FK Partizan

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For the parent multisport club, see JSD Partizan.
Club crest
Full name Fudbalski klub Partizan
Nickname(s) Crno-beli (The Black-Whites)
Parni valjak (The Steamroller)
Short name FKP
Founded 4 October 1945; 72 years ago (1945-10-04)
Ground Partizan Stadium (JNA), Belgrade
Ground Capacity 32,710[1]
President Ivan Ćurković
Head coach Ivan Tomić
League Serbian Superliga
2015–16 Serbian Superliga, 2nd
Website Club home page
Current season

Fudbalski klub Partizan (Serbian Cyrillic: Фудбалски клуб Партизан, IPA: [partǐzaːn]), commonly known as Partizan Belgrade (Serbian: Партизан Београд / Partizan Beograd) or simply Partizan, is a Serbian professional football club based in Belgrade. It forms a major part of the Partizan Sports Association.[2] The club plays in the Serbian SuperLiga and has spent its entire history in the top tier of Yugoslav and Serbian football having won a total of 41 trophies, 26 national championships, 13 national cups, 1 national super-cup as well as 1 Mitropa Cup,[3] and finished in the Yugoslav league all-time table as second.[4]

Partizan was founded by young high officers of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) in 1945 in Belgrade, as part of the Yugoslav Sports Association Partizan.[5] Their home ground is the Partizan Stadium in Belgrade, where they have played since 1949.[1] Partizan holds records such as playing in the first European Champions Cup match in 1955,[6] as well as becoming the first Balkan and Eastern European football club to reach the European Champions Cup final, when it did so in 1966.[7] Partizan is the first and only Serbian club to compete in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

The club has a long-standing rivalry with Red Star Belgrade. Matches between these two clubs are known as the eternal derby and rate as one of the greatest cross-town clashes in the world.[8] In September 2009, the British newspaper Daily Mail ranked the Red Star–Partizan derby fourth among the ten greatest football rivalries of all time.[9] FK Partizan is the second-most popular football club in Serbia.[10] The club is also very popular in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in the Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska.[11] Partizan also have many supporters in all the other former-Yugoslav republics and in the Serbian and Yugoslav diasporas.[12]


Most of us, young generals who played and loved football, we gathered and agreed to start a football club. We did not argue over what the name would be. We were Partisans, it was most natural to call our club Partizan.

Peko Dapčević, in a letter, marking the 50th anniversary of the club[13]
Koča Popović (left) and Peko Dapčević (right), two of the main founders of FK Partizan.

Formation (1945)

Partizan was founded on 4 October 1945 in Belgrade, as a football section of the Central House of the Yugoslav Army "Partizan", and was named in honour of the Partisans, the communist military formation who fought against fascism during World War II in Yugoslavia.[14] The club was formed and initially managed by the group of young high officers of the Yugoslav People's Army. Among them were Svetozar Vukmanović, Koča Popović and Ratko Vujović. Two days after its establishment, Partizan made its first step on the football scene, with the friendly match against selection of Zemun that ended 4–2. Florijan Matekalo entered the record books as the first goal scorer in the history of Partizan, while Franjo Glazer was the first manager. Just three weeks later, Partizan went on the first of many international tours, travelling to Czechoslovakia where they beat the selection of Slovak Army with 3–1. At the time, just months after the World War II in Yugoslavia ended, no organized football competition was yet restored, so Partizan played only friendly games and tournaments both home and abroad. The club's first European engagement was a meeting against another army side, CSKA Moscow from what was then Soviet Union, in 1945.[15]

Early years (1946–1958)

File:Milan Galić.png
Club legend Milan Galić was signed in 1958.

Finally, in late August, 1946, the new Yugoslav league started, so Partizan played its first official match, beating Pobeda Skoplje with 1–0. Since the club had the highest ambitions from the very beginning, it attracted some of the best players from all over the country: Stjepan Bobek, Miroslav Brozović, Zlatko Čajkovski, Kiril Simonovski, Bela Palfi, Franjo Rupnik, Prvoslav Mihajlović, Aleksandar Atanacković, Miodrag Jovanović, Vladimir Firm, Ratko Čolić and Franjo Šoštarić. Prominent football expert Illés Spitz became the manager, and spent next 14 years on various positions in the club. His implementation of top European training methods and playing tactics, combined with technically gifted squad, proved essential in winning the first championship in debut season, along with the first cup title, thus the first Double winner in the country.[16] The second championship title was won in 1948–49 season.[17] Partizan played its home games on the old BSK stadium until 1949, when its own stadium was built on the same site and named JNA Stadium (Stadium of Yugoslav People's Army). In 1950, the club evolved from a football section of the Army into independent club under the umbrella organization JSD Partizan (Yugoslav Sports Association Partizan). The first clubs president became Ratko Vujović. In 1953, the remaining formal connections between the club and the Army ceased. Although during the 1950s Partizan had a very strong squad, led by national team players like Bobek, Čajkovski, Miloš Milutinović, Marko Valok, Bruno Belin, Tomislav Kaloperović and Branko Zebec, the club had a long break without winning a championship, only winning cup titles in 1952, 1954 and 1957. Despite the absence of domestic titles, Partizan's great performances on high quality tournaments throughout Europe gained them significant continental reputation. On 4 September 1955, Partizan participated in the first ever Champions Cup match, in Lisbon against Sporting CP. The final result was 3–3, with Miloš Milutinović becoming the first scorer in a most prestigious club competition in Europe.

