Cycles are constantly repeating. The history of Željezničar is full of constant ups and downs. From every crisis, the locomotive from Grbavica rose even stronger, but every subsequent fall was harder for all fans of the blue-colored club. This is exactly what can be said for what followed in the rest of the first decade of the 21st century.
The first signs of fall were evident in the 2003/2004 season. Although Željezničar claimed second place yet again, it was a very turbulent season. The team’s poor start to the championship could be attributed to their performances in Europe. Anorthosis from Cyprus was eliminated in the UEFA Cup qualifiers, and Hearts from Scotland awaited them in the first round. The team played their home games at Koševo Stadium, but they lost 2:0 in Edinburgh. Despite most fans’ disapproval, Amar Osim, the coach, was dismissed due to relegation from Europe. In the first half of the season, Željezničar ranked eighth. However, Milomir Odović led the team through an almost perfect half-season in the spring, which was enough to secure second place.
During the summer break, the club underwent a change of coach. Jiří Plíšek, a Czech coach, was appointed as the head of the coaching staff, replacing Odović. Unlike the previous two seasons, the 2004/2005 season got off to a great start in the domestic championship under Plíšek’s leadership. However, the team suffered an embarrassing 7-0 defeat against Litex from Bulgaria in the UEFA Cup, leading to the first signs of turmoil in the club. The issue was apparently resolved by the change of coach towards the end of the autumn half-season.
The spring part of the season did not go well, and only the autumn supply of points enabled the team to secure second place on the ranking table for the third time in a row. While this provided the opportunity to play in the UEFA Cup again, the club did not receive a license that summer, meaning that there was no European competition to play.
Thus began a new difficult period for the team from Grbavica: sixth place, fifth place, seventh place, ninth place. It was a disappointing placement for our club, and the fans were dissatisfied for a reason. An unstable financial situation, the absence of a clear vision in the management of the team, numerous changes of coaches, and the flow of a large number of players who did not stay in the club for a long time marked those four seasons that most fans would like to forget. The biggest success of the Blue team in that period was the progress in the semifinals of the BiH Cup, which speaks volumes about the state of crisis the club was in.