Saturday, June 19, 2010

Universitatea (Craiova) won the 1973-74 championship – their very first title.
The club is of Communist-state origin, founded in 1948, supposedly a ‘students’ club. The city of Craiova has more clubs, and some played occasionally in the First Division, but Universitatea is the true club of the city. The 1970s were their most successful decade, beginning with this championship.
Top, left to right: Cernaianu – coach, Ivan, Badin, Oprea, Oblemenko, Boc, Manta, Deselnicu, Balan, Otet – assistant coach.
Bottom: Stefanescu, Velea, Taralunga, Niculescu, Balaci, Strambeanu, Berneanu, Marcu.
Although some eventually played for the national team, only two players are of real notice: Balaci and Oblemenko. Balaci was more or less constant national player and well respected, but Oblemenco was something else: he scored 167 goals in 264 matches for Universitatea and was 4 times top goalscorer of Romania – in 1967, 70, 72, and 73. He was and is revered player, yet, he was never included in the national team.
Ion Oblemenko. A legend in Craiova and recognized as the best ever player of Universitatea. Today the club’s stadium is named after him.
If Universitatea were provincial unknowns, without big team, the Cup winners were even lesser breed: Jiul (Petrosani).

Bottom,from left: Cornel Carare (secretar), Tr. Ivanescu, Bologan , Mircea Pascu (vicepresident of the football section), Aurel Marila (medic), Stocker, Dodu, Nitu, Stoichita, Ioan Karpinetz (club's president), S. Gram (masseur) Top: Gabi Stan, Kotormani, Rozsnyai, Tonca, Szics, Ion Gabriel, Otto Abraham (football section president), Libardi, Mandrut, Multescu, Al. Nagy, Emeric Farkas
Unlike Universitatea, much older club – founded in 1919 – but ‘Minerii’ (The Miners) were always small. Their singular trophy is the Cup won in 1974. No big names, no nothing.
As much as it is fun to see small clubs winning, there is another side: in strictly football terms Romania was in a crisis. The country did not produce really strong players for a long time – as shown by those, who went to play abroad. It was not that much strong provincial clubs as a case of weak leading clubs. The 1970s were low decade for Romanian football. Good for local heroes only.