Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Yugoslavia - the top of the table:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Yugoslavia - I Division, the lower part of it:

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Yugoslavia, a bit in limbo – the new generation was not fully asserted. The cost was missing the World Cup finals and not entirely convincing clubs, but Crvena zvezda was almost ready for a big leap and Dinamo (Zagreb) was rapidly recovering the lost ground in the early years of the decade. Fairly competitive season, not unusual for this talented country, but parity existed mainly bellow 4th place. Some up, others down, may be not an exceptional season, yet, fairly interesting.

Second division football remained a local affair as everywhere, and it should be mentioned for two reasons only. The first is typical – clubs often playing top level football were now merely hoping to return to it. The bulk consisted of unknown outside Yugoslavia teams which rarely or never appeared in the premier league. The second reason was the strange rules, if such existed, about shirt sponsorship. The picture changed almost every year, some clubs displaying adds on their shirts, some not. But it was not necessarily the top clubs – often they had no sponsors, but clubs from second and third divisions had. Even some playing lower levels, which questions even consistent practices in different republics of the federation. Looked like clubs from Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina more often displayed sponsor's names, than those from Serbia and Croatia, but every year was different.
Sutjeska (Niksic), from Montenegro, had plain shirts.

Teteks (Tetovo), Macedonia, had shirt adds, however faint.

Still, not every Macedonian club used adds – Podeda (Prilep) had none. Standing from left: Ivan Mechev, Tode Todoroski, Laze Petreski, Vancho Drvosanov, Stevan Glusheski, Blagoj Mitev.

Crouching: Goce Maneski, Stojan Arsov, Risto Gligoroski, Jove Magdeski, Rubin Gjorgjioski.

Maribor, from Slovenia, used no adds too. Standing, from left: Simeunović, Đurić, Arnejčič, Samardžija, Karmel, Petrič, Fatur,
First row: Pirc, Horjak, Glišić, Prosen, Miljković

Neither Proleter (Zrenjanin), another club from Montenegro, which finished second in the Western Second Division.

Standing, from left: Dubljević, Šarenac, Glišin, Dimitrić, Zorić, Kosnić.

First row: Ivančević, Mišić, Tošić, Lukač, Škorić.

Proleter came close to promotion to the first league, where they played before, but lost to Zeljeznicar (Sarajevo). For the well known clubs from the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina the brief spell in second division ended – they were coming back to their usual league. No adds on their shirts either and a huge relief for the fans of perhaps the most popular Bosnian club.

Standing, from left: Ivan Radic, Hajrudin Durbuzovic, Ibro (Esad?) Ibrahimovic, Suad Karalic, Vlade Spasojevic, Nedim Dautovic, Zoran Culjak, Vlado Komsic, Rade Paprica, Ivo Cvitanulic (?), Josip Cilic, Mladen Maric.

Sitting: Dragan (Dragomir?) Vlaski, Milomir Odovic, Anto Zecevic, Nedzad Omerhodzic, Dragan (Dragoljub?) Galonja, Ranko Dordic, Milko Paunic, Ivan Lusic, Slobodan Kojovic.

Confusing names, but almost the same squad which was relegated the previous season. Now they were going up, meaning they were not all that weak after all. Not a single big star here, naturally.

The Eastern Second Division was won by another former member of first division, however, much more modest and younger club than Zeljeznicar – Napredak (Krusevac).

One of the clubs found after Tito's Communists took hold of Yugoslavia – in 1946. The name means roughly 'Progress', but there was no way a provincial Serbian club to be really true to its name in the presence of big Belgrade and Novi Sad clubs. Unless 'progress' meant climbing up to top flight.

No adds on the shirts and no impressive players. Unlike Zeljeznicar, expected to stay in First Division, the fate of Napredak was pretty much trying to survive.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Holland I Division 1977-78:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Cup final in a way completed a season giving a candy to everyone of the best Austrian clubs. Swarowaski-Wacker and VOEST (Linz) reached the final. VOEST was fifth in the league, still going strong, but not really at the level of their champion year a couple of seasons earlier. They were also the club practically without stars when compared to the other top teams. The first leg of the final was played in Linz. 8000 people attended, a modest number, at first glance, but one has to remember this was Austria – actually, big attendance for the small and not particularly crazy about football country. The hosts opened in the 32nd minute, courtesy of Michael Lorenz. The visitors equalized by Welzl in the middle of the second half, in the 64th minute. No more goals were scored, a tied game without a winner.

