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Torcida is a Hajduk Split supporters group, from Croatia, founded on 28 October 1950, making it the oldest supporters group in Europe. The name "Torcida" is the Brazilian Portuguese word for "supporters".
The slogan of the fans, "Hajduk lives forever ", testifies to the long and continuing tradition of Hajduk Split, which has survived without change from its establishment until today (While states and leagues have failed, "Hajduk lives forever").
Torcida members and other fervent fans of the club gather in the north stand at the stadium of Poljud from where they fiercely support their club.
Most known action from last season is their 100 year celebration which was amazing, and article we created for this happening got very popular
FROM 1945. UNTIL THE END OF 60'sEdit
After the conclusion of second WW, a sudden interest in sport, especially soccer, in Yugoslavia was very big. After the fall of older domestic clubs, new teams have formed (Dinamo, Red Star Belgrade, Patrizan and others), which quickly fitted in with the rest of the clubs that did not change their old names (Hajduk, Sarajevo). Rivalry was huge, and the whole competition was exciting - the champion was always decided at the very last game. Thats how it was on the second last day of October in 1950, when in Split the game between "Hajduk" and "Red Star" was a decider of Yugoslav champion.
That year, soccer gained a new wave of popularity - with a bit of help from exciting World Cup that was held in Brazil which was a prefect display of talent, and even more so, a perfect display of their fans, Torcida. With attractive southern atmosphere on Maracana and other Brazilian stadiums personally impressed a group of Hajduk fans, students in Zagreb. As the final game was approaching, with the rivals "Red Star" in 1950 championship, the ambition of supporting their club grew ever so big; in between the group a new idea sparked the flame which held the idea of organizing a ultras group with an influence from Brazilian fans, with the name of Torcida, which will help their team from Split win the champions trophy.
The core of the group held 113 students and other young people, mainly from Dalmatia, but there were also some Hajduk fans from other parts of the country. With the help of University committee of Citizens youth Zagreb, that group organized a trip for a few thousands of students and other Hajduk fans from that city for a derby in Split. The last of a trains filled with fans came to Split in early morning on 29th of October 1950 on a Split's train station and were greeted with the music of JRM. The whole city was on its feet, anxiously awaiting the start of the game. A large group of supporters went in early mornings in from of the hotel where the players of "Red Star" were located, initiating a huge noise with sirens, horns, bells and other helpful material. In the next couple of days it was released, in personal interview with Milovan Dlisa, in Belgrades newspaper, a few articles in which Torcida was attacked for their attitude that was displayed on the said game. In commentary "How not to support" released in Borba (Fight) on the 1st of November 1950, it says that the "members of this group held very angry, an appropriate and offensive attitudes which if not stopped would spread the hate between the clubs." Those articles caused some concern in media.
Thats how the chair mans from Hajduk in their own defense released the article that said "On the game in Split, for the first time one of the groups of supporters of Hajduk, with the name of Torcida, intentionally supported their club. That was the simple example of the support and was taken in by a larger group, even outside of the Split's citizens. We too, greeted the intentions from our friends with the knowledge that united supporters can help a certain club and can behave properly". Still, chair mans of Hajduk did raise its concerns about the use of the name Torcida.
In the words of, then, vice president of Hajduk and secretary of city's committee KPH Split, Juro Baric, at that times powerful Milovan Dilas called upon "the inspection", to find out everything they can. (Reic, 1989). With that duty, the 3 members govern body were called upon. Epilog: Jure Bilic,and the president of Hajduk Ante Jurjevic Baja at the time, were punished by the law, but got away with a warning; Hajduk's captain Frane Matosic was kicked out from the communist party because of his fight with a player from Red Star; some members of Torcida were locked up and against them some legal action was taken, and so on. While Vjenceslav Zuvela, not only was he kicked out of KPJ, but was sentenced for 3 years of imprisonment, but then the Higher court overruled the first sentence and gave him 3 months instead. Zuvela was also accused of having a Torcida badge that had initials of Torcida and Hajduk, T & H, but this wild accusations said that H stood for Hrvatska (Croatia). Of course, political attack on Torcida took its tall on organizers, ending its existance. At that time, political and other authorities did not provide enough support for introducing new organized fan support. Never the less, in the next decades, the fans still sang the songs on Hajduk games, and were still supporting of their club, but could not have been organized like before.
