Sarajevo FC during the period of 1950 - 1960
In the early 1950s Sarajevo embarked on a tour in Turkey, where our team welcomed in new 1951. Our players started in the best possible way, winning against the two giants of Istanbul, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray. In the first game against Fenerbahce, the score was 3-2, while the victory of 3-1against Galatasaray was slightly more convincing. The visit toTurkey was a great experience for our players before the beginning of the first division season.
Sarajevo FC ended the autumn segment of the season at satisfactory 6thplace. Interestingly enough, the first victory of the season 1951/1952for Sarajevo FC was achieved against Partizan FC at Koševo. In the 81st minute, Franjo Lovrić placed the ball in the back of Partizan’s net, scoring the first victory over the team from Belgrade.
At the end of the season, Sarajevo ended up 6th. The 3-1 score over Dinamo at the Maksimir Stadium was considered the best match. Habić, Bukvić and Mantula were the scorers.
In the same year, Sarajevo FC hosted the Austrian clubs Sturm and Wien. Sarajevo FC won 3-0 against Sturm, and suffered two subsequent defeats, 1-3 by Sturm in the second game and 2-3 by Wien.
Sarajevo FC opened the year 1952 with bad news for all its fans. Lav Mantula, one of the club’s best players since its establishment, left the club and joined Dinamo.
In October of the same year, Sarajevo was knocked out by Red Star in the semi-finals of the Yugoslav Cup. The Belgraders celebrated the 6-2 score in front of more than 10,000 spectators. After the defeat by Red Star, Sarajevo quickly returned to winning streak. It recorded four consecutive victories, one of them being the one over Lokomotiva, with the 7-2 result. It is necessary to point out that impressive performance was demonstrated by Biogradlić and Živkov, who scored 3 goals, respectively.
At the end of 1952, one of the club’s best players during this period was Miroslav Brozović.
Break between two seasons, once again unfolded peacefully. The only change among the players was Miroslav Brozović’s retirement from his football career. The popular "Meho" (35) hailing from Mostar had simultaneously worn the Sarajevo FC shirt and worked as a coach and member of the club’s Management Board for five years, after which he decided to devote himself exclusively to coaching and delegated his defender position to the younger players Ibrahim Biogradlić and Mladen Stipić . The rest of the team has remained the same, and only the first team was joined by young Osman Jusufbegović, who was given a chance to show if he is able to stay in Sarajevo FC in this season. As it was the case in the previous year, Sarajevo FC started the season with Cup matches, but this time it got stuck at the second obstacle already. After elimination of May 1 from Bosanski Brod with convincing 8-1, Partizan FC from Belgrade in the 1/8 finals proved to be a tough challenge, so Sarajevo FC could focus on games in the First League.
The season had several great memorable moments. Among those, one should definitely include the great performances by Franjo Lovrić. The team’s best player during this period was simply unstoppable. Sarajevo FC finished this season in7thplace.
The next season was marked by the first official derby match played in Sarajevo. The match was held on August 12,1954. Sarajevo FC, as a permanent First League club was the favorite, which was ultimately justified. Željezničar ended the game with a sound defeat of 5-2.
In addition to its first won derby game, the season was still marked by great performances in the friendly matches against Besiktas and Fenerbahce, as well as well-played games in the domestic championship against Red Star, Dinamo and Partizan. It is worth noting that the team ended the season in seventh place.
Sarajevo FC started the next season much stronger. Asim Ferhatović-Hase, the first truly legendary player of the club, was transferred from the second team to the first one. The excellent defenders Stipić and Biogralić and the effective striker trio of Lovrić, Ferhatović Živkovin instilled the Sarajevo FC' fans with a lot of confidence ahead of the coming season.
After the defeat by Hajduk in the first round, the players redeemed themselves in the second round, in front of 14,000 spectators. Brilliant Živkov scored four of a total of 7 goals in Vardar’s net.
It is worth noting the Sarajevo FC’s first away win of the season. It was achieved against Željezničar with 2-1 score. The scorer of the victorious goal for Sarajevo FC, following Šehović’s assistance, was Asim Ferhatović-Hase. Sarajevo FC ended up sixth in 1955/1956 season. Amidst great performance by many individuals Asim Ferhatović-Hase stood out, and scored 11 goals in his first season and thus became the team's first goal scorer.
The next season for the club started with changes on the bench. After eight years, Brozović left the coaching bench. Aleksandar Tomašević took over the team after him. The season opened with numerous problems in the locker room, which resulted in a very bad performance during autumn. The team spent the winter ranked last in the standings, at the surprise to everybody.