Partizan's babies – the first European final (1958–1966)

1966 European Cup Final starting lineup (coach: Abdulah Gegić)

By the mid-1950s, the first big Partizan generation was well over its peak. Only two titles and four cups in its first 15 years of existence were not enough for a club of Partizan's stature, ambition and popularity. In 1958, the club left way behind 13 years of playing in blue-red kits and adopted the now famous black and white colors. The change in the club's image and appearance was followed by radical changes in the playing squad. The number of young players, offsprings of Partizan's own youth ranks known as Partizanove bebe (The Partizan's babies), soon emerged into one of the best generations Europe's ever seen. The rise of the generation began with Milutin Šoškić, Fahrudin Jusufi, Jovan Miladinović, Velibor Vasović, Milan Galić, Ilija Mitić, Zvezdan Čebinac and Vladica Kovačević. Very soon, they were joined by Lazar Radović, Velimir Sombolac, Ljubomir Mihajlović and Mustafa Hasanagić, and finally Ivan Ćurković, Josip Pirmajer, Branko Rašović and Radoslav Bečejac. Managers Illés Spitz, Florijan Matekalo and Stjepan Bobek monitored and guided their development. The decision to rely mostly on talented youngsters scouted trough all over the country quickly gave results – Partizan took three consecutive championship titles, in 1961,[18] 1962[19] and 1963,[20] the first title hat-trick in the Yugoslav First League. Efficient and attractive performances earned the club its popular nickname "Parni valjak" ("The Steamroller"). In 1964–65, the team added the fourth title in five years[21] (interrupted by city rival Red Star during the 1963–64 season). As early as the 1960s, a fierce and intense rivalry grew up between Partizan and Red Star.

The 1965–66 European Cup campaign was the crown of this generation's career. After eliminating French Nantes (2–0, 2–2) and German champion Werder Bremen (3–0, 1–0) in the first two rounds, Partizan were drawn against Sparta Prague in the quarter-finals. In the first leg, held in Prague, Partizan suffered a hard 4–1 defeat. Although they were not given any chances in the return leg in Belgrade, Partizan pulled off a convincing 5–0 win in front of 50,000 spectators,[22] and with aggregate score 6–4 qualified for the semifinals. The semi-finals would see Partizan taking part in an emotional tie that would bring Manchester United, in their first season back in the European Cup after the Munich air disaster, returning to the scene of their final game, at the JNA Stadium, before embarking on that fateful journey home (on the way home from a European Cup quarter-final victory against Red Star, which was played at JNA Stadium, the aircraft carrying the Manchester United players, officials and journalists crashed while attempting to take off after refuelling in Munich).Manchester United, led by George Best and Bobby Charlton, awaited finally them on the last step to the finals. Partizan won the first leg at JNA Stadium 2–0,[23] and resisted the heavy pressure on Old Trafford, conceding only once; with a 2–1 aggregate scoreline, they eliminated the English giants.[24] Partizan's babies achieved the greatest success in history of Partizan, a place in the 1966 European Cup final against Real Madrid. The final game was played on 11 May at Heysel Stadium, Brussels. Until the 70th minute, Partizan was 1–0 up through a goal by Velibor Vasović, but ultimately lost to the Spaniards 2–1.[25] Partizan may have come close to a famous victory, but they had now missed their chance as the side was immediately broken up with their star players heading west. Still, Partizan became the first club from the Balkans and Eastern Europe to have played in a European Cup final.[26]

Crisis (1966–1976)

The sudden increase in the reputation of Partizan team was not followed by increase in the organizational structure. After the defeat in the finals, club administration failed to operate on a higher level, and Partizan entered a long organizational crisis. All main players signed contracts with biggest Western clubs, and the promising generation was scattered. Milutin Šoškić went to 1. FC Köln, Milan Galić to Standard Liège, Vladica Kovačević to Nantes, Fahrudin Jusufi to Eintracht Frankfurt and Velibor Vasović, who had scored in the final, was transferred to Ajax where he would come to feature again in the European Cup. Thus followed a period of mediocre results, and for a decade not a single trophy was won. Few players remained from the previous generation, including Milan Damjanović, Blagoje Paunović and Borivoje Đorđević. In a short period of time, numerous managers were in position. The arrival of the talented young players Momčilo Vukotić, who came through Partizan's youth ranks, and Nenad Bjeković from Proleter Zrenjanin, announced better days for the Black & Whites.

The brief return - the first European trophy (1976–1982)

On 11 July 1976, in Ljubljana, Partizan played the last game of the season against Olimpija and needed a win to clinch the title ahead of rivals Hajduk Split. In the last second before the final whistle, Nenad Bjeković scored the winning goal and Partizan won 0–1. The seventh championship trophy was finally won,[27] after full decade of waiting, by the new generation of players, such as Momčilo Vukotić, Bjeković, Rešad Kunovac, Ilija Zavišić, Refik Kozić, Ivan Golac, Radmilo Ivančević, Boško Đorđević, Nenad Stojković. Partizan then won its eighth title in 1977–78,[28] enforced with Nikica Klinčarski, Petar Borota, Slobodan Santrač, Aleksandar Trifunović, Xhevat Prekazi and Pavle Grubješić. That same year, Partizan won its first European trophy, the Mitropa Cup. The Black & Whites finished first in Group A, ahead of Perugia and Zbrojovka Brno and defeated Hungarian side Honvéd in the finals, 1–0. Its manager was Ante Mladinić. Unexpectedly, the following 1978–79 season turned out to be the worst in Partizan history: they finished 15th in the league, barely avoiding relegation with a 4–2 victory against Budućnost in the last fixture. The new crisis was serious, which reflected in the results next season, when Partizan finished 13th. It took a two more seasons, but Partizan eventually recovered.

