Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Club Focus -Metalurh Donetsk

..... or Metallurg Donetsk in Russian ( see what I mean about the spelling nightmares?) The very name summons up images of those great Soviet teams that were formed for working men, like Lokomotiv and Torpedo Moscow, Shakhtar Donetsk and Metalist Kharkiv. So it will come as a surprise that the club has no such history.

The club has its roots in Antrasyt Kirovske, who after the formation of the Ukrainian League started off in the 3rd division. In 1993 they finished 3rd and were promoted to the second division. They moved to Shahtarsk and became Medita Shahtarsk. 2 years later they became Metalurh and the rest is recent history.

They survive on pretty low crowds, as Shakhtar are their neighbours and they haven't really been able to get any of the casual support in the town, unlike Arsenal in Kyiv and like FK Kharkiv. In fact, so much so that a few years ago the club actually paid people to go to away games and support the team, which didn't make them many friends, particularly at Arsenal ( despite Arsenal's new owner seemingly being also a bit partial to the odd freebie, although he hasn't offered anyone free tickets to Simferopil away yet).

Despite the low crowds they are obviously not short of a bob or two, as they have recently signed Marcinho from Palmeiras and for some reason Jordi Cruyff has also ended up there.

During the early part of the decade they even looked capable of breaking the Dynamo and Shaktar dominance of the Vische Liha and finished 3rd in 2002, 2003 and 2005 (they finished fourth in 2004 and were fifth in 2001). Since then they seem to have settled for mid-table obscurity, despite the big name signings using the club like a revolving door.

On Saturday they will take on Dynamo, which at the moment looks like a tough task for them.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Good for people to know.