Saturday, August 11, 2012

Young teams rarely have the strength to win everything. Crvena zvezda, confident in the champioship, did not make it to the Cup final. Partizan and Dinamo failed as well, but Hajduk (Split) did make it. The other finalist fitted the year of surprises and small clubs doing well at the expense of the big ones. Buducnost (Titograd) was the other finalist.

Buducnost means 'Future', an optimistic name given the history of the small club from the capital of Montenegro. The city was named after Josip Broz Tito back then, today is Podgorica. The club did not live to neither its name, nor the city name, both suggesting something mighty, if names could win trophies. In reality Buducnost had difficulties just to stay in first division. Often they played in second. Winning was not their forte – so far, Buducnost played once the Cup final, which they lost. This was their best achievement. In 1975-76 they won promotion and returned to first division. Enthusiasm carried on and they had good season, finishing right in the middle of the table – 9th, right behind Hajduk – with symetrical record: 11 wins, 11 ties, and 12 losses. They scored 44 goals, receiving 47. For them, rather strong season, but they did outdid themselves in the Cup tournament. The squad was modest, nobody worth mentioning, but if playing final, why not try winning it as well? Buducnost put a fight: regular time ended 0-0. The Cup was near... but class is class, and in the overtime Hajduk scored 2 goals. Buducnost – zero.

Brave finalists, who a year ago played second division football. They lost, but nevertheless it was the best achievement in the history of the club. For anything better, Buducnost had to wait Montenegro to become independent state.

Hajduk (Split) made up for the mediocre season by winning the Cup for the 6th time. Too bad for Buducnost, but Hajduk had their pride at stake and were determined to win and save the year. It was still great squad: Buljan, Surjak, Muzinic, Jerkovic, Peruzovic, Dzoni were still here. Boljat, Katalinic, and especially Zungul firmly established themselves. So many national team players and young as well – at 27, Ivan Buljan was the oldest in the team. And it was not all: Zoran and Zlatko Vujovic were already in the squad, clearly suggesting that Hajduk was going to stay at the top of Yugoslavian football. It was just one bad year, but they were too classy to end it emptyhanded. Lost the title, won the Cup. New talent coming in, watch out.

1976-77 may have been transitional year, but there was a lot of young talent in Yugoslavia – the well was seemingly bottomless: ate least four clubs promised excitement in the coming seasons.