Skonto FC

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Skonto FC
Skonto-FC logo.png
Full name Skonto Football Club
Founded 15 December 1991; 22 years ago (1991-12-15)
as Forums-Skonto
Ground Skonto Stadium, Riga
Ground Capacity 9,500[1]
Chairman Vladimirs Koļesņičenko
Manager Tamaz Pertia
League Virsliga
2013 2nd
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Skonto FC is a Latvian football club, founded in 1991. The club plays at the Skonto Stadium in Riga. Skonto won the Virsliga in the first 14 seasons of the league's existence (15 in total), and often provides the core of the Latvia national football team. With those 14 national championships in a row, they set a European record, men and women's football combined,[2] until the women of KÍ Klaksvík won their 14th championship in row in 2013.[3]

History[edit]

Skonto FC was founded in 1991. It won the Latvian league championship 14 seasons in a row, and only in the 2005 season club finished second after FK Liepājas Metalurgs. In 2006, Skonto finished third in a close contest with FK Liepājas Metalurgs and FK Ventspils. Skonto FC have won the Latvia’s Cup on seven occasions, acquiring the Cup most recently in 2002.

Skonto FC was by no means among the favorites in the first years after its establishment, and the champion’s title had to be won in a fierce competition both with FK Olimpija from Liepāja and RAF Jelgava – even then an additional game was required since the regular championship in 1992 was insufficient to determine the winner of the season. In the same 1992 season, Skonto FC made its debut in the Champion’s League by beating the Faroe Islands champions Klaksvíkar Ítróttarfelag. After the season, a coach replacement was made and Aleksandrs Starkovs took over from Marks Zahodins.

For the next 10 years in the Domestic League none of their rivals were able to offer significant opposition to Skonto. For two seasons running the team did not lose a single match, surpassing their closest rivals by more than 20 points in the final standings, ensuring the regular title was awarded long before the end of the season.

During the 1998 season, Skonto FC thrashed FK Valmiera 15–2. This saw the highest number of goals scored in a single game in the club's history. During these years Skonto FC players were the source of the national teamMāris Verpakovskis, Marians Pahars, Aleksandrs Koļinko, Vitālijs Astafjevs, Igors Stepanovs, Imants Bleidelis, Juris Laizāns, Mihails Zemļinskis, Valentīns Lobaņovs, Andrejs Rubins and many others played for Skonto FC, while also playing for the national team.

An exciting battle for the Latvian championship title was seen again in the 2001 season when Skonto FC had a two-point deficit before the final round to the leading team FK Ventspils, and they had to face a tough game in Liepāja against FK Liepājas Metalurgs – a team which also had hopes of becoming champions. FK Ventspils players couldn't withstand the strain, whereas Skonto FC showed the spirit of champions.

Over the last few seasons FK Liepājas Metalurgs and FK Ventspils have been in close pursuit of Skonto FC players, their attempts in the last two years proving to be successful. It has to be noted that in 2004, the head coach, Aleksandrs Starkovs – one of the essential pillars of the club – left Skonto FC by accepting a proposal to work at FC Spartak Moscow, at that time champions of Russia. The leadership of the team was entrusted to Jurijs Andrejevs, his long-term assistant, but after the loss against Rabotnicki, of the Republic of Macedonia, Skopje in the UEFA Champions League qualification tournament, he resigned from the post. Jurijs Andrejevs was replaced by Paul Ashworth, who had previously worked with FK Ventspils and FK Rīga in the Latvian Higher League and the Russian Premier League club FC Rostov.

The first major victory for Skonto FC players in Euro Cups was gained in 1994, when they defeated the Scottish club Aberdeen, the former European Super Cup winners. Also, in 1999 they managed a 0-0 draw at home with Chelsea FC in a UEFA Champions League qualifier (but lost the tie 3-0 on aggregate). Skonto FC also played against Spanish FC Barcelona and Inter Milan.

The defender Mihails Zemļinskis has made 252 appearances, the largest number of matches played in the ranks of Skonto FC during the Latvian championships. His 52 games played in European cups are also the highest number within the team. Mihails Miholaps has been the top scorer for Skonto FC. He has scored 155 goals in 216 Latvian championship games, and 18 goals in 38 European cup competitions.

