987" and others were moved form one part of the crest to another many times. Current design dates back to 2000.
Željezničar has a fierce rivalry with their city-rivals Sarajevo, which is known as the Sarajevo derby, the biggest derby in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is contested regularly since both teams are part of the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Many Željezničar supporters say that "Željo is a matter of philosophy, and Sarajevo a matter of geography". This saying explains the feelings of fans about their history, existence and even reason why they support Željezničar and not FK Sarajevo. Famous Sarajevo derby, known across the Southeast Europe, is generally considered as one of few with the best atmosphere. But there is one thing that separates it from similar ones in the region and rest of the world – fans of these clubs are enemies only for the time needed for game to be played. It is not rare that father and son, two brothers, or husband and wife, are on the opposite sides. They don't speak to each other that day. But when the game ends, provocations are something of a tradition, strangest bets are needed to be fulfilled. And everybody is waiting for the next one. Although, incidents between younger fans can be seen in recent years.
So far (as of 3 November 2012), 100 league matches were played. Željezničar won 30 times, Sarajevo won 30 times, while 40 matches ended with a draw. Goal-difference 120:117 in FK Sarajevo's favor. Since the independence, as a part of Bosnian championship, there were 37 games played. Sarajevo won 11 times, Željezničar won 9 times, with 17 draws. Goal-difference 37:32 for FK Sarajevo.
Also another notable rivalry started to shape in recent years. Since the season 2008–09, the time when Borac started to be standard in the Premier League once again, a great rivalry started to develop between the two teams. Starting from 2009–10 season the two teams mainly competed against each other for one of the title (the league title or national cup) and even the attendance almost got on pair with the Sarajevo derby. The rivalry also has a root in the fact that Sarajevo and Banja Luka are, by a good margin, the two biggest cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the first being also the capital of the whole country while the second takes the role as the de facto capital of Republika Srpska entity. Since independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina the teams met each other 22 times (6 of which are in national cup), although they played the first time against each other in 1947 Yugoslav Cup. In those 22 matches, Željezničar won 12 times, while Borac managed to win 7 times, with 3 matches ending in a draw. The goal difference is 31:19 in favor of Željezničar.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Players with Dual Nationality
Notable players & managerial history
|1972–73||UEFA Champions League||1R||Derby County||1–2||0–2||1–4|
|2001–02||UEFA Champions League||1Q||Levski Sofia||0–0||0–4||0–4|
|2002–03||UEFA Champions League||1Q||Akranes||3–0||1–0||4–0|
|2010–11||UEFA Champions League||2Q||Hapoel Tel Aviv||0–1||0–5||0–6|
|2012–13||UEFA Champions League||2Q||Maribor||1–2||1–4||2–6|
|2013–14||UEFA Champions League||2Q||Viktoria Plzeň||1–2||3–4||4–6|
|2011–12||UEFA Europa League||2Q||Sheriff Tiraspol||1–0||0–0||1–0|
|3Q||Maccabi Tel Aviv||0–2||0–6||0–8|
|2014–15||UEFA Europa League||1Q||Lovćen||0–0||1–0||1–0|
|1971–72||UEFA Cup||1R||Club Brugge||3–0||1–3||4–3|
|2000–01||UEFA Cup||QR||Wisła Kraków||0–0||1–3||1–3|
|2003–04||UEFA Cup||QR||Anorthosis Famagusta||1–0||3–1||4–1|
|1R||Heart of Midlothian||0–0||0–2||0–2|
|1970–71||Inter-Cities Fairs Cup||1R||Anderlecht||3–4||4–5||7–9|
|1965–66||International Football Cup||GS||Gwardia Warszawa||2–1||1–2|
- Željezničar became prohibited from international competition by the Yugoslav FA, so Leipzig advanced to the knock-out rounds instead.
|1963–64||Mitropa Cup||QF||Austria Wien||4–1||2–0||6–1|
|1964–65||Mitropa Cup||QF||Slovan Bratislava||2–1||1–3||3–4|
|1967–68||Mitropa Cup||1R||Jednota Trenčín||1–0||0–0||1–0|
|1968–69||Mitropa Cup||1R||Budapest Honvéd||1–0||1–0||2–0|
|SF||Sklo Union Teplice||1–1||1–2||2–3|
Last updated: 01/07/2014 Source
- Yugoslav Second League:
- Winners (3): 1956–57 (zone II A), 1961–62 (west), 1977–78 (west)
- Runners-Up (1): 1953–54
- Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Cup:
- Super Cup of Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Especially short competitions such as the Super Cup of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Intercontinental Cup (now defunct), FIFA Club World Cup or UEFA Super Cup are not generally considered to contribute towards a Double or Treble, but they contribute to the bigger tuples.
- Biggest ever league victory: Željezničar – Barkohba 18:0 (23 March 1925, Second Sarajevo division)
- Biggest ever league defeat: 1:9 on several occasions
- Biggest Yugoslav first division victory: Željezničar – Maribor 8:0 (29 August 1971)
- Biggest Yugoslav first division defeat: Dinamo Zagreb – Željezničar 9:1 (29 September 1946)
- Biggest Bosnian league victory: Željezničar – Krajina Cazin 8:0 (31 March 2001)
- Biggest Bosnian league victory: Željezničar – FK Leotar Trebinje 8:0 (28 August 2010)
- Biggest Bosnian league defeat: Zmaj od Bosne – Željezničar 9:1 (4 November 1995)
- Most overall official appearances: Blagoje Bratić (343)
- Most league appearances: Hajrudin Saračević (313)
- Most overall official goals: Josip Bukal, Dželaludin Muharemović (127)
- Most league goals: Dželaludin Muharemović (112)
- Most league goals in a season by team: 113 (2000/2001)
- Most league goals in a season by player: 31 (Dželaludin Muharemović in 2000/2001 season)
- Most capped player: Mehmed Baždarević (54 caps for Yugoslavia, 2 caps for Bosnia and Herzegovina)
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