Following FC Osijek promotion to first division in ex-Yugoslavia, our stadium, «Gradski Vrt», became filled and slowly Osijek had more and more noisy supporters. From 1972 ’till 1978 our group had the name «ŠOKCI», in 1986 we named ourselves «TORCIDA OSIJEK» (like the oldest and most famous supporters then, Torcida Split). But in 1988, the group agreed to take an unique name and we chose KOHORTA. The term Kohorta is in fact Latin word Cohorts which has two meanings. First is that Cohorts is a tactical infantry unit, 1/10 of the Roman Legions. In the time of Roman emperors, Cohorts had 400-600 people and it was gathered in town. Second version of that name is that Kohorta means strongly bonded group of people.
First football madness concuss citizens of Osijek in early 1970`s. Qualification fever in our city started when the club was in the 2nd division. At that time you were forced to book your ticket (even the worst tickets) to see our players scoring 5-6 goals in a single game. Also like that, people cried and tacitly declared grief days in city because of unfortunate and tragic losses in 1st division qualifications. We remember especially those qualifications that took place in 1973 when in second leg match on «Maksimir Stadium» was set up a record attendance(this record is still the highest). More than 60 000 people were watching dramatic conclusion of 2:2 draw game and after penalty shoot-out thriller which led NK Zagreb in 1st division. More that 30 000 Osijek fans cried on the way home. On May 6th 1979 we remember a game which permanently removed fans from «Gradski Vrt» because club board of directors decided to give up points in favor of Red Star (Belgrade); game ended as draw (2:2).Red Star second goal was after end of regular time from Penalty Kick. That shame was brought by city leaders which were led by Serbian influence and players were forced to do that.
“In early `80, like everywhere in Yugoslavia organized fans were formed; at first we called ourselves Šokci but after game with Red Star older fans left and new younger fans were organized like famous and most organized “Torcida Split” and named OSIJEK TORCIDA. In year 1988 the fans knew that is necessary to have one unique name and we named ourselves KOHORTA.”-by Davor Runac, founding member of Kohorta. It`s funny to say that somewhere in season 1989/9 on away game in Ljubljana Osijek fans have had transparent “Vesele Ustaše”(Croatian political organization from World War II, with some relation to Hitler’s regime) which was harshly convicted and club was clearly distanced from that kind of “elements”. Kohorta always supported Osijek both home and away games. Biggest tension were when Osijek played with Serbian clubs. Away games in Belgrade were something special but also Kohorta went to Novi Sad in large numbers.
“Domovinski Rat” (war) seriously made our numbers smaller because a lot of guys went to “ZNG” and “HV” and many of them were wounded or even killed. Football wasn’t in first plan anymore and that is perfectly understandable. When the situation was better, Kohorta recovered a bit too. But the real renaissance happened in season 1994/95 when club made his first debut in European Cups mostly thanks to Branimir Glavaš. Thanks to that, Kohorta was one of the biggest groups in the country (we especially remember games in Zagreb where more than 1000 fans were on Maksimir stadium or in Kranjceviceva).
Supporters don`t have to like each other and it`s very rare when they do. But you don`t have to like someone to respect them. Worst relationships is with BBB (especially remembered burning coffin with Dinamo name on a game in Osijek in 1996) and with Ultras from Vinkovci. After the War, Kohorta had a new life… there are more and more White-Blue fans and now Kohorta is one of biggest, most loyal and best supporters in Croatia.
In 1998 and 1999 was a rebirth of fans in Osijek. In the spring of 1998, Osijek was fighting for their second UEFA cup participation. That year, Osijek fought for 3rd place and in the end we were 3rd. In Osijek we played the best game of the season with Croatia (Dinamo) under new lights, installed for European games. 15 000 fans were on the stadium that evening. UEFA Cup participation was secured after the victory in Zagreb 2:4 (Croatia-Osijek). Probably 10 or more buses filled with Osijek fans were in Zagreb that day.
Season 1998/99 started with UEFA cup game against Belgian Anderlecht, in front of 15000 spectators. Osijek won 3:1 and made its first European win. Kohorta was active all 90 minutes. Rest of season was full of fluctuation but the cream on the top of the season was the Domestic Cup final in Zagreb against Cibalia (Vinkovci). All the spring of 1999 were just preparations for that historical final and possibly first club trophy in the history! Kohorta already had big white-blue flag (40×9 meters), a lot of banners and just before final game Kohorta made 10new white-blue flags at the game Osijek-Croatia. In the final Cup game Kohorta was fanatic…. 2600 fans came in Zagreb and they were on south stand of the biggest Croatian stadium. In second half they were a little quiet because Osijek played very bad but goal in 90 min made them very loud again. After Davor Lasic scored a golden goal in 97min, celebration started. That year in UEFA Cup we played against famous West Ham from London. Kohorta went to London with one bus. During whole game crazy supporting could been heard even if Osijek had a bad result. After the end of game, the rest of stadium were impressed and gave applause to Kohorta because they have been loud and they have supported their club like crazy. In 2nd leg match Osijek was defeated again but atmosphere was great, songs and supporting didn’t stop before and during the game.
Next season 1999/2000 left us great memories; we were first at end of first part of season. Osijek is the best club in Croatian league, makes it though 2 rounds of UEFA Cup and sadly is knockout from 3rd round by Slavia Prague. Kohorta went to Vienna in large numbers (around 1000 fans) and even in larger number in Prague ( more than 10 buses and many personal cars). On the home match with Slavia Prague stadium was full. It was the season of Nenad Bjelica (best player in Croatian league) but other player were also very good, until financial situation ended our football story. Even today you can hear “JEDAN JE BJELICA NENAD” that means “IT`S ONLY ONE BJELICA NENAD” as recollection on what could have happened that year.
After that unfinished “football story” everything got really bad in Gradski Vrt. But everything bad happened to fans also, weak support on away games, supporting just on important matches, lame organization. FC Osijek is fighting against demotion.
In the spring of 2002 our manager is Ciro Blaževic who brought a little hope and happiness to fans. Osijek secure its first division place and again we are starting with organized support on away matches. In best memories is travel to Velika (over than 200 fans) and Osijek victory against Kamen Ingrad 2:4! Osijek starts the season 2002/03 disastrous, but that season brings reorganization of Kohorta. Especially because the web site (www.kohorta.net), we are organized, first bar-scarfs are made and we are moved to southeast stand. Our new small transparents, two pole flags are made and we have sometimes torches. Problems are away matches because people are going in smaller numbers and unorganized. Best of all was our 15th birthday in spring of 2003 where we had 150 torches. But at the end of the year Osijek is again in battle against relegation and on the last games it was almost empty stands of Gradski Vrt. Season 2003/04 we opened with away game in Vinkovci (300 Osijek fans). New bar-scarfs, caps and that kind of stuff are made, so that we have a high level of marketing. Southeast stand didn’t last long as our stand, for older fans East stand is sanctum and we all moved to east stand to be on same place on game with Cibalia. Other stand will have to wait for some other times. Young fans and their squads made Kohorta even better, we have supporting and singing on every game, we are better on away games even though 95% of it is still unorganized.
NK Osijek - RNK Split 16.04.2011
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