In the last few seasons, Skonto FC's average player age has become younger – experienced players have been replaced by youth football centre Skonto trainees. Young players from outside Latvia are also included in the squad.

On 8 July 2010, Skonto lost in the Europa League first qualifying round to Northern Ireland team Portadown FC. In the first leg Skonto drew 1–1 away from home after an equaliser in injury time. They lost 1–0 at home and went out to a team who hadn't won a European tie in 36 years. Consolation came later in the season, on 31 October 2010, when Skonto drew 2–2 at home to win the Latvian league title for the first time since 2004.

In 2012 Skonto won the Latvian Cup for the first time since 2002 and guaranteed themselves a spot in the first qualifying round of 2013–14 UEFA Europa League, even though this was later succeeded once again following the league achievements in 2012.[4]

Crest[edit]

Honours[edit]

  • Virslīga champions (15)
    • 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010
  • Latvian Soviet Republic champions (1)
    • 1991

Sponsors[edit]

  • Latvia Granat Investment
  • Germany Jako

Players and staff[edit]

First team squad[edit]

Entry for the 2013 Latvian Higher League season, according to LFF.lv[5]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
2 Latvia DF Vladislavs Gabovs
5 Latvia MF Juris Laizāns (captain)
7 Latvia MF Artjoms Osipovs
10 Turkmenistan MF Ruslan Mingazow
11 Latvia FW Valērijs Šabala
13 Georgia (country) MF Irakli Klimiashvili
14 Latvia FW Vladislavs Gutkovskis
15 Latvia MF Nikolajs Zaicevs
17 Ghana DF Ofosu Appiah
19 Georgia (country) DF Lado Datunashvili
22 Latvia MF Nikolajs Zaicevs
No. Position Player
27 Georgia (country) DF Lasha Dvali
28 Georgia (country) DF Levan Tchatchiashvili
32 Latvia GK Dmitrijs Grigorjevs
Latvia GK Andrejs Pavlovs
The Gambia DF Ali Ceesay
Latvia DF Vladislavs Kuzmins
Latvia DF Ņikita Bērenfelds
Latvia DF Edgars Jermolajevs
Azerbaijan MF Murad Iskandarli
Latvia DF Sergejs Kožans
Latvia MF Viktors Morozs

For recent squad changes see: List of Latvian football transfers winter 2012-13 and List of Latvian football transfers summer 2013

Reserves squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Latvia GK Jaroslavs Morozs
Latvia GK Vladislavs Lazarevs
Russia GK Aleksandr Sikorsky
Latvia DF Artjoms Jakuševs
Latvia DF Vladislavs Sorokins
Georgia (country) DF Mikhail Chumburidze
Latvia DF Tigrans Bagdasarjans
Latvia DF Pāvels Jaškins
Latvia DF Roberts Cipe
Latvia DF Rendijs Šibass
Latvia DF Oto Šeļegovičs
Latvia DF Romens Cvetanovičs
Latvia DF Kirils Ustinovs
No. Position Player
Latvia MF Ņikita Pačko
Latvia MF Norberts Sovers
Latvia MF Mārcis Orols
Latvia MF Eduards Emsis
Latvia MF Mareks Labanovskis
Latvia MF Atis Dēvits
Latvia MF Viktors Osokins
Latvia FW Elvis Stuglis
Latvia FW Ēriks Šilings
Latvia FW Juris Krivošeja
Latvia FW Artūrs Ribakovs
Latvia FW Maksims Miskovs
Latvia FW Elvis Studāns

International players[edit]

Foreign players[edit]

Non-EU Nationals

  • Georgia (country) Levan Tchatchiashvili
  • Ghana Ofosu Appiah

EU Nationals

Staff[edit]

Position Name
Chairman Latvia Vladimirs Koļesņičenko
Director Latvia Askolds Uldriķis
Technical director Latvia Genādijs Karavajevs
Manager Georgia (country) Tamaz Pertia
Assistant manager Latvia Vitālijs Astafjevs
Assistant manager Latvia Mihails Miholaps
Assistant manager Latvia Andrejs Kiriļins
Goalkeeping coach Latvia Andrejs Piedels
Reserves manager Latvia Vladimirs Beškarevs
Reserves assistant manager Latvia Aleksejs Šarando
Physiotherapist Latvia Deniss Bočkovs
Press secretary Latvia Uldis Strautmanis

Notable former players[edit]

  • Past (and present) players who are the subjects of Wikipedia articles can be found here.

