HISTORY OF TORCIDA - HNK HAJDUK SUPPORTERS


The story about Hajduk, its great victories and triumphs is not complete without the TORCIDA.

It is hardly worth mentioning a football team without its supporters, and the story about Hajduk's fans, their supporting, fanatic devotedness could go on for days.

In the past Split had many champions - European, world, Olympic, but each victory of the masters of football was received and respected in a very special way. Very soon after having founded Hajduk as early as 1911, this club became a symbol of the town. Among numerous Hajduk fans, members of the most passionate group, the TORCIDA, have a special place. What is TORCIDA in fact?

The question can be answered in so many ways and each of the answers can be correct. Each member of the TORCIDA will proudly say that it is the oldest supporters' organisation on the territory of former Yugoslavia and consequently in the free and sovereign Republic of Croatia. This group of supporters was founded in 1950 before the great match between Hajduk and Red Star that was to be played in Split on October 29. The match was to decide the champion so the Hajduk supporters, following the example of the Brazilians, decided to create a unique atmosphere and help their club. Students from Split in Zagreb were specially active and brought along from Zagreb several thousand students and other Hajduk fans. There was excitement in town whole day and the venue gathered more than 20.000 spectators. Many of them remained outside the stadium listening attentively to what was happening on the field. Led by the TORCIDA, the spectators fanatically rooted for Hajduk whose players scored the decisive goal in the 88th minute of the match. Enough reason for an incredible celebration in Split. The government in Belgrade was unfavourable towards this organised supporting and some of the TORCIDA founders were sentenced to few years of imprisonment after the match. The activities of the TORCIDA were forbidden. Nevertheless, from year to year, at all Hajduk matches the spectators rooted just as the TORCIDA, although it had to be done discretely. 

In 1980, the most passionate Hajduk supporters who followed their players at all away matches, restored the TORCIDA, united a number of fan groups wishing to achieve a southern-like, thundering atmosphere at all Hajduk's matches.

Throughout these years the TORCIDA played an important role in building up national awareness among young people. Many were therefore imprisoned which makes it understandable why the majority joined the Croatian army from the very beginning fighting for the sovereignty of their nation. Some of them laid down their lives and a memorial tablet was laid in the northern part of the Poljud Stadium, where the TORCIDA stands, for eternal remembrance. The war reaching more peaceful days, the TORCIDA took its position at the northern stand again. Along came new generations of fans who supported their team three times to the title of National Champion, two Cups and a Supercup, to the great victories in European Champions League in 1994/95. 

What exactly are these supporters like is best indicated by statements of top players such as Preud'homme, Cannigia, Rijkaard and others who played at this stadium last season and were thrilled by Torcida's supporting... At the end of this story that continues, we have to remind that TORCIDA is not made only of fans from Split. Hajduk is very popular and there is hardly a town in Croatia that does not have organised TORCIDA supporters. Torcida is active abroad. At international matches you will always notice the great banners - TORCIDA Rotterdam. When Hajduk plays major matches, its fans come from all over Europe, America, Australia... 

After all, long ago on Hajduk's stadium a graffiti was written saying "Hajduk lives forever". With these words the story of its unique supporters lives on...