Red Star

It has a distinctive five-pointed shape,
with a white border,
against a half-blue,
half red-white-striped background.
It’s colour: bright bloody red.

The red star is central to the emblem of Фудбалски клуб Црвена звезда, the Fudbalski Klub (FK) Crvena Zvezda, known in English as FC Red Star Belgrade – one of the two major football teams in Belgrade, the capital city of former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia and today’s remaining parts of it.

In the 1990s FC Red Star Belgrade used to be quite famous, for various reasons. However, lately it became very quiet, no big news from the club. We take the 60th anniversary of the club to re-view its history, by commenting the “official history” of the club as officially represented by the FC Red Star Belgrade.

Five pentacle-pointed comments:



Point # 1: Star, and a red one

« The idea of foundation started by the initiative of the Belgrade’s city council (USAOS). During February 1945, members of the United association of antifascist youth of Serbia, started preparation for grounding a youth gymnastics society with an intention for it to consist of various sports sections. »

« In the spirit of the time it had the designation of Youth Gymnastics Society. All that was missing was a name… (…) There are various versions of the story, but the majority agrees that the “Godfathers” were Slobodan Cosic and Zoran Zujovic. After numerous suggestions like Youth, Shock Worker, Torpedo, Dinamo, Locomotive…, Cosic finally said: “How about we name our society Star!” Zujovic spontaneously added: “Great. But if it is a Star – let it be a red one.” »

The * five-pointed red star * is one of the typical symbols of communism. The pentangle represents the five fingers of the worker’s hand and the the five inhabited continents. It has been used as emblem and symbol that indicated the supposed truth of the new order under the rule of the Communist Party.

Like in other communist states, the red star was used on the * flags * of former Yugoslavia. In November 1945 the communist partisans of Josip Broz Tito had proclaimed the “Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia”, that was renamed into “Socialistic Federative Republic of Yugoslavia” in 1963. A gold-rimmed five-point red star has decorated the heart of the national flag, striped in the panslavic coulours white, blue and red.

The flag remained unchanged until the collapse of the Yugoslav socialistic system in 1991–1992. In April 1992 two of the remaining countries – Serbia and Montenegro – formed the “Federative Republic of Yugoslavia”. The red star dissappeared from the national flag, without any replacement.

Several * sporting clubs * from communist countries used the red star as a symbol, and at least one who named itself after it: FK Crvena Zvezda, Football Club Red Star Belgrade. Although the club is called «Red Star», the club colours were determined to be red-blue-white with a white star on a red shirt.


Point # 2: Years of glory

« OUR 60 YEARS: Fantastic football tradition under our piece of the sky between the two world wars, with the national team that had a noticed role in the first World Cup in Montevideo 1930, with club of European standard including BSK, Yugoslavia and a few others westerly of Belgrade, with players of the highest class known around the world, was continued by Red Star already in the first year after its foundation. »

« Since day one, people were predicting Red Star’s future as a football giant. People that wanted freedom and their own sporting identity in it, maybe not even dreaming that in the new multinational country they would earn something they didn’t have during the years of war: bread, love and Red Star. »

« In the eternal chronology of great events, great people and small human worries, stays noted: first leader of the football section was football player Kosta Tomaševic, first treasurer Predrag Ðajic, first “capital”: two footballs and 10 same colour shirts, which were in fact yellow but that didn’t bother anyone since the first match ended in a win against a very strong army team that had just put down their arms (…) »

The Red Star Belgrade Team was founded in * March 1945 * . In its 60 years of club history Red Star Belgrade has won the Yugoslav Championship 23 times, 20 times the Cup of Yugoslavia and numerous other trophies.

Red Star’s greatest achievement was winning the * UEFA Champions League in 1991 * in Bari, Italy (back than called “European Cup”) and the Intercontinental Cup the same year in Tokyo, Japan. In Bari, Red Star Belgrade defeated Olympique Marseille with 5:3 in the penalty shoot-out against Olympique Marseille.

One of the most famous football players and Yugoslav sports icons is * Dragan Stojkovic * alias “Pixi” (*1965 in Niš, Serbia) who was part of the Red Star team that won the European Cup in 1991. Upon retiring in 2001, he became manager of the Yugoslav national team. In July 2005 Stojkovic became president of the Football Club Red Star Belgrade.


Point # 3: Red and blood

« When Red Star left Bari with goose steps of the new European Champion, it was a special, decorative step of Red Star’s history, justified and earned. Chilean Colo Colo was thrown on their knees and the rivalry between European and South American football greats turned to the side of football clubs from our continent. 3:0 on the Olympic stadium in Tokyo – who dared to dream such a dream? »

« After things calmed down a bit a rumour of true news arrived from Europe into the centre of joy caused by the absolute triumph: our country was hit with sanctions, there will be no Red Star in Belgrade and the new round of Cup of European Champions competition was under way. That’s how Red Star was dislodged from “Marakana”. It first experienced the bitterness of sanctions. »

« Sampdoria stopped Red Star, not by being a better team but significantly luckier one. In the middle of falling apart of the country and the football league due to the raging civil war Red Star’s championship team disappeared quickly. »

The stadium of Red Star Belgrade called * Crvene Zvezde * („Red Stars“) has 54.000 seats. It is the biggest stadium in the country, and sometimes it is called “Marakana” after the famous Brazilian stadium.

