Sunday, September 17, 2006

Legion of Doom Nominee: Arkan

Truly a villian of almost comic book proportions, the man known to his followers as "Arkan" is probably practically unknown to most people who read this blog. But he was one bad, bad dude.

His real name was Željko Ražnatović, which is a super pain in the ass to type, so we'll call him Arkan for now on. He is the possibly the best example of a both a really bad fan, and a really bad team owner/GM.

Arkan grew up in Serbian Yugoslavia, where he was a petty criminal who never stayed in prison long, due to his connections first to Yugoslavian dictator Tito, and Tito's various secret police henchmen.

When war loomed in what was soon to be the former Yugoslavia, Arkan was on the front lines, using his connections with the segment of rabid, ultra-nationalist fanbase of Red Star Belgrade to recruit his paramilitary squad, The Tigers. Arkan would be accused of War Crimes for the actions of his Tigers during the conflicts that raged in Yugoslavia.

He somehow, again, managed to avoid any jail time, and in 1996 took the reins of a rather obscure soccer club named Obilic. Obilic enjoyed a marvelous, near miraculous run to national club champion.

However, as Wikipedia puts it, there was some questions surrounding that run:

"According to a book by Franklin Foer, "How Football Explains the World", Arkan threatened players on opposing teams if they scored against Obilić. This threat was underlined by the thousands of veterans from his army that filled their home ground, chanting threats, and on occasion would point pistols at opposition
players during matches. One player told the British football magazine FourFourTwo that he was locked in a garage when his team played Obilić."

Say what you will about Art Modell, there have never been guns in the stadiums where his teams played. Or at least, not enough to be notcied by opposition players.

1 comment:

Milholland said...

Right, Arkan and Ceca. I second that nomination, and I recommend the book for its strong word power. “A bullet pushed Djindjic’s heart from his body.”