70th anniversary of Dynamo's British Tour

In 1945 F.C. Dynamo-Moscow made a victorious journey 
to the games in the United Kingdom

Dynamo of 1945 in Great Britain. On the front: S.Solovyov, V.Radikorskiy, A.Khomich (lying), V.Blinkov, L.Solovyov. Standing: K.Beskov, N.Dementyev, V.Trofimov. On the back: M.Semichastniy, M.Yakushin (head coach), I.Stankevich, V.Bobrov, V.Kartsev, Y.Arkhangelskiy, B.Oreshkin

The Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, allied countries in the just ended World War II, agreed at the level of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs on a trip of the strongest Soviet football team to the British Isles in order to take part in friendly football matches.

F.C. Dynamo-Moscow won of the USSR championship, which ended on September 24, 1945 and so the club planned to visit  the «homeland of football».

At quarter past eight in the morning on November 4, 1945 the Soviet football delegation by four Douglas airplanes departed from the Central airfield of Moscow to London. By 5 p.m. of the same day the airplanes landed at one of the British capital airports, at Croydon.

All 29 participants of the trip were:

Goalkeepers: Aleksey Khomich, Boris Kochetov, Nicolay Medvedev

Defenders: Vsevolod Radikorsky, Mikhail Semichastny, Ivan Stankevich, Vladimir Lemeshev (Dynamo, Leningrad), Sergey Nikultsev, Aleksandr Petrov

Midfielders: Vsevolod Blinkov, Leonid Solovyov, Boris Oreshkin (Dynamo, Leningrad), Alexander Malyavkin

Forwards: Yevgeniy Arkhangelskiy (Dynamo, Leningrad), Vasiliy Trofimov, Vasiliy Kartsev, Konstantin Beskov, Vsevolod Bobrov (CDKA, Moscow), Nikolay Dementyev, Sergey Solovyov, Valeriy Behtenev, Sergey Illin, Alexander Nazarov, Vladimir Savdunin

Coaches: Mikhail Yakushin, Yevgeniy Fokin

Referee: Nikolay Latyshev

Radio commentator: Vadim Sinyavsky

Head of delegation: Konstantin Andrianov, vice-president of All-Union Committee for Physical Culture and Sport

FCDM before the legendary British journey
First row (left to right): M.Yakushin, A.Nazarov, S.Illin, B.Oreshkin, A.Khomich, B.Behtenev, N.Dementyev, V.Trofimov
Second row: A.Petrov, S.Nikultsev, N.Medvedev, Y.Arkhangelskiy, V.Blinkov, B.Kochetov, K.Beskov, I.Stankevich
Third row: M.Semichastniy, L.Solovyov, V.Lemeshev, V.Radisorskiy, S.Solovyov, V.Kartsev, A.Malyavkin, V.Savdunin
Mytishchi. November 1945

The team was reinforced by four players of different positions, only two of whom appeared on the pitch. The right wing of the offence the resident of Leningrad Arkhangelsky successfully substituted Trofimov who arrived to the United Kingdom with the knee injury. The second novice, left forward from CDKA Bobrov participated in all four matches instead of Malyavkin who unexpectedly caught jaundice.

On November 6th FC Dynamo football team had the first training session. The visiting team was surprised by the prohibition on taking the pitch in boots. “Only in slippers” – People who looked after the pitch were insistent. Therefore, FC Dynamo was limited to a warm-up and a ball-work in squares.

Training warm-up

On the next day Mikhail Yakushin held a real training session with his team. It took place at the stadium where dog racings were usually carried out. After a thorough warm-up FC Dynamo football team conducted a two-sided game.