During 50's and 60's popularity of soccer escalated even further. Behaviour of the spectators in Split and in Yugoslavia at the time, was mostly reflective of the match in progress itself. But on some bigger and more important games, a groups of wilder and louder fans started forming. Thats how in the first half of the 60's Hajduk fans supported their club; with signal rockets, flares and other fire materials, which on some of the occasions ended up of the pitch. Just like today, fans were cheering on and singing after a good performance or a win, and were angry after a loss, but at the time only on rare occasions the fights broke out.
One of those rare incidents happened when "Hajduk" and "Sarajevo" played in Split. Twice in a row, Sarajevo played better than Hajduk, with games ending up 1:0 for the visitors. First incident took place on 1st of October 1961, when the referee, Aleksandar Skoric, was attacked after the game. He overruled a goal to Hajduk, which was seen as a mistake by fans in Split. Skoric was beaten up, and at the stands fans were falling into vandalistic tendencies. Second bigger incident took place on 11th of September 1966, when number of fans, disappointed by Hajduk's loss, started a massive fight, where the stands were damaged, parts of the stadium, goals. Verbal attacks were frequent too, which was mostly a message for the fans and the players of other teams, and of course refeeres. Even then, loud singing and fan support was considered more of a thing to scare the opposing fans and players. Open slogans about nationality, especially those of chauvinistic nature were really rare. At the time, the regime was supported by majority of the citizens, and any threat to it was severely punishable.
At the beginning of 70's, a smaller group of younger and louder followers of Hajduk started to form continuously on the east stands of the stadium in Split and from that place lead the chant. Even dough they were low in numbers, members of that group slowly but successfully spread the new, modern way of chanting. Young supporters mostly followed Southern American way of chanting and supporting, with a large number of club flags and banners (which reflects that part of the stands were the group is hanging).With that a number of fans try to follow the example from English fans (with scarves, singing of songs, hanging in smaller groups, forcing someone to fight, and other violent things). At the time a new trend started with chanting, which consisted mostly of club anthem and other supporters songs, with lyrics made up by the fans.It was similar story with the other groups of loudest supporters. Members of the fan group which was located in the middle of east standings "Starog Placa" (Hajduk's stadium at the time) started going on away games in the other citys.
In the second half of 70's, a lot of members started meeting up even if the game wasn't on, making it a new style of living of the youth. In Split they mostly hung on Riva, and in cafe 'Dubrovnik', which soon became somewhat of a barracks for the ultras. During that time, it was there, where the talks were held about organizing trips for away games, making up new songs, thinking of strategies, fights and everyhing else. It was then when the violence became more intense relating to soccer games. In those escalations main participants were adolescents, but the older fans were there too. Fights between supporters of different clubs partly loses its characer, but not the motive for extreme ultras to use fights and other violent acts to "sort out their differences". Thats how the ultras were forced to retaliate for the ass kickery that they've experienced during the previous encounters on away games, on any other fans that arrived with their club to Split, knowing that it was hard to point out the guilty party responsible for the paybacks. Also the biggest fights happened after a lost game, which can be put in that "its easier to cope with the loss when there is someone to blame" perspective.
Ultras violence in that part of decade had a partly symbolic character - it was more satisfying to harm the opponents with words and with making them do things they normally wouldn't then to harder phsycally hurt them. Inncidnets mostly took place on the streets and train stations after the game. But, there were also fights on the stadium, like the game against Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) in Split in 1974 when several hundreds of army soldiers, fans of Red Star, got into fight with Hajduk fans, which ended up in a high number of injured personnel, but the fights was brought up to the end when the Major of the army with the use of a gun, evacuated the army from the stadium. With connection to that, it has to be mentioned that with other then the groups of Dinamo Zagreb Fans, and Velez Mostar, no other club fans travelled to Split in big numbers, or chanted in the Stari Plac, while Hajduk ultras followed their club everywhere around ex-Yugoslavia. First relatively bigger travel to Split by Belgrade teams, was that of Patrizan fans, which came in numbers close to a thousands, in 1978. But then, they were brutally beaten up which concluded in almost unrepeatable travel to Split by any Belgrade teams in the next couple of years. A dozen fans were exemptions, but the numbers were smaller, much smaller. Verbal assault at the time had its limited characer, because chanting was reduced to yelling of "Tovari", "Cigani", "Purgeri" and similar, with rare moments of political paroles. But amongst the other things, it is nice to mention that during the game against Belgrade, a lot of cars with Belgrade license plates ended up in the sea.
