Midnight Investments Bring Darkness Over Istrian Football

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Yesterday, April 30, 2016, the NK Istra 1961 tied the Croatian first league record in consecutive matches without victory by losing 0:1 to Dinamo Zagreb. Coach Andrej Panadić’s team lined up 20 matches without bringing home three points.

This would only be a sad sports circumstance for Istrian football fans if there hadn’t been for the shiny Round Midnight Investments show before the beginning of the fading football season. The NK Istra 1961 from Pula is the only club from Istria competing in the top tier of Croatian football. It was the first Croatian team to be bought up by private investors (the City of Pula still holds shares), Russians. Much like with Alaska, after they didn’t know what to do with it any longer, the Russians sold it to American investors – Phoenix, Arizona headquartered Round Midnight Investments LLC represented by Michael Remo Glover, the current CEO.

The new owners immediately announced the goal of the team reaching qualifying rounds of European competitions, investments in players and infrastructure, as well as their intention of organising events and concerts in Pula. The gullible natives eagerly swallowed the stories of the eloquent American businessman and his entourage, picturing themselves at Bruce Springsteen concerts at the city’s Roman amphitheatre and at football matches at the Aldo Drosina Stadium against Primera, Bundesliga and Premier League teams that didn’t quite make it to the Champions League.


The Italian investor at neighbouring HNK Rijeka did just that within only a few years (the sports related part, The Boss hasn’t announced any Rijeka dates so far). But what followed was not the hoped for promotion of the hospitable city and region, but a bull in the china store story of epic (for Croatia) proportions and the NK Istra 1961 became one of the worst teams ever to play the top tier of Croatian football. Below is only one of the countless bull stories.


The youth teams and their development are not on the radar of the American investors, which is unusual for serious investors. Talents of 14 years or less are usually picked up by the very alert club from Rijeka. Nothing changed for the better for the young players since Round Midnight Investments took over at the Drosina Stadium in Pula, except for the fact that the kids weren’t getting sandwiches when travelling to their matches any longer and that statistically significant more talent than ever before was found amongst the offspring of sponsors and former and current friends and relatives of club officials. The results of the youth teams of the club are adequate.

This winter, the parents were invited to a meeting with the Head of the Youth Department to be notified that the sandwiches would make a return, after local media (regionalexpress.hr) and parents broke the story. The meeting had no agenda and it was unclear why they were invited at all, until the Sports Director, and current Head of Youth, clarified that: “Glover was curious about what the parents are saying.”

Fans throughout Istria don’t really care in which tier of Croatian football their team will play next year, as long as they see that they are taken seriously and that the football youth of the peninsula is being offered a perspective at the first or second team.


Before acquiring the majority share of the NK Istra 1961, Round Midnight Investments put much effort in buying Split’s HNK Hajduk. Very fortunately, for both sides, the fans of Hajduk were opposed to investors with no connection to the sport buying the city’s pride.

Another side to the whole situation at the club cannot be presented since the press department at NK Istra 1961 doesn’t answer to emails.


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