Fudbalski klub Obilić (Serbian Cyrillic: Фудбалски клуб Обилић), commonly known as Obilić Belgrade or simply Obilić, was a Serbian football club based in Vračar, a neighbourhood of Belgrade. Named after medieval Serbian hero Miloš Obilić, a legendary 14th-century knight, the club currently competes in the Third Belgrade league - Group A (three divisions lower than the Belgrade Zone League).
|Full name||Fudbalski klub Obilić|
|Nickname(s)||Vitezovi (The Knights)|
|2014–15||Second Belgrade League (Dunav Division), 8th|
In its long history, Obilić Belgrade's most notable success occurred in 1998, when it became only the third club since the breakup of Yugoslavia to win the national league, winning the 1997–98 season. One of the two Belgrade football giants, Red Star Belgrade, former European and World Champion and Partizan, former European vice-champion, have won every other year.
Since the 2001–02 season, when it finished in fourth place, Obilić has declined steeply: a club which once competed in European club competitions has been relegated to the lowest tier of the Serbian football league system.
The club was founded in 1924 by the young Serbs Milan Petrović, Boža Popović, Danilo "Dača" Anastasijević, Petar Daničić, Dragutin Volić, and Svetislav Bošnjaković, the first secretary and goalkeeper. One year after its foundation, the club began playing competitively during the 1925–26 season as part of the Belgrade Football Subassociation, an organization under the umbrella of the Yugoslav Football Association. The Serbian football committee was very well organized and was divided into three tiers. Obilić enjoyed early success and moved to the first tier by the 1928–29 season. They would stay amongst the top having finished second once and third three times. This continued until World War II which dramatically changed the structure of Yugoslav football. During World War II, the club played in the Serbian Football League, which usually consisted of ten clubs, and the competition ran from 1941–1944 under specific wartime circumstances. Obilić's placement in that league was usually 3rd, right behind the famous Belgrade clubs BSK and SK Jugoslavija. In the 1942 season they finished 7th; however, that season they acquired Valok, Zečević, Lojančić, Anđelković and Dimitrijević in the team, securing the 3rd place again in 1943.
SFR Yugoslavia (1945–92)
After World War II, the name Obilić was banned by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia which had just taken over Yugoslavia. Considering the name to be "too Serbian" because of Miloš Obilić, a legendary 14th-century knight much celebrated in Serbian epic poetry, the authorities forced the club into changing it. The new name became FK Čuburac after Čubura, the neighbourhood where the ground was located. The next big event in the club's history occurred in 1952, when FK Šumadija merged into FK Čuburac. Combined they restored the previous name "Obilić" after the government changed its mind and finally let them use the historic name.
The club rose higher in the ranks in small steps. Starting from 1952, Obilić played in the Belgrade Second Division. In the 1972–73 season, the club finally won the division and was promoted to the Belgrade First Division. They stayed in that division until the 1981–82 season, when Obilić placed fourth in the Belgrade Zone League and moved up to the Serbian Second League North. Proving their momentum, they won the league the following season and were promoted to the Serbian First League. After several years, in the 1987–88 season, Obilić earned the right to compete in the inter-republic league North of the Yugoslav Third League. This was a huge moment for the club, having finally left the small regional leagues for European quality football, now playing against teams from all over Yugoslavia. The club stayed in that third division until the Yugoslav Wars.
During the Yugoslav Wars, all phases of life were affected, including football. In 1992, as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia fell apart, the Football Association of Yugoslavia had lost many clubs. Serbia and Montenegro remained united under the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Obilić was placed for the 1992–93 season in the newly created Second National League. It took only three years for the club to reach the First National League Group B. Previously, Obilić reached the 1994–95 Yugoslav Cup final, eventually losing to Red Star Belgrade. In the 1995–96 First League debut season, they began to show their potential future top tier competitiveness.
Arkan years (1996–2000)
In June 1996, the career criminal and paramilitary leader Željko Ražnatović "Arkan" took over Obilić and swiftly turned it into a top club. With him in charge, Obilić started their way to the top of Yugoslav football, where the cross-town powerhouses Red Star and Partizan had always been. In the 1996–97 season, the club finished the First National league Group B as 1st, and advanced further for the first time to the First National league Group A (then the league was divided into two groups, A and B, each consisting of 10 clubs). The next season was the premiere in the top, where they not only proved that they were a team that deserved to be there, but also that they were amongst the elite. In the 1997–98 season, led by coach Dragan Okuka, Obilić won the league and become the Champions of Yugoslavia for the first time in one of the most remarkable seasons ever seen in Yugoslav football. In the same season, Obilić also made it to the 1997–98 Yugoslav Cup final, but lost against Partizan and barely missed the double. In the first qualifying round of the 1998–99 UEFA Champions League season, Obilić defeated Icelandic club ÍBV by 4–1 on aggregate and played the second round against Germany's record champion Bayern Munich. In the first leg in Munich, Bayern won 4–0 and the return match ended 1–1. Finally, Obilić was eliminated by the eventual runners-up of the 1998–99 Champions League. In the domestic league, the club could not defend the title, but became the vice-championship of the 1998–99 season, and finished in third place during the 1999–2000 season. During this period Obilić made an impressive run of 47 consecutive league matches without defeat (Round 11 of the 1997–98 season until Round 2 of the 1999–2000 season).