Memorable years (1982–1991)

When Momčilo Vukotić, Nenad Stojković and Nikica Klinčarski were joined by Ljubomir Radanović, Zvonko Živković, Zoran Dimitrijević and Dragan Mance, another great generation was formed. Partizan became champion for 1982–83 season, in large part due to extraordinary performances of a young Dragan Mance.[29] He helped Partizan win the league by scoring 15 goals, and immediately became a fan favourite. He also led the club in their 1984–85 UEFA Cup second round tie against Queens Park Rangers, one of the most memorable matches in the club's history. QPR won the first leg 6–2, but Partizan advanced after a 4–0 return victory.[30] A goal which Mance scored against the English side is considered as one of the most remarkable goals in the history of Partizan. That match was voted 70th among the Top 100 greatest matches in the history of football in a poll organized by Eurosport in September 2009.[31] On 3 September 1985, the players tragically lost their teammate and the fans lost their idol – Mance died in a car crash on Novi Sad-Belgrade highway.[32] He was only 22 years old, and at the peak of his popularity. Even today, Mance is considered to be the greatest club legend by the fans of Partizan. In his honour, the street next to the club's stadium in Belgrade has carried his name since 2011.[33]

In 1985–86, Partizan won the title with a 4–0 win over Željezničar due to better goal difference than second-placed Red Star.[34] However, Yugoslav FA President Slavko Šajber decided that the entire last round of fixtures had to be replayed after accusations that certain results had been fixed. Partizan refused to replay its match, after which the game was awarded 3–0 to Željezničar, and the title was given to Red Star, who thus got to play in 1986–87 European Cup. Because of these events, 12 clubs started the next 1986–87 season with a deduction of six points, Partizan among them. Vardar, who had not been deducted six points, won the title and subsequently participated in 1987–88 European Cup. However, after a sequence of appeals and lawsuits which eventually led to Yugoslav Constitutional Court, the original final table of 1985–86, with Partizan as champions, was officially recognized in mid-1987. Also, the points deduction from 1986–87 season was annulled and the title was given to Partizan, who headed the table without the deduction. These controversial events prevented the generation of Milko Đurovski, Fahrudin Omerović, Zvonko Varga, Vladimir Vermezović, Admir Smajić, Goran Stevanović, Nebojša Vučićević, Miloš Đelmaš, Srečko Katanec, Fadil Vokrri and Bajro Župić from showing their full potential in Europe.

Former Partizan striker Predrag Mijatović.

Partizan spent the final years in Yugoslavia undergoing significant organizational changes. In 1989, former goalkeeper Ivan Ćurković became club president while Mirko Marjanović became the president of Partizan's executive board. Most important, Partizan players in these final years were Predrag Mijatović, Slaviša Jokanović, Predrag Spasić, Dragoljub and Branko Brnović, Budimir Vujačić, Vujadin Stanojković, Darko Milanič and Džoni Novak. However, this great generation was overshadowed by their crosstown rival Red Star and its rampage through domestic league, Europe and the world. Partizan only won the 1989 national cup, 32 years after the last victory in that competition. The last trophy won before the breakup of Yugoslavia was the 1989 Yugoslav Super Cup, the first and the only one organized. In 1987, Partizan signed Chinese national team players Jia Xiuquan and Liu Haiguang and they entered history as they, along Xie Yuxin and Gu Guangming, were the first Chinese footballers ever to have played in Europe.[35]

Dark decade and domestic success (1990s)

After the death of President Josip Broz Tito in 1980, ethnic tension grew in Yugoslavia, with the follow, that in the early 1990s the Yugoslav state began to fall apart, and the civil war broke out. At the end of May in 1992, the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions against the country, which led to political isolation, economic decline and hyperinflation of the Yugoslav dinar, and finally dislodged Yugoslav football from the international scene. The disintegration of Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav wars from 1991 to 1995, the resulting difficulties, as well as the sanctions had hit all Yugoslav clubs hard. After the breakup of SFR Yugoslavia in 1991, a new Yugoslavia was formed out from Serbia and Montenegro and was named FR Yugoslavia. Notwithstanding, Partizan won during the war two titles in a row, in 1993 and 1994. The next two championships Partizan won came in 1996 and 1997, but after only few years of peace, the Yugoslav clubs stood again before difficult times. Between 1998 and 1999, peace was broken again because the situation in Kosovo worsened with continued clashes between Yugoslav security forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army. The confrontations led to the Kosovo War and finally to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, which started four days after the 112th Red Star–Partizan derby, and this without a UN Mandate,[36] meaning without the permission of the United Nations (UN). The bombing campaign was criticized, especially for the number of civilian casualties that resulted from the bombing.[37] By this time, Partizan won in 1999 a further championship title, again during a war.

During these turbulent 1990s, the club won also several national cups, this in 1992, 1994 and 1998. The key man for these trophies was Ljubiša Tumbaković, who became the most successful manager in Partizan's history. In 1997, Partizan was reintroduced to European competitions following the lift of the UEFA ban on clubs from FR Yugoslavia, but while the national team continued where they had stopped in the spring of 1992, the clubs had all their results erased and were treated as the beginners in the European competitions. The decision met with incomprehension among the club officials of the Yugoslav clubs. That decision will have long-term catastrophic consequences for Partizan – instead of enjoying the merits of its own many-year work, they would get harder opponents from the start and the competition would start already in July. This decade has been marked by numerous team changes and the circle of selling the best players to richer European clubs after just a couple of seasons of first-team football and replacing them with fresh young talents. Many players are credited with the successes of the nineties, such as Predrag Mijatović, Slaviša Jokanović, Savo Milošević, Albert Nađ, Dragan Ćirić, Zoran Mirković, Saša Ćurčić, Branko Brnović, Goran Pandurović, Dražen Bolić, Niša Saveljić, Damir Čakar, Budimir Vujačić, Ivan Tomić, Gjorgji Hristov, Đorđe Tomić, Ivica Kralj, Mateja Kežman and many others.

Domination in Serbia and reestablishment in Europe (2000–2012)

The new millennium has arrived, but the goals remain the same. In the last 12 years, Partizan has won eight national championships, four cups and managed to qualify two times for the UEFA Champions League and five times for the UEFA Europa League. Led by Ljubiša Tumbaković, the club won two championship titles in a row, in 2001–02[38] and 2002–03.[39] In Europe, Partizan did not have much success in those seasons, though the next one would become its best season in Europe after 1965–66, where it reached the 1966 European Cup final.

