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24 August 2017

Hadjuk Split fan violence against Everton was the tip of the iceberg – the Croatian side’s ultras once killed a cockerel on the pitch before facing Tottenham

EVERTON’S 2-0 first leg Europa League qualifier win last week was marred by ugly scenes which saw Hajduk Split fans attempt to attack Toffees supporters.

The game was temporarily suspended in the 33rd minute and the Croatian giants were subsequently charged with “throwing of objects”, “crowd disturbances”, “field invasions by supporters” and “acts of damages”.

A masked Hajduk fan ran on unchallenged in a Croatian League match against HNK Rijeka
A masked Hajduk fan ran on unchallenged in a Croatian League match vs Rijeka
PA:Press Association
Hadjuk fans have one of the most controversial reputations amongst football supporters
Hadjuk fans have one of the most controversial reputations amongst supporters
PA:Press Association

Everton, meanwhile, were also hit with a UEFA charge of “throwing of objects” and a hearing is anticipated soon.

And while Split’s reputation is largely built on acts of hooliganism there is more to what is a very complex club than simply acts of disorder and violence.

Ahead of Thursday’s second leg in Croatia, our friends at Football Whispers recall some of Hajduk Split’s highs and lows.

Split fan kills a cockerel before Spurs clash

Ahead of Tottenham’s 1984 UEFA Cup semi-final with Hajduk, a Split fan got onto the field armed with a live cockerel, proceeding to break its neck.

The violent act saw Split fined 3,000 Swiss Francs and landed the club a ban on playing fixtures within 300km of their home ground.


Hadjuk Split fans caused disturbances in the Europa League first leg at Goodison Park
Split fans caused disturbances in the Europa League first leg at Goodison Park
PA:Empics Sport
A Hadjuk fan is arrested in the Croatian League match against Rijeka
A Hadjuk fan is arrested in the Croatian League match against Rijeka
PA:Press Association

“The rooster was the symbol of Tottenham and the English fans were so arrogant. They thought they were bigger than God,” Anthony Barabbas later said.

“I’m sorry, really I was wrong. I can only blame my immeasurable love of Hajduk.”

History of Hadjuk's controversial fans

Hajduk Split celebrate 100th anniversary in style

While one fan will best be remembered for creating a bloody mess, Split supporters have shown a more artful side in the past.

In 2011 Split celebrated their 100th anniversary in style with Split fans decorating the city in the club’s colours with flags and graffiti. At midnight a spectacular show of rockets, flares and fireworks lit up the city’s skyline.

Meanwhile, in Prague where the club was formed by students 100 years earlier, celebrations also took place.

Hadjuk Split fans were in raucous mood at Goodison Park
Hadjuk Split fans were in raucous mood at Goodison Park
Getty – Contributor
History of Hadjuk's controversial fans

Fan chases referee with iron bar

In March of this year the first of several incidents blighted Hajduk. In second half stoppage time of their game against Rijeka, a masked Split fan ran onto the field wielding an iron bar.

He chased the referee and it took an intervention from Split skipper Zoran Nizic finally took control, escorting the hooligan from the field.

Hadjuk Split fans have a mixed reputation in Croatia and abroad
Hadjuk Split fans have a mixed reputation in Croatia and abroad
Getty – Contributor

Police finally took the fan away – after he refused to re-enter the terrace – and he was pelted with missiles from the stands.

The game, which had earlier been interrupted when a firework thrown onto the pitch, ended 1-1.


Hajduk Split handed three-year ban from Europe

In 1988 Split’s notorious Torcida firm – Europe’s oldest after being founded in 1950 – really came to prominence by rioting against Marseille.

Their actions saw the Croatian giants kicked out of Europe for three years. Beaten 4-0 in France in the first leg, the Torcida’s action in the return leg saw Split banned from Europe and handed a 3-0 aggregate loss.

Previous episodes included attacking a referee in 1961 after he disallowed a Hajduk goal and forcing the former Yugoslav army to abandon a stadium after attacking and injuring more than 40 officers.

In 2000 the Torcida invaded the pitch in an attempt to attack Partizan Belgrade players. A year later they rioted in a match against arch-rivals Dinamo Zagreb and five years ago, 180 members were arrested for their part in trouble at a Croatia v England game.

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Split supporters join forces with fire brigade 

Perhaps the Torcida’s finest hour came earlier this summer. With the city of Split engulfed in flames, Hajduk’s ultras put their coordination and organisation to use to help tackle the blaze.

Along with civilians, the army and firefighters they organised buses to escort those affected to safety and helped minimize damage.

“I want to thank the firefighters, members of the army, police, DUZS, the citizens who protected homes and members of the Torcia,” said Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic.

Hajduk fined for fans’ racist chanting

Split’s Europa League run has been marred by controversy. Before the trouble at Goodison Park, Hajduk supporters were found guilty of racist chanting against Levski Sofia.

Fined £45,000, they played the home leg against Brondby with a closed section at the Stadion Poljud.

Uefa have already opened disciplinary proceedings following the violence at Goodison Park and Hajduk will almost certainly play their next European home match behind closed doors.

Fireworks set off outside Hadjuk Split hotel 'by Levski Sofia hooligans' to keep opponents awake

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