In third period, on attitude of soccer supporters in Split and ex-Yugoslavia, main influences are rivalry and differences between the clubs and supporters. The core of supporter groups in that period grew drastically in numbers and start to form real supporter bases. First modern soccer supporter groups in ex-Yugoslavia was the one of Hajduk.In the year 1980, there was an action to inherit the generation gap that was left for a while after the break of group "Nesvrstani" (Unsorted). A dozen or so boys that renewed that group (Kule, Vele Bakovia, Gula, Stipe, Uso, Trepea and others) soon adopt a new name "Torcida 1980". With the name, they wanted to pay respect to Torcida from 1950 and the whole tradition of supporters in Split, and with that, they also wanted to start again with Brazilian, and South American way of chanting and supporting.
First couple of years in the 80's Torcida along with their team moved on to a new stadium, Poljud. On every game there was a banner with "Torcida" written on it, while graffiti with that name started to appear everywhere around city's walls. In time, banners started to appear from the locations outside of Split (Torcida Vranjic, Torcida Seget...), which was the proof of the expansion of popularity of that group.As the group grew, so did the troubles. Thats how it was with the clash between Hajduk and Totoenham in 1984, where one fan in the middle of the field slaughtered the rouster - which is not a quite a symbol of London's club, but was close enough, since their players used to called it a 'rouster' - that forced UEFA to ban one international match in Split. For the final renewal of Torcida, important factors took place when Hajduk played with Metz in 1985 in Split, when a huge number of police entered the north stands, and without any reason, started to attack the fans.In their reports and comments journalist wrote about the attacking of Torcida, and calling all the people that were on that part of the stadium by that name; it was then when the fans on the north stands all considered themselves as Torcida. Uso wrote something about it:
"And then it comes 1985. - that was very important year. That year in Split a new trend of supporters was emerging. Torcida became something very important, even more important than Hajduk. Our graffiti covered the whole city - Torcida became somewhat of a trend."
Outside of the borders of ex-Yugoslavia, the supporters scene grew too: tragedies which took place that year in Bruxelles, Bradford and Birmingham led to the top of the interest in international phenomenon of soccer supporters. Even in the first half of the 80's, some changes where made in the attitude of fans in contrast to their flag-barers from the 70's. For example, in Split more and more supporters turned to drugs. Tomo said more about that:
"About 10 of us from Torcida, use to hang around at 'Dom Invalida', where we could get the beer for cheap. They didn't aloud the wine, so we would buy it beforehand and bring it in under the table and get drunk. Then we'd sing, verbally attack members of the Club, start troubles...They would call the police, and we would run. Back then, the drugs for us where something else, we hated it. But then sometime in `81, sniffing glue period started. I didn't really understand what it was. We would inhale the glue from the bags, sniff and then we'd have holucinations. After a couple of months the tablets took over as the most popular drug. Smoking pot was something completely different, it gave us excellent feeling and we were satisfied with it. Before the game, we would buy some pot on Riva, and then we'd go to Poljud. There were 100 or 200 of us, we would smoke pot, drink and then make troubles. We chanted and supported louder, we'd be so uptight, no one could do anything to us. We were ready for everything. Sometimes during the 83 era, we started with the 'shit', or as some call it hashish. Back then it was unpleasant to come to our gathering spot without it. We had our idols when it comes to supporting our club, older warriors, and they all smoked hashish. We would imitate them, and then with time, we became the idols to the younger generation. We started with heroin somewhere in 1986. The police kicked us out from 'Dom Invalida' and 'Dubrovnik' so we started going to 'Slavice'. That was the worst move by Torcida. At night there would be 30 or 40 of standard guys, we'd drink, take drugs and again cause troubles. We wouldn't pay, we would trash everything, and then go home.Then in the morning the police wakes you up."
