Valeriy (Dynamo Kyiv)

Dynamo Kyiv were formed as the Kyivan Proletarian Sport Society in May 1927 as the football wing of the existing sports and fitness club, Dynamo Sports Club. It was the favoured club of the GPU, the Soviet secret police. The first Dynamo teams were selected from chekists (members of the secret police) and the best players from the Kyiv area.

The first Soviet Championship was not competed for until 1936 and after limited initial success Dynamo became often the only tangible challenge to the hegemony of the Muscovite clubs although it took until 1961 before Dynamo won its first of 13 Soviet Championships. During the Soviet era Dynamo would also win nine Soviet cups. Since the break up of the Soviet Union, Dynamo have won a record fifteen Ukrainian League titles including a run of nine successive championships between 1992 and 2001. During the latter years of the Soviet First League Dynamo defiantly wore kit in the national colours of Ukraine.

The two stars on the Dynamo club crest represent the club’s two UEFA Cup Winners Cup successes. The first of these came in 1974-75 when Dynamo saw off CSKA Sofia, Eintracht Frankfurt, Bursaspor and PSV Eindhoven before crushing Ferencváros 3-0 in the final held at St. Jakob Stadium in Basel. Dynamo would also thrash Bayern Munich 3-0 in the European Super Cup Final.

Dynamo’s second Cup Winners Cup triumph came eleven years later in the 1985-86 season. Their route to the final saw them defeat Celtic, Bangor City, Red Star Belgrade and Bayer Uerdingen before coming up against Atlético Madrid in the final held at Lyon’s Stade de Gerland. It was another 3-0 triumph for the men from the East.

Scoring in both finals was the legendary Dynamo striker Oleg Blokhin. He won more caps (112) and scored more goals (42) than any other Soviet player. For Dynamo he scored 211 times in 432 appearances. The other name synonymous with Dynamo is Valeriy Lobanovskyi, a former player and much decorated coach during three spells at the club which were interspersed with stints as national team manager. Lobanovskyi passed away suddenly in 2002 and the Dynamo Stadium was renamed in his honour. To mark the first anniversary of his death a sculpture of the great man, sat on a trainers bench, was unveiled to the right of the magnificent entrance to this stunning stadium.

The Dynamo Stadium was built in 1934 as part of the relocation of the Soviet Ukraine capital from Kharkiv to Kyiv. It was inaugurated as the Vsevolod Balitsky Dynamo Stadium and was built on the site of the greenhouses and allotments that grew vegetables and fruit for the nearby Mariyinskyi Palace. Next to the greenhouses was a restaurant called Château de Fleur.

The original stadium was completely destroyed during the Second World War and Dynamo had to play their home games at the Nikita Khrushchev Stadium where the current NSC Olympiyskyi Stadium is sited. The Dynamo Stadium was rebuilt in 1956 and upgraded further in 1980 for use as a training venue for the Olympic Games. It was remodelled solely for football once again in 1990 with a little under 17,000 seats. Set in woodland you can walk around the top perimeter of the woods and look down on this beautiful stadium. The ornate entrance from Hrushevsky Street sets this stadium off as a truly iconic football venue. The area outside the entrance was a key area for the civil unrest of the 2013 Euromaidan revolution which let to the downfall of the Viktor Yanukovych led government.

Since 2011, Dynamo have played all their home games at the 70,000 capacity National Sports Complex Olimpiyskiy which was totally remodelled for Euro 2012. Their iconic Dynamo Stadium is a fifteen minute walk from Maidan Nezalezhnosti metro station (Line 2) and apart from Dynamo’s reserve team, Arsenal Kyiv and the exiled Olimpik Donetsk club play their home games here.

After seeing Dynamo beat Oleksandria at the Olimpiyskiy it was a quick dash over to the Dynamo Stadium for the evening game between Olimpik and Vorskla. Tickets and, unexpectedly, a small glossy programme, are available at the kiosk by the main entrance. The ticket was 50 hryvnia (£1.70) which must be one of the cheapest top flight tickets I will ever purchase! The exiled Olimpik club also have a small pop up merchandise stand on the slope up to the stadium. Only the main stand is open for the 329 people that gather for this match including some visiting fans from Poltava. Unfortunately Vorskla don’t really turn up for this game and two Olimpik goals in the middle of the second half from Teixiera and Lukyanchuk secure a comfortable “home” win for the exiles.

