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I went to see Zenit Saint Petersburg play Terek Grozny last week when over in Russia, I was well off my facking manor and it was well naughty but here’s my report if any c*** is interested ;


The city had apparently gone a bit football daft since winning the UEFA Cup back in May, so I was looking forward to the game. The trophy was being displayed for photographs on Nevsky Prospekt (the main street) and there were also hilarious posters of Super Dick (Advocaat) clad in a lycra superhero suit, adorning bus stops and billboards all over the city. That said, there was little evidence of it being a match day in the city centre or on the Metro, and it was only when I got to the ground that I started to see any fans.


The Petrovsky Sports complex is a typical Soviet era municipal stadium which is located on it’s own little island which is only accessible by one bridge……makes it a lot easier to police I suppose. Talking of police, the presence both inside and outside the ground was massive compared to a normal English game. Big squads of OMON (paramilitary nasty bastards) in huge f*** off trucks were dotted all around the ground and going over the bridge, there were rows and rows of baby-faced riot police, who are mostly lads from the military academy (there for a bit of training apparently) who looked itching to crack some skulls. They are really security conscious too it seems, as we were searched on three different occasions going into the ground, body searches, metal detectors the lot.

The Stadium is a stop-gap affair, as they are moving back to their original Kirov Stadium site, where the ground has been knocked down to make way for a state of the art 55,000 seater, due to be open next year. Inside the ground, it reminded me of Gateshead Stadium without the luxury of having a stand. It is all-seater but pretty much everyone in the ‘active’ sections likes to stand……no petty minded safety officers to worry about here. It cost about 1000 Roubles to get in, which is a lot more than it used to be, but a season ticket in the radgy section behind the goal only costs about 5000 Rbl, which is roughly £100.


The crowd is pretty much like your average English game, although maybe a bit on the younger side. There were a few lads knocking about wearing the usual casual clobber, but the majority of the active lot wear shirts and scarves, and there were a fair few bare-chested tattooed loons in attendance………and a healthy smattering of extremely beautiful girls. Terek had approximately 25 fans there (who were probably local Chechans) who must have been outnumbered by about 5 to 1 by the Militsa and OMON.


As for the game, Zenit had been humped 4-1 by league leaders Rubin Kazan in midweek and have been fairly erratic since winning the Waffa Cup back in May. Their captain Tymoshuk who looks a hell of a player, was also missing due to suspension, so confidence was pretty low going into the game.


There was nothing to worry about really, as Terek were f***ing gash and Zenit were 2-0 up at half time due to two goals from Zryianov, both set up by Arshavin…….the first directly from a corner, and the second from a tight angle after a one two on the edge of the box.

Somehow, Terek scored with the first attack of the second half to send their small following crackers, but Zenit went further ahead when Tekke scored with a good header. The rest of the game was one way traffic and Zenit played some lovely stuff but were guilty of missing some great chances (particularly Tekke) and of over elaboration. With 10 minutes left, Arshavin went off to a hero’s reception and was replaced by the equally popular Pogrebnyak, who was playing his first game since they spanked Bayern Munich in the Waffa semi. He also missed Russia’s EURO Championship through injury, but even though he was a bit rusty, he looked a class act and was unlucky not to score……..I reckon he’ll end up at a bigger club in the not too distant future, as should midfielders Sirl and Denisov who were both excellent.


The crowd was only 15,000 which is incredibly low considering the population of St. Petersburg is six million, and the atmosphere was nowt special, but to be fair this game was the equivelant of playing Wigan at home on a wet Wednesday night. It was also muted out of respect for one of their top fans who had been killed in a fight with a bouncer earlier in the week……and fair play to the club, as they had a minutes silence and all the players wore armbands, which I can’t imagine happening in this country. There was also a collection for the lads funeral, to which everyone contributed generously. With a few minutes left, virtually every single person in the ground raised their scarf and belted out the club anthem, an old Soviet song in honour of the heroes of the siege of Leningrad……..and that was very impressive hairs on the back of the neck stuff I must say.


The big matches for Zenit are the ‘rival’ fixtures against the Moscow clubs and they are actually their nearest games too (8 hrs on the overnight train!), and you can be looking at a 10 day round trip to go to Vladivostok on the rattler (the internal flights are pricey and notoriously dangerous). Incredibly, there is a small elite group who go to every single away……now that’s what I call dedication! CSKA are Russia’s equivelant of Chelsea and are hated for their wealth but Spartak is seen as the true derby for Zenit. The two cities are polar opposites, St Petersburg is elegant, very European and prides itself on it’s culture, whereas Moscow is big and brutal, very Russian and people are judged by their big gold chains, blacked out Hummers and by how many flat-faced goons they have on tap. Despite the differences, there is a lot of respect for ‘The Gladiators’ of Spartak whose fans are recognised as the loyalist and toughest in Russia………..they regularly take 8,000 to St. P even though they only get 4,000 tickets. Everyone wanted to talk about English football, which is much admired for it’s work rate and integrity but you don’t see a lot of English shirts as in other countries…….I only saw 4 all trip, two Liverpool shirts, one Chelsea and bizarrely a kid on the Metro wearing a pristine 1996 ‘Ferdinand 9’ top. He thought I was winding him up when I told him I was from Newcastle and it was my team!


Zenit have sold out their full allocation for the Super Cup against Man United in Monaco next week, so here’s hoping they do the Mancs!  Давай Зенит.


Some pics if anyone is bothered, taken with a phone so not great quality I’m afraid ;





















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Guest guinness_fiend

I went to see Zenit Saint Petersburg play Terek Grozny last week when over in Russia, I was well off my facking manor and it was well naughty but heres my report if any c*** is interested ;




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