This year, apart from Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, it’s a big unknown from the Serbs in European cups. We’ve already featured Bačka Topol in our series, this time it’s the turn of Čukarički, a club whose first club president was a military aviator.
The Čukarički club was founded on July 4, 1926 in the working part of old Čukarica, specifically in the Majdan pub. One of the biggest names in the club’s history was at the very birth, as the first president of the club was Miloš Ilič.
Ilič graduated from the Military Academy, earned a pilot’s degree and participated in many wars, including World War I. He was a captain first class, but at the end of the war he left the army and settled in Čukarić.
For many years the club staggered between the third, fourth and fifth leagues, with its greatest successes during the Second World War. Its first major milestone came in the 1971/72 and 1993/94 seasons, when Čukarički was promoted to the second Yugoslav league.
The latter promotion was followed immediately by a jump to the top competition. In 1996 and 1997 Čukarički even played in the Intertoto Cup group, but in both cases the Serbian team was immediately relegated.
It was not until 2011, when the club was on the verge of bankruptcy in the second league, that the competition ended. It was saved by the wholesale company ADOC, whose investment made Čukarički the first Serbian team to be privatised.
In the rest of the season Belgrade saved itself, and in the following season it was promoted to the elite competition. Since then, it has been regularly hopping in the cup qualifiers, but group promotion has been elusive.
The only proper trophy so far – the Serbian Cup from the 2014/15 season – is considered its greatest achievement. The league maximum is third place, while last year Čukarički missed second place and Champions League qualification by only a score.
Still, third place was enough to secure the Conference League group. In a resounding group with Fiorentina, Ferencváros and Genk, the players can prove themselves and perhaps start the kind of career that Aleksandar Kolarov – arguably the biggest name in Čukarički history – had.
Source: Chukarički, UEFA
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