HŠK Zrinjski Mostar is a Herzegovian Croat founded football team from the city of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The club plays in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina and over the years has been one of the top teams in the country. It was formed in 1905 and is the oldest football club in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After World War II all clubs who had participated in the wartime Prva HNL were banned in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Zrinjski being one of them. The ban lasted from 1945 to 1992. The club was reformed after the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It played in the Herzeg-Bosnia First League until 2000 when it joined the Premier League. The club is based at Bijeli Brijeg Stadium.
In 2005, Zrinjski celebrated its first championship crown in the BiH Premier League.
Today the football team is part of the Zrinjski Mostar sport society.
In 1896 several distinguished Herzegovian from Mostar had an idea to form a youth sports society named Hrvatski sokol (Croatian Hawk). At the time, this was not allowed, but in 1905 Croatian youth led by professor Kuštreb succeeded. With the help of the cultural society Hrvoje they formed Đački športski klub (Student Sports Club). In 1912 it evolved to Gimnazijski nogometni klub Zrinjski (Gymnasium Football Club Zrinjski). It was named after the historic Croatian noble family Zrinski. Some of the first games they played were against sports team Osman from Sarajevo: the games ended 0:3 and 2:1. Club activist and player Ivo Ćorić wrote first reports about the club at that time. He named some of the players: Rudolf Brozović, Bruno and Edo Novak, Marko Suton, Željko and Ante Merdžo, Mabid Pehlivanović, Slavko Jukić, Ivan Bošnjak, and Karlo Šmit. In 1914 at the outset of World War I, the club was banned. This ban lasted until 1917 when Zrinjski along with another Croatian sports club from Mostar, Hrvatski radnički omladinski športski klub (HROŠK), formed a new club called “Hercegovac”. Some of the HROŠK players were: Jure Zelenika, Nikola Paladžić Miroslav Prpić, Mirko Vlaho, Ante Pavković, Kažimir Zubac.
In 1922 the original name Zrinjski was brought back and at that time, the team started to compete more seriously. They played against other Mostar teams, like Yugoslavian Sports Club (JŠK), Velež and Vardar, and also teams from all over Herzegovina, Bosnia and Dalmatia. In 1923 Zrinjski won the Mostar Championship with a 1:0 victory over JŠK. The players that played in that game were: Vjekoslav Vrančić, Kazimir Vlaho, Živo Bebek, Rudi Janjušić, Husein H. Omerović, Milivoj Smoljan, Pero Golić, Mijo Miličević, Muhamed Omeragić, August Kučinović and Franjo Štimac. In 1930s Zrinjski played games in Zagreb, Sarajevo, Banja Luka and even Montenegro. In 1936 Yugoslavian authorities didn’t allow Zrinjski to play at a tournament in Dubrovnik because they had Croatian colors on their jersey. In 1938 Zrinjski won a tournament against Velež, ŠK Sloga and ŠK Makabi. Also at that time they played three night games, with the lights they borrowed from the local mine. Some of the club presidents from 1905 to 1945 were Miško Mikulić, Drago Turkelj, Jakša Miljković, and Blaško Slišković.
In 1941 with the beginning of World War II and the creation of the Independent State of Croatia, the Prva HNL was also formed. Zrinjski joined the league along with SAŠK Sarajevo and NK Hrvoje from Banja Luka when Independent State of Croatia was admitted to FIFA. In the league Zrinjski played historic games against Građanski Zagreb and Hajduk Split. In 1943 Zrinjski played against Jedinstvo, winning that match 2:1, which was probably the last before the club was banned.
Also in the summer of 2000 Zrinjski participated for the first time in a UEFA competition. They played in the Intertoto Cup against Swedish team Västra Frölunda IF. Zrinjski lost the first game in Sweden 1:0 and in Mostar led 1:0 after 90 minutes. At the beginning of overtime Zrinjski scored another goal and had the result that would send them to the next round, but the game ultimately ended with 3:2 Zrinjski victory and Vastra Frolunda went through because of away goals.
Before the 2003-04 season, some new board members entered the club, bringing better sponsors. Their primary goal was to make Zrinjski one of the top clubs in the country by its 100th anniversary in 2005. Zrinjski then took four players on loan from Dinamo Zagreb: Luka Modrić, Mario Janjetović, Ivica Džidić and Davor Landeka. After the season Džidić and Landeka stayed permanently. Although Zrinjski was nowhere near the top, the base for the next season was created. In summer of 2004, the club signed some of the best players in the league, such as Zoran Rajović, Dušan Kerkez, Velimir Vidić, and Sulejman Smajić. The team, led by coach Franjo Džidić won the title easily, with a significant point advantage over runner up Željezničar. Zoran Rajović was the league's leading scorer.
Many of Zrinjski’s star players were on one year contracts and left the team after the season. As a result, the team did not play well at the beginning of the season and was surprisingly knocked out of the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round by Luxembourg team F91 Dudelange. Zrinjski won the first game away 1:0, but lost at home after overtime 4:0. Not long after the beginning of the season Blaž Slišković was appointed as an head coach.
Zrinjski finished the 2005-06 season in third place, earning a place in the Intertoto Cup where Zrinjski knocked out Maltese team Marsaxlokk F.C. (3:0 home, 1:1 away) in the first round and lost to Israel team Maccabi Petah Tikva FC (1:1 away, 1:3 home) in the second round.
In 2006-07 season Zrinjski earned second place, earning a UEFA Cup berth. During the winter break team lost one of its best players Lamine Diarra, who transferred to S.C. Beira-Mar, but it signed former star player Zoran Rajović on a free transfer. Zrinjski also signed experienced midfielder Mario Ivanković from NK Brotnjo.
In 2007-08, Zrinjski lost in the first qualifying round to FK Partizan of Serbia, 11-1 on aggregate. However, Partizan was expelled from the competition due to crowd trouble, so Zrinjski progressed to the second round where they lost 2-1 on aggregate to FK Rabotnički of Macedonia. The domestic campaign saw them finish fourth, but a victory in the Bosnian Cup earned them a place in the UEFA Cup once again.
The two fan groups which support each team are:
The Ultras are almost exclusively Croats, while the Red Army are mostly Bosniaks with some Serbs and a small number of Croats who stuck with the team after the war. The ethnic conflict is exacerbated by the fact that the Red Army is a left-wing fan group while the Ultras are right-wing.
Zrinjski’s fans are called Ultras. Ultras group from Mostar was founded in 1994.