Not far from the stadium, the notorious criminal and Mafiosi * Arkan * opened his Eiscafé in 1986, and right across from it his mansion. He became the president of the Red Star Belgrade fan club. In October 1990, when the socialist system in Yugoslavia started to collapse, Arkan officially founded his own paramilitary troup, the Serbian Voluntary brigade known as “Arkan’s Tigers” that largely consisted of Red Star Belgrade fans.

During the civil war that started in Slovenia in 1991, * Arkan’s Tigers * were deployed as special troup for ethnic cleansing. The “Hooligan-armee” consisted of over 1000 trained soccer fans that were armed with weapons and arms from the Yugoslav Ministry of Interior. According to the International Haag Tribunal, it is Arkan’s Tigers who are responsable for massacre in Vukovar, where hundreds of mainly croatian patients were deported from the Vukovar hospital and slaughtered in the fields.

They continued with the slaughter in 1992 when they murdered or deported the muslim population in Bijelijna and plundered the city. Aside from the killing under the banner of Serbian Nationalism, their actions perfectly fit the motives of organized crime: theft, robbery, smuggling of gazoline and guns as well as other types of embargo infiltration.

After the signment of the Dayton peace agreement in 1995, Arkan’s Tigers were no longer needed. Meanwhile having become one of the richest men in Serbia, Arkan decided to buy his favorite club Red Star Belgrade. However, Red Star Belgrade was not interested and Arkan ended up buying a lower league soccer club.


[Point # 4: October 5th, 2000

« Red Star had no time to resound the fame of the championship which is a usual custom. It had no time to play a few exhibition matches on a custom European and world tour, to gain a substantial material base and as such be able to hold all its great players. No one was ever expelled from its country and stadium the way it happened to Red Star. (…) However, trouble like that in a way strengthened Red Star’s ambiance with hundreds of thousands of fans in the country and around the world. »

« Football saints from Belgrade’s Marakana will certainly always decorate Red Star because the completion of a great sporting deed on Stadium “Saint Nikolai” makes them immortal. It will remain the same if and when (God help) some new generations of footballers reach the same heights in future. (…) It happens that in time when the country lies in ruins or some other spiritless meantime 120,000 boys and girls unite their imagination with Red Star into an impressive action “I am a Red Star fan, too”. All of that makes Bari special, from a sentimental memory of Red Star’s greatness of the older and longing of the younger for their own Bari and Tokyo. »

On October 5th 2000, thousands of people attacked the parliamentary buidling in Belgrad int the grassroot revolution organized by the student organization Otpor (Resistance) under the slogan * Gotov je * (“It is his end, he’s done”). Many Red Star Belgrade fans were among the demonstrators.

One of the official sites that were attacked was the Serbian state television station, the most ardent attackers being Red Star Belgrade fans who took revenge for the regimes menace to close down the soccer stadion after fans had shouted Anti-Milosevic-Slogans. After a few minutes of exchange of fire the TV station had been seized.

On January 15th 2000, Arkan is being killed in the entry hall of an exclusive hotel in Belgrade. Out of the many shots, one bullet hits his mouth, one his temple and one his left eye. At the time of murder, Arkan is supposed to have been the most influential and dangerous Serbian witness against Slobodan Miloševic.


Point # 5: Shining, on

« (…) we felt like a real family from the start: united, full of confidence in each other, gritty, monolithic and unbelievably loyal to the name of Red Star. »

« Rivals simply could not parry Red Star. At the start of a game every opponent would get the impression of being on par with Red Star, however rivals scored a record low number of goals against Red Star. »

« There is only one Red Star; (…) even the biggest European clubs would fall in agony and disappear from the major stage if their financial status was remotely similar to the one of Red Star. (…) We have fulfilled that criterion for the entry to Europe – good players and teams will come, that is something Red Star never lacked and never will. »

« The epoch of the memorable rectangle would enter the club’s annals out of many reasons. Red Star’s game reached the highest level, equalling the achievements of leading football schools including those from England, Prague and Vienna… »

Red Star Belgrade is known for its * excellent training * and promotion of talented athletes. In contrast with other teams’ reliance on imported footballers, Red Star have had many homegrown superstars, such as Dejan Savicevic, Siniša Mihajlovic, Dejan Stankovic, and Dragan Stojkovic. However, for the first time in its 60 years of club history, Red Star Belgrade has signed the contract with a foreign trainer, the Italian Walter Zenga.

Today’s greatest rival is the local * FK Partizan *. Matches between “the eternal rivals” (вечити ривали) are known for their violance. On April 23rd 2005, 27 people have been injured during riots between soccer fans and the police in Belgrade at the soccer match between the local rivals Red Star Belgrade and Partizan Belgrade, the match ended 1:1.

After the death of her husband Arkan, the equally famous pop and turbo folk star * Ceca * gave a a concert in June 2001 in the Red Stars stadion where 70.000 fans celebrated her official “comeback”, dedicated to Arkan.

Quotes from the official Red Star Belgrade website ** with some pentangular remarks taken from on- and offline information pools.

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