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NK Zadar: April 1945 – July 2020

July 30, 2020





Rest in piece to one of Dalmacija’s footballing institutions.



Earlier this week, the club that paved the way for players like Luka Modric, Ivan Santini, Danijel Subasic, Vedran Vrsaljko and countless others including the one who gave his life for the club, Hrvoje Custic, has entered into administration after failing to pay eye-watering debts to banks and players. NK Zadar is no more.



Despite playing regular organized sport in the area since the late 1800’s, NK Zadar wasnt officially formed until 1945. The went on to become founding members of the current Croatian football league, but found little success overall with their greatest achievement being an appearance in a Croatian Cup semi-finals match in 1995.



Nonetheless, the club was a staple in the Prva Liga for years, representing the city of Zadar from its grounds at Stanovi Stadium.



Fortunately, the club’s small but rabid following, Tornado Zadar, has stood behind the club through successive relegation and should be expected to be seen again.



Even in the early hours after the clubs death, new life has been announced in the form of a successor club that will be known as HNK Zadar. Current preparations are being made to transfer youth team activities to the new club, but senior activities are still on hold for both monetary reasons and due to a dispute on where the club should play; team officials and fans believe HNK Zadar should take NK Zadar’s place in the Treca HNL, however, the HNS requests the club to compete in the lower county levels first.







The Zadar football academy is partially spared from bankruptcy as HNK Zadar was filed to conduct business in late December 2019 in preparation for such events. This allowed early transfer of assets from the school to avoid administration.



Football will still be played in Zadar, regardless of level. The NK Zadar name may be gone, but its spirit will live on and a new succession of young players will always rely on their town and club to lead them on a path to the world’s stage.



Colin O'Haravić
Posted By: Colin O'Haravić 27 comments

  1. Maminjo says:

    They should take a page from North American sports leagues and give their team a nickname like the Zadar Zebras or the Zadar Kraken, grr!

    Make a good logo with an angry animal on it represent the team’s toughness. Ha ha!

  2. Soul Champ says:

    Josip Skoblar from Privlaka was a legend as well.

    Modrić should be involved and create a world class youth program.

    Warren Buffet time to buy low and invest for the long term.

  3. Suba says:

    That’s a real shame


  4. Anonymous says:

    Robert Herjavec should buy Varazdin and become the next Hoffenheim

  5. ARMADA87 says:

    Igraj Zadre!

  6. Maminjo says:

    Will always be Zadarkomerc to me

  7. Andrej L says:

    Such a shame for such a beautiful coastal town. I went every summer as a kid. It’s always been more of a basketball town but it would be nice if someone picked up the reigns there. Dado Prso was always the gambling type …

  8. Maminjo says:

    Herjavec is too busy living his new Hollywood celeb lifestyle, lol

  9. Suba says:

    Oh beautiful Zadar

    I wish I was there right now

  10. Maminjo says:

    yea it would be nice to be quarantined in Croatia.

    If we’re all going to be stuck in a country and jobless anyway, I would prefer just being there.

    The only knock about Croatia is not being able to make money and ‘progressing’ (whatever that means).

    Well, now nobody will be making money (and if they are, they will lose it all to the brand new world of COVID taxes that will affect everything from property tax to income tax). Get ready for the squeeze.

  11. Suba says:

    Don’t rule out all hrvati in diaspora returning to our homeland when the freedoms we sought are taken away in our new homelands

  12. The truth says:

    @ maminjo
    I would be surprised if you were without a job.. as one of a select logical, cogent contributors on this site and often lacking an overarching tribalism in your tone, i pinned you as a higher education level and a corporate gig…

  13. Bobby V says:

    Our family have a home on the smallest inhabited island in Croatia – Osljak, off the coast of Zadar. Will be retiring there soon in a few years.

    My father’s first cousin, Lucano Valcic, coached Zadar’s basketball team in the 70’s. As an earlier comment mentioned, it has always been a basketball town.

