FC Lokomotiv Moscow
|Full name||Футбольный клуб "Локомотив" Москва|
(Football Club Lokomotiv Moscow)
|Nickname(s)||Loko, Parovozy (Steam Locomotives)|
|Founded||23 July 1922|
|Ground||RZD Arena, Moscow|
|Head coach||Yuri Semin|
|League||Russian Premier League|
Lokomotiv won the Russian Premier League in 2002, 2004 and 2018, the USSR Cup in 1936 and 1957, and the Russian Cup in 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2015, 2017 and 2019. The club was the league runner-up in 1959, 1995, 1999, 2000 and 2001, and finished third in 1994, 1998, 2005, 2006 and 2014. Lokomotiv was the Russian Super Cup holder in 2003 and 2005.
Lokomotiv was founded as Kazanka (Moskovskaya-Kazanskaya Zh.D) in 1922. In 1924, the club brought together the strongest football players of several lines of the Moscow railway system as KOR ("Club of the October Revolution"). In 1931, the club was again renamed to Kazanka (Moskovskaya-Kazanskaya Zh.D) and in 1936, it was eventually renamed to as it is known today, Lokomotiv (the name means "Locomotive"). During the Communist rule, Lokomotiv Moscow club was a part of the Lokomotiv Voluntary Sports Society and was owned by the Soviet Ministry of Transportation through the Russian Railways.
When the Lokomotiv Voluntary Sports Society was created in 1936, its football team featured the best players of Kazanka, and a number of strong Soviet footballers of that time such as Valentin Granatkin, Nikolay llyin, Alexey Sokolov, Pyotr Terenkov, Mikhail Zhukov, llya Gvozdkov and Ivan Andreev. Lokomotiv debuted in the first-ever Soviet football club championship with a game against Dynamo Leningrad on 22 May 1936. In the first two seasonal championships (spring and autumn), Lokomotiv finished fifth and fourth respectively. The first Lokomotiv success arrived shortly as in 1936, the railwaymen rose up to the occasion to beat Dynamo Tbilisi 2–0 in the Soviet Cup Final, thus winning the first Soviet Cup.
The following years were rather successful as Lokomotiv were consistent in the national championships. However, performances after World War II suffered and in a five-year span, Lokomotiv were relegated to the Soviet First League twice. In 1951, Lokomotiv came second and eventually won the promotion to the Soviet Top League. This kicked off the second Lokomotiv's resurgence and until the beginning of the 1960s, Lokomotiv competed for the USSR's top trophies. In 1957, Lokomotiv won the cup for the second time, and two years later, Lokomotiv won the silver medals of the Soviet League. Second place was the highest position ever obtained by Lokomotiv during the Soviet era.
Another important trademark for Lokomotiv was the authorization of playing friendly matches against foreign opposition. Typically, up to the late 1950s, international sports contacts with Soviet teams were extremely rare. However, since in 1955, Lokomotiv became a quasi-"football ambassador" for the Soviet Union abroad, participating in friendly matches in various parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa and even North America. This policy of openness ushered in a great era for Lokomotiv, with the squad including some of the finest Soviet footballers of the era, such as Vladimir Maslachenko, Gennady Zabelin, Eugeny Rogov, Valentin Bubukin, Victor Sokolov, Victor Voroshilov, Igor Zajtsev, Zaur Kaloyev, Yuri Kovalyov and Vitaly Artemyev. When Lokomotiv's strongest players abandoned the club, however, Lokomotiv fell again from grace and a swing between the first and second divisions followed, instability lasting until the end of the 1980s.
In the beginning of the 1990s, Lokomotiv was considered the "weakest link" amongst the top Moscow clubs. It lacked both results on the pitch and fans' support in the stands. However, head coach Yuri Semin and president Valeri Filatov were able to lead the club's progress, thus installing Lokomotiv as the "fifth wheel of the Moscow cart." Historically, Lokomotiv was not considered to be a big club in the same vein as Spartak, CSKA, Dynamo and Torpedo. With the former Soviet republics and their clubs gone, however, Lokomotiv took the opportunity to shine.
