Fudbalski klub Radnički 1923 Kragujevac (Serbian Cyrillic: Фудбалски клуб Рaднички 1923 Крагујевац, English: Radnički 1923 Kragujevac Football Club), or simply Radnički Kragujevac, is a professional football club from Kragujevac, Serbia and the major part of the Radnički Kragujevac Sports Society. The name Radnički means "Labourers" in Serbian and its roots come from the relation the club had with labour movements during the first half of the 20th century.
The club was formed in 1923, during an assembly in the restaurant "Park" in Kragujevac, under the name Mladi Radnik. The first club president was Aleksandar Ratković. The first match played Mladi Radnik against local club SK Triglav and lost by 2-0. The first visitor for a match against Mladi Radnik was SK Radnički from Belgrade. The match was played on 16 August 1925, and SK Radnički won by 5-0. One week later, the club won its first match against Radnički Niš with 7-1. In 1929, Mladi Radnik changed its name to Radnički which means "Labourers" in Serbian and its roots come from the relation the club had with labour movements during the first half of the 20th century. The significance of the club grew especially since 1933. Its own stadium got the club already in 1935, and the first match at the new stadium was played on 18 August, in 1935, against local rivals Slavija, which was won by 1-0 and the first goal scored Jeremija Nikolić. At that time the club had also a number of international matches. Radnički was in the prewar years of the World War II host of teams like Olympique Marseille, Ferencváros and Honvéd Budapest, Rapid Wien and some others. The club competed in the highest league of the Kragujevac Football Subassociation which gave access to the qualifiers for the Yugoslav Championship. Radnički has won the Subassociation league in 1934, 1936, 1939 and 1940, however it only menaged to qualify once to the national league, in the 1935–36 season.
Nazi Germans rounding up Serbian civilians in Kragujevac for execution.
During the World War II, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was invaded and partitioned by the Axis powers, and Kragujevac were occupied by Nazi Germany soldiers and underwent a number of tragic days during war. The local population were suppressed and many Serbian civilians, as well Roma and Jews, were murdered or have perished in concentration camps. The follow, many citizens of Kragujevac joined the resistance in the country and fought against the fascist occupation. The Nazis had issued an order to kill 50 Serbian civilians for every wounded German soldier and 100 for each German soldier killed. Especially tragic was the days between 19–21 October 1941, when German Nazis assembled thousand of males from the town between the ages of sixteen and sixty, and were executed, today known as the Kragujevac massacre. Among the killed was many boys taken directly from schools and their teachers, which had a strong influence on subsequent generations of the city. The massacre was a direct reprisal for the German losses in battles. The executions in Kragujevac occurred although there had been no attacks on members of the Wehrmacht in this city, for the reason that not enough hostages could be found elsewhere. Radnički lost during the war numerous players, club officials and a whole generation of club supporters. Therefore comes mainly the especially deep-rooted antifascist attitude of the city, the club and its supporters. To commemorate the victims of the massacre, the whole village of Šumarice, where the killings took place, was turned into a memorial park, called Šumarice Memorial Park, and it was built the Museum of Genocide in Kragujevac, not so far from the stadium. After the liberation of Kragujevac in 1944, the club continues to rapidly develop into a bigger football club in the country.
In 1946, Radnički played against Red Star Belgrade for membership of the newly created Yugoslav First League. There were so many fans that the City Stadium was too small to accommodate all visitors. Then, the city and the club decided to build a new stadium. After eight years of construction, the new stadium was ready to be opened. The official opening took place on 6 June, in 1957, against Partizan Belgrade and ended with 2-2. In 1969, Radnički was promoted for the first time to the Yugoslav First League after beating Sutjeska Nikšić and FK Crvenka in the play-offs. During the season, Radnički had a great 4-1 victory over Partizan Belgrade at JNA Stadium. On this 7 September, in 1969, the Radnički fans support their team particularly fanatical. The atmosphere was so fantastic that it was compared with the atmosphere at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester (statements from local and foreign journalists and opponents). On this day the Radnički fans and the club were given the nickname Crveni Ðavoli (English: Red Devils), after the nickname for Manchester United. After that game, the Brazilian football giant FC Santos with the legendary Pele was so impressed by the atmosphere, instead of the friendly game against Partizan, they drove to Kragujevac and played against Radnički. They were not disappointed. 40,000 spectators were in the Čika Dača Stadium and around the stadium were a further seven to eight thousand enthusiastic fans. Radnički achieved in a legendary atmosphere a 4-4 draw. At the end of the domestic championship, Radnički was 15th in their first top league season and the survival was ensured on the last round with a victory over Vojvodina by 1-0.
