Monday, June 4, 2012

Club focus - Alania Vladikavkaz

Alania Vladikavkaz are the heirs to Spartak Vladikavkaz from the North Ossetia region of Russia. The original team were founded in 1921. Up until the 1990s they had only spent the 1970 season in the top level of the Soviet league. At the time when the Soviet Union collapsed Alania were the only team who weren't from Moscow in the top division of the Soviet league.

In 1995 they had their most successful season when they won the Russian league, when they beat Spartak Moscow in a play-off game in St.Petersburg. Justice was probably done, as in most other leagues the title would have already been awarded to them. In 1996 they finished 2nd, but after talismanic manager Valeri Gazzaev moved on Alania failed to live up to the high expectations that they had set themselves. They did manage to stay in the top division though until 2005 when they were relegated.

Relegation was the least of their problems though, and the following year they were relegated again for legal irregularities. It was at this time that they reverted to the Spartak Vladikavkaz time after being known as Alania for a few years. They managed to get promotion at the first attempt from Division 2 South and changed their name back to Alania. In 2009 Alania finished 3rd in Division 1, which was outside the promotion zone, but due to the bankruptcy of FK Moscow they managed to gain promotion. However they only managed a year in the top flight and were then relegated again. They did manage to represent Russia in the UEFA Cup again last season after reaching the final of the Russian FA Cup.

They'll be hoping for some Gazzaev magic as they now have Valeri's son Vladimir at the helm and Valeri is back at the helm after a spell coaching Dynamo Kyiv.

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