  14. Suba says:

    But still produces Croatia’s footballers ever

    What a great town

    Enjoy your retirement there that’s fantastic

  15. Maminjo says:


    Valčići su Srbi!

    Just kidding 😉

    Moving to Cro is the dream. Got friends that went back, and did not regret it.

    I find the ones that do regret it have other issues going on, and are never happy in life anyway.

  16. Maminjo says:


    Correct. I do as little as I can, for as much money as I can.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Most of the people that moved to Croatia and then regretted it are those that had the idea of starting a buisness, they didn’t understand that Croatia is a poor country (one of the poorest in Europe) and that their buisnesses would be destined to fail in the Croatian tourist resort.

    Someone said here that @Ziva Istina was in that boat?

    You gotta be a made man to be able to live in Croatia.

    Like someone in Croatia recently said, “every country has it’s mafia, but the mafia has Croatia,” I thought that was funny.

  18. Maminjo says:

    Most of the people who moved back to Croatia and regretted it are people who are closed minded and just a bunch of gringos who speak Croatian (but definitely do not act like it).

    I knew one dude who’s biggest complaint was the customer service at the cafes. Lol.

    You’ve gotta be the biggest gringo to move to another country and culture and bitch about not having the fake Starbucks smiles when you get your coffee.

  19. Bobby V says:

    @Suba – thanks! @Maminjo – lol, there are a few actually. We just give a polite like once a year to one of their Facebook photos.

  20. The truth says:

    How much do you guys think it would cost to buy nk zadar? I’d consider buying it… probably can’t cost that much… but probably a terrible investment i assume, unless i could create a solid youth factory and later sell the players off…. but that requires a lot of infastructure to put in place

  21. Maminjo says:

    You’d have to take on the debt, which is worth more than the club.

    Easier to just start a new club.

  22. Eric says:

    Q: How do you become a millionaire owning a sports franchise?

    A: Start off as a billionaire.

  23. ARMADA87 says:

    I just don’t get why these mid-level clubs don’t do more to drive revenue? Setup a decent web shop and sell all your team gear at a good markup. For the dijaspora crowd who can’t get HRT, Arena Sport, etc. set some sort of paid live stream scenario for your club and charge a decent amount for that.

    At the end of the day, we’re no petica liga but our league has some decent quality and if you had the right brains and the right type of marketing to generate revenue, these clubs could make a few extra kuna on top of whatever other traditional revenue they’re getting.

    I support a mid-sized Cro team and I’m a diaspora here in the USA that does alright and would happily pay for things like the above that I mentioned.

  24. Poglavnik says:

    Well said.
    Our gear, be it national team or clubs is always hard to find and limited. Stuff sells fast. Our people are so bloody nuts for the game you’d think there’d be more options out there.

  25. Maminjo says:

    Yea, I’m actually appalled by the lack of KK Split basketball gear available to fans. Every time I go to Split, I always check out the Hajduk fan shop to see what they have for KK Split gear.

    I mean, this is a team that had a Euroleague dynasty in the 90s and has pretty cool yellow and black gear.
    You would think that they would at least have a decent t-shirt or something.


    They just have a bunch of garbage “Ajmo Žuti” printed t-shirts (actually made by Fruit of the Loom) and scarves. They also have a few key chains at the register (no lighters even) and this is the only place to buy KK Split gear.

    Even online they have nothing. Just the same garbage on the Hajduk webshop.
    You can’t even buy the jersey anywhere other than the Macron website. It’s insane.

  26. Maminjo says:

    Sorry. Cro Fan shop, not Hajduk fan shop.

  27. Marin Ikic says:

    Shame, nothing but shame. Anothetrdebackle and result of pure evidant result of curruption, bad unwanted influnces.

    This is the lowest hollow pit of Croatian sport.

    Surely the City and people of Zadar, standul to the curruption
    and bad i fkuences znd peoe ruling, contring yet ruining this one beautiful, rich Dalmatikn City. Where does it stop, now the
    soccer clubn next the City kf Zadar will end up bankrupt.

    where does it end???

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