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Ukranian Premier League – Sunday October 20th 2019

FC Olimpik Donetsk 2 (Teixiera 67, Lukyanchuk 75)

FC Vorskla Poltava 0

Att: 329 (Stadium Dynamo, Kyiv) Entry: 50 hryvnia (£1.70), programme 20 hryvnia

Gallery

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Bucharest Days (Romanian Groundhop 2)

It seems impossible that a year ago 14 groundhoppers from the UK, Germany and Denmark headed to Bucharest for Andrei Otineanu’s first Romanian Groundhop. We witnessed so much to celebrate about this amazing hobby and also saw the incredibly sad side of football when Dinamo’s Cameroonian player Patrick Ekeng passed away in front of our eyes. Much has changed in the interim, Andrei’s idea of promoting sport in Bucharest for his thesis has seen him move to Łódź in Poland to continue his studies and the undoubted stars of last years hop, Fratia, have disappeared amid allegations of cooking the books. The Brotherhood of rejected players is no more and those that wanted to carry on playing have found other clubs.

So could Andrei organise a second Groundhop from his new base in a foreign country? Would it be too much work without being present to chase people up and get enough interest for it to happen? Of course he could! His energy and enthusiasm plus the help of his good friend Alexandru Fieraru on the front line in Bucharest meant all the second edition of the Romanian Groundhop needed was hoppers!

Eventually the number of attendees settled at a creditable 21 with 18 from the UK, Juergen Schneider and Carsten Pikulik from Germany and France’s very own Pierre-Julien Pera who runs he excellent Eastern European-centric website Footballski.fr

With the hop due to start at Comprest on Friday afternoon many flew into Bucharest on the Thursday to afford a bit of time for sightseeing. Then, as is the wont of Eastern European football, the Comprest game got moved. As luck would have it another game, the second tier game at CS Balotești got moved as well to Friday morning!

Balotești were hosting Olimpia Satu Mare who endured an arduous ten hour, 352 mile, coach ride from their home close to the Ukrainian border. To the delight of Balotești’s unexpected foreign guests the club issued a small four page programme for the game and these were snapped up in double quick time. With the hosts just one place above the relegation spots and Olimpia in seventh in the table an away win was expected. Maybe it was the ridiculous journey that took its toll on the visitors but they never got their act together and Balotești earned a much needed win with a terrific header from Alexandru Eugen Nica separating the sides.

Liga II – Friday May 5th 2017 (11 am)

CS Balotești 1 (Nica Eugen 22)
Olimpic Satu Mare 0

Att:117 (at Stadion Central Balotești)

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So with the unexpected bonus game out of the way, Andrei duly appeared with the bus at 4pm ready for the first official game of the hop the First Liga game between FC Voluntari and ACS Poli Timișoara. Voluntari were formed as recently as 2010, the short termism of clubs in Romania is frightening!
Voluntari play at the Stadion Anghel Iordănescu, a burly and prolific centre forward for Steaua and Romania, which was built in 2010 for the new club in what appears to be a new town to the north east of the city. The hosts took the lead but were pegged back when visiting centre forward, Pedro Henrique, successfully conned the referee into awarding a penalty. Justice was done, however, when the hosts bagged what proved to be the winner just after the break.

The home team had been backed throughout by a small band of ultras in our sector. What made them special was that their average age must have been well into their 60’s. They banged drums and yelled through megaphones for the whole game with the elderly “capo” resplendent in a sailor’s cap! We had noticed our bus had been well and truly been boxed-in in the car park which made the 35 minute trip to the 8.30pm kick off at Concordia extremely tight with just a 45 minute window between games.

Liga I – Friday May 5th 2017 (6 pm)

FC Voluntari 2 (Balaur 9, Popaduic 49)
ACS Polu Timisoara 1 (Pedro Henrique pen 26)

Att:960 (at Stadion Anghel Iordănescu)

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We arrived in Chiajna with six minutes elapsed into Concordia’s bottom of the table clash with bankruptcy bound ASA Târgu Mureș. With 8 games of the play out series completed both sides had only managed one win and seven goals between them so we hadn’t exactly missed much. The game looked nailed on as a 0-0 until the hosts unexpectedly scored twice in eight minutes mid way through the second half. The Stadionul Concordia was opened in 2007 and luckily had a 3G surface so the massive thunderstorm that broke out did not threaten the game. It’s a traditional English style ground with four rectangular stands and has the Biserica Sfântul Nicolae as an imposing backdrop.

