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Football addresses
Many people may not notice this, but there are quite a few memorial plates in Moscow, associated with football or footballers. Welcome2018 tells the stories of the people behind those memorial tablets – with some help from their families, friends and team-mates.
Football addresses
Many people may not notice this, but there are quite a few memorial plates in Moscow, associated with football or footballers. Welcome2018 tells the stories of the people behind those memorial tablets – with some help from their families, friends and team-mates.
Memorial tablets: Chapaevsky Pereulok 18/1; Ulitsa Millionnaya 15, Building 1
Monuments: Luzhniki Sports Complex, Dinamo Stadium, Russian Glory Lane in front of the Russian State University of Physical Culture
Street names: Ulitsa Lva Yashina (Moscow, Togliatti, Grozny)
Olympic Champion (1956), European Champion (1960)
Lev Yashin
Not only does the goalkeeping legend Lev Yashin have numerous memorial tablets and monuments in his honour; there are streets named after him in three Russian cities
The greatest goalkeeper of the 20th century, Lev Yashin, was born in 1929 in what is now Bogorodskoye neighbourhood on the eastern edge of Moscow. Yashin lived here, in House No. 15, Building 1, Millionnaya Ulitsa, until the beginning of the Great Patriotic War in June 1941. The six-story yellow brick house could have easily been demolished. Indeed, there were plans to pull it down in the late 1980s – early 1990s.
But then the Moscow district command of the internal security forces put up a Lev Yashin memorial tablet on his house on account of the 70th jubilee of the great goalkeeper, and demolition talk stopped.

In the mid-1960s, Yashin and his wife moved to a new home in the vicinity of Peschanaya Ploshchad, which was one of Moscow's most upscale neighbourhoods at the time. Many celebrated Soviet athletes lived in state-sponsored apartments in that part of town.

Many celebrated Soviet athletes lived in state-sponsored apartments in this house at Chapaevsky Pereulok
"Lev and I did not enjoy bragging about our guests," recalls Yashin's widow Valentina. "Many of them were footballers or actors. The latter would frequently invite us to their shows."

Winner of the 1956 Summer Olympics (in Melbourne, Australia) and the 1960 European Championship, and to this day the only goalkeeper ever to receive the Ballon d'Or (the FIFA player of the year award), Lev Yashin became a legend in his lifetime. There are three Yashin monuments in Moscow alone, and there are streets named after him in Grozny, Togliatti, and in Moscow's new district of Nekrasovka.
"I never make special occasions out of Lev's anniversaries, but people show up anyway, without an invitation. Not only his Dinamo team-mates show up. Many Spartak and CSKA players also attend. Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Michel Platini, and other football legends have all visited his grave at Vagankovskoye Cemetery"
Valentina Yashina
Lev Yashin's widow
"I never make special occasions out of Lev's anniversaries, but people show up anyway, without an invitation. Not only his Dinamo team-mates show up. Many Spartak and CSKA players also attend. Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Michel Platini, and other football legends have all visited his grave at Vagankovskoye Cemetery"
Valentina Yashina
Lev Yashin's widow
Lev Yashin was voted the best goalkeeper of the 20th century, according to the memorial tablet in his honour
Memorial tablet: Frunzenskaya Embankment 50
1956 Olympic Champion and 1960 European Champion in his coach capacity
Gavriil Kachalin
Gavriil Kachalin was a great footballer and a great coach
One of the trailblazers of Soviet football, Soviet Union Championship winner of 1937 and 1940 with Moscow's Dinamo, Gavriil Kachalin also earned acclaim as a football coach of outstanding merit.
It was Gavriil Kachalin who led the Soviet Union squad to its first resounding international triumph, the win at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. It was under Kachalin's tutelage that the Soviet national team won gold medals at the first European Championship in history. No other Soviet or Russian national team has been able to repeat that success ever since. Gavriil Dmitrievich captained the Soviet Union national squad at three World Cups: in 1958, 1962 and 1970, and every time the squad made it successfully through the group playoffs.

To this day there is a football field in the backyard of the house where Gavriil Kachalin lived
"I was in tenth grade when Gavriil Dmitrievich noticed me," recalls Viktor Ponedelnik, who scored the winning goal in the Euro 1960 final. "I was then on the Rostov-on-Don team, and we took second place in the junior national championship. A little later Kachalin offered me to join the Soviet Union national squad, even though I was then on a B-class team, B class being second to the national top league. That was a sensationally unorthodox staffing decision for a coach. I forever owe my success stories, all of them, to Gavriil Dmitrievich. He will always remain in my heart as my first instructor and mentor."