The battle for survival continued in the spring season. In the last two rounds, the outcome of this situation was clear. What Sarajevo FC needed was at least a draw in the away match in Belgrade against its direct survival competitor, Radnički and victory over Hajduk at Koševo. Radnički had had one point less from Sarajevo on the eve of the duel, yet it still triumphed with a high 3-1, sending Sarajevo FC to the last place in the standings one round before the end. Sarajevo FC was no longer dependent on its results, so victory over Hajduk in the last round was not enough, since the other results were not favorable. In a suspicious match in Belgrade, Vardar played a draw in the duel with Red Star, which played the game without six first team players, and acquired a point allowing it to survive, while sending Sarajevo FC to the Zone league.
So, for the second and last time in its history Sarajevo FC lost its status of a Premiership club. However, this relegation was not understood as something overly tragic, since all the first team players stayed together, and the coach Tomašević did not want to leave the team as well, convinced that Sarajevo will soon return to the First League. The club's players prepared for the new season on tour in France and Poland. Their away match against Katowice team in Katowice was well-remembered. The match was played in front of a record number of 120,000 spectators and the final score was 2-2, with the goals for Sarajevo FC scored by Lovrić and Radičević.
In the next season, Sarajevo FC expressly returned to the elite ranking. This return was preceded by matches against Split and Zrenjaninin the playoff stage. It is worth pointing that the season 1956/1957 was the last one in which Sarajevo FC had the status of a second division club.
Still, returning to the First League proved to be considerably difficult. The team finished the autumn segment of the championship in penultimate place, foreshadowing a bordeaux-colored spring.
Already at the spring opening, Sarajevo FC recorded a minimum win over Dinamo needed for escape from the relegation zone. After the defeat by Radnički in Belgrade in the next round, Sarajevo FC made a series of four games without defeat, draws with Vojvodina at Koševo and Partizan in Belgrade, as well as two home wins over Rijeka and Vardar. With these six points, the team from Koševo came to a solid point difference before the last quarter of the season. In the next round Sarajevo FC was defeated by Budućnost, and Velež team came to Koševo. It was a chance for our team to secure its survival in the League by victory, but Velež surprised them and left Koševo with two points. However, one round before the end, survival was secured. After the defeat in the 20thround by Red Star in Belgrade, Sarajevo welcomed Hajduk at home. Goals scored by Ferhatović and Arslanagić secured a 2-1 victory for Sarajevo FC, which, along with Željezničar’s defeat at Kantrida, meant that it was theoretically possible to survive in the company of the best, since prior to the last round match at Grbavica, Sarajevo FC had three-point advantage over Željezničar in penultimate position. Sarajevo FC ended the Championship in tenth place with one point above the relegation zone, where Željezničar and Vardar found themselves in.
On the eve of the new First League season, there was another change in Sarajevo FC. After three years, the most successful coach of Sarajevo FC, Miroslav Brozović returned to the bench. The beginning seemed to foreshadow another difficult First League season for the team from Koševo. Sarajevo FC first opened the new season with minimum defeat, by the new First League club Sloboda in an away game in Tuzla, only to suffer disastrous defeat at its stadium, when Dinamo won the high 0-4. In the next two rounds Sarajevo FC players somewhat compensated for initial defeats, earning its first point away against OFK Belgrade, and then triumphing over Vojvodina at Koševo. Initial defeats worried many fans, so, prior to the game againstVeležin the seventh round, few hoped for points. Still, Ferhatović’s goal secured aminimum score victory for Sarajevo FC and restored confidence to the players, and confirmation of this came only a week later when the team from Koševo overrun Rijeka with 5-1. By the end of the autumn half-season Sarajevo secured two points from three matches, ending the first part of the season in ninth place, with the same number of points.
Sarajevo FC started the spring with fury. In the first five rounds, the team from Koševo suffered only one defeat in the duel with Dinamo at Maksimir, while the other four games against Sloboda, OFK Belgrade and Hajduk at Koševo were victories, along with an away win over Vojvodina. Thanks to these eight points, Sarajevo rose significantly above the relegation zone and moved closer to the top of the standings, taking the sixth place. Eight points ahead of Budućnost in penultimate place, was a sufficient guarantee that Sarajevo FC did not have to worry about survival in the last six rounds. By their end, Sarajevo FC achieved two wins, two losses and as many draws, maintaining a satisfactory sixth position in the standings with a total of 23 points and securing the right to participate in the Central European Cup, which was to be played in the summer. It was to be the first official appearance of Sarajevo FC in international competitions.