However, this feat, unlike most, came with great controversy. According to a book by American journalist Franklin Foer, How Football Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, Ražnatović threatened players on opposing teams if they scored against Obilić. This threat was underlined by the many veterans from his military unit that filled their home ground, chanting threats, and on occasion pointing pistols at opposing players during matches. One player told the British football magazine FourFourTwo that he was locked in a garage when his team played Obilić.
Over the summer 1998, there was a possibility that UEFA would prohibit the club from participation in Europe because of the underworld connections of Obilić′s president. As a result, Ražnatović stepped away from the position of president and gave his seat to his wife Svetlana Ražnatović "Ceca", on 25 July 1998. Svetlana Ražnatović only held the role for a short period, giving the presidency to Žarko Nikolić who held it for about a year, then suddenly had a change of heart and on August 14, in 2000, became the president once again.
Silent fall (2000–present)
Under the leadership of club president Svetlana Ražnatović, Obilić achieved a third place in season 2000–01, and the season 2001–02, they finished the league as a fourth. This was the last time that Obilić would be considered to a top club in Yugoslavia. The next season, Obilić fell to the status of mediocre and finished the season as seventh. It was the beginning of decline in everything. The club who achieved European club competitions, began to sink continuously and slowly became a distant memory. In the 2003–04 season, they were still considered as average even though they managed to move up the rankings and get sixth. The 2004–05 season, Obilić fall outside of the top ten for the first time since its first arrival to the First League. Finally the end of the line Obilić was sent down to the Serbian First League after the season 2005–06. Obilić finished as 15th with only three wins the entire season. After only one year in the second division, Obilić has now again been relegated to the Serbian League Belgrade in the 2006–07 season. They finally relegated to Amateur Level in the 2007–08 season. In the 2008–09 season, Obilić finished on the bottom of the Belgrade Zone League and were relegated into the Belgrade First League. In 2010-11 season, Obilić finished last in Belgrade First League and were relegated into the Belgrade Second League. In season 2011-12, Obilić finished last and been relegated to the Belgrade Third League, 7 divisions under Serbia's elite football league. Once champions of the mighty Yugoslavian football league Obilić has fallen on hard times. In 2012-13 season Obilić finished champions in Group A of Belgrade Third League. Obilić won 18 of 20 matches and drew twice. Consequently, they promoted to Second Belgrade League. Obilić admitted to Belgrade First League but relegated to Belgrade Second League after collecting only 11 points in 26 matches in 2013-14 season.
The club's stadium is also named accordingly to venerate the Serbian knight it is called the Obilić Stadium with a capacity of about 4,550. The team was founded in 1924 and is recognized as one of the oldest active football clubs in Serbia.
When Miljan Miljanić stepped down from his presidential post at the Football Association of Yugoslavia in September 2001, the press jokingly cheered Svetlana Ražnatović's election for the post campaigning that she would have been the most beautiful president. However, former Red Star player Dragan Stojković, known lovingly by his nickname Piksi, was elected to the post.
Honours and achievements
Obilić in Europe
|1995–96||Cup Winners' Cup||Qualifying round||0–1 (H), 2–2 (A)|
|1998–99||Champions League||First qualifying round||2–0 (H), 2–1 (A)|
|Second qualifying round||0–4 (A), 1–1 (H)|
|UEFA Cup||First round||0–2 (A), 0–1 (H)|
|2000–01||Intertoto Cup||First round||1–3 (A), 1–1 (H)|
|2001–02||UEFA Cup||Qualifying round||4–0 (H), 1–1 (A)|
|First round||0–2 (A), 2–2 (H)|
|2002–03||Intertoto Cup||First round||1–2 (H), 1–1 (A)|
Notable former players
For the list of all former and current players with Wikipedia article, please see Category:FK Obilić players.
- S.K. 1913 osvojio pehar - Takmičenje iznenađenja završeno (SK 1913 won the trophy - Championship full of surprises is finished a text by Ljubomir Vukadinović at trstenicani.com, retrieved 14 December 2013 (in Serbian)
- FK Obilic' series of 47 matches unbeaten in the Yugoslav League at RSSSF, retrieved 1 June 2013
- FK Obilić at National-Football-Teams.com
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to FK Obilić.|