Billsboard: Bye Bye Emery.

Posted on November 29, 2012


My bad.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Unai Emery was relieved of his post as the manager of Spartak Moscow this weekend. The official decision was announced after a 5-1 home derby day drubbing against Dinamo Moscow, but it had been on the cards after a disappointing start to the season. They find themselves in 7th place in the league, a full 11 points behind leaders CSKA, and they have already been knocked out of Europe regardless of what happens against Celtic this week. Emery is a good coach, as proved in his work at Valencia and Almeria, but he never got running at Spartak. Is that so surprising though? Past history shows us that expensive foreign coaches never do well at Spartak, be it Nevio Scala or Michael Laudrup. Also to the surprise of no one, Valeri Karpin is back in charge in a caretaker role, although I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him return to the role full time. It has now been 11 seasons since their last Russian League title, and the club are desperate to return to their former place at the plateau of Russian football. More so than anything,it is the spectre of the figure who coached the 2001 league winning side that looms large over the club.

Oleg Romantsev was incredibly successful during his 14 years at the club, winning 8 league titles, 4 cups and reaching the semi finals of all 3 major European competitions. He was also President of the club during this time, and pretty much ran the entire show. Everything came down to him, he was Spartak. To me, it seems that either Karpin or the club are desperate for Karpin to become a modern day Romantsev, a man who embodies everything about the club and will drag it head first into a new age of success. Well, unfortunately for Myaso, as they are nicknamed (it means ‘Meat’, and comes from their origins from a meat processing factory), I just can’t see it happening. Romantsev was a once in a lifetime, and the Russian league was oh so much different as well. Where as then you had Spartak, then the rest, now there are legitimately 5 or 6 teams who it wouldn’t be overly reaching to say could win the league. This is great for Russian football. Where as the first 15 years of the post-Soviet championship were entirely Moscow dominated (with the exception of Alania Vladikavkaz’s win in 1995), the league is expanding nationwide. Zenit have provided some pride for Russia’s most historic city. Rubin Kazan came out of nowhere to represent the Tatars. Money has poured into Anzhi and the Caucasus club are now legitimate title challengers. FC Krasnodar and Kuban have almost made Krasnodar the countrys 2nd city when it comes to football. It’s now been 5 years since a Moscow club won the league, and this new competitiveness can only be a good thing, whether Russia’s proudest club likes it or not.