A memorial tablet in honour of the great football coach, Gavriil Kachalin, was mounted on House #50 at Frunzenskaya Embankment in 2012.
"There is this miniature football stadium, named after Gavriil Kachalin, in the backyard of his house. The stadium almost got demolished when Kachalin died. Someone wanted this land to build on, so I and a few of my footballer friends started a lobby group. We made rounds of government offices, collecting documents and signatures, talking to bureaucrats, appearing on television, and eventually we won our case and the mini-stadium was left alone. Kids play football there to this day."
Viktor Ponedelnik
Footballer
"There is this miniature football stadium, named after Gavriil Kachalin, in the backyard of his house. The stadium almost got demolished when Kachalin died. Someone wanted this land to build on, so I and a few of my footballer friends started a lobby group. We made rounds of government offices, collecting documents and signatures, talking to bureaucrats, appearing on television, and eventually we won our case and the mini-stadium was left alone. Kids play football there to this day."
Viktor Ponedelnik
Footballer
Gavriil Kachalin lived in this house at Frunzenskaya Embankment from 1957 until his death in 1995
Memorial tablet: Ulitsa Sadovaya-Triumfalnaya 4/10
Two-time USSR Champion (in 1945 and 1949) as footballer, Euro 1964 silver medal winner and 1980 Olympics bronze medal winner as coach
Konstantin Beskov
Konstantin Beskov was a coach par excellence. He had coached all Moscow football teams worthy of the name
"FC Dinamo sponsored the memorial tablet on the building, and the tombstone, for which we are very grateful," recalls the legendary coach's grandson Grigory Fedotov. "The memorial at Vagankovskoye Cemetery was sculpted by the great Alexander Rukavishnikov, the creator of the monuments in honour of Vladimir Vyssotsky, Yuri Nikulin, Sergey Mikhalkov, and many other people of consequence. I consider his monument for Konstantin Ivanovich – the sculptures of two young boys with a football opposite the headstone - a true masterpiece. Beskov gave his everything to football!
"He must have been the only football coach to have coached all Moscow teams, and none of the fans ever held a grudge. Dinamo people think he was one of them, while Spartak people think he was "theirs." Some fans tied their club scarves around the necks of those boy statues at Vagankovskoye Cemetery: one red-and-white Spartak scarf, the other a white-and-blue Dinamo one."
Grigory Fedotov
Konstantin Beskov's grandson
"He must have been the only football coach to have coached all Moscow teams, and none of the fans ever held a grudge. Dinamo people think he was one of them, while Spartak people think he was "theirs." Some fans tied their club scarves around the necks of those boy statues at Vagankovskoye Cemetery: one red-and-white Spartak scarf, the other a white-and-blue Dinamo one."
Grigory Fedotov
Konstantin Beskov's grandson
"My grandfather did not like staying home so much," Beskov's grandson continues. "He went out walking on Tverskaya, where he would usually follow his favourite route in the direction of Pushkin Square and the Kremlin. I don't think Konstantin Ivanovich ever went without being hailed by passers-by. They would recognize him immediately, and they would ask him to stop for a little chat about football. He took his fame easy, and with a measure of irony. He never denied a passer-by a chat. He was born at Rogozhskaya Zastava. There was a pigeon-house in his parental home. He never forgot to go back there and tend the pigeons, even after he'd moved out. He would go there every weekend after he'd moved into his new flat at Sadovaya-Triumfalnaya."

FC Dinamo took care of the memorial tablet on the house where Konstantin Beskov lived