In the middle of 80's in ex-Yugoslavia the process of starting out new supporter groups intensifies. Everyone wanted to prove that their group was the best, the craziest, the toughest. Special concentration and preparation was the one for the home games, because no one wanted their ass kicked on the home pitch, that would be shameful. Some of the interesting attitudes of Torcida members in the days of more important matches and derbies back then, Ico, a person with his proud 120 away games, explains:
"About 15 of us would gather around early in the city and we would look for Red Star supporters.The whole morning we'd look around the town and the people passing by. They would hide, they were affraid of us, so they didn't show their scarves in public. But we would know them by their clothing, because they didn't come from Belgrade, but from Knin and some parts of Bosnia. How can I explain that..., they would look like villager, you know what I mean? I would spot a persons like that from the airplane, and would know straight away that he is Red Star Supporter, and would then surround them, take their scarves and then bash them."
The best way to prove that your group was good, is to show it on the away game, where you had to travel far away. Most incidents happened in Belgrade, where Torcida was frequent, four of older and respected Torcida members have something about their travel there in 1990:
Stiple: "Back then, some kid thats 10 years old could not go, we would not let him"
Prle: "When we went to Belgrade, we would immediately get in to a fight with Red Star Supporters. After that we'd go further away."
Uso: "We pass through the Belgrade and fight. The war lasts the whole day. Once we got into a fight with a huge group. There were about 2 thousands of them, and about 200 of us.We launched a couple of rockets at them, and they started to run.One of us here was that rocket launcher."
Bosna: "It's not important who exactly." (Laughs)Uso: "They flew like birds everywhere. And then we threw some bottles on them. The smoke from the rockets covered half of the city. That year, not a single Red Star supporter came to Split."
In the circles of ultras scene the most respected are those who prove themselves in drastic inncidents.Members of Torcida with their biggest did just that in Rijeka in 1988. Armada, Rijeka's supporters threw a couple of flares and smoke bombs on the eastern stands where Torcida was located, in their numbers of 2000. The response was aggressive: a couple of hundreds of Torcida, obviously under the influence of drugs and alocohol, teared down the fence and started the fight with the local supporters on their stands. The police was also the loser here, a lot of them experienced injuries. In the rocket fight which started soon after that, serious injuries injuries were sustained by the fotoreporter and one spectator on western part of the stadium. The game continued as if nothing had happened, but in very unregural circumstances. Some numbers of Torcida entered the stadium on come occasions through the broken fence. After the game, Torcida took their anger on the streets of Rijeka, from fights to broken cars, broken windows and similar things. The police from Rijeka succeeded in organizing themselves so by the end of the day locked up a couple of hundreds Torcida ultras.
With the evident and dominant Southern American looks, and under the influence of English fans, an introduction of elements form northern type of supporting looks in ex-Yugoslavia started kicking in. Tragic ending on stadium Heysel in Bruxelles, on 29th of May in 1985, when in the cup finals of European champions between "Juventus" and "Liverpool" in the incident caused by english hooligans died 39 Italians, influenced the ultras scene in ex-Yugoslavia. Just like a bit paradoxal, english ultras adopted the new looks, so on the streets of our cities new graffities of "Heysel" and similar started to appear, and on the stands behind the goals more and more flags of Great Britain, and scarves of english ultras.
After that incident, and with other things taken as a factor, middle of 80's were symbolicly quieter than before when it comes to clashes between ultras, but at the same time the number of supporters that were ready to initiate any incidents, and one of those incidents was caused by some members of Torcida during the game between Hajduk and OFM, on 5th of November, 1987 in Split, when they set of a tear gas bomb, which caused a havoc in the stadium, but luckily - the stadium itself was not packed, and it all ended without any casulties. Because of that incident, which was known all around the World, Hajduk was punished of playing any UEFA games for two years at home stadium.