The 1971, Radnički finished the season as 17th and narrowly avoided the relegation. The following 1971/72 season, the club returned to the Yugoslav Second League. However, the return to the first league is not a long time coming. Radnički managed to get back among the best teams of the former Yugoslavia and to play two more seasons in the top division, before they went at the end of the 1975/76 season the way to the second division. Then comes the drought period of the club for two decades.
Since the relegation in 1976, the club was no longer member of the top division. The civil war during the 90s (1992-1995), the inflation and the UN sanctions have hit the state and his population hard. The club relegated even several times in the third league, but the final return in the first league occurred in 1998. It followed the longest period in the first division, in total for four seasons, before they went at the end of the 2001/02 season again the way to the second division. In 2010, FK Šumadija Radnički 1923 was a short lived name of the club during the 2009/10 season after the fusion with FK Šumadija 1903. The old name Radnički was returned and changed to Radnički Kragujevac. However, 2010 marked a turning point for the club, which achieved the promotion, and returning to the top flight, the Serbian SuperLiga, in 2011, where it remained until nowadays.
The name of the town Kragujevac derived from the Serbian word "kraguj", which is a name used for a particular species of hawk from the genus Accipiter, which in the Middle Ages often occurred in region around and in the city, and was appreciated from the population and used partially for hunting. Thus the name means "Kraguj City". Today, the Kraguj occupies a place of honor on the city's coat of arms and also on the crest of the club. The typical colours of Radnički are mainly red, but the club used also as away kit, an all-turquoise jersey.
The home field of Radnički Kragujevac is the Čika Dača Stadium. It is named in memory of Danilo Stojanović, known as Čika Dača, who is considered to be a pioneer of football in Serbia. The construction of the stadium was finished on 6 June, in 1957, and had a capacity for up to 40,000 spectators. After renovations in 2007, the stadium new capacity is 15,100 seats.
For the stadium are planned several phases of reconstructions. The first phase includes the installation of 1,400 lux strong floodlights of the brand Philips and new locker and club rooms, while for the next phase planned the full reconstruction of the west stand (inclusive covering), the press and the VIP lounge. Then will follow the construction of the east stand, so that it fulfills the UEFA standards for European matches. The first phase started in July, in 2012.
Since its foundation, Radnički always had considerable number of supporters. The first organized support of Radnički fans was recorded on 29 July, in 1934. About 600 Radnički fans drove to Belgrade for a match against BASK. The real spectator boom began in the late sixties, were Radnički was promoted for the first time to the top level. At that time began the first approaches of modern organized support. The away match against Partizan should make history. On this 7 September, in 1969, the Radnički fans support their team particularly fanatical and the atmosphere was so fantastic that it was compared with the atmosphere at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester (statements from local and foreign journalists and opponents). On this day, the Radnički fans and the club were given the nickname Crveni Ðavoli (English: The Red Devils), after the nickname for Manchester United. However, the first organized meeting of the Crveni Djavoli was on 9 March, in 1989. Together, the fans went to a basketball game and the Djavoli took advantage of this day as the day of its official founding. Today, they are always on the southside of the Čika Dača Stadium, from where they fiery support their club. Besides football, they also support other sport sections of the Radnički Kragujevac Sport Association.