Thursday, March 13, 2008

Club focus - Vorskla Poltava

The first match I went to after the winter break was Metalist v Vorskla, Vorskla again provide the competition on Sunday when they take on Arsenal Kyiv at Respublikansky, so who are they?

The side that were to later become Vorskla started out in Poltava as Kolkhoznik ( Collective Farm Workers) when they were formed by Mikhail Stakhurskiy in 1955. In that year they took part in a tournament of Physical Culture, surprisingly the following year they won the Soviet Cup and in 1956 were admitted into catergory B of the Soviet league, where they spent 11 years and changed their name to Kolos.

What happened after this is unclear from all the research I've done, it appears that Kolos stagnated and by 1982 had reached new lows finishing in last place in the 2nd division of the Ukrainian zone of the Soviet league. What is clear that during this period is that another Poltava club that was to become a part of Vorskla were in the ascendancy in the region.

In 1968 Selstroi reached Division A of the Soviet league, where they promptly changed their name to Stoitili (builders). However, soon afterwards the Soviet league was restructured and they had to join the second division, where they played without much distinction for the next 12 seasons.

At the start of the 1984 season the teams in Poltava were connected under the umbrella name Vorskla ( the river which runs through the region), where they played in the second division of the Soviet League. In 1988 they managed to gain promotion to the first division where they played until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 1992 Vorskla joined the Ukrainian league and played in the first division for 5 years before gaining promotion with a record 103 points. The following season they finished 3rd in the Ukrainian league and played in the UEFA cup. Since then Vorskla have been everpresent in the top division of the Ukrainian league without achieving much. I have seen them beaten on several occassions and this season could see relegation, as they are currently in the bottom 2 and apart from the defeat to Metalist, they lost to Shakhtar last week. We'll see what fortune has in store for them on Sunday.

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