This training session aroused disappointment of British journalists and specialists – who witnessed the training session. Therefore, it is not surprising that three days prior to the first match some observers of reputable British newspapers hastened to draw a conclusion: «The Russians are too weak for playing head-to-head with our skillfull professional teams». Some of them affirmed that Soviet football players «are in fact simply beginner players, workers, amateurs who visit the stadium in the evenings during their free time». One journalist did not like that the guests didn't roll up their shirt’s sleeves: "If Russian football players do not play with the sleeves rolled up, then I must say that they are not good enough to play with our first-class masters ..."

According to the final agreement FC Dynamo Moscow played four games during this tour.

Dynamo with the embassy staff are checking the places of football battles

CHELSEA F.C. (London, England) vs FC DYNAMO (Moscow, USSR) - 3:3 (0:2)

13.11.1945. London. Stamford Bridge Stadium. 14:30 (17:30 Moscow time). 74000 spectators. Fair, +16

Referees: G. Clark (Eng), A. Ford (Eng), W.Vain (Eng)

Dynamo: Khomich - Radikorsky, Semichastniy(captain), Stankevich, Blinkov, L. Solovyov, Arkhangelskiy, Kartsev, Beskov, Bobrov, S. Solovyov. Head Coach: Mikhail Yakushin. 

Chelsea: Woodley – Tennant, Harris (captain), Bakuzi (Fulham F.C.), Russell, Voss, Dolding, Williams, Lawton, Gould, Bain. Head Coach: Billy Birrell 

Goals: 0:1 Gould 23, 0:2 Williams 30, 1:2 Kartsev 65, 2:2 Arkhangelskiy 71, 2:3 Lawton 77, 3:3 Bobrov 83

Missed penalty: L. Solovyov 37 (post)

When the visiting team appeared on the pitch 15 minutes prior to the match kick-off stands greeted the guests with a surprised hum which swelled as soon as the guests started to warm-up – for English football fans  this procedure was unfamiliar because their clubs  used to warm up in locker rooms. The stadium began to hum in surprise for the second time when FC Dynamo players offered to their rival bouquets of flowers. The hosts took these bunches in great confusion and with hesitation.  According to the British traditions flowers are usually offered at funerals...

The guests from Moscow demonstrated the high level of skills during the match which fascinated the English fans who заслув to capacity not only roomy stands, but also running tracks of the stadium.

After the match:

Jonh Harris, the captain of Chelsea F.C.: At least two Lawton's kicks were of such a type that no goalkeeper would catch, but Khomich for a wonder jumped like a «tiger» and caught them.

Vasiliy Kartsev: I strongly believe that if we had scored the first goal ten minutes earlier the result of the match would have been different. After all, we had to fight not only with the adversary, but also with ourselves and I do not know what was more difficult.

The next day the FC Dynamo players woke up as heroes and not only of their own country but also of all United Kingdom. Pages in all the newspapers were full of words of admiration and respect.

In the meantime the first recording of FC Dynamo match was delivered by plane to Moscow. Hundreds of fans in Moscow rushed to the "Udarnik", "Novosty Dnay" and "Chronika" cinemas to watch it.

Dynamo's matches during the British tour caused increased interest from the English press

CARDIFF CITY F.C. (Cardiff, Wales) vs FC DYNAMO (Moscow, USSR) - 1:10 (0:3)

17.11.1945. Cardiff. Ninian Park Stadium. 14:45 (17:45 Moscow time). 45000 spectators. Fair, +12

Referees: A.Devis (Wal), U.Baknell (Wal), K.Henkok (Wal)

Dynamo: Khomich - Radikorsky, Semichastny (c), Stankevich, Blinkov, L. Solovyov, Arkhangelsky, Kartsev, Beskov, Bobrov, S. Solovyov. Head Coach: Mikhail Yakushin. 