Solid performances in domestic league and several memorable campaigns in European Cups made Lokomotiv a superclub by Russian scales and brought back fans and supporters back to the stands. In 2002, a new stadium—Lokomotiv Stadium—resembling a traditional, compact English one was built. The arena, at that time considered to be one of the most comfortable, if not the best, in Eastern Europe gave a huge boost to the club's fan growth rate. Eventually, by 2009, the average attendance at the stadium was the second highest in Moscow.
In 2002, a "golden match" was needed to decide who will be the champion, as Lokomotiv Moscow and CSKA Moscow both finished with the same amount of points after Gameweek 30. The game was played at Dynamo Stadium in front of a sold-out crowd. Lokomotiv took an early lead thanks a low drive from captain Dmitry Loskov, and eventually the goal turned out to be enough for Lokomotiv to claim the first title in the club's history.
Two years later, Lokomotiv again won the Russian Premier League, edging city rivals CSKA by a single point; Lokomotiv defeated Shinnik Yaroslavl 0–2 in Yaroslavl, a week after CSKA fell to city rivals Dynamo at home.
In 2005, long-time head coach Yuri Semin left the team to coach the Russian national team, where he was replaced at Lokomotiv by Vladimir Eshtrekov. During the same year, although leading the league for most of the year, Lokomotiv stumbled in the last games of the campaign, allowing CSKA overtake them and claim the title, with Lokomotiv ultimately falling to third. Estrekhov was later sacked and replaced by Slavoljub Muslin, the first foreign manager in the club's history. After a poor start to the new season, Lokomotiv recovered and finished third, but despite the respectable performance, Muslin was sacked; Anatoly Byshovets took the helm as his replacement, with Yury Semin returning to serve as team president. This brought little success to Lokomotiv, who finished the season in seventh, with the only bright spot being the victory of the Russian Cup. These poor performances prompted the board of directors to sack both coach Anatoly Byshovets and President Semin. Rinat Bilyaletdinov was subsequently named caretaker coach. This lasted until 6 December 2006, when Lokomotiv brought in Rashid Rakhimov from Amkar Perm on a three-year contract. Again, however, this resulted to be yet another poor decision from the board, as Lokomotiv only finished seventh in 2008, also beginning the 2009 season poorly. Unsurprisingly, on 28 April 2009, Lokomotiv fired Rakhimov; long-serving player Vladimir Maminov was installed as a caretaker manager. A month later, Semin was brought back to the club to take charge. This appointment delivered immediate success to Lokomotiv as after a really poor start, Lokomotiv recovered and finished the season on a high, claiming fourth place in the process.
Before the 2011–12 league season, Semin left the club and was replaced by former Spartak Nalchuk manager Yuri Krasnozhan. On 4 June 2011, rumours spread that Lokomotiv chairman Olga Smorodskaya suspected Krasnozhan of throwing away the 27 May, 1–2 home league defeat to Anzhi Makhachkala, deciding to sack him on the grounds of the suspicion. Lokomotiv was fifth in the table at the time, just one point away from first-placed CSKA. On 6 July, after a Lokomotiv Committee of Directors meeting, Krasnozhan's contract was officially terminated on the basis of "negligence in his job." The Russian Football Union subsequently refused to investigate the case. Assistant manager Maminov again took over as caretaker for three weeks until a replacement was found in the form of José Couceiro, who had himself just finished a caretaking stint as manager of Sporting Clube de Portugal.
Couceiro, however, lasted just one year in the role, as the club opted not to renew his contract at the end of the 2011–12 season. After Croatian national team head coach Slaven Bilić announced he would step down after his nation's participation at Euro 2012, Loko acted quickly to sign him to a three-year contract. However, Bilić's first season at the helm brought another disappointment, as Loko finished ninth, its lowest-ever finish in the post-Soviet era of Russian domestic football. Just prior to the 2013–14 season, Bilić was sacked and replaced with new head coach Leonid Kuchuk. Results under Kuchuk improved considerably, to the extent that Lokomotiv lead the table for periods as well. Eventually, however, Lokomotiv ran out of steam and after only managing to win a single points from the last three matches of the season, Lokomotiv had to settle for the third place.
