FC Spartak Moscow

Футбольный клуб Спартак, Москва

is a football club from Moscow, Russia. They are nicknamed "Meat" because in Soviet era the club was owned by the Collective Production Farms (the kolkhoz and the sovkhoz) .

Spartak have won 12 Soviet championships (second only to Dynamo Kyiv) and 9 of 14 Russian championships. They have also won the Soviet Cup 10 times and the Russian Cup 3 times. Spartak have also reached the semi-finals of all three European club competitions.

The football club is a part of the Spartak Moscow sports society. Other teams in the society include ice hockey club Spartak Moscow.


In the early days of Soviet football many government agencies such as the police, army, and railroads created their own clubs. In 1921 the Moscow Sport Circle (Moscow sport club of Krasnopresnensky district), later named Krasnaya Presnya was formed by Ivan Artemev and involved Starostin, especially in its football team. The team grew, building a stadium, supporting itself from ticket sales and playing matches across Russia. As part of a 1926 reorganisation of football in the USSR, Starostin arranged for the club to be sponsored by the food workers union and the club moved to the 13, 000 seat Tomskii Stadium and was known as Pishcheviki . The team changed sponsors repeatedly over the following years as it competed with Dinamo Moscow, whose 35, 000 seat Dinamo Stadium lay close by.

As a high-profile sportsman, Starostin came into close contact with Alexander Kosarev, secretary of the Komsomol (Communist Union of Youth) who already had a strong influence on sport and wanted to extend it. In November 1934, with funding from Promkooperatsiia, Kosarev employed Starostin and his brothers to develop his team to make it more powerful. Again the team changed its name, this time to Spartak Moscow. It took its name from the Roman slave rebel and athlete Spartacus

It became part of the Spartak Sports Society during its establishment on April 19, 1935

Soviet period

In 1935 Starostin proposed the name Spartak that was derived from Spartacus, a gladiator-slave who led a rebellion against Rome, and was inspired by eponymous book by Raffaello Giovagnoli. Starostin is also credited with the creation of the Spartak logo. The same year the club became a part of newly created Spartak sports society.

Czech manager Antonin Fivebr is credited as the first head coach of Spartak, though he worked as a consultant in several clubs simultaneously. In 1936 the Soviet Top League was established. The first Championship was won by Dynamo Moscow, while in the second one held the same year Spartak came first. Before the WWII Spartak gained two more titles.

During 1950-s Spartak together with Dynamo Moscow dominated in the Soviet Top League. When the USSR national football team won gold medals on the Melbourne Olympics, it consisted largely of Spartak players. Spartak captain Igor Netto was the captain of the national team from 1954 to 1963. In the 1960s, Spartak won two league titles, but by mid-60s Spartak was no more regarded as a leading Soviet club. The club was even less successful in the 1970s and in 1976 Spartak was relegated into the lower league.

During the following season, the stadium was still full as the club's fans stayed with the team during its time in the lower division. Konstantin Beskov, who became the head coach (ironically, as a footballer Beskov made his name playing for Spartak's main rivals, Dynamo Moscow), introduced several young players, including Rinat Dasayev and Georgi Yartsev. Spartak came back the next year and won the title in 1979, beating Dynamo Kyiv and thanks to Spartak supporters, the period is considered to be the start of the modern-style fans' movement in the Soviet Union.

On October 20, 1982, disaster struck during the UEFA Cup match between Spartak and HFC Haarlem. Scores of people were trampled. The official number of deaths is 66 but many people believe this number to be significantly higher.

In 1989 Spartak won the its last USSR Championship defeating 2-1 the main rival Dynamo Kyiv in the closing round. Spartak's striker Valery Shmarov scored the "golden" free kick with almost no time left. The next season Spartak reached European Cup semifinal consequently eliminating Napoli (by penalties) and Real Madrid (with 3-1 away victory) but losing to Olympique de Marseille.

Modern period

A new page in the club’s history began when the USSR collapsed and its championship ceased to exist. In the newly created Russian league, Spartak, led by coach and president Oleg Romantsev dominated and won all but one title between 1992 and 2001. Year after year the team also represented Russia in the Champions League.

Problems began in the new century. Several charismatic players (Ilya Tsymbalar and Andrey Tikhonov among others) left the club as a result of conflict with Romantsev. Later Romantsev sold his stock to oil magnate Andrei Chervichenko, who in 2003 became the club president. The two were soon embroiled in a row that would continue until Romantsev was sacked in 2003 with the club suffering several sub-par seasons until Chervichenko finally sold his stock in 2004. The new ownership made a number of front office changes with the aim of returning the team to the top of the Russian Premier League.

In the 2005 season, Spartak, led by Aleksandrs Starkovs, finished 2nd in the league following an impressive run to beat Lokomotiv, Zenit and Rubin to the last Champions League place.

Following a mixed start to the 2006 season and public criticism from Dmitry Alenichev, the team's captain and one of its most experienced players, Starkovs left his position to Vladimir Fedotov.

Spartak was entitled to place a golden star on its badge in 2003 in commemoration of having won five Russian championships (this having been achieved in 1997).