First time in Champions League (2003–2007)

The club's management took the 2003 season very seriously, appointing as its new coach the former World Player of the Year Lothar Matthäus, and brought some top and experienced players like Taribo West from 1.FC Kaiserslautern, Ljubinko Drulović from Benfica and Tomasz Rząsa from Feyenoord. For the first time in its history, the club played in the UEFA Champions League after eliminating Bobby Robson's Newcastle United. In Belgrade, Partizan lost by 0–1, but in rematch at St James's Park, they won by Ivica Iliev's goal in regular time and reached the group stages after a penalty shoot-out.[40] Later on, Partizan was drawn in a tough group with Real Madrid (the previous year's Champions League semi-finalist), Porto (the winner of the 2002–03 UEFA Cup and the eventual winner of the competition) and Marseille (the eventual runners-up of the 2003–04 UEFA Cup).[41] The Partizan Stadium was a tough ground for the opposition and the team did not lost a home game, playing out a 0–0 draw with Real Madrid's famous Galácticos, which included players such as Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luís Figo, Roberto Carlos, Raúl and David Beckham; a 1–1 draw with Porto, led by coach José Mourinho; and Marseille, with its superstars Fabien Barthez and Didier Drogba, while playing some inspired football in the away match in Madrid (0–1), Marseille (0–3) and Porto (1–2). They are the first, and so far the only, Serbian team to qualify for the main draw of this elite European club competition since its inception in 1992.

Playing in Europe was reflected in the championship, and Partizan lost the title. New coach Vladimir Vermezović taken the charge of a team and he superiorly won the championship in 2005. Also, he became the only coach who has managed to take the team to the knockout stage of a European competition since new format. That happened in the 2004–05 UEFA Cup, where Partizan reached the round-of-16. Later on, he was eliminated by CSKA Moscow, the eventual winner of the competition. Poor results in domestic and international competitions in 2006 prompted the club's officials to look for a new head coach. First, Jürgen Röber was brought in, then later Miodrag Ješić, though neither succeeded in winning the domestic title. Although Partizan has managed to qualify for the 2006–07 UEFA Cup group stage,[42] that season was viewed as a failure.

Period under coach Slaviša Jokanović (2007–2009)

Former Partizan player Slaviša Jokanović were appointed as Partizan's new head coach,[43] with the club also adding a new sport director in Ivan Tomić. The club strengthened its squad with some foreigners like Juca,[44] Almami Moreira and Lamine Diarra. The 2007–08[45] and 2008–09 season[46] will remain as one of the most successful in club's domestic history. In 2008–09, the club successfully defended their league and cup double from the 2007–08 season, the first time this occurred its history. But in Europe, Partizan suffered a real shock: UEFA expelled Partizan from the 2007–08 UEFA Cup season and fined the club €30,056 due to crowd trouble at their away qualifying match against Zrinjski Mostar,[47] which forced the match to be interrupted for ten minutes. UEFA judged travelling Partizan fans to have been the culprits of the trouble,[48] but Partizan were allowed to play the return leg while the appeal was being processed.[49] Partizan's appeal, however, was rejected and Zrinjski Mostar qualified for the next round, although Partizan beat them by an aggregate score of 11–1. Next season, the club enforced its squad with Brazilian striker Cléo;[50] Partizan demolished Welsh champions Rhyl with a score of 8–0 (12–0 on aggregate) on 21 July 2009.[51] This score is their largest ever winning margin in European competitions. After relegation from the Champions League, Partizan qualified two times in a row for the second tier of UEFA competition. The Black & Whites played in the 2008 UEFA Cup[52] and 2009 Europa League[53] group stage but as the same in 2007, the club did not advance any further.

Recent years (2010–present)

After Jokanović, the club decided to give a chance to the young coach and former Partizan footballer Aleksandar Stanojević.[54] He become the youngest head coach in history of Partizan Belgrade. Stanojević took over the club in very difficult period and managed to win the championship in 2010,[55] although Partizan was 10 points behind from the 1st placed Red Star Belgrade. In the 2011, the club won the double.[56] In UEFA competitions, Partizan qualified for the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League after beating RSC Anderlecht for the second time. At the Partizan Stadium the result was 2–2. In Brussels at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium result was also 2–2. The key man was Cléo, who scored two goals against the Belgians. After penalty drama, Partizan reached again the UEFA Champions League group stage.[57] Now, the draw for the group phase decided that Partizan will play in group H, alongside Arsenal London, Shakhtar Donetsk (the winner of the 2008–09 UEFA Cup) and S.C. Braga (the eventual runner-up of the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League).[58] On the matchday 1, Partizan lost against Shakhtar on Donbass Arena in Donetsk (0–1). Next game Partizan played against Arsenal at Partizan Stadium and lost 1–3 after they played inspired football with a 10 man in last 30 min's of the match. In two matches against Sporting Braga, Partizan failed to score and they lost both games (0–2 in Braga; 0–1 in Belgrade). The last two rounds in the group have also brought inspired football, but unfortunately it wasn't enough so Shakhtar Donetsk and The Gunners defeated Partizan once again, 0–3 in Belgrade and 1–3 at the Emirates Stadium.

