Monday, May 16, 2011

Dynamo (Moscow) finished third, but it was hardly a success – rather, the opposite: an example of the increasing weakness of Moscow clubs.
Second row, left to right: A. Sevidov – coach, Yu. Gavrilov (17), A. Petrushin (4), A. Bubnov (15), A. Novikov (25), N. Gontar (21), V. Pilguy (1), V. Zenkov, A. Yakubik (18), O. Dolmatov (8), I. Mozer – assistant coach.
First row: A. Makhovikov (10), G. Evryuzhikhin (11), A. Shepel (28), V. Pavlenko (9), M. Gershkovich (7), V. Kozlov (19), S. Nikulin (3).
Now, the names are impressive: Sevidov had enourmous reputation as a coach and at least 12 players played for the national team (in different years): Gavrilov, Bubnov, Novikov, Gontar, Pilguy, Dolmatov, Evryuzhikhin, Shepel, Gershkovich, Nikulin, Kozinkevich (not on the picture), may be even others as well. But… nobody really established himself as a national player and none became a big star. Perhaps the most famous became Gavrilov and Bubnov, but both played for the national team many years later and in the case of Gavrilov, not as Dynamo’s player, but Spartak’s. Some ominous pattern already occurred: very promising players, hailed as ‘the next big thing’, routinely faded quickly, their development stopped well before reaching expected levels. A team better shining as names, not on the pitch. And this was true already for revered Sevidov, so it was hard to believe that he would make great team – he was already belonging to the past. By 1975 some ‘big promises’ were already down and out – Baydachny, for instance, was playing for Dynamo (Minsk) in the Second Division. The best example of the current squad were Shepel and Pavlenko – Anatoly Shepel was big hit in 1972, when he scored fantastic number of goals in the Second Division and helped Chernomoretz (Odessa) to winning a promotion. Dynamo (Kiev) snatched him and he was included in the national team. Great future was forecasted… Shepel was quickly benched in Kiev and with tainted reputation went to Dynamo (Moscow). Where impressed nobody and did not last long. Vadim Pavlenko, only 19 years old, burst in 1974, earning starting place in Dynamo and finishing among the top goalscorers of the season. No doubt, he was destined for stardom… but in 1975 he was mediocrity and worse in the following seasons. Whether homegrown, or recruited from elsewhere, Dynamo players were the same: a few promising seasons and then instead of becoming stars, they were going rapidly downhill. And it was not only Dynamo, but all Moscow clubs, which in turn made them unattractive for ambitious players, and increasingly Moscow clubs were seen as something like cash-cow for aging and over-the-hill players. By 1975 the glory years of Moscow football appeared finished and gone.