HJK squad that won the club's first championship in 1911.
Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi (also simply known as Helsinki and HJK) is a Finnishfootball club, based in the capital Helsinki. HJK is the most successful Finnish football club with 27 Championship titles.
The Club was founded as "Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi – Helsingfors Fotbollsklubb" in 1907 by Fredrik Wathén. Founding meeting was held at bowling alley in Kaisaniemi Park. First match was played during the same summer against Ekenäs IF in Ekenäs, HJK won the match 2-4. HJK became popular amongst finnish speaking students while sweadish speaking students preferred to play mainly at KIF and HIFK and in 1908 after heated debate language was changed to unilingually Finnish, this resulted many swedish speaking members to switch over to HIFK and other swedish languaged clubs although few choosed to stay. In 1909 colours blue and white was chosen to support fennoman movement and Bandy was introduced as a clubs second official sport, Club moved from Kaisaniemi Ground to new stadium in Eläintarha, at end of the year Fredrik Wathen was forced to leave his post as a club chairman due to his illness and in 1910 Lauri Tanner became the longest running club chairman to date. First championship title was won in 1911. In 1915 club moved to newly build Töölön Pallokenttä. In 1916 Tennis was introduced as third official sport in HJK, Tennis was played until early 1920s. During finnish civil war in 1918 HJK lost two club members, both fighting for white side. In 1921 first Bandy championship was won and in following five seasons HJK reached five finals winning three more titles. Bowling was added to club repertoire in 1925 but bowlers formed their own club Helsingin Keilaajat in following year. In 1928 Ice Hockey became official sport and first championship was won already in 1929. League format was introduced to finnish football in 1930 but HJK failed to qualify for the first season. 1931 HJK played their first season in the league but was relegated. During second world war HJK lost several members in fighting against Soviet Union. In 1943 Handball was introduced as sixth ever official sport of the club, HJK won one silver and two bronze medals in following 3 years but did not gain further success. Handball was first of HJK:s sports where also women competed, women team played total of 22 seasons in highest level their best ever position being fourth place. In 1963 HJK played their last ever season in second level winning 20 out of 22 matches and scoring 127 goals in series. In 1964 newly promoted team won their tenth championship title and following year first european cup match was played against Manchester United in the Helsinki Olympic Stadium resulting 2-3 loss and the 2-9 overall result threw club out of competition. In 1966 club secured their first cup-title winning KTP 6-1 in final in front of 7000 spectators. Bandy section was disbanded in late 1960s. Last new official sport, figure skating was added to clubs sports in 1966 and was abolished in 1972. Ice Hockey section was disbanded in 1972 and last season in handball was played in 1978. From this onwards HJK was again football only club after 69 years as a multisport club. 1998 saw HJK to be the first and to date only finnish club to play in Uefa Champions League, triumphing over FC Metz in the second qualifying round. The club also managed a respectable five points in their group, beating Benfica at home and earning draws at home to Kaiserslautern and away to Benfica. They lost to PSV Eindhoven twice and to Kaiserslautern away. 20th championship title was won in 2002 and 2008 club won its 10th cup title. 2009 was a start of never before seen and still continuing championship run resulting six titles in a row so far. In 2014 HJK became first finnish club to play in UEFA Europa League group stage winning Rapid Wien in playoff round. HJK won Torino FC and FC Copenhagen at home and finished 3rd in group with 6 points.
Generally considered Finland's biggest club, HJK is also the most successful Finnish club in terms of league championships with 27. The club has also won twelve Finnish Cups and four Finnish League Cups. Many of Finland's internationally most successful players have played for HJK before moving abroad.
The club's highest score in European competition came in the 2011–12 season, with a 13-0 aggregate victory over Welsh champions Bangor City, which included a 10-0 win at home.
HJK's main rivalries in Helsinki are considered KIF, HPS and HIFK. Those are the "big four" clubs in Helsinki together with 43 league and 11 cup titles. However these rivalries have slowly faded away due downfall of all three other clubs, HPS dropped from Mestaruusarja in 1964, HIFK in 1972 and KIF in 1978. From these HIFK is considered biggest rivalry, historically both clubs had wide support in many same neighbourhoods, especially Töölö and they often shared same grounds. They also had higher attendances than KIF or HPS. Due to success in many other sports, most notably ice hockey, HIFK still has strong support base in Finland. After this there have been only some short-term rivalries against various clubs including FC Jokerit, Viikingit, PK-35, FinnPa and Ponnistus, but none of these have drawn bigger popularity.
HJK has competed against Lahti based clubs from 1960s, between 1963 and 1978 HJK and Lahden Reipas had a minor rivalry as both won 3 league titles and 2 runner-ups, HJK were 4 times 3rd and Reipas 3 times 3rd, Reipas also won 7 cup titles against 1 of HJK. A more notable rivalry was against Kuusysi from early 1980s to mid-1990s. Between 1981 and 1992 HJK won 6 league titles against Kuusysis 5, both clubs also won the cup twice, facing two times in finals (which were both won by HJK). Both clubs also performed well in European competitions. In 1996 the Lahti clubs merged and FC Lahti was born, HJK and FC Lahti matches are more known from outside of pitch, some crowd disturbances and small fights have occurred which otherwise are rare in Finnish football. Due to a relatively short distance between the two cities, these matches often draw more notable away support than others.
HJK and Valkeakosken Haka are the two most successful clubs in Finnish football, HJK with 27 league and 12 cup titles and Haka with 9 league and 12 cup titles. The match is also considered as Urban-Rural rivalry as HJK is a club from Finland's biggest city Helsinki and Haka is representing the small town of Valkeakoski.