I refused for long the arguments by Vitaly Mutko stating that the level of Russian football is increasing year by year. Damn it, but he is really right! Our national team will take part in European Cup 2008; Zenith has got to the UEFA CUP final after it defeated Bavaria; Abramovich helps Mutko constructing the football fields in the regions promoting development of this game in Russia; his Chelsea will bring to the final match in Moscow the best stars of the world football and Andrei Shevchenko. And this Moscow final itself, isn’t it an indication of the immense influence by Russia in the international football arena!
Well, it appears it’s about time we danced “Kalinka”, kissed Gus Hiddink and Dick Advokat, and gave a hug to Abramovich not reminding him about taxes and yachts. And Mutko himself must be lifted up! However, there is a feeling that the balloons are going to deflate in the process of the festivities.
There’s no need reminding how our national team got to the European Cup. It’s better to see poor Gus Hiddink when he leaves his box after seeing another match of the domestic championship. He seemed to feel sick looking at the bad performance on our “potato fields” in April. Probably this is why not counting on his fantastic good luck he decided to see Dmitry Bulykin playing in Germany, the man who is remembered only in Moscow clubs! And probably this is why he has not signed yet the contract with the national team, despite the astronomical amounts offered by Roman Abramovich. But anyway – we got to the Euro 2008!
As for the Champions League Final held in Moscow – that is not to be credited to our officials from the Russian Football Union, as it came to Moscow due to the mayor Yuri Luzhkov‘s connections. Incidentally, it was him again who managed to get the final match of UEFA Cup 1999 when our football was just in a wrecked condition, while the football authorities were busy with fierce struggle for power.
…After the victory by Zenith over Bavaria the headlines of many newspapers said now Russia has one more super club. I wouldn’t argue that. But the history shows that even getting the cup a club not always grows into a super club. That was proved with TsSKA in 2005, the club that failed to turn into a team with the respectable prefix “super”. It happened rather opposite thing. In autumn Zenith will make a start in the Champions League and then we shall see… As for 14 May’s match, that will be held in Manchester, it’s the Scottish tiffosi who are going to be the main competitors for Zenith. It’s their ancestors who saved Glasgow Rangers from the decisive attack by Dynamo in 1972 in Barcelona, running down to the field 5 minutes before time. Well, if Arshavin and others don’t’ get afraid of drunken guys in kilts and with bagpipes, then probably the UEFA Cup can get to the city on Neva.
But even such a victory wouldn’t be a definite proof for increased level of the Russian football. It’s not because the Zenith’s coach is a Hollander and half of the team consists of foreign legionaries. It’s not because our clubs play on the fields inferior even to English amateurish sports grounds! The matter is that our rare local victories are caused with the fact that some people and their companies and holdings have money that is easy to launder through football clubs. TsSKA, Zenith, Spartak, Chelsea, Arsenal are just “toys with a secret inside” for Ginner, Gazprom, Fedun, Abramovich and Usmanov. If those rich find alternative schemes then everything would just resume its normal course. We have already had that. Where are Alania, KAMAZ, Tekstilshik or Rotor now? What was the situation of Spartak and Dynamo a few years ago? The great Torpedo is dying quietly in the first division. So I don’t think we are to be really proud and to blow the festival balloons. And nominally Vitaly Mutko is right, of course…