There were ten minutes to go until kick-off at Zagreb, Yugoslavia, once the lovers of Dinamo Zagreb crashed through the metallic fences that separated the racks of the pitch.
The Croatian ultras, the Bad Blue Boys, were trading insults with their bitter opponents, Red Star Belgrade, and intermittent violence had broken out through the arena.
What occurred next was described by sports journalist Boris Mutić as a”group of hell”, as riots that started from the floor spilled on the roads. In possibly the most notorious episode, Zvonimir Boban, Dinamo’s captain, waded into the audience to prevent a police officer assaulting a fan.
Together with the Red Star Belgrade lovers, that afternoon was Željko”Arkan” Ražnatović, the mind of this Delije hooligans and after the ultimate commander of the Serb Volunteer Guard.
30 years, and May 13, 1990, remains rated one of the most notorious football games ever: possibly the only European soccer game ever attributed with”starting a war”.
Surely by the Bad Blue Boys, whose rankings were among the very first to combine the paramilitary bands that fought in the Balkan conflicts, which killed over 20,000 people between 1992 and 1995.
On a monument commemorating the riot out Maksimir Stadium at Zagreb, a plaque pays tribute to”Dinamo lovers for whom the war began May 13, 1990, and finished with them laying their lives down on the Museum of the Croatian homeland.”
The fact, of course, is much more complex.
“There is not any doubt that sports at late-socialist Yugoslavia could be explained as a national engine’ and the Maksimir riots represented the political tensions which existed and were growing from the gut federation at that moment,” Dario Brentin, an associate researcher in the Centre of Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, informed Euronews.
“[However, ] that the war’ certainly didn’t begin in Maksimir on May 13, 1990.”
In reality, there was a range of additional football-related controversies that occurred throughout summertime at the former Yugoslavia, and that helped the slip to battle.
On June 3 through a World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands, a largely Croat audience” cried down the Yugoslav national anthem, insulted Yugoslav players, cheered to its resistance and jeered national trainer Ivica Osim.
In September 1990, Hajduk Split fans burnt the Yugoslav flag in a league match and increased the black-and-white Croatian flag, even while chanting for liberty.
For Brentin, the fascination about what occurred on 13 May 1990 is clear – there are few events in Western history when a soccer game is thought to have begun a war – however, an outcome was a lack of view on cause and outcome of this occasion.
“The mythologized story was also widely popularised amongst soccer fans (and outside ) via documentaries, journalistic pieces, and soccer fanzines,” he explained.
Through time, the issue of presence at Maksimir is now significant in certain groups for both Croats and Serbs. Aleksandar Vučić, the present president of Serbia, has promised to have been there on May 13, 1990, to strengthen his man-of-the-people picture.
“It is somewhat like the Sex Pistols gig in 1976 in the Manchester Free Trade Hall,” stated James Montague, a soccer writer and writer of 1312: One of the Ultras.
“Lots of individuals claim there were there, and that is because for a whole lot of ultranationalists that it was a significant moment. It marked the descent to the ultranationalistic conflict”