Dynamo Kyiv. Million hearts beating as one...

more than a year ago
The Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex (also known as Olympic Stadium) is the stadium for the national football team of Ukraine and since this year is the stadium of Dynamo Kyiv football team. 
Dynamo Kyiv is the most accomplished Soviet and post-Soviet football team in Ukraine. Its accomplishments include numerous USSR and Ukraine championships and National Cups as well as UEFA trophies.

Dynamo Kyiv was founded in 1927 as a sports society of Police and the Ministry of Interior. This society had already existed in several major cities in USSR, particularly in Moscow, where the Dynamo Moscow team was one of the best teams in Moscow championships. These early Soviet teams did not consist of professional football players, they included the employees of the organizations they represented. For example, all Dynamo Kyiv players held posts in the police.

For Dynamo Kyiv’s proudest time though, you have to go back to the 1940s. Many of us will have seen the film ‘Escape To Victory’ and laughed at the notion of Sylvester Stallone’s goalkeeping defeating the Nazis. The film does have its roots in reality though. In the 1940s a team called FK Start began playing  matches in Nazi-occupied Kyiv to boost the morale of the local people. The team was made up by mainly of Dynamo players, and began to attract the ire of the occupying forces because of their success. Teams from the Nazi-aligned Romanian and Hungarian garrisons were comfortably defeated, leading eventually to a German armed forces team known as Flakelf being put together to play  the Ukrainian upstarts and put them in their place.

In the face of tremendous intimidation, Start defeated the Nazi select 5-1 on the 6th of August 1942. Flakelf demanded a re-match. This match was played on the 9th of August, in front of German troops, with an SS officer refereeing. The Start players were told they had to greet their opposition with a Hitler salute, an instruction they defied. After being ‘warned’ at half-time about the consequences of winning, the Start players were leading 5-3 with a few minutes left. One of their defenders, Klimenko, got the ball, beat the Flakelf defence, took the ball round the keeper…then humiliated the Nazis by turning and kicking the ball back towards the halfway line before it went in. 

Around a week later, the Start players were rounded up, arrested, and tortured by the Gestapo. One died under this torture. The rest were sent to concentration camps, where another three would die. The final insult was that when the Soviets re-took Kyiv, they viewed the players as collaborators for having played in the match at all and its existence was largely suppressed. Andy Dougan’s excellent book “Dynamo: Defending The Honour of Kiev” tells the story in far greater and better detail.

Going back to the 1950s and 1960s Dynamo represented a continuing Ukrainian national spirit and pride. Despite carrying the “Dynamo” name associated with state security, when it came to games against Moscow Dynamo, they were playing  for Ukrainian pride against the Moscow centralised state. A situation made all the more difficult by the high-level government patronage of Moscow Dynamo.

Starting in 1975 Dynamo Kyiv had finally won the respect of the whole football-playing Europe. Dynamo Kyiv crushed through the 1974/1975 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup to win it on May 14, 1975, against Ferencvaros, 3-0. On their way, they defeated Eindhoven and Eintracht Frankfurt, some of the best club sides in European play.

That Dynamo team were managed by the legendary Valeriy Lobanovskiy, as well as managing  Dynamo from 1997-2002, he also managed the USSR national team in three spells. During his final installment as USSR boss from 1986-90, the bulk of the team were made up of his Dynamo stars. Names like Baltacha, Rats, Belanov, and Blokhin joined Mikhailitchenko and Kuznetsov in representing Dynamo and the national team. In the USSR the Soviet national team were sometimes known as “The Dynamo team, but weakened by players from other sides…”.

In later years Dynamo proved to be a truly remarkable club. We’ve already given you the rundown on the side of the late 80s, but they also went on to give football the Shevchenko/Rebrov partnership. Beyond the playing staff, they had Valeriy Lobanovskiy, one of the most iconic managers world football has ever known.
We’re sure by now we’ve sold you on Dynamo Kyiv. To buy tickets for Dynamo Kyiv matches you can purchase these at the Dynamo Kyiv Stadium near independence Square - pay by cash/card and choose which seats you would like. The cashier’s have always been very polite and can usually speak some English which is very helpful. You can also pre-paid your ticket though NSC Olimpiyskiy web-site.

On the stadium you will find the kiosks where you can buy shirts, memorabilia etc and also where you can buy food and drink. You had to buy a swipe card from the kiosk and then load the card with money with the help of numerous boys/girls in greet T-Shirts around. You then have to go to the food and drink stand and order your food and pay via the swipe card. It is a very long winded way of ordering beverages, though we can agree that it makes sense. 
And the last, but not the least. Safety. Though the BBC’s ‘Stadiums of Hate’ documentary was totally disproved during the Euro2012, we want to state once again that during the matches we’ve never seen any fighting or other kinds of trouble and have never felt threatened in any way.  During match days there is a high police presence outside the stadium leading to the metro station which is just outside of the stadium. 
Enjoy football! 


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