09/07/2018

100 years ago in Nizhny Novgorod: First match vs. Uruguay and Chkalov in stockings

100 years ago in Nizhny Novgorod: First match vs. Uruguay and Chkalov in stockings
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A presentation of archive documents on the history of football in Nizhny Novgorod was held at the City Press Center. According to Head of the Nizhny Novgorod Region Archives Committee Boris Pudalov, the first recorded match was held in that city of two rivers, the Oka and the Volga, back in 1909.

"We can soon mark the 110th anniversary of football in Nizhny Novgorod," he said. "It was the first match played by amateurs, because nobody knew anything about this sport in the city then. Jackets were heaped up to mark the goals, but the ball was real leather. It was brought from Moscow by local resident Gennady Rozhdestvensky, who was studying at Moscow University. The team was captained by his friend Sergei Ikonnikov, a student at the Moscow Higher Technical School," Pudalov said.

According to one of Nizhny Novgorod resident's memoirs, the match did not last long, unfortunately. One of the teams tied red ribbons on their arms to distinguish them from the other team. A local police officer thought it was a meeting of revolutionaries and blew the whistle on the match, shouting, "Stop the revolt!" The documents do not say if anyone scored.

The first international match was held in Nizhny Novgorod in 1928.

"On August 30, a local team played a team of Uruguayan workers, who won 2-1," the head of the Archives Committee said, adding that during the 2018 World Cup, the Uruguayan team's training camp was in the nearby town of Bor.

One of the most valuable exhibits is a photograph of a team featuring Valery Chkalov, a young man who later became a famous test pilot awarded with the country's top decoration, the star of Hero of the Soviet Union. According to Pudalov, there were several football teams in Nizhny Novgorod during the Russian Civil War of 1917-1922.

"Railway workers were the first to create a team. Its name was changed several times, but it was mostly known as Spartak. The older generation must remember," Pudalov said.

A large part of documents comes from the Soviet period and include photographs, newspaper articles and items from family archives. The head of the Archives Committee added that local residents often bring their family relics to them.

"The construction of the Gorky Automobile Plant (GAZ) began in 1929. At that time, no major construction project went on without creating sports teams. The main team in Nizhny was a football team, and it was called Torpedo Victoria," Pudalov said.

The documents of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be added to the city archives as well, including documents produced by the city and region governments, media articles, as well as personal photos and videos to be received from those who attended the World Cup matches, he said.

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Football in Nizhny Novgorod: from early days to 2018 FIFA World Cup