In the following season, the elimination during the 2012 Europa League qualifying stage, didn't affect the club in national championship, but after the half-season, Stanojević was released. Partizan then signed former Chelsea manager Avram Grant,[59] who was able to preserve the lead from the half-season. He led Partizan to their fifth consecutive league title but lost three times against fierce rivals Red Star.[60] Grant resigned[60] and former Partizan manager Vladimir Vermezović returned to Belgrade in May 2012. Partizan did not qualify for the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League, but did gain a place in the 2012-13 UEFA Europa League group stage. Because of poor results in the second part of national championship, Vermezović was dismissed and replaced by Vuk Rašović.[61] Following the victory in the eternal derby and in pre-last round, Rašović secured a sixth consecutive title, a total of 25th in history of the club.[62] As a champion of the Serbian SuperLiga for 2012–13 season, Partizan managed to equalize a national record by the number of championship titles won.[62]

Partizan after 1 year pause entered at the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League by beating Neftchi total score 5–3 (3–2 at home and 1–2 away).[63] Partizan is after the draw, placed in Group C with Tottenham Hotspur, Beşiktaş and Asteras Tripoli.[64] Partizan began the Europa League in excellent form and remained undefeated against the English giant Tottenham, but in the next four games, the club were defeated. The 2014–15 season was a successful for Partizan, winning the Serbian championship and securing passage to the group stage of the Europa League.

During the subsequent summer transfer window in 2015, Partizan brought several signings with ambitions to qualify for the Champions League after a five-year hiatus. The 2015–16 season for Partizan began on 14 July 2015 by defeating Georgian side Dila Gori 1–0 in the second round of qualifying for the Champions League.[65] Partizan also won the second leg 0–2. In the third round, Partizan drew Steaua București, wher in the first leg it played-out a 1–1 draw. In the second leg, at Partizan Stadium, despite Partizan trailing 1–2 at half-time, a comeback through goals by Marko Jevtović, Andrija Živković and Nikola Trujić led to a 4–2 victory and the opportunity to play in the Champions League playoffs for the first time in five years.[66] In the draw for the play–off for the Champions League, Partizan pulled BATE Borisov.[67] In the first leg in Barysaw, Partizan played more than 45 minutes a man down, and lost 1–0.[68] In the second match in Belgrade, Partizan won 2–1, but BATE qualified for the Champions League group stage on away goals.[69]

After falling out of the play–off for the Champions League, Partizan has directly entered the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League. The club was placed in Group L alongside Athletic Bilbao, AZ and FC Augsburg.[70] On 17 September 2015, in the first match of the group stage, Partizan has played an excellent match against AZ, winning 3–2 and also marking the first victory for Partizan in the group stage of some a European competition since 16 December 2009, when Partizan defeated Shakhtar Donetsk 1–0 in the Europa League group stage.[71] On 1 October 2015, Partizan won 1–3 against Augsburg away at the WWK ARENA with a ten men.[72] In the next two matches, both against Athletic Bilbao, Partizan lost twice (0–2 in Belgrade and 5–1 in Bilbao). On 26 November 2015, Partizan earned its second win of the group stage against AZ at the AFAS Stadion, a comeback victory led by Aboubakar Oumarou and Andrija Živković goals in the 1–2 away win.

Crest and colours

In October 1945, Partizan adopted as their first crest a blue disc with a yellow bordered red five-pointed star in the middle, which symbolized communism,[73] and contained the abbreviation JA (Jugoslovenska Armija, The Yugoslav Army) inside it. Later on, the central circle became white with a red five-pointed star in it. It was surrounded by a larger blue circle in which the words "the Yugoslav Army" were written, while both circles were bordered by a yellow circle with a green wreath over it. At the bottom of the emblem was a shield with red and white lines, and on the top were five torches, each representing one of the five nations of Yugoslavia (Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians and Montenegrins). This was a clear reference to the National Emblem of Yugoslavia.[74]

In the early 1950s, Partizan was separated from the Yugoslav Army and for the first time the team's name was written in the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. The inscription of the Yugoslav Army was removed from the crest, along with the green wreath, and was replaced by the words Sportsko Društvo (Sports association). Partizan used this emblem until 1958, although it changed its equipment colors of blue and red to black and white a year before. The crest was also changed to be completely black and white, and Sportsko Društvo was amended into Jugoslovensko Sportsko Društvo (Yugoslav Sports Association), while the five red torches and the five-pointed star remained.[74] It was slightly redesigned after 1963 by adding a sixth torch to reflect the change of the official state emblem, which now included six torches representing six Yugoslav republics,[73] instead of the previous five representing the nations. The crest remained unchanged until the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Typical Partizan kit

By 1992, with Yugoslavia fragmenting, instead of "Jugoslovensko Sportsko Društvo", the word "Fudbalski klub" ("football club") were inserted and this crest remains in use too this day. The author of the crest was academic painter Branko Šotra.[74] In the 2007–08 season, Partizan won its 20th national championship and added two stars above their crest, symbolizing the 20 titles won.[75][74] However, there is an alternative crest, which Partizan supporters call the "shovel" but it is never used in official matches.[74]

I'm responsible because Partizan adopted black and white colors. I suggested change of shirts on behalf of the whole team, to club's general secretary Artur Takač. It all happened while we were on tour in South America, and when we played a friendly match against Juventus in 1957. We got as gift two sets of their jerseys, as they were delighted with our game. All the players were thrilled with the quality and color of the new uniforms, and they asked me to wear them all the time, which happened at the end, and Partizan's colors has remained black and white to this day.

Stjepan Bobek, in an informal interview with the Belgrade media.[76]

For most of its history, Partizan has played in black and white striped jerseys, but during its earliest days it used entirely dark red, blue or white jerseys.[77] In 1950, Partizan briefly had an all-white shirt with a blue diagonal stripe, besides an all blue shirt.[77] From 1952, the first red-blue striped and quartered jerseys appeared.[77] In 1957, the club was on tour in South America and after a friendly game with Juventus, a president of the Italian club, Umberto Agnelli, donated the club two sets of black and white jerseys.[76] Since then, Partizan has played mainly in black and white striped shirts,[77] with black or white shorts and socks.[78] But there were exceptions, like in 1974, when they wore a black and white hooped shirt, and 1982, when they have played in a plain white jerseys with a thick black stripe across them.[77] In 1990, the red and blue jersey returned after more than 30 years, in an away match against Hibernians during the UEFA Cup campaign. All this time, the away shirts have been mostly either all white or occasionally red-blue striped, but in recent years an all-black strip is usually used.[77]