Liga I – Saturday May 5th 2017 (8.30 pm)

CS Concordia Chiajna 2 (Grădinaru 71, Cristescu 79)
ASA Târgu Mureș 0

Att:672 (at Stadion Concordia)

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The Satuday morning game took us to the small town of Snagov. Until 2016 FC Snagov had been plying their trade in the third tier of Romanian football before suffering relegation. Then in the summer of 2016 FC Snagov found themselves taken over lock, stock and barrel by Metalul Reșița.

This season has been tough for Metalul having to field a very young side and today’s opponents where FC Brașov, a club with a decent top flight and European pedigree. After the opponents dominated the first half they held a one goal cushion, and a comfortable away win seemed on the cards until one of Metalul’s more experienced players, Mihai Dina, delighted a modest crowd (despite free entry) with a high quality equaliser on a bobbly surface at the otherwise excellent Stadion Voinţa.

Liga II – Saturday May 6th 2017 (11.30 am)

CSM Metalul Reșița 1 (Dina 63)
FC Brașov 1 (Răchişan 24)

Att:155 (at Stadion Voinţa)

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After lunch we toddled over to the ground of FC Metaloglobus to see the second string of FCSB (the preposterous new name of Steaua, long story) take on Atletic Bradu. As we arrived the adjacent ground, the Sport Complex Ion Tiriac, was hosting a fifth level game between CSM Unirea Dobroești and VK Soccer. It had not long kicked off so the majority opted to sit in the sun and watch a 3-0 win for the home team.

Liga V – Saturday May 6th 2017 (4 pm)

CSM Unirea Dobroești 3 VK Soccer 0

Att:58 (at Complex Sportiv Ion Tiriac)

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Metaloglobus have won promotion to the second tier for next season and its no surprise Steaua opt to use their excellent facilities for their reserve team matches. FCSB dominated the game with a slick passing game, but couldn’t find the net leaving the visitors with a single goal victory.

Liga III – Saturday May 6th 2017 (6 pm)

FC Steaua București II 0
Atletic Bradu 1 (Ruţă 36)

Att:86 (at Stadion Metaloglobus)

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Sunday began with an 12 o’clock kick off at Stadion Spartac, home of Progresul Spartac ’44 who we had seen on the hop last year when their first team played at the excellent Electromagnetica ground. Today is a fifth tier clash between Progresul’s reserves and the optimistically titled Power Team. Progresul’s ultras, who we had so enjoyed their company last year, turned up en masse for this one and blue smoke bombs were let off for the occasion. The home side won easily, 7-3, in a stadium that has been decorated with the ultras cartoon versions of themselves.

Liga V – Sunday May 7th 2017 (12 pm)

Progresul Spartac II 7 (Diț 11,14, Georgescu 36,Cirdeiu 43,53, Calancea 49,60)
Power Team 3 (Burlacu 50,80, Gheorghe 65)

Att:57 (at Stadion Progresul Spartac)

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The hop ended by kind of going full circle with a game at AS Romprim. Much of the disbanded Fratia set up that won our hearts on last years hop have moved here including their coach from the Congo, Aime Lema, and Tudorel Mihailescu, the 51 year old goalkeeper who still plays in the fourth tier despite only having one arm. Sadly today they are no match for AS Tricolor who field a beast of a striker and his hat-trick paved the way for an easy 5-1 win as lightning crackled alarmingly close the ground during a heavy thunderstorm. The Stadion Romprim is excellent with sizeable stands on both sides and, wait for it, a bar that sells beer during the game! It also boasts an old school scoreboard at one end of the ground.

Liga IV – Sunday May 7th 2017 (5 pm)

AS Romprim 1 (Batchabi 83)
AS Tricolor 5 (G.Pristoliam 19,28,62, Ologeahu 70,Parvu 78)

Att:45 (at Stadion Romprim)

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With a great mix of stadiums and games as well as eating and drinking like kings the second Romanian groundhop was a tremendous success and enjoyed by all in attendance. Young Andrei is a knowledgeable and likeable host who puts tremendous effort into these trips. You cannot fault his enthusiasm either as he has announced the date of the third Romanian Groundhop already! It will take place in and around Timișoara with the date being the weekend of September 22nd to 24th 2017.

Andrei left and Alexandru right

An expanded version of this post will appear in a future edition of Football Weekends magazine. To order your copy please visit:
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