Rađa Remembers: European Champs Jugoplastika Welcomed in Split in 1989 (VIDEO)

Daniela Rogulj

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“The reception in Split was something unimaginable. When the plane was landing we could see a column of cars all the way to the city.”

September 27, 2018 – Dino Rađa has published yet another text on his official Facebook page about his days at Jugoplastika. 

“I cannot give this team just one post. A little on 1989 and the European Champions Cup. As total outsiders we were not even aware of how we got into it,” Rađa begins. Recall, in the Final Four tournament in Munich, Jugoplastika first defeated FC Barcelona 77-87, followed by an incredible win against Maccabi Elite in the final (69-75) to become European Champions. 


“The reception in Split was something unimaginable. When the plane was landing we could see a column of cars all the way to the city. They would not let us leave the building because there were even more people. The airport was blocked. There were no departures or arrivals. We managed to climb the roof of the building to the airport and show the trophy to the people. 

As it was not possible to get out, they sent a bus to the ramp and to the exit where only the military planes go, and we went to the hangar on the upper road. A whole bunch of people and cars followed us. 

The entrance to the city was a spectacle. At every window of the Jugoplastika factory, there were people with flags and transparencies. All the streets were crowded. We started at 5. 

We came to the tunnel and were stopped by the police. They said you can’t go to the Riva. We insisted and they said that they would let us, but there is no chance that any army would allow the bus to pass.

They transferred us directly to Gripe. Today we are sorry that we could not come to the Riva. Somehow, some people managed to come to Gripe and then there was a moment I will never forget. And now tears come to my eyes. When we exited the bus, an old woman in her 70s came to us and kissed each of our hands and said, ‘Thank you kids, thank you, kids’. I have no idea who that woman was. She is probably not even alive anymore to read this, but that thought will never leave my head as long as I am alive.

In the Gripe hall again, there was madness. They thought Gripe had never been fuller and would never be that full again. If it usually fits 3,000 people, that night was probably 5,000. They were packed liked sardines. They all came to see the Cup. They called us one by one and when Duško came with the trophy there was a stampede. How we survived I have no idea. 

Those couple of days were unbelievable. We had to wake up very quickly. We had a match against Vojvodina. For us, the game didn’t matter, but if they lost, they’d fall from the league. The trophy of the Champions Cup was in the center and they started messing around: ‘Come on, do not play one hundred percent’. Yeah, right. Who would lose with such shame,” Rađa wrote, adding that he would be grateful if anyone had photos or videos to send him of the celebration. 


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