The 2009/10 season in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was one of famous firsts for three sides; FK Renova won their maiden title and FK Teteks took the Macedonian Cup while FK Metalurg Skopje earned a debut in Europe. FK Rabotnicki were in line for a double, but were to be disappointed on both fronts.
Champions: FK Renova
Founded just seven years ago in Dzepcicte, a village near the north-western city of Tetovo, Vlatko Kostov's Renova were worthy champions; the highest scorers in the league with 45 goals, their home record was an impressive 13 wins and one defeat. "Our basic plan was to end up one place higher than last season and finish second," said Kostov, days before he made way for Nedzat Shabani at the 'Champions from the Village'. "As it was, we played very well and we aimed for the top."
Cup final: FK Teteks 3-2 FK Rabotnicki
Toni Jakimovski's side again proved there is often no such thing as a cup final favourites. After a goalless first-half, the Tetovo-based side roared into a 3-0 lead with Srgjan Zaharievski, Genc Hyseni and Aleksandar Stojenovski on target. Two goals from Rabotnicki ensured a tense finish, but the capital side could not take a third successive cup. "This is a historic moment for Teteks," said captain Darko Saveski as his side celebrated their first cup success. "I don't know what more I can say: my joy is endless."
FK Renova – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
FK Teteks – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FK Rabotnicki – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
FK Metalurg – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
Player of the year: Bobi Bozinovski (FK Rabotnicki)
Rabotnicki failed to win a trophy but boasted the most impressive performer of the season in attacking midfielder Bobi Bozinovski, with the 29-year-old ending the season as the league's top scorer as well as providing plenty of assists. Named player of the week in six of the 13 rounds of fixtures in the spring in the regular poll of journalists, Bozinovaki was in a field of his own.
One to watch: Stefan Ristovski (FK Vardar)
Vardar finished a disappointing sixth in the table, but unearthed a gem in midfielder Ristovski, already an Under-21 international. Parma FC this summer agreed a five-year contract with the 18-year-old, who said: "Vardar will always be the only club I have in my heart and I believe I will come back one day."
Surprise package: FK Metalurg Skopje
Though former national-team coaches Gjore Jovanovski and Nikola Ilievski both departed following unedifying results at the start of the season, Metalurg were resurrected in December with the appointment of 37-year-old Zikica Tasevski. Unbeaten in the spring, they lost only three games all season and twice defeated Renova to earn third place and a first stab at Europe via the UEFA Europa League.
Leading scorer: Bobi Bozinovski, FK Rabotnicki (15)
Relegated: FK Milano
Promoted: FK Skopje, FK Shkendija 79, FK Napredok, FK Bregalnica 2008
The population of Dzepciste, the home of Renova and one of the smallest settlements in Europe to boast a domestic champion.
"Sometimes I don't know who to care for more; our company's 1,000 employees or the football players. Although I have too many responsibilities at work I always find time to be with the players. They relax me and very often they make me very sad; but also very happy. I love them as if they were my kids."
Renova co-owner Kenan Idrizi, who runs the club and his construction materials company with brother Sefki
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