Player of the season[edit]

Season Name
2010 Latvia Kaspars Dubra
2011 Latvia Igors Tarasovs
2012 Not specified
2013 Lithuania Paulius Grybauskas

Managers[edit]

Name Period Trophies
Latvia Marks Zahodins 1991–92 2 league titles, 1 Latvian Football Cup
Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs 1993–04, Jan 1, 2010–Dec 31, 2010 12 league titles, 6 Latvian Football Cups
Latvia Jurijs Andrejevs 2004–05 1 league title
England Paul Ashworth 2005–09
Latvia Marians Pahars Jan 1, 2011–Dec 31, 2012 1 Baltic League title, 1 Latvian Football Cup
Georgia (country) Tamaz Pertia Jan 1, 2013–

League and Cup history[edit]

Latvian SSR[edit]

Season Division (Name) Pos./Teams Pl. W D L GS GA P Latvian Football Cup Top Scorer (League) Head Coach
1991 1st (Latvian SSR Higher League) 1/(20) 36 29 5 2 83 15 63 Runner-up Latvia Marks Zahodins

Latvia[edit]

Season Division (Name) Pos./Teams Pl. W D L GS GA P Latvian Football Cup Top Scorer (League) Head Coach
1992 1st (Virsliga) 1/(12) 24 18 2 2 51 10 38 Winner Latvia Aleksejs Semjonovs – 12 Latvia Marks Zahodins
1993 1st (Virsliga) 1/(10) 18 17 0 1 63 7 34 1/2 finals Latvia Aleksandrs Jeļisejevs – 19 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
1994 1st (Virsliga) 1/(12) 22 20 2 0 76 9 42 1/4 finals Latvia Vladimirs Babičevs – 14 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
1995 1st (Virsliga) 1/(10) 28 25 3 0 99 15 78 Winner Latvia Vitālijs Astafjevs – 15 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
1996 1st (Virsliga) 1/(10) 28 23 4 1 98 12 73 Runner-up Ukraine Aleksandr Pindeyev – 17 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
1997 1st (Virsliga) 1/(9) 24 20 4 0 89 8 64 Winner Georgia (country) David Chaladze – 25 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
1998 1st (Virsliga) 1/(8) 28 21 4 3 98 27 67 Winner Latvia Mihails Miholaps – 20 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
1999 1st (Virsliga) 1/(8) 28 23 0 5 88 15 69 Runner-up Georgia (country) David Chaladze – 16 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
2000 1st (Virsliga) 1/(8) 28 24 3 1 86 10 75 Winner Latvia Vladimirs Koļesņičenko – 17 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
2001 1st (Virsliga) 1/(8) 28 22 2 4 94 26 68 Winner Latvia Mihails Miholaps – 24 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
2002 1st (Virsliga) 1/(8) 28 23 4 1 95 19 73 Winner Latvia Mihails Miholaps – 23 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
2003 1st (Virsliga) 1/(8) 28 23 4 1 91 9 73 Runner-up Latvia Māris Verpakovskis – 22 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
2004 1st (Virsliga) 1/(8) 28 22 3 3 65 18 69 1/2 finals Latvia Mihails Miholaps – 16 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs / Latvia Jurijs Andrejevs
2005 1st (Virsliga) 2/(8) 28 22 5 1 85 19 71 1/2 finals Latvia Gatis Kalniņš – 15 Latvia Jurijs Andrejevs / England Paul Ashworth
2006 1st (Virsliga) 3/(8) 28 16 6 6 55 21 54 Runner-up Latvia Mihails Miholaps – 15 England Paul Ashworth
2007 1st (Virsliga) 4/(8) 28 16 7 5 54 27 55 1/2 finals Latvia Astafjevs / Latvia Blanks / Latvia Višņakovs – 7 England Paul Ashworth
2008 1st (Virsliga) 3/(10) 28 15 7 5 43 31 71 1/2 finals Georgia (country) Vladimir Dvalishvili – 9 England Paul Ashworth
2009 1st (Virsliga) 3/(9) 32 23 4 5 98 30 73 Not Held Latvia Ivans Lukjanovs – 14 England Paul Ashworth / Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
2010 1st (Virsliga) 1/(10) 27 22 3 2 86 16 69 1/2 finals Brazil Nathan Júnior – 18 Latvia Aleksandrs Starkovs
2011 1st (Virsliga) 4/(9) 32 17 9 6 62 21 60 1/4 finals Brazil Nathan Júnior – 22 Latvia Marian Pahars
2012 2nd (Virsliga) 2/(10) 36 21 11 4 58 22 74 Winner Latvia Šabala / Lithuania Labukas – 11 Latvia Marian Pahars
2013 2nd (Virsliga) 2/(10) 27 18 8 1 68 11 62 1/4 finals Latvia Artūrs Karašausks – 16 Georgia (country) Tamaz Pertia

