Reactions to Spartak’s First Championship in 16 Years

Spartak Moscow fans celebrating the championship outside of Otkritie Arena Sunday night. Photo: Danny Armstrong

Spartak Moscow fans celebrating the championship outside of Otkritie Arena Sunday night. Photo: Danny Armstrong

Spartak Moscow have won the Premier League for the first time in 16 years.

On Saturday, a Quincy Promes goal secured a 1-0 win over Tom Tomsk, who were subsequently relegated, and the next day Zenit St. Petersburg fell to a shock 1-0 home defeat to Terek Grozny.

The results mean that Massimo Carrera’s men are ten points clear of second-placed CSKA Moscow with just three games left.

The Italian, who only took charge of Myaso in August, became the first foreign manager in Spartak’s history to lead the club to the league title and the sixth boss to have achieved the feat in his first season.

Carrera, in an interview with Sport Express, revealed that he had watched Zenit’s game in a sports bar in Moscow and he spoke of the most important moment of the season. “It was the first day,” he said, “when I spoke with the team. It was that moment when I told the team what I expected from them.”

Reacting to the confirmation of Spartak’s championship win, he said, “Could I have imagined that? No, of course. But I can honestly say that I immediately accepted Spartak Moscow’s offer when it came to me. Since the first day at this club, I have given 100% to the job, which I am really enjoying. And when they entrusted me with the management of the whole team, I could not and did not want to turn down the responsibility.

“I didn’t know how long my job, in this sense, would continue, since, initially, there was talk of just two matches. But we managed to quickly establish a mutual understanding within the group and so business went well.”

He continued: “And when I talk about the group, I do not only mean the team itself but also the other people who are involved. The group is those who work on the pitch and those who work off it. Of course, there were problems and even now there are problems, so we do not work without mistakes but we managed to become one family. And that makes me happy.”

Carrera was keen to further stress that the success was a team effort. “It was not I, Massimo Carrera, who won the Russian Scudetto, but we, Spartak Moscow, who won it. It is very important to understand that. I am grateful to all of the players, from the first to the last, that they became a united force. The guys never surrendered or lost heart in those moments when things weren’t going well.

“I want to separately thank those guys who had less playing time than the others. Thank you guys that you never displayed any jealously but rather helped the whole team with an attitude towards the common goal. It is a very important moment. Our defeats did not weaken us but made us stronger. We became tougher in training and in matches, becoming a unified force. Therefore, we won.”

Spartak defender Dmitri Kombarov led celebrations with the fans and he spoke of his pride in winning the league. “This championship is our common victory together with the Spartak fans,” he said. “I have been waiting for this my whole life.”

“After the Zenit game, I never once sat down. I was walking back and forth. There were such emotions overflowing. Friends were ringing, congratulating us. As the final whistle sounded, I did not put my phone in my pocket for an hour. The guys were also congratulating each other.”

Famous actor and singer Alexei Maklakov gave his reaction to watching his side win the league. He said, “Honestly, the last six minutes (of the Zenit game) felt like six hours. It is not important that we became champions after our own game or the game of a rival. It is even symbolic that it happened after Zenit’s game since they have had their share of dominance over the past few years.

“On the contrary, it is very important that today we have become champions with three matches to go. It is very important that we have a class team, establishing superiority in the game and, most importantly, it is a team with a capital letter that has brought us the long-awaited gold medals.”

 Russia Today Sports News Editor and RFN writer Danny Armstrong described the jubilation amongst Spartak fans, “The atmosphere outside Otkritye Arena last night was one of cathartic joy,” he said. “Fans who’ve waited 16 years – for some sitting aloft the shoulders of older fans more than their whole lives – to see their team win the title. They had endured years of abject mediocrity.

“Pavel, the leader of ultras group Fratria, told me last year that fans had grown accustomed to mid-table finishes. At the beginning of the year, this was a club enveloped by apathy. But since Massimo Carrera galvanised the squad from August, they started to believe.

“Last night, fans celebrated being rewarded for their belief with an inebriated captain Denis Glushakov, with firecrackers, flares and flags. It was a realisation of a 16 year ambition.”

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Author: John Gorrod

I spent the 2015-16 academic year studying Russian at the Tver State University. One day, I visited the stadium of third-division Volga Tver and ended up helping the fans to paint the fences around the pitch. We became firm friends and they introduced me to the wonderful world of Russian football.

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