My First Game. ‘I liked the atmosphere’
The history of the Lokomotiv vs Dynamo rivalry roots deep into the Soviet history. Many generations of supporters have changed, and every one valued the Moscow derbies.
Prior to another encounter in Khimki we’re premiering a new section, ‘My First Game’. We hope it will become regular. In it, the supporters will have a chance to remember their favourite games and share the details that will add to Lokomotiv’s history.
Today we’re listening to Ivan Krylov, a representative of the fan-movement ‘United South’. He has been supporting Lokomotiv for 20 years already. Ivan has told us about how the movement started, the atmosphere at the stands, and shared his thoughts on the derby against the White-Blues.
– The first game watched live is a lifelong memory. Do you remember yours well?
– I do. It was in 1998. Lokomotiv hosted Baltika at their old stadium in Cherkizovo. We won 3:0 and were overwhelmed with joy. I remember that Volodya Maminov scored one of the goals.
I rememeber going to Moscow and back by train. I lived in Kolomna then, and had to travel by train. Do you rememeber the old wooden benches there? I do. It’s a rare thing now, only in some regional trains can you see them.
Probably someone will be surprised, but at that time we shared trains with the local Torpedo supporters. We had decent relations. We used to take a train to Moscow together, then we went to Cherkizovo and they went to their stadium. As a rule, we didn’t come across in the evening.
– Sometimes parents don’t allow their children go to a stadium.
– I had turned 16 by that time, and my parents were okay with it: my mom knew I was an adequate person and was never worried about me. A year later I went on my first away trip. Of course we went through some troubles from time to time but the excuses for having bruises were standard - I stumbled, I hit something etc.
– Let’s talk about the first game again. How come that you came and stayed for good?
– It’s easy: I watched the game and I liked it. Even before going to the stadium I felt I got interested in the club, and I was surprised to see so few people at the stands. But it had something to it, you know. I thought it was interesting that there was a perspective for the development of the supporters’ movement and of the club. It’s way more interesting to support a club that had never been champions and that didn’t have many supporters.
– How does a liking for a team appear? Do you get attracted by the results, or something else?
– Of course, the results were important. But I was attracted by the atmosphere around the team. I looked at Spartak who had crowds of fans and who were the absolute leaders at the time. But they nearly hit their limit. Lokomotiv had their stadium, which was a rare thing among the Moscow clubs. Yes, the fans were few, but they knew each other and they knew the team. A new person comes - wow, that’s cool! Two people come - that’s mega! We were sure the club has much to win. New fan unions started to appear: ‘Ultra-Loko’, ‘Vikings’. The fans at the stadium became united.
– So you have seen the old stadium. What details can you remember?
– I can tell you a story which fits perfectly now due to the coming fixture against Dynamo. In spring of 1999 I took my young brother with me to the stadium. It was a game against Dynamo. I don’t remember how I got the invitations, but they brought us to the visiting fans’ section. Back then, the visiting fans were seated where the current Sections 1 and 2 of the South Stand are. Of course, we cheered the successful actions of our team but not as vigorously as we could have. We sat among the fans of the opposing team, wearing red-green scarves and badges, we didn’t hide them. It ended up good, without adventures.
– Did Dynamo fans outnumber ours?
– Of course! They filled the entire West Stand and several blocks behind the goal. Usually they were closed. We occupied the East, part of it. Of course, Dynamo had way more supporters back then.
– I remember well the game at Dynamo’s old stadium when we were down 2-0 after the first half, - Ivan goes on. - It was in the mid-2000s. In the second half Lokomotiv scored four goals and conceded none. We were told that in half-time, the dressing-room was hell, full of shouting and flying boots. Just recently we saw the same game scenario - we were losing 0-2, but won 4-2.
I really miss Dynamo’s old stadium and the games we played there. Yes, it was dated, but it has the atmosphere. Imagine, you go out of the underground into the square, there’s a crowd of people, huge queues to the ticket offices… I really wish that Dynamo get back to their arena as soon as possible. When Lokomotiv were building the new stadium, we used to rent another one in Ramenskoe just outside of Moscow. That stadium was called home, but it wasn’t really.
Let’s not forget that at the Dynamo Stadium we won our first title. But it’s a different story.
– Speaking about the old Lokomotiv stadium, where did the active fans sit?
– At the East Stand, Section G. Just opposite the entrance is the old blue building with columns, it used to host the Supporters’ Club. It’s still there, as well as some club infrastructure. Back in the Soviet times the building hosted the teams’ dressing-rooms and the referees’ room. Some old residents say many local dwellers and football lovers used to come here and the tickets were cheap. My first ticket was cheap too. Just recently I was sorting the old things and found my first season-ticket. Back then they were self-made. It was a usual laminated piece of paper with you data handwritten on it and a photo glued in. It used to cost 100 rubles. An average ticket was priced at 10 rubles. It really saved your money.
– What was necessary for a Lokomotiv fan to have on them? You mentioned the badges…
– I bought them from a market, and a scarf I bought them near the metro exit before one of my first games. There were also the scarves that fans made themselves, but they were few and I failed to get it. There’s one such rare thing in the museum now. Back then it was cool to wear the ‘home-made scarves’, I ordered one for myself and had been wearing it for a long time.
– When did you make your first away trip?
– In 1999 when I went to Yaroslavl. I know many people who had their first away experience then. At that time, Lokomotiv started attracting crowds of new people, young guys and girls. Plus it’s pretty easy to get to Yaroslavl. So we gathered about 100-120 people, a good number at that time.
The romanticism of the away trips of the old days… Very specific romanticism. Nobody brawled really, but not to say everything went smoothly. We used to yell and get into troubles with the police - yes, that was the case. I’m not into it anymore. Besides, during the last five or seven years the morals have changed - most of the fans stick to the healthy lifestyle, with no alcohol. Although there’re still some old-fashioned fans.
– Back then, there was already a tradition of waving flags and demonstrating banners, right?
– There were several banners like ‘Ultra-Loko’, ‘Loko-81’, then there was ‘Vikings’. Not many text messages, really. The only one I remember is «Tirol – s**t!» during that famous replay. It was painted by three guys, with a spray paint on a bedsheet. There was another one in 2003 when we had a chance to get the bronze medals but that depended on the outcome of the game between CSKA and Rubin. We thrashed Shinnik and started watching that game, right on the stadium screen. We needed that Rubin lost points, and prepared a banner saying ‘Our bronze shines brighter than gold’. The score was 2:2, and in the last minute CSKA conceded an own goal. So the banner wasn’t relevant anymore.
- In the end, I want to say something. I don’t want to separate fans from the ordinary supporters. Yes, our views on football are different but we all live our lives here at the stadium, together with the others. We support one club, for God’s sake! I noticed that the coverage of the team’s life has become more extensive. It is one of the most important things for me, it’s a channel of communication with the team. The supporters see their club is developing, and that it has potential for other improvements. I hope it will be like that.