Friday, August 1, 2008

Club Focus - Luch Energia Vladivostok

One of my unfullfilled ambitions, which will probably remain unfullfilled is to see Luch Vladivostok play a home game at their Dynamo Stadium. Another is to see them get into the Champions League. Can you imagine how pissed off clubs like Manchester United would be if they had to travel basically as far as Japan for a midweek game, and without the massive pay-day of a friendly in Japan?

Luch's location even causes problems in the Russian League. For example in 2006 3 Zenit fans drove to the match from St. Petersburg in a clapped out Honda. Unfortunately, the car broke down in Vladivostok and the lads had to get a Trans-Siberian train back to Leningrad. An especially arduous journey that takes several days and travels the distance of 15000 KM very slowly. At least Zenit showed them their appreciation and gave them a brand new car when they eventually got home.

Professional football arrived in Vladivostok in 1947 when it was decided that a team from Siberia and one from the Far East would get a new team in the regional B division of the Soviet League. At the time the team was called Dinamo, hence the name of their stadium and their first game was in front of a capacity crowd of 10,000. They played against Khabarosk and unfortunately lost 1-0.

Luch were born in 1958 and played in the B division of the Far East regional league and stayed there until they were promoted in 1965 to the A-Class. When the league was reorganised in 1972 Luch found themselves in the 2nd Division ( Eastern Region) and they stayed there until 1991.

In 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union Luch were entered into the First Division of the Russian League. In that season they gained promotion to the top flight, but only hanged around for a season before getting relegated again. From 1998 - 2003 Luch were in the Second Division and then 2003-2005 they were in the first. In 2005 they were again promoted to the Top Flight and have been there since. At the moment my dreams of seeing them get into the champions League seem pretty distant, as they are just above the drop zone, but there is still a long way to go. Let's hope they can at least stay up.
Come on You SunStrikers!

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