|Full name||Nogometni Klub Istra 1961|
Zeleno-?uti (The Green-Yellows)
|Ground||Stadion Aldo Drosina|
|Owner||Baskonia - Alavés Group|
|2019-20||Prva HNL, 9th|
Nogometni Klub Istra 1961 (English: Istra 1961 Football Club), commonly referred to as NK Istra 1961 or simply Istra 1961, is a football club from Pula, Istria, Croatia, currently playing in the Croatian First Division.
It's a common opinion amongst many people that Istra 1961 is founded in 1961 by merging two clubs from Pula, NK Uljanik and NK Pula, forming NK Istra. However, NK Istra is not the same club as NK Istra 1961. NK Istra was the best club from Pula for decades. NK Istra 1961, then named NK Uljanik, was founded in 1964. NK Istra were competing in Prva HNL since the first season, but were relegated in the 1996-97 season to Druga HNL. They were promoted back to Prva HNL in the 1998-99 season, but they were relegated again in the next season, never coming back to Prva HNL. Meanwhile, NK Uljanik was in the shadow of NK Istra, but they were promoted to Prva HNL in the 2003-04 season and are the best club in Pula since then. NK Istra, now under the name NK Istra Pula, is competing in Prva ?NL, the 5th football level in Croatia. The greatest club success was in the 2002-03 season when they finished runners-up in the Croatian Cup, losing to Hajduk Split 5-0 on aggregate. In the 2004-05 season, the club changed its name into NK Pula 1856, because 1856 was the year that the Austro-Hungarian Empire made Pula the port of its arsenal and the shipyard Uljanik was opened. Also in the same year, it competed in the Prva Liga for the first time. In 2005, it was renamed again to NK Pula Staro ?e?ko due to a sponsorship contract with the brewery Daruvarska pivovara (Staro ?e?ko is a beer brand). Just one year later, the name was once again changed, this time to NK Pula. Again, just a year later in the middle of 2007, the name was changed for the fifth time in as many years, to NK Istra 1961. The change of name came after an ultimatum from the local fans Demons who said the club would have their support only if the club changed its name and club colours to the traditional city colours (yellow and green). After renaming club was sold in 2011 to a Russian who achieved promotion for the club and sold it in 2015. Nk Istra 1961 was bought by an American Investment group in 2015. The NK Istra academy system is very strong and consistently competes for top spots in the rankings. Nk Istra 1961 has a rich fan history. The group of die hard fans are referred to as the Demoni, and are known for their explosive chants and celebrations as well as their extreme pride for the club. In Summer 2018, club's ownership changed once again, this time to Basque consortium Baskonia - Alavés Group which acquired the majority share package and became sole owner of NK Istra 1961.
Its crest features the city's Roman Arena in Pula, as well as the old team crest. Istra 1961 play their home matches at the recently renovated Stadion Aldo Drosina, which has a capacity of approximately 10,000 spectators.
The first incarnation of NK Istra was NK Uljanik, a club founded by the Pula shipyard Uljanik in 1948. The first club success was in 1959./60. when they qualified to the 2. Yugoslav league. In 1961 NK Uljanik merged with NK Pula to form NK Istra 1961. The club stopped functioning shortly thereafter, but was restarted by Silvan Farangua and Ivan ?ehi? in 1964, when they played in the Pula county league.
After the founding of the independant Croatia, the club played in the 2. HNL between 1993 and 1998, when they dropped down to 3. HNL. In 2001 they became the champions of 3. HNL and returned to 2. HNL.
Two years later in the 2002/03. season, under the leadership of manager Elvis Scoria, Istra played in the final of the Croatian Football Cup, losing to HNK Hajduk Split. It is the only time, in the history of Croatian football, that a 2. HNL league club played in the cup final.
In season 2003/04. the club was managed by Igor Pami?. He managed to win the 2. HNL South, and beat Me?imurje (0-2, 2-0) in the play-offs, after penalties.
The club played first league football for the first time in their history in the 2004/2005. season, and managed their first 1. HNL win against NK Osijek in the 4. gameweek. The club lost only one game at home, but failed to win a single away game. They finished 10th, and won the play-offs to remain in the first league.