Cardiff City: McLaughlin – Leaver, Stansfield (c), Raybould – Hollyman, Lester – Moore, Kepsis, Gibson, Wood, Clarke. Head Coach: Cyril Spiers

Goals: 1:0, 5:0, 8:0 Bobrov 6, 61, 69, 2:0, 4:0, 7:0, 9:1 Beskov 10, 54, 65, 85, 3:0, 6:0, 10:1 Arkhangelsky 25, 62, 89, 8:1 Moore 70

Missed a penalty: Clarke 73 (goalkeeper)

The Welsh team turned out to be quite strong and fast  but very young. They missed few goal chances and were taken aback. They did not have experienced football players no one could advice them how to change the course of the game. FC Dynamo players felt the slack of the rival and put on speed.

After the match:

Cyril Spiers, Cardiff City F.C. Head Coach: These Russians are the best team I have ever seen. They are worthy rivals to any team in England.  Dynamo - is a united mechanism and not a usual football team. 

Vsevolod Bobrov: The eighth goal was again scored by me. Kartsev was taking a corner kick. The goalkeeper jumped, but just touched the ball a bit with the tips of the fingers. And then I recalled English rules which allowed attacking a goalkeeper. I recalled how Lawton had attacked Khomich. «Why are we worse?» - I thought and at the very same time I jumped and gave a little push in the shoulder to the goalkeeper. So the ball rolled into the net.

ARSENAL F.C. (London, England) vs FC DYNAMO (Moscow, USSR) - 3:4 (3:2)

21.11.1945. London. White Hart Lane Staduim. 14:15 (17:15 Moscow time). 55000 spectators. Cloudy, heavy fog, +12

Referees: Nikolay Latyshev (USSR), Jack Weller (Eng), Ross Gower (Eng)

Dynamo: Khomich-Radikorsky, Semichastny (c), Stankevich, Blinkov, L. Solovyov (Oreshkin 39), Trofimov (Arkhangelsky 65), Kartsev, Beskov, Bobrov, S. Solovyov. Head Coach: Mikhail Yakushin. 

Arsenal: Griffiths (Brown, Queen's Park F.C. 46), Scott, Joy (captain), Bakuzi (Fulham F.C.), Holton (Bury F.C.), Bestin, Matthews (Stoke City F.C.), Drury, Rooke (Fulham F.C.), Mortensen (Blackpool F.C.), Camner. Coach George Allison

Goals: 1:0, 4:3 Bobrov 1, 63, 1:1, 1:2 Mortensen 12, 35, 1:3 Rooke 38, 2:3 Beskov 41, 3:3 C. Solovyov 48

Heavy fog hung over London. The referees and the coaches of the both teams were discussing the possibility of staging the match a great while. Visibility was limited however both goals were seen from the center of the pitch. Still the other side of the field was not seen from the goal.

- I spent all 90 minutes in such a strain which I had never experienced before - told the goalkeeper Aleksey KhomichThe Fog was so thick that I had no idea about what was happening at the opposite goal. Only by the hum and the applause I understood on which side was the ball. When it was coming up I was losing sight of it at all. Corner kicks were certainly the most dangerous. I had to dive for the ball faster than forwards, but also to notice where it was falling before the others.

Khomich breaks Arsenal's attack

After the match:

Bernard Joy, Arsenal F.C. cartain: I will not try to justify the defeat. During the game we had to play for a draw but this match was a fair trial of strength. Terrible weather conditions were affecting badly both, them and us. It is a pity that the fog did not allow many spectators to see the game as well as we, players, saw it, because it was really interesting and intense.

Ivan Stankevich:  I have to confess that I haven’t got such a load as in the match with Arsenal F.C. during all the season. The play of the English footballers was leaded by their left wing through Matthews the whole first half-time and naturally the main difficulty in the defense fell on the left back, in other words, on me. But in the second half-time not only Matthews but all the players of the English team got tired. The game was leaded not only by the right wing of the English now and it became easier for me.    

