Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Krylya Sovetov were dwarfs when compared even to the likes of Dynamo (Minsk).
The ‘Soviet Wings’ from Kyubyshev (which is now restored to its original name – Samara) were relatively young club – founded in 1942. In the midst of Second World War, that is - which explains why their first official match happened in 1944. After the end of the war they played regularly in the First Division, but without any success – their highest achievement was in 1951, when they finished 4th. Most of the time they played hide and seek with relegation, eventually losing the game, but in 1969 they lost in a significant way – if before ‘the Rats’ were able to return quickly, this time they remained in the Second Division for 6 years. Hardly a surprise: during their whole history the club was small and with downward destiny because of that. Their return to First Division was viewed skeptically.
The Rats in 1975: first row, left to right: B. Starukhin, V. Shelenkov, V. Panfilov, V. Dzyuba, S. Kraev, V. Alekasanov, A. Blokhin, V. Filippov.
Middle: I. Gorshkov – assistant coach, R. Aryapov – captain, G. Fridlyand – team’s boss.
Third row: V. Solovyev – assistant coach, S. Yarkin – masseur, V. Zhupikov, G. Platonov, A. Fetissov, V. Kopaev, Yu. Devkalionov – administrator, A. Zabiyako, A. Kupriyanov, A. Chudinov, E. Nazarov, V. Taran, Yu. Kutuzov – team’s doctor, V. Kirsh – coach.
Well, compared to this squad, Dynamo (Minsk) was full of stars, for these guys are really anonymous. ‘Survival’ is only aim coming to mind, yet, survival was to be a miracle. Actually, promotion to First Division was a miracle with team like this one… perhaps even their fans did not see them playing in the First Division longer than a season.