Named & shamed: The USSR's 10 worst monikers
Never Mind the Bolsheviks has a lot of time on its hands.
That's why the blog has spent this week poring over league tables past and present from across the former Soviet Union to pick out and poke fun at those sides who have been less than fortunate in the naming stakes.
Football teams in the USSR, like every other facet of life in the socialist workerÃ¢ÂÂs paradise, were inextricably linked to some sort of state-run industry or club and spawned the generic Dynamo, Lokomotiv and Spartak monikers that litter leagues across the region.
Yet sometimes they get it wrong, very wrong, and chairmen bestow upon their sides a name that resembles something akin to a pub quiz team.
WhatÃ¢ÂÂs wrong with just St. Petersburg City? (OK, it would be St. Petersburg Gorod in Russian, but you get the point.)
ItÃ¢ÂÂs been something of an arduous task compiling the list Ã¢ÂÂ simply because, quite frankly, the Communists were rubbish at giving their football clubs sensible names Ã¢ÂÂ and there are a few notable omissions from the top 10 NMTB has cobbled together. A top 50 could have been easily achieved.
Access Golden Grain Petropavlosk (Kazakhstan), Dinamo Bender (Moldova), Elektrik Plant Leningrad (Russia), Stalkers (Latvia) and Traktor Tashkent (Uzbekistan), hang your heads in collective shame.
You all boast some downright awful names, but can take solace in the fact that youÃ¢ÂÂve escaped a place in this blogÃ¢ÂÂs chart.
Anyway, cue the music: hereÃ¢ÂÂs a rundown of the top 10Ã¢ÂÂ¦
10. Atlantas Klaipeda, Lithuania
They donÃ¢ÂÂt hail from the legendary island that sank into the sea, although the club did vanish without trace from Lithuanian football just as fast as Atlantis did from maps this year when sponsor Vladimir Romanov threw a strop and withdrew them and his other team, FBK Kaunas, from the top-flight not long before the season was due to commence. ThatÃ¢ÂÂll be more Lithuanian players on their way to Hearts, then.
9. Kapaz Ganja, Azerbaijan
Alas, every stonerÃ¢ÂÂs favourites are no more. Interest began to wane in the side from AzerbaijanÃ¢ÂÂs second-largest city after a name change to the more sensible FK GÃÂ¤ncÃÂ¤ a few years ago, and from then on it all went downhill. The club fell into financial disarray and withdrew from the Premier League in 2007, probably because men in Rasta hats stopped attending their games.
"One's not off to Azerbaijan"
7. Tallinn JK Eston Villa, Estonia
NMTB heads all the way down to the fifth tier of Estonian football to meet a side from the capital, Tallinn, that nicked Aston VillaÃ¢ÂÂs name a few years ago. Sadly they havenÃ¢ÂÂt shared the recent success of their Brummie equivalents and were tonked 10-0 in the first round of the Estonian Cup this year by the reserve side of those stalwarts of Baltic football Viljandi Tulevik. They wonÃ¢ÂÂt be meeting Aston Villa in Europe for a few years yet, NMTB would imagine.
6. Olimpia BÃÂlÃÂi, Moldova
OK, itÃ¢ÂÂs pronounced something like Ã¢ÂÂBalzÃ¢ÂÂ, but then that isnÃ¢ÂÂt really compatible with any Indian cuisine jokes you may have. Incidentally, when NMTB visited last year it was extremely disappointed with the dearth of curry houses in MoldovaÃ¢ÂÂs fourth-largest city; there wasnÃ¢ÂÂt a popadom in sight. In fact, it was disappointed with pretty much everything in BÃÂlÃ Â£i, but then it is twinned with Kaesong in North Korea and has a name that translates as Ã¢ÂÂswampÃ¢ÂÂ in English, which gives readers an idea of what to expect should they inexplicably find themselves out that way.
5. Amkar Perm, Russia
There arenÃ¢ÂÂt enough perms in football anymore, not since Kevin Keegan and Terry McDermott hung their boots up. WouldnÃ¢ÂÂt it be great if Amkar had a strict transfer policy in place where they purchased solely players with perms, a bit like how Athletic Bilbao sign only Basques? Fabio Coloccini of Newcastle would be first on AmkarÃ¢ÂÂs shopping list, although the Premier League is broadcast in Russia and if theyÃ¢ÂÂve seen some of the performances heÃ¢ÂÂs put in this seasonÃ¢ÂÂ¦
"Well, I did move to get into Europe"
The team were founded at the Perm Mineral Fertilisers factory 15 years ago and today play in RussiaÃ¢ÂÂs top flight. NMTB visited the city once to see its ice caves; they were rubbish, the factory would have probably been more interesting. And donÃ¢ÂÂt be fooled into thinking the Ã¢ÂÂIce HotelÃ¢ÂÂ is some quirky building constructed from ice and snow because itÃ¢ÂÂs not, itÃ¢ÂÂs an ugly edifice made from bricks and mortar.
4. Megasport Depot, Kazakhstan
Football team or budget sports retailer from Droitwich that flogs dodgy shell-suits to chavs? Well now they are neither, after merging with their rivals FK Almaty, changing their name to Lokomotiv and relocating 600 miles away in Astana earlier this year, probably in embarrassment at being called Megasport Depot.
3. Happy End Camenca, Moldova
It wasnÃ¢ÂÂt such a happy end for the team from the breakaway republic of Transdniestr (see previous blog), who plummeted down the countryÃ¢ÂÂs football pyramid a few years ago into obscurity. They once went on a 13-game losing run in the Divizia NaÃ Â£ionalÃÂ that saw them ship 57 goals, including 10 in one game against Zimbru ChiÃ ÂinÃÂu. Crippled by goal difference, Happy End limped to the bottom of the table, desperately in search of a masseuse.
2. Kaisar Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan
Nothing funny about Kaisar Kyzlorda? NMTB concurs. The Fearless isnÃ¢ÂÂt a great name, but itÃ¢ÂÂs their past incarnations that piqued the interest of this blog; theyÃ¢ÂÂve played under various guises, all equally bad, including The Mechanics a while back. Indubitably their best (or worst) was The Land Reclamation Experts, which came about through a sponsorship deal a while back. NMTB didnÃ¢ÂÂt unearth any evidence to suggest that they were adroit at the retrieval of any kind of property. They could have been though.
Just quite why Kaisar KyzylordaÃ¢ÂÂs crest features an antelope is a mystery to NMTB Ã¢ÂÂ itÃ¢ÂÂs not really an animal automatically associated with fearlessness. They might want to try a snarling dog, or an eagle, or Stuart Pearce.
1. Sok Schastliviy Den Kant, Kyrgyzstan
Doth thy berets, comrades: the blogÃ¢ÂÂs top spot goes to a rather sneaky outfit from Central Asia. NMTB spotted them, hiding, cowering in a corner in mortification behind its Kyrgyz name Sok Schastliviy Den. The erudite among you will already be sniggering at its English translation, but for the rest, the club from Kant has a name that means Happy Day Juice, making them surely the only team to be sponsored by a fruit drink.
Kant, incidentally, means Ã¢ÂÂsugarÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ popular with kids, less so with their wallet-wielding parents. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs probably what put shoppers off buying Happy Day Juice in their local supermarkets which may, or may not, have been the reason why the club went bust. Not such a happy day for its fans, then. They may be gone, but the city still boasts a First Division, drinks name-based team in Abdish-Ata, who are sponsored by the local brewery.
So there it is, the top 10 worst named clubs from the former Soviet Union. Do you agree/disagree? Know a better one from the former USSR? Get in touch below and let NMTB know.
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