Sunday, December 08, 2013

Badge of the Day #31 (Red Star Belgrade)

The latest example from the football club collection is a subtle little Cyrillic-scripted vintage pin representing Red Star Belgrade, or, even more exotically, Crvena Zvezda, one of the two irresistible forces, in terms of inspiring devotion, of then-Yugoslavian soccer, a favourite team since very early days, such was the Communist glamour the name suggested.
Again, the club’s kit, the colour combination featuring on the crest, would have been another attractive factor – red & white striped shirts with red shorts & socks, indisputably iconic.

Over the course of the 1970s & 80s, Red Star were one of the major names in European football, regularly featuring in the latter stages of the club competitions – often quarter-finalists, losing European Cup semi-finalists, remarkably so (considering a 4 – 1 first leg lead), to Panathinaikos in 1971, semi-finalists in the Cup-Winners’ Cup in my inaugural football-following season of 1974–75 (losing to the even more favourite Ferencvaros) & beaten finalists in the 1979 UEFA Cup – before eventually achieving the ultimate in winning the European Cup in 1991, the televised final of course a must-watch event.
That the match itself, against Olympique Marseille, was settled on penalties after an uninspiring, attritional & ultimately goalless two hours of ‘play’ mattered not – Red Star Belgrade had won the European Cup, a fabulous achievement by a favourite club.

As the artificial construct of Yugoslavia teetered, so that victorious team broke up immediately &, sadly, the subsequent years have proved a much harsher environment for Crvena Zvezda, but still the name resonates mightily, the red star burning brightly in one’s heart & the sky above TOoT Towers, not least this weekend following yesterday evening’s league win against Vojvodina, coincidentally another name to inspire a certain (but hierarchically lesser) affection, in recognition of which a badge might be acquired.

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