Europe record[edit]

Season Competition Round Country Opponent Home Away Aggregate
1992–93 UEFA Champions League PR Faroe Islands KÍ Klaksvík 3–0 3–1 6–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
1 Poland Lech Poznań 0–0 0–2 0–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
1993–94 UEFA Champions League PR Slovenia Olimpija Ljubljana 0–1 1–0 1–1 (11–10 p) Symbol keep vote.svg
1 Russia Spartak Moskva 0–5 0–4 0–9 Symbol delete vote.svg
1994–95 UEFA Cup PrR Scotland Aberdeen F.C. 0-0 1-1 1–1 (a) Symbol keep vote.svg
1 Italy S.S.C. Napoli 1–1 0–3 1–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
1995–96 UEFA Cup PrR Slovenia NK Maribor 0–2 1–0 1–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
1996–97 UEFA Cup PrR Wales Newtown FC 3–0 4–1 7–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
QR Sweden Malmö FF 1–1 0–3 1–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
1997–98 UEFA Champions League 1QR Malta Valletta F.C. 2–0 0–1 2–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
2QR Spain FC Barcelona 0–1 2–3 2–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
1997–98 UEFA Cup 1 Spain Real Valladolid 1–0 0–2 1–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
1998–99 UEFA Champions League 1QR Belarus FC Dynamo Minsk 0–0 2–1 2–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
2QR Italy F.C. Internazionale Milano 1–3 0–4 1–7 Symbol delete vote.svg
1998–99 UEFA Cup 1 Russia FC Dynamo Moscow 2–3 2–2 4–5 Symbol delete vote.svg
1999–00 UEFA Champions League 1QR Luxembourg Jeunesse Esch 8–0 2–0 10–0 Symbol keep vote.svg
2QR Romania Rapid Bucureşti 2–1 3–3 5–4 Symbol keep vote.svg
3QR England Chelsea F.C. 0–0 0–3 0–3 Symbol delete vote.svg
1999–00 UEFA Cup 1 Poland Widzew Łódź 1–0 0–2 1–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
2000–01 UEFA Champions League 1QR Azerbaijan Shamkir FK 2–1 1–4 3–5 Symbol delete vote.svg
2001–02 UEFA Champions League 1QR Luxembourg F91 Dudelange 0–1 6–1 6–2 Symbol keep vote.svg
2QR Poland Wisla Kraków 0–1 1–2 1–3 Symbol delete vote.svg
2002–03 UEFA Champions League 1QR Wales Barry Town F.C. 1–0 5–0 6–0 Symbol keep vote.svg
2QR Bulgaria PFC Levski Sofia 0–2 0–0 0–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
2003–04 UEFA Champions League 1QR Malta Sliema Wanderers F.C. 3–1 0–2 3–3 (a) Symbol delete vote.svg
2004–05 UEFA Champions League 1QR Wales Rhyl F.C. 4–0 3–1 7–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
2QR Turkey Trabzonspor 0–3 1–1 1–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
2005–06 UEFA Champions League 1QR Republic of Macedonia FK Rabotnički 1–0 0–6 1–