Other than maybe dominant group rivalry, on ultras violence and attitudes in ex-Yugoslavia in more and more occasions, the influence was from international and political surroundings.In other words the growing political tensions in that country influenced ultras scene more and more. Some members of ex-Yugoslav ultras scene cause troubles motivated by chauvinism, which caused severe reactions from media and political forums. Those reactions caused different reactions then the wanted one - to prove other ultras that their are the best. One of those examples is the political affair in concern of throwing some military vehicles in the sea in Split after the game between Hajduk and Red Star in 1985. When that incident happened, one of the eye witnesses that was 20 years old back then, and he said:
"After the game in which Hajduk lost, about 30 of us were totally pissed off, we went to the Riva and started to cause chaos, we started to throw rocks on every cars that were not from Split. On Riva there was already a huge number of members of our group, there was screaming and yelling...I already knew what was going on, they've must have found a group of Red Star fans, the ones serving the military.And when I got there, they were already in the sea - the group threw them into the sea. They must have been bashed before it, so they ran to the sea, because they couldn't run anywhere else. I've heard that two of them jumped in the sea by themselves. The rest were pushed. The group threw rocks on them, they didn't let them get out, while the sea was cold, end of October. And normally, we would say to them: "Come out, we won't do it anymore. Then you give him the hand, and when he takes your hand, you would kick him. We did that two or three times.That all lasted for about 10 minutes. One girl that I knew wanted to take me away from the mess: "Get away from there, its only gonna get worse". Because some of their fans were already beaten up in Matejuski. I've let her drag me away. Because, I did my part, as a ultras and member of Torcida, and away was more than happy. I was also drunk as hell, so I didn't see a cop behind me, that said "Its you!", then he ran after me and arrested me. Just me. On the way to the police station, the paddy wagon stopped, the door opened. I think that the military truck and the police wagon went pass each other, then stopped. The cops pointed at me, and asked "Is this the guy?". Military personnel said "yes", but it was un possible to see my face at all... At the station they took my information, and let me go home. I went to 'Dubrovnik; again on Riva, with the group drank another two or three beers. Then at 4am, I went home to get some sleep, and UDBA (Yugoslav secret police) knocked on my doors. They take me, irritate me 3 days in the station. The whole of Yugoslavia talked about it. It was so much hyped that its unbelievable, even the politicians talk shit about it. They didn't harass me too much physically, compared to mentally, for more than an hour they would make me stand behind the wall, I couldn't sit down. One Montenigrian threatened me just to say more. I didn't. Later on they would buy me Marlboro cigarettes. Sad!. From the whole mess it was concluded that only 5 of us were guilty and were on trial. Media was happy. Then we pleaded against that code 53 - attacking of military force of SFRJ, where the maximum penalty was 10 years in jail. I mean, we attacked Red Star fans, we only suspected that they were in the military. My motive was ultras motive, because seven days prior to that, we had a fight in Belgrade, where some of ours got beaten up badly. But then I had to go to the prison. All together I spent two and a half years behind bars, and all that because of the fight at the games."
In the middle of 80's it was noticeable national homogenization ultras of groups from the same republics, and the one between Torcida and BBB. Thats how for example, a part of Torcida sometimes went to important games of Dinamo in Zagreb, especially if they played against Red Star or Partizan, trying in that way to strengthen up "brother" group if there was a chance of a fight. Hajduk-Partizan, 1990/91. In that period the people in charge more than before concentrate about the ultras scene, which they explained as the enemy of multinational and other political stability in society. Noticably they called up Torcida for "Informative talks". One of the key topics there was the name alone, knowing that the police considered the word "Torcida" synonymous with "Terrorist organization". In the early mornings at the day of the derby with Belgrade clubs, special forces would knock on their doors and take them in custody until, so that they could not attend the game.In many cities around the train or bus stations there was a huge number of police present, preventing any contact with any other ultras group.
SINCE THE CROATIAN INDEPENDENCE & UNTIL TODAYEdit
After the Serbian aggresion on Croatia in 1990, many members of Torcida went to protect their country in the battle fields. At the end of the 90's and in 2000, after 5 years without the trophy, Torcida once again is filled up with anger and the new incidents begin, like the one in Sibenik, when the game was stopped, and then against Dinamo, on both occasions a huge fight with the police and special forces... Torcida kept its name from its history, that how today in Split on the day of the game the fans of any other teams can't walk the streets.
This short history of Torcida is mostly copied from the book "Torcida-The look inside" written by well known and respected, ex-active Torcida member Drazen Lalic. For more complete and detailed information of Torcida, look under the link "Newspapers". After the Croatia became a republic Torcida does not want to cause any incidents which could harm Hajduk, and in that period Hajduk actually achieves its best results in history - taking most of the throphys in Croatia, and in Europe ending up as one of the best 8 clubs in Europe, which is the best achievement from any Croatian club since the independence and formation of Croatian league.