The second leg was equally competitive, but in Innsbruck the hosts had the natural advantage. Slightly bigger audience – 8500 – naturally, most of them were Swarovski-Wacker supporters. However, the visitors silenced Tirol early – Hagmayr opened in the 5th minute. The hosts reacted quickly and equalized two minutes later – P. Scwartz scored in the 7th minute. Just before the end of the first half they went ahead thanks to Peter Koncilia. The efforts of both teams in the second half produced nothing and the match ended 2-1. VOEST lost.

Coming close to success, but only that. Brave, still trying to stay among the best Austrian clubs, but, realistically speaking, playing at the final was the most VOEST were able of.

Swarovski-Wacker were not overwhelming winners, but having more class was enough of a difference. A fourth cup for the club, which in a single decade became one of the most successful clubs in Austrian football history.

So far, Swarovski-Wacker won five titles – 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, and 1977. And four cups – 1970, 1973, 1975, and the fresh 1978. The most successful club of the country of the 1970s, but the peak was mat be two or three years ago. Unlike Austria and Rapid, Swarovski-Wacker was no longer rising, but was only stable. Like their competitors, they also had a great player – Bruno Pezzey, already called 'the new Beckenbauer'. Perhaps that was the whole difference – attacking football was prevailing: Rapid had fantastic striker, Krankl; Austria – fantastic midfielder, Prohaska; and having fantastic defender was just not enough in the championship. Swarovski-Wacker maintained position by winning the Cup, but it was already clear that the key players of the team – Pezzey, F. Koncilia, and Welzl – were not going to stay for long. Behind them were solid, experienced, but not extraordinary players going old. The signs of approaching decline... Swarovski-Wacker was not a contender in the championship and the cup was a bit of a consolation prize. Still, a victory is a victory, and a cup – an important trophy. Nine trophies since 1970! And a bit of novelty – the colours of Swarovski-Wacker are green and black. Yet, in the 1970s they often played in white. This year – red and white.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hans Krankl - 41 goals.
Austrian championship -

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Second Division played standard champion – no innoventions and experiments here, which was odd, since the leagues above and below played under different rules. The championship brought little enthusiasm and lots of critical observations. It was the season when least away games were won in the history of the league: only 54. Ties were not predominant results, yet, attacking football was not the aim either – most teams depended on home victories, played carefully and without hazard. 'Fear of mistakes', was noticed – the players preferred quickly to pass the ball to somebody else, just to avoid risks. The games were dull, ambition was entirely lacking. Another historic 'first' happened – 11 points divided the 4th and 5th placed clubs at the end. So big divide was seen only as massive interest in safe, uneventful existence in second division. Most clubs were accused for a long time of that. Same with individual players – the number of noticeable ones was tiny. Most just kicked the ball around year after year. Zhalgiris (Kaunas) distinguished themselves with seasonal record of 19 ties – that is, exactly 50% of their total championship matches. This kind of football paid off... Zhalgiris finished 7th. Far away of relegation fears and in the upper half of the final table – good season! Most clubs were just like that: here is Kuban (Krasnodar), 6th in the final table – a place above Zhalgiris thanks to more wins, but behind Terek (Grozny) because Terek had better head-to-head record (the three clubs finished with 41 points each, 11 less than the 4th placed Karpaty).

Third row, from left: V. N. Sereda – team director, V. Vassiliev, A. Bagapov, V. Shitikov, A. Semenyukov, V. Zhivotikov, V. Lavolin, M. Mironov, A. Artemenko, V. A. Grokhovsky – coach.

Middle row: ?, K. Rzhepishevky, S. Andreychenko, V. G. Korolkov – head coach, V. Batarin, A. Chugunov, A. Rybak.

First row: V. Kazakov, A. Ploshnik, Yu. Chebotarev, V. Fursa, V. Koretzky, Yu. Ter-Oganessyantz, E. Polovinko, Yu. Semin, V. Korovkin.