In the following season, Kuchuk failed to build-up on the improved performances of the previous season and with Lokomotiv languishing at the ninth place, Kuchuk was given the sack prematurely. Miodrag Božović was called to steady the ship but despite the early promise, a disastrous run of one win in a stretch of nine matches resulted in Božović being sacked with three league matches to go and with Igor Cherevchenko re-appointed as caretaker manager for the second time during the season. Despite the poor league performance, wherein Lokomotiv placed in the 7th place again, Lokomotiv did end the season on a positive tone as Cherevchenko managed to rally his troops and win the Russian Cup with a 3-1 win over Kuban Krasnodar. This success, which brought the first piece of silverware to Lokomotiv in 8 years, was enough to convince Olga Smorodskaya to appoint Cherevchenko on a permanent basis. Lokomotiv's performances under Cherechenko did improve in the beginning but it was a false promise once again as in the end Lokomotiv faltered and did not even manage to qualify for European football. Notwithstanding this, Cherevchenko was confirmed for the 2016–17 season.
After months of speculation, and with only two games in the new season, the upper echelons pulled the plug on Smorodskaya's disastrous tenure and relieved Smorodskaya herself and Cherechenko from their duties. Ilya Herkus was brought in in place of Smorodskaya and with the goal of resolving the previous board's fractious relationship with the fans and bring them back to the stadium, Lokomotiv appointed Yury Semin as their manager for the fourth time. In also came crowd favourite Dmitri Loskov, who was assigned to assist Semin with his duties. Despite the good aura brought by the change in management, Lokomotiv's performances seldom improved and a tumultuous season ended up in Lokomotiv placing in a disappointing eighth position. In what was probably the only highlight of the season, Lokomotiv, however, managed to snatch the Russian Cup for a joint record seventh time by crushing Ural Yekaterinburg's dreams of their first ever piece of silverware with a two-nil victory.
Despite the average league performance, Semin was confirmed for the next season. Herkus' decision to retain Semin resulted to be a shrewd decision as Semin managed to do the unthinkable and rallied Lokomotiv to win the Russian Premier League for only the third time in their history. In Europe, Lokomotiv also performed admirably, as they managed to advance to Round of 16 for the first time in their history and got eliminated by the Spanish giants of Atlético Madrid, who eventually went on to win the Cup.
Performances in EuropeEdit
Lokomotiv reached the Cup Winners' Cup semi-final twice, in 1997–98 and 1998–99. The club also played in the UEFA Champions League for the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, progressing past the group stage in the latter only to fall to eventual finalists AS Monaco in the round of 16.
- As of 11 June 2019
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Soviet Top League / Russian Premier League
- Soviet First League / Russian National Football League
- Soviet Cup / Russian Cup
Lokomotiv play their home games at RZD Arena. Its total seating capacity is 27,320 seats, all covered. The stadium was opened after reconstruction in 2002.
League and Cup historyEdit
Had international caps for their respective countries. Players whose name is listed in bold represented their countries while playing for Lokomotiv.
- "Красножан может быть уволен из "Локо" (Krasnozhan may be fired from Loko)" (in Russian). Sport Express. 4 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- "Lokomotiv Moscow fires coach who reportedly is suspected of match-fixing". The Canadian Press. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- "Lokomotiv Moscow dismiss head coach Yuri Krasnozhan over alleged match fixing". sports.ru. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- "Официальная формулировка увольнения Красножана – "упущения, допущенные при работе" (Official wording of Krasnozhan's dismissal reason is "neglect of duties")" (in Russian). sports.ru. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- "Title contenders Lokomotiv Moscow sack coach". Eurosport. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- "Фурсенко: РФС не собирается вмешиваться в дела "Локомотива" (Fursenko: RFU won't interfere in Lokomotiv affairs)" (in Russian). championat.ru. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- "Players". FC Lokomotiv Moscow. Retrieved 6 September 2018.