4 May 1980, 15:05: Historic end of a football match

There are two possible introductions for this blog post:

Introduction 1

The first could be:

It’s usually an exaggeration to say, „This football game will go down in history“. And when it really does, then it is at best about the history of football.

The only football match that really went down in general history was the match between Red Star Belgrade and Hajduk Split, which was abandoned on Sunday, 4 May 1980 at the 41st minute shortly after 3 p.m. at the score of 0-0.

This was not because of any clashes in the stadium, as unfortunately happens with arch-rivals of this strike, but because of an event that had already been feared by many, which happened several hundred kilometres away as the crow flies. We are talking about the death of the Yugoslav President Josip Broz, better known as Tito.

Introduction 2:

And here is option 2:

The fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11 are events where anyone can immediately say what they were doing when they heard about it. In the former Yugoslavia this is even more true for May 4, 1980, or more precisely for that day at 3 p.m. and five minutes when the news of the death of Tito was announced.

Although it had long been known that Tito was seriously ill, the news of his death came as a shock that paralysed the whole country.

This can be seen most impressively in the footage of the situation in the television studiobefore the announcement of the death notice.

In the studio there is helplessness. While the speaker is already sitting in front of the camera, handwritten changes are made to his text. To the subsequent question from the director as to whether he is ready, he replies in frustration: „Wait, wait!

Only after some inner struggles, which can be clearly seen on his face, is he ready to pronounce the words „which every Yugoslav remembers“, which are now historic in former Yugoslavia:

Umro drug Tito („Comrade Tito died“).

Afterwards his work is visibly easier for him. Which may also have something to do with the fact that the rest of the death notice is in the usual socialist style: „

This was announced tonight by the Central Committee of the Federation of Socialists of Yugoslavia and the Presidium of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the working class, to the working people, to the citizens, to the peoples and peopleships of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In the football stadium in Split, which is also documented by television recordings, the flapping of a butterfly’s wing could have been heard after the announcement of this news.

After that, however, the stadium is filled with 50,000 voices which, as if on a secret command, begin to sing the song „Comrade Tito, we swear by you“.

Contemporary witnesses report that family fathers stood up at attention in front of the television. Others, who were still children, tell of being summoned into the house by adults who had suddenly lost all sovereignty, as if before an impending storm. Soldiers who had been ordered out returned to their barracks without orders, with motorists spontaneously offering them a lift.

What followed was, at least according to the Yugoslav media, „the greatest funeral service in the history of mankind“.

Not only in Yugoslavia there were fears that a military conflict could break out with the death of Tito. The foreign press commented on Tito’s death at the time with the comment that it would mark the end of 40 years of Yugoslavian history.

A decade later, it should be known that it had not only heralded the end of the history of the Yugoslav state in general, but also several military conflicts.

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