In 2005/06. the club president Gianni Rossando was replaced by Orsat Zovko. After a bad season start manager Pami? was replaced by Milivoj Bra?un. The new manager managed a streak of good results. In the second half of the season Bra?un resigned from the managerial position and was succeded by Krunoslav Jur?i?. The club finished in the season in 7th place.
During the summer manager Jui? was fired, and replaced by Stjepan Deveri?. Unstatisfied with the board, Deveri? left before the start of the season. Branko Tucak became the new manager. After a string of bad results and clashed with the players, he was replaced by Kruno Jur?i?. Bad results, compounded with a poor financial situation threatend the club with shutdown. The intervention of the Istria govurner and arrival of new sponsors managed to save the club, while the new president became Darko Jergovi? and new manager Darko Jergovi?.
Valdi ?umberac was appointed as the first manager. During this time, Istra was adopted by Demoni, who became the clubs first group of ultras. At the end of August 2007/08. the club appointed Elvis Scoria as the new manager, while ?umberac remained as the assistent manager. Istra finished the season in the 3rd place. However, the club finished the 2008/09. season as the champions of 2. HNL and were promoted to 1. HNL.
|1992||3. HNL West B||14||4||8||2||21||9||16||3rd|
|3. HNL West||30||16||7||7||56||32||39||1st||R1|
|1993-94||2. HNL South||30||7||7||16||21||43||21||14th|
|1994-95||2. HNL West||36||12||8||16||40||48||44||13th|
|1995-96||2. HNL West||34||18||8||8||58||36||62||5th|
|1996-97||2. HNL West||30||19||6||5||65||21||63||3rd|
|1997-98||2. HNL West||30||12||7||11||42||31||43||6th|
|1998-99||3. HNL West||30||13||7||10||33||35||46||3rd|
|1999-00||3. HNL West||30||17||6||7||56||30||57||3rd||R1|
|2000-01||3. HNL West||30||17||11||2||73||26||62||1st ?|
|2001-02||2. HNL South||30||17||8||5||57||26||59||2nd||PR|
|2002-03||2. HNL South||32||20||7||5||63||31||67||2nd||RU|
|2003-04||2. HNL South||32||18||8||6||59||33||62||1st ?||QF|
|2004-05||1. HNL||32||7||14||11||28||31||35||10th||QF||Josip Jernei?, Vedran Sto?i?||6|
|2005-06||1. HNL||32||13||6||13||44||36||45||7th||R1||Stiven Rivi?||12|
|2006-07||1. HNL||33||6||11||16||28||40||29||11th ?||R1||Marko Radas, Almir Halilovi?||5|
|2007-08||2. HNL||30||17||7||6||42||14||58||3rd||R1||Sa?a ?est||8|
|2008-09||2. HNL||30||18||6||6||46||20||60||1st ?||R1||Mohamed Kalilou Traoré||9|
|2009-10||1. HNL||30||9||8||13||31||40||35||11th||R2||Asim ?ehi?||15|
|2010-11||1. HNL||30||9||4||17||24||44||31||15th||QF||Sini?a Lini?||5|
|2011-12||1. HNL||30||11||9||10||35||33||42||9th||QF||Sandi Kri?man||7|
|2012-13||1. HNL||33||11||11||11||35||32||44||6th||R2||Goran Roce||11|
|2013-14||1. HNL||36||12||8||16||45||56||44||6th||SF||Dejan Radonji?||9|
|2014-15||1. HNL||36||7||14||15||36||59||35||9th||QF||Dejan Radonji?||16|
|2015-16||1. HNL||36||4||12||20||23||58||24||9th||R2||Stefan Nikoli?||5|
|2016-17||1. HNL||36||10||9||17||33||49||39||6th||R2||Goran Roce||8|
|2017-18||1. HNL||36||6||9||21||28||60||27||9th||QF||Five players||3|
|2018-19||1. HNL||36||6||7||23||31||73||25||9th||R2||Ramón Mierez||9|
|2019-20||1. HNL||36||5||10||21||27||59||25||9th||R2||Mario ?u?e||7|
Top scorer shown in bold when he was also top scorer for the division.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Bold denotes players still playing for Istra 1961.
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt partner|
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (November 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Nk Istra Fanpage: http://nkistrafan.weebly.com/about.html