RANGERS F.C. (Glasgow, Scotland) vs  FC DYNAMO (Moscow, USSR) - 2:2 (1:2)

28.11.1945. Glasgow. Ibrox Park Stadium. 14:15 (17:15 Moscow time). 90000 spectators. Fair +12

Referees: T.Thomson (Eng), R.Calder (Sco), U.Livingston (Sco)

Dynamo: Khomich - Radikorsky, Semichastny (captain), Stankevich, Blinkov, Oreshkin, Arkhangelsky, Kartsev, Beskov, Bobrov (Dementyev 60), C. Solovyov. Head coach: Mikhail Yakushin.

Rangers: Dawson – Lindsay, Young, Shaw (captain) – Watkins, Simon – Waddell, Gillick, Smith (Dunkanson 60), Rae, Johnston. Head Coach: Bill Struth

Goals: 1:0, 2:0 Kartsev 3, 24, 2:1 Smith 40, 2:2 Young 75 penalty

Missed penalty: Smith 7 (goalkeeper)

The captains Semichastniy (FCDM) and Shaw (RANGERS F.C.) with referee Thompson before the match

FC Dynamo was taking the lead for a long time but the referee came to help the Scots. On the 75th minute Dunkanson burst through the right to the goal of the visiting team. On the border of the penalty area Radikorsky run him down and started to battle for the ball with the forward. In the fierce struggle both fell. The referee determined that the one who acted too roughly was the forward and awarded free kick from the goal. Having whistled and gestured that the ball must be played, he ran to the center of the pitch. At this moment his assistant, linesman Kalder, rushed towards him and explained to him something for a long time. After the talk, the referee whistled and showed with the gesture that the ball should be placed on the penalty spot. That is how the match ended in a draw.

After the match:

Jimmy Smith: While I was watching the warm-up of the Russians, I noticed that Khomich was raising his knee up to the chest of the player who is battling with him for the ball each time when he came out from the goal. The Boss, Bill Struth, asked me what I intended to do in such cases. I simply answered that I would try to reach the ball first. This is exactly how it happened. In fact or in reality I had to shrink back but I went all the way. We painfully collided with each other, but the thing was done – the goal was scored, though later I had to leave the pitch due to the injury...

Mikhail SemichastnyRangers F.C. play very forcefully and somewhat it resembles a little FC Zenit from Leningrad. Especially I liked the play of the goalkeeper Dawson, of the right midfielder Watkins and of the right midfielder Gillick.

Dynamo attacking. Glasgow Rangers defending double tides

As a result FC Dynamo won two out of four matches and other two ended in a draw. The difference between scored and conceded goals formed 19-9. It is impressive.

FC Dynamo had to wait for flight weather almost a week. The team couldn’t return home immediately, and only in the early morning of December 7th the team finally left to Moscow by the same Douglas airplanes. In the evening of the next day enthusiastic fans met the players at the airfield Vnukovo near Moscow.

Coming back from Great Britain. In the centre of the first line there's Khomich who scored 5 goals and made 8 assists

The echo of FC Dynamo-Moscow impressive game was buzzing a great while over British Isles. That makes sense because it was for the first time that the clubs from the homeland of football were defeated and moreover at home. The British newspapers and magazines were returning again and again to the analysis of the four matches of the Soviet team trying to draw useful lessons for themselves.

A. Tomas: The skill of FC Dynamo coaches to place players on the pitch is truly brilliant. It was the essential component of the composed strategy of FC Dynamo football team at all stages of the game. The fact that they scored only 19 goals in four matches comes from their excessive heat near goals.

Bernard Joy (Star): FC Dynamo players rarely try to beat an opponent one on one. Therefore, the British defenders almost do not meet FC Dynamo forwards. During the whole game one thing only remains for defenders – to chase disappearing shadows. As soon as FC Dynamo player gets the ball, his teammates occupy vacant places released from defenders. That is the art of positional game which seems to be completely lost in England.

Frank Taylor (Daily Worker): The whole team showed fast, inventive, sparkling football. Through the example of FC Dynamo Moscow we understood what is the collective play. FC Dynamo turned out our conception of football and made us understand that the initial British style which is based on individual luster and not on collective actions has irretrievably become outdated.