FC Dinamo took care of the memorial tablet on the house where Konstantin Beskov lived
"My grandfather did not like staying home so much," Beskov's grandson continues. "He went out walking on Tverskaya, where he would usually follow his favourite route in the direction of Pushkin Square and the Kremlin. I don't think Konstantin Ivanovich ever went without being hailed by passers-by. They would recognize him immediately, and they would ask him to stop for a little chat about football. He took his fame easy, and with a measure of irony. He never denied a passer-by a chat. He was born at Rogozhskaya Zastava. There was a pigeon-house in his parental home. He never forgot to go back there and tend the pigeons, even after he'd moved out. He would go there every weekend after he'd moved into his new flat at Sadovaya-Triumfalnaya."
Konstantin Beskov was an icon, yet he viewed his nationwide popularity with detachment and humour
Memorial tablet: Ulitsa Tverskaya 19А
Founder of FC Spartak, four-time USSR Champion as footballer (1923, 1928, 1931, 1932)
Nikolai Starostin
The legendary Nikita Simonyan refers to Nikolai Starostin as the "Spartak paterfamilias"
"I often hear people say that the Spartak squad is 'like a family.' It is nice to hear that. I remember the same family atmosphere in the team back when I was a footballer and a coach myself," said Nikita Simonyan, a Spartak legend and Olympic Champion. "If Spartak is a family, then Nikolai Petrovich Starostin was its paterfamilias. Starostin was a great man, a formidable personality, an exponent of real intelligentsia. As far as I can remember, he never raised his voice with anyone, not even once. He and his brothers made this team and named it. There is no one explanation as to why they named the team 'Spartak.' Some claim the idea for this name came from the novel Spartacus by Raffaello Giovagnoli, which sat on the windowsill in the Starostins' home. Others insist the name Spartak was given in honour of the anti-Nazi movement in Germany in the 1930s.

"Nikolai Petrovich was a great host. Any footballer or coach was welcome to drop by his house any time," Simonyan went on. "When people recognized him on Tverskaya, he would always stop and talk to everyone. He seemed eager to talk football endlessly and in detail with any passer-by.
People often recognized Nikolai Starostin on Tverskaya, and he would always stop to chat about football with them
"It was all thanks to Nikolai Petrovich that I became the head coach of Spartak. Following our 1959 tour of Latin America, I decided to 'hang my boots out to dry.' This was right after this great match we had played in Colombia, when I scored twice. Nikolai Petrovich was totally cool about it. In fact, he made me an offer that was hard to resist. 'Nikita, would you like to be the team's head coach?' he asked me. I was stunned. How was I going to lead the footballers I had just played with on the same team? 'We'll help,' Nikolai Petrovich said in his typical reserved manner. And help he did, in every possible way. I never had to worry about a thing – except football."
Nikita Simonyan
First Vice President, RFU
"It was all thanks to Nikolai Petrovich that I became the head coach of Spartak. Following our 1959 tour of Latin America, I decided to 'hang my boots out to dry.' This was right after this great match we had played in Colombia, when I scored twice. Nikolai Petrovich was totally cool about it. In fact, he made me an offer that was hard to resist. 'Nikita, would you like to be the team's head coach?' he asked me. I was stunned. How was I going to lead the footballers I had just played with on the same team? 'We'll help,' Nikolai Petrovich said in his typical reserved manner. And help he did, in every possible way. I never had to worry about a thing – except football."
Nikita Simonyan
First Vice President, RFU
If you look hard enough, you will see the Spartak club colours next to the Nikolai Starostin memorial tablet
Memorial tablet: Tarasa Shevchenko Embankment 5
1956 Olympic Champion, 1960 European Champion
Igor Netto
Spartak has never had and probably never will have another captain like Igor Netto
"Spartak has never had and probably never will have another captain like Igor Netto," Spartak legend Nikita Simonyan speaking, again. "He was more than a captain – a real leader! He had his tough and demanding side, but then he was such a fair leader and a man of impeccable probity. But when I was appointed head coach of Spartak, Igor was sceptical. No wonder: only months before he and I had fought shoulder to shoulder on the football battlefield. One time we had a real fight. We were losing 0-3 to Torpedo and I asked Igor to keep a tighter grip on Valentin Ivanov.
I tell him once – to no avail. I tell him again, and he just shrugs. I tell him yet again and he tells me to go screw myself - in front of the whole squad! I sent him off the pitch and told him: 'One of us is going to have to leave Spartak.' The squad really roasted him at the meeting, and he had to apologize, with tears in his eyes. I knew his explosive, irascible character. Back when we played on the team together, he was apt to yell at me during the break if I'd made a mistake. Anyway, we got over that conflict and never mentioned it again. Years later, when he also retired, I told him: 'Igor, you know you don't have to knock when you visit my office.'

