The Eternal Derby, a massive clash between the two biggest football clubs in Serbia (as if you didn’t already know, Partizan and Red Star), is coming this Saturday, 27 May at 6pm and will be played at Partizan’s home ground, the JNA Stadium. Here’s our friend and contributing author, Aleksandar Čolić to explain why you shouldn’t miss this magnificent sporting event:
The Eternal Derby
“I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it.”
― Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch
Every football fan has that story, when it all started, the first match, the first derby. No, I am not going to bother you with mine. I just want to give you a chance to create your own.
This Saturday is that day. The day when the whole country stops, when everyone’s talks only about football, the day when you scream and shout as loud as you can, the day when the team colours flood the streets, the day of the Eternal Derby – one of the most unique football matches in the world.
The atmosphere that surrounds the game is exhilarating and you can feel it a week before match day. If you want to experience the city properly you need to see the derby. It is important to the identity of the city and it is one of the things that defines the whole nation.
British daily, The Daily Mail, ranked the Eternal Derby as the 4th greatest football rivalry in history. This is going to be 155th match between the two fierce rivals, Partizan and Red Star.
The rivalry between the two teams started with their founding in 1945.
The Cup Final
The two rivals will meet in Serbian Cup Final for the first time since 2001, when Partizan won 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by their captain and legend, Saša Ilić, who sixteen years later still – believe it or not – leads Partizan on the pitch. He will lead his team of young stars for the 29th time (a record) against Red Star, who also have a great team composed of young talents and foreign stars led by club legends Nenad Milijaš and Aleksandar Luković.
This year’s championship race was one of the most interesting in history, with Partizan snatching the trophy from their fierce rivals in the last round. Home fans will be in a festive mood while the Red Star’s supporters will try to help their team to victory and to maybe avoid finishing the season empty handed. The stands will be filled with colour, flags, noise and passion – bringing all of your senses to life.
Recently, there have been some negative news stories and incidents associated with the derby. But those things don’t apply when it comes to the stadium and the game itself. Give us the opportunity to welcome you to this festival of football, to share with you our love towards our clubs and to show you why this means so much to us. Whether you are a football fan or not, come to hear the songs, see the colours, feel the passion and let the atmosphere take your breath away. Let us show you why we are called the best fans in the world. It is a truly momentous occasion, an experience that lasts a lifetime.
I know I’ll be there.