Hunter Davis (New Statesman): When the Russians presented to each of their rivals a bunch of flowers during the first match against Chelsea F.C., it had terribly surprised and amused everyone. Our football players were so confused that they did not know where to hide their eyes. The real man, all of men at the time of the postwar preferred to die rather than to be seen with the bunch of flowers in their hands. You feel ashamed as if you were caught pushing a stroller with a baby or changing him a diaper.

(Daily Sketch): Skill without strain, speed without fuss, football in the form in which it was once conceived.

Stanley Matthews: The positional play of their forwards is the best of all continental teams that I have ever seen. Outside forwards have silky skills and good speed. Insides can get the ball rolling where it should. But they cannot be considered a great team while they won’t strengthen their defensive orders. They are too predictable and easily passable.

(The Daily Record): They change their disposition in such a manner that sometimes the player from left wing turns out on right wing and vice versa… An attempt to find players at their positions on the pitch as was indicated in a program was like solving a Chinese puzzle. They moved in different directions, as they wanted to move, but the most surprising was the fact that they never knocked together.

A mother worries: They were crazy about atom bombs before. Now they are crazy about Dynamo

Ball-dealer. Beskov was so good at distributing balls (English press)

The observers from different newspapers admired the skill of the guests from Moscow each on its own way:

FC Dynamo-Moscow showed a beautiful football to the British spectators and taught them a lesson, made them realize for the first time that there are not only the English, Scots, Irish but also others who have perfect skills of art of this game. In this regard FC Dynamo-Moscow did us a big favor».

- «Now I don’t remember the names of all players, but I remember that great person – their goalkeeper «tiger» Khomich. It seems to me that if he had been under fire of bullets instead of balls he would manage to catch them too».

- «In my opinion, the trouble is that we are focused on individual play and not on consolidation of all players in a good team. We should be realistic and realize that the group of individual players won’t defeat such a well-matched and coordinated team as FС Dynamo.

- «They have managed to combine the training in technique of game and physical training program, while we consider them two separate complex. In addition, they have elaborated the system of general health promotion, diet, rest and entertainment».

Soviet newspapers were less «talkative» then the British. It is clear that the winners and the losers behave and fell differently. Experts spoke respectfully about the English professionals. The newspaper “Red Sport” evaluated the FC Dynamo success with pride and dignity:

- «In our team there was only one player that participated in international matches – this was Mikhail Semichastny. But he never played against the English. Therefore, there was nothing surprising in what FC Dynamo players had to take some time to understand their rivals and to get accustomed to their style of play».

- «So, the acquaintance happened! «The equation with many unknowns», as some journalists called this meeting, was solved. We can play with the British».

- «The Soviet players form a sober esteem of their victory and are not going to rest on their laurels».

Michael Tovarovsky: The overall level of technique of the English professionals is very high… We saw 12 matches and we did not have any claims to the technique training of players. Ball stop with foot, chest, head are performed with such ease and lightness that the spectators do not feel any difficulty of the action. Control of the ball is at very high level. The shots are very accurate, especially during feeds. All players without exception are comfortable in the air.

Mikhail Yakushin: We can, we must learn from the English players and, above all, technique, masterly ability to hold the ball and the body, and sniper shot on goal.

Sightseeing walk in London

Dynamo in Hyde Park

A snapshot. Vladimir Savdunin with an english boy on the quay of the Thames

Two geniuses of the Soviet football – Konstantin Beskov and Vsevolod Bobrov. The first scored five times and the second – six times – on four games
London. 1945

FCDM players on the collective promenade around misty London

Fierce struggle was happening all over the pitch. Confidently played through all the match FCDM captain Mikhail Semichastniy breaking off the attack of Glasgow Rangers

FCDM head coach Mikhail Yakushin watching the match

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