Stadium and training ground

The stadium's name is Partizan Stadium, although it was known as JNA Stadium (Stadion Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija, or "Stadium of the Yugoslav People's Army") for most of its history, and even today, a lot of football fans in all countries of the former-Yugoslavia call it by its old name. Partizan supporters sometimes call it "Fudbalski Hram" (The Temple of Football).[79]

The stadium is situated in the Savski venac municipality, in central Belgrade. Designed by architect Mika Janković, the ground was built on the site of BSK Stadium.[80] It was officially opened on Day of Yugoslav People's Army on 22 December 1951.[81] The first match ever played was between Yugoslavia and France on 9 October 1949.[1] The stadium had a capacity of 55,000 until it was renovated in 1998 following UEFA security regulations.[1] This led to the conversion of the stadium into an all-seater reducing the capacity to 32,710,[1] currently the second largest stadium in Serbia, behind the Red Star Stadium.[79]

The ground has also been used for a variety of other sport events since 1949. It was used from the mid-fifties until 1987 as the final point of yearly festivities called the Youth Day.[82] Also, it was the host of the 1962 European Athletics Championships, a place for various concerts and it hosted many times the Yugoslav Cup and Serbian Cup final.[83][84]

A panorama of Partizan Stadium from the north stand.

Partizan youth school and affiliates

The Partizan youth school, called Youth School Belin – Lazarević – Nadoveza, was founded in the 1950s and named after former Partizan players Bruno Belin, Čedomir Lazarević and Branko Nadoveza.[85] The club is well known for its dedicated work with youngsters.[85] Its training philosophy is not only the development of football players, but also to care of their growth and personality forming, while also teaching the sporting spirit.[85] There are around 400 youngsters classified by age categories.[85] There are six age groups, four compete at the level of the Football Association of Serbia, the U17, U16, U15 and U14, while the U13 and U12 compete at the level of the Football Association of Belgrade.[85] Below U12 level there are no official competitions, but players do play in tournaments and friendly matches.[85]

Partizan is the club with the most league titles and cup wins in youth competition in Serbia.[85] The youth teams also participate in numerous tournaments around Europe and also organize an U17 international tournament with participation of some of the top European clubs.[85] Partizan also organizes football camps for children in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Australia[85][86] and the United States.[86][87] Many of the best youth-academy players move directly to the Partizan senior side, or to the affiliate club Teleoptik Zemun.[85]

All of Partizan's youth categories train at the Partizan sports complex named SC Partizan-Teleoptik, along with Partizan's seniors and the players of Teleoptik.[88] Partizan has won several awards for its youth work, including "Best European Youth Work" in 2006,[89] and the club's youth school has been declared the second-best in Europe after that of Ajax.[90] Partizan's academy has produced numerous professional football players or Yugoslav and Serbian internationals. Notable players from the recent past include Stefan Babović, Miralem Sulejmani, Stevan Jovetić, Adem Ljajić, Matija Nastasić, Lazar Marković, Miloš Jojić, Zoran Tošić and Aleksandar Mitrović.


Main article: Grobari
Partizan's fans, the Grobari, celebrating the club's 19th league title won in 2005.

According to a 2008 domestic poll, Partizan is the second-most popular football club in Serbia, behind Red Star Belgrade.[10] The club has a large fanbase in Montenegro,[11] Bosnia and Herzegovina (especially in the Serb entity of Republika Srpska),[11] and Croatia. They also have many supporters in all other former-Yugoslav republics like Macedonia,[12] Slovenia,[91] and among the Serbian diaspora, especially in Germany,[92] Austria,[92] Switzerland,[91] Sweden,[92] Canada, Malta, the United States and Australia.

The organized supporters of Partizan are called Grobari ("The Gravediggers" or "Undertakers"),[93] which were formed in 1970 and situated mainly on the south stand of the Partizan Stadium; therefore, they are also known as Grobari Jug ("The Undertakers South").[92] Even some ordinary Partizan fans often refer to themselves as Grobari. The nickname itself was given by their sporting rivals Delije of Red Star, referring to the club's mostly black colours which were similar to the official uniforms of cemetery undertakers.[93] The other theory is that the name comes from a misinterpretation of the name of the street on which Partizan's stadium is located – "Humska" ("humka" roughly translates as "grave" or "entombment"),[92] when actually the street was named after Serbian medieval land of Hum, nowadays part of Herzegovina and South Dalmatia. The Grobari support all clubs in the Partizan Sports Association and in the course of time they have become recognizable by their noisy and constant cheering as well as their devotion and loyalty to the club.[94] The basis of their cheering is referred in the Serbian fan scene as the principle of "srce, ruke, glas" (heart, hands, voice) or "glas i dlan" (voice and palms),[94] along with songs in distinctive style.[94] The Grobari as a whole maintain a close friendship with the organized supporters of PAOK and CSKA Moscow,[95][96] which started originally because of the two supporters' common Orthodox faith and similar founding backgrounds. It has been suggested that "many ultras took part in the armed conflicts and carry their scars today, translating the tribal nature of the Yugoslav wars to their clubs and ultras groups".[97]


See also: Derby of Serbia
File:Beograd 7747.jpg
Red Star Belgrade – Partizan match in Belgrade