Of course, not big names here, but few players used to play in top division. Chugunov, Rybak, and the future top Russian coach Yury Semin exemplified the typical case: good players, perhaps capable of much more than playing second tier football, but lacking any desire to do so. Quite satisfied to be big fish in a small pond and not to be troubled with anything else.

Down the table things only became more pathetic. Feeling safe, Kusbass practically lost interest and got 0 points in their last 6 championship games. They finished 16th, sharing points with Uralmash. Why bother, since nobody was to be relegated this year? The last three were known in advance – the suddenly plummeting Spartak (Ordzhonikidze – today Spartak Vladikavkaz) was 18th, Dinamo (Leningrad), once upon a time strong first division club, but already ailing for years, 19th, and the miserable Kolkhozchy (Ashkhabad) dead last. No surprise at all – Dinamo played with relegation for years, and finally doomsday arrived. Kolkhozchy meandered between second and third division constantly and when in second was practically subscribed for the last place. Now they were in heaven... last, but staying in the league. A luxury, serving no purpose at all.

At the end only four clubs were interested in something different than sedentary life, but even they were nothing special. Freshly relegated from first division Karpaty (Lvov) ended 4th. It was the only team introducing young talent – S. Yurchishin, A. Bal, G. Batich, and Ya. Dumansky, but it was not enough. Sergey Yurchishin was considered almost the most promising young player at the time, but instead he became one of the biggest failures of Soviet football. Andrey Bal went in the opposite direction, becoming one of the great players in the 1980's Dinamo Kiev and USSR. Presently, the quartet was too young, inconsistent, and inexperienced and Karpaty was unable to earn promotion. In fact, it was not the team as such, but just these four players impressing observers and they were only future promise.

Dinamo (Minsk) finished 3rd. Inconsistency plagued them – the team wasted too much time going up and down the league and when finally decided to attack the top, they just lucky there was no competition. Dinamo Minsk changed the coach and the climb was due to the new one - Eduard Malofeev, at the beginning of his career. Under him, Dinamo improved, but too late for anything better than third place. Going up only because the Federation decided on three promotions this year. Lucky Dinamo.

Second ended SKA Rostov, usually a top flight club. More or less, expected candidate for promotion. Not an interesting team – perhaps only more ambitious than the usual league members. If they had anything, this was young and exciting forward and prolific scorer – Sergey Andreev. He was just becoming known, but soon he was to play for the national team. As for this year, he was the top second division scorer with 20 goals.

SKA Rostov – happily returning to first division. Not very promising in 1978, but eventually they improved later.

Krylya Sovetov (Kyubishev) were the champions. Not overwhelming ones, finishing with 56 points. Two more than SKA, earned from 21 wins and 14 ties. As true champions, they did not lose many games – only 3. Perhaps defense was their strongest line. Like SKA Rostov, they failed to impress. Commentators were skeptical – both winners historically played badly the next year, Particularly Krylya Sovetov, which were typical 'unsettled' club – too strong for second level, too weak for top flight.

Proud champions! Sitting from left: Yu. Kutuzov – team doctor, V. Kirsh – coach, G. Fridlyand – team director, V. Solovyov – assistant coach, S. Yarkin – masseur.

Middle row: A. Rotenko, A. Blokhin, Yu. Pilipko, N. Shtukin, A. Bytkin, G. Lisenchuk, V. Mazalov, V. Abramov, V. Losev.

Third row: V. Panfilov, A. Kupriyanov, A. Arutyunyan, R. Sibgatullin, Yu. Elisseev, V. Kuznetzov, A. Fetissov, A. Galiulov.

Mostly fading players, who already failed to survive in First Division. Perhaps the top name was Yury Elisseev – in 1972 he won the Soviet title with Zarya (Voroshilovgrad) and was included in the national team for a short time. By now, getting old and not at all great... able to score goals in second division, but as far as first was considered... Krylya Sovetov actually appeared weaker then Dinamo and SKA Rostov. Winners of the league, promoted, but most likely only to come back after a year or two.

None of the promoted was seen as up and coming team. None was seen as any meaningful addition, improving the top league. All three were found short of talent. They were just slightly better and livelier than the bulk of dour and dull second league clubs.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

USSR - overview and 3rd division:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014