Igor Netto lived next door to another Spartak legend, Anatoly Ilyin
Nikita Simonyan and other Spartak veterans had this tablet put up in memory of Igor Netto
"He lived next door to another Spartak legend, Anatoly Ilyin," recalls Nikita Simonyan. "I think I only went to his flat on Tarasa Shevchenko Embankment once. Nikolai Starostin had had to pull a lot of strings to get him this flat near Hotel Ukraine. I and a few other Spartak veterans unveiled a tablet in Igor's memory there a few years ago. Igor was married to this great actress, Olga Yakovleva. She played at Mayakovsky Theatre. Netto was really into theatre and literature. He had read like everything, and he had a near-perfect command of the English language. But football was always on his mind, too, even when he chatted with his wife. There was only one phone at Spartak's base in Tarasovka back in those days. Igor used to call his wife from that phone, complaining about some "jackasses." We all heard him, but we couldn't figure out whom he meant. It turned out he'd been referring to Spartak's reserve squad. Netto had a feisty character, but no one could stay mad at him. He could turn into a snarling beast on the pitch, but once the final whistle blew, hey presto! Meet a totally different man in the changing room!"
According to Nikita Simonyan, Nikolai Starostin personally had had to pull some strings to get Igor Netto an apartment near Hotel Ukraine
Memorial tablets: 3rd Frunzenskaya Ulitsa 1, Moscow; Avangard Stadium, Kolomna
USSR Champion (spring 1936, 1937 and 1940)
Sergey Ilyin
The iconic Sergei Ilyin, three-time USSR football champion, never got a yellow card in his whole career
"The memorial tablet for my father on his house at 3rd Frunzenskaya Ulitsa went up just over three years ago," welcome2018 was told by Galina, the daughter of the celebrated footballer and hockey player. "The tablet at the stadium in his native Kolomna was installed a few years earlier, in 2008. My father was an exceptionally healthy man. He did acrobatics since early age. When he became a footballer, whenever someone hit him on the legs, he would just do a somersault and keep running. He played pro ball hockey till the age of 48! When daddy lived in Kolomna, coveys of children would follow him around on the street. He was the first USSR Champion with Dinamo and Knight of the Order of the Red Banner of Labour, so no surprise there. I don't think any other athlete had been honoured with this order before 1941. My father was awarded one in 1937.
"I think he was the top athlete of the Soviet Union before the war. People on the Metro would stand up when he entered the coach, they had so much respect for Sergey Ilyin. "
Galina Sergeyevna
Daughter of Sergey Ilyin
"I think he was the top athlete of the Soviet Union before the war. People on the Metro would stand up when he entered the coach, they had so much respect for Sergey Ilyin. "
Galina Sergeyevna
Daughter of Sergey Ilyin
"There was no self-importance in him, his fame was no big deal to him. He was an open person, and helped his team-mates a lot," continued Galina Ilyina. "Like a true gentleman, he never bragged about his kindness or the good things he did for others. I never knew many of these stories until dad's funeral. He was the same on the pitch: never got a single yellow card in his entire career, let alone getting sent off for misconduct! Few people know this, but millions see Sergey Sergeyevich's image every month. He was the model for one of the bas-reliefs at Dinamo Metro station in Moscow. I had this idea: to have a replica made of that bas-relief and place it on father's headstone instead of his photograph. But the bas-relief proved simply too large, so I had to give it up.

"The government gave my father a flat in the mid-1950s, when he'd already retired from football," Galina recalled. "Many celebrities lived in this neighbourhood on Frunzenskaya Embankment: Gavriil Kachalin and actor Natalia Fateyeva, among others. My father became best friends with actor Nikolai Kriuchkov. Athletes and artists mixed very well in those days, inviting each other to the stadium or the theatre, as the case may be. One time I was visiting Dmitry Shostakovich's wife when Dmitry Shostakovich returned home. When he found out I was Sergey Ilyin's daughter, his eyes lit up. 'Oh, I remember him well! Great footballer!' he said. 'I used to go to the stadium every time Dinamo played when he was on the team.' I go home and I tell my dad: 'Shostakovich says hello.' He was overjoyed. My father liked to be the centre of attention. He really looked forward to his 90th jubilee. We set about planning how to celebrate. Nearly all his team-mates from the 1930s and 1940s had passed away by the mid-1990s. In the end, the sports association decided to honour him in the middle of a Dinamo-Spartak match. My father and I walked out to the middle of the pitch, and the whole stadium stood up. Dinamo and Spartak fans all clapped hands for him. They remembered him and knew who he was, even though he was ninety years old!"
Sergey Ilyin lived next door to Gavriil Kachalin, which is why there are not one but two football-related memorial tablets in this Frunzenskaya Embankment neighbourhood
Written by:
Nikolai Chegorsky

Photo credits:
Igor Utkin/TASS, Viktor Shandrin/TASS, Sergey Velichkin/TASS, Valery Matytsin/ТАSS, Dmitry Serebryakov/ТАSS, Stanislav Krasilnikov/ТАSS
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