Partizan's biggest rivalry is with Red Star Belgrade.[98] The matches between these rivals have been labeled as the Eternal derby (Serbian: Вечити дерби, Večiti derbi) or Belgrade derby.[98] The rivalry started immediately after the creation of the two clubs. Red Star was founded for Yugoslav youth and Partizan as the football section of the Yugoslav People's Army.[98] The rivalry is also intensified by the fact that both clubs have their stadiums situated only a few hundred metres apart.[98] The Eternal derby is particularly noted for the passion of both supporters groups. The stands of both teams feature fireworks, coloured confetti, flags, rolls of paper, torches, smoke, drums, giant posters and choreographies, used to create visual grandeur and apply psychological pressure on the visiting teams, hence the slogan, "Welcome to Hellgrade".[99] Some fans use sometimes also trumpets, similar to the supporters in South America. This creates for the region a typical and distinctive Balkan Brass Band atmosphere. Both sets of supporters sing passionate songs against their rivals, and the stadiums are known to bounce with the simultaneous jumping of the fans. The duel is regarded by Bleacher Report as one of the greatest football rivalries in the world.[100] Along with the Old Firm, the Rome derby and the Istanbul derby, the Belgrade derby is known as one of the most intense rivalries in European football.[101] In 2009, the Daily Mail ranked the Eternal Derby fourth among the ten greatest football rivalries of all-time.[102] The largest attendance at a derby match was about 100,000 spectators (90,142 with paid tickets) on 7 November 1976 at the Red Star Stadium.[103] The biggest win was 7–1 for Partizan on 6 December 1953 at the Partizan Stadium[103][104] but the club with the most victories is Red Star.

Other rivalries include derby with neighbouring Zemun,[105] regional rivalry with Vojvodina with whom they contest the Derby of Serbia and Belgrade derbies with Rad and OFK Belgrade.


Partizan in European football

UEFA competitions

Partizan's best European performance was in the 1965–66 season, when they reached the Final of the European Cup/Champions League.

The first game in the history of the UEFA Champions League/European Cup were between Partizan and Sporting CP. The match was played in Lisbon and final score was 3–3.

Notable wins

Season Match Score
UEFA Champions League/ European Cup
1955–56 Partizan – Real Madrid 3 – 0
1965–66 Partizan – Manchester United 2 – 0
2003–04 Newcastle United – Partizan 0 – 1
2010–11 Anderlecht – Partizan 2 – 2 (2–3 p)
Europa League / UEFA Cup
1984–85 Partizan – Queens Park Rangers 4 – 0
2002–03 Sporting CP – Partizan 1 – 3
2004–05 Partizan – Egaleo 4 – 0
2004–05 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk – Partizan 0 – 1
2015–16 FC Augsburg – Partizan 1 – 3
2015–16 AZ – Partizan 1 – 2

Current ranking

Rank Team Coeff.
110 Romania CFR Cluj 17.076
111 Serbia Partizan 16.925
112 England Southampton 16.556
113 England Hull City 16.556
114 France Montpellier 16.549


Overall, Partizan have won 41 official titles including 26 national championships, 13 national cups, 1 national super cup and 1 Mitropa Cup.[3]

The club has earned the honour of being allowed to wear two Golden Stars for Sport Excellence on its shirts representing its league victories, the 10th of which was achieved during the 1985–86 season and the 20th in the 2007–08 season.[74]

National Championships – 26

National Cups – 13

Yugoslav Supercup – 1

    • Winners (1): 1989


Other Tournaments

Club records

Partizan's record-holder by number of appearances is player Momčilo Vukotić. He played 791 games in two turns, from 1968 and 1978 and from 1979 and 1984.[106] The goal-scoring record-holder is striker Stjepan Bobek, with 425 goals.[107] Over 150 footballers from Partizan have played for the Yugoslav and Serbian national football teams.[108] Stjepan Bobek held the Yugoslavian national team record with 38 goals,[109] with second place being shared by Savo Milošević and Milan Galić, who scored 37 goals each.[109]

Partizan are record-holders of the Yugoslav First League in terms of points acquired during a campaign, with 107, and are the only league-winning team to have gone undefeated during one season (in 2005 and 2010). Partizan became the first champion of Yugoslavia in 1947, the first Yugoslav Cup winner, also in 1947, and therefore also the first double winner in the country. They won three consecutive championship titles, in 1961, 1962 and 1963, the first title hat-trick in the history of the Yugoslav First League.[110] Partizan won the most national championships since the dissolution of Yugoslavia, becoming champions 13 times. They are the only Serbian club ever, since the first nationwide domestic football competition in 1923, to win six consecutive national titles, not leaving the throne since the 2007–08 season.[111]

The club holds records such as playing in the first European Champions Cup match in 1955,[112] becoming the first Balkan and Eastern European club to play in the European Champions Cup final in 1966,[7] and becoming the first club from Serbia to take part in the UEFA Champions League group stages in 2003.[113] The club's greatest victory in European competitions was 8–0 against Welsh champions Rhyl in qualifying for the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League.[114]


Current squad

As of 15 February 2016[115]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
2 Bulgaria DF Ivan Bandalovski
4 Serbia DF Miroslav Vulićević
5 Serbia DF Miladin Stevanović
6 Slovenia DF Gregor Balažic
7 Serbia MF Nemanja Mihajlović
8 Serbia MF Darko Brašanac
9 Serbia FW Dušan Vlahović
11 Ivory Coast FW Ismael Beko Fofana
12 Serbia GK Filip Kljajić
14 Serbia DF Miroslav Bogosavac
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Aleksandar Subić
20 Serbia MF Saša Lukić
21 Serbia MF Marko Jevtović
No. Position Player
22 Serbia MF Saša Ilić (captain)
25 Brazil MF Everton Luiz
27 Montenegro MF Nebojša Kosović
28 Serbia MF Ivan Petrović
30 Serbia MF Veljko Birmančević
31 Serbia DF Nikola Milenković
50 Serbia GK Bojan Šaranov
51 Ivory Coast DF Cèdric Gogoua
61 Serbia GK Marko Jovičić
80 Serbia MF Marko Golubović
86 Bulgaria FW Valeri Bojinov
91 Serbia MF Alen Stevanović

For recent transfers, see List of Serbian football transfers summer 2016.

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
31 Serbia DF Nikola Milenković (at dual registration with Teleoptik)
80 Serbia MF Marko Golubović (at dual registration with Teleoptik)
Serbia DF Miloš Perišić (at Teleoptik)
Serbia MF Uroš Damnjanović (at Sinđelić Belgrade)
Serbia MF Jovan Nišić (at Teleoptik)
Serbia MF Tomislav Todorović (at Teleoptik)
Serbia MF Nemanja Glavčić (at Teleoptik)
Montenegro MF Jovan Čađenović (at Teleoptik)
No. Position Player
Serbia GK Jovan Trnić (at Teleoptik)
Serbia DF Stefan Lukić (at Bežanija)
Serbia DF Stefan Grbović (at Teleoptik)
Serbia DF Nemanja Petrović (at Israel Maccabi Netanya)
Serbia DF Adnan Islamović (at Teleoptik)
Serbia MF Nemanja Stanimirović (at ČSK Čelarevo)
Serbia MF Filip Minić (at Borac Čačak)
Serbia MF Andrija Živković (at Teleoptik)

Former players

For the list of all Partizan players, see: List of FK Partizan players , and the ones with Wikipedia article, at Category:FK Partizan players.

Players with national team appearances. Flags indicate the national teams the players played for. Players that played for two different national teams have the flags of both national teams.[116]

Affiliated clubs

Club officials

Partizan technical staff

As of 23 June 2015, the staff includes:[117]

Current staff
  • Manager: Ivan Tomić
  • Assistant Manager/Coach: Žarko Lazetić
  • Assistant Manager/Coach: Dražen Bolić
  • Assistant Manager/Coach: Miloš Bašić
  • Goalkeeping Coach: Nemanja Jovšić
  • Fitness Coach: Miša Filipović
  • Fitness Coach: Aleksandar Tomić
  • Sports Psychologist: Vladimir Borković
  • Secretary of the coaching staff: Milan Milijaš
  • Doctor: Mr Sci.dr Ilija Rosić
  • Physiotherapist: Igor Krtinić
  • Physiotherapist: Viktor Vujošević
  • Physiotherapist: Dušan Nikolić
  • Equipment manager: Branko Vučićević
  • Equipment manager: Rade Vučićević
  • Equipment manager:Darko Milićev

Partizan management

As of 23 June 2015[118]

Current staff

Managerial history

Below is a list of Partizan managers from 1945 until the present day.[119]

Name Years
Franjo Glaser 1945–1946
Illés Spitz 1946–1951
Antun Pogačnik 1952–1953
Illés Spitz 1953
Milovan Ćirić 1953–1954
Illés Spitz 1954–1955
Aleksandar Tomašević 1955–1956
Kiril Simonovski 1956–1957
Florijan Matekalo 1957
Géza Kalocsay 1957–1958
Illés Spitz 1958–1960
Stjepan Bobek 1960–1963
Kiril Simonovski 1963
Marko Valok 1963–1964
Florijan Matekalo / Aleksandar Atanacković 1964
Marko Valok 1965
Abdulah Gegić 1965–1967
Stevan Vilotić 1967
Stjepan Bobek 1967–1969
Stevan Vilotić 1969
Kiril Simonovski 1969–1970
Gojko Zec 1970–1971
Velibor Vasović 1971–1973
Mirko Damjanović 1973–1974
Tomislav Kaloperović 1974–1976
Jovan Miladinović 1976
Ante Mladinić 1977–1978
Name Years
Florijan Matekalo / Jovan Miladinović 1979
Josip Duvančić 1979–1980
Tomislav Kaloperović 1980–1982
Miloš Milutinović 1982–1984
Nenad Bjeković 1984–1987
Fahrudin Jusufi 1987–1988
Momčilo Vukotić 1988–1989
Ivan Golac 1989–1990
Nenad Bjeković 1990
Miloš Milutinović 1990–1991
Ivica Osim 1991–1992
Ljubiša Tumbaković 1992–1999
Miodrag Ješić 1999–2000
Ljubiša Tumbaković 2000–2002
Lothar Matthäus 2002–2003
Vladimir Vermezović 2004–2005
Jürgen Röber 2005–2006
Miodrag Ješić 2006–2007
Miroslav Đukić 2007
Slaviša Jokanović 2007–2009
Goran Stevanović 2009–2010
Aleksandar Stanojević 2010–2012
Avram Grant 2012
Vladimir Vermezović 2012–2013
Vuk Rašović 2013
Marko Nikolić 2013–2015
Zoran Milinković 2015
Ljubinko Drulović 2015–2016
Ivan Tomić 2016–present

Club presidents

The full list of Partizan's presidents is given below.[120]

Name Years
Ratko Vujović 1950
Bogdan Vujošević 1952–1956
Đuro Lončarević 1956–1958
Martin Dasović 1958–1962
Dimitrije Pisković 1962–1963
Ilija Radaković 1963–1965
Vladimir Dujić 1965–1967
Mića Lovrić 1967–1971
Milosav Prelić 1971–1973
Vesa Živković 1973–1974
Predrag Gligorić 1974–1975
Name Years
Nikola Lekić 1975–1979
Vlada Kostić 1979–1981
Miloš Ostojić 1981–1983
Dragan Papović 1983–1987
Zdravko Lončar 1987–1988
Ivan Ćurković 1989–2006
Nenad Popović 2006–2007
Tomislav Karadžić 2007–2008
Dragan Đurić 2008–2014
Zoran Popović 2014–2015
Ivan Ćurković 2015–present

Ownership and finances

Partizan operates as a sports association, as part of Partizan Sports Association, which includes 26 clubs in different sports, but it has complete independence regarding organisation, management, finances, material goods and facilities. In 2010, the club's non-consolidated operating revenues amounted to 21.2 million and EBITDA amounted to €3.5 million.[121]

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers

*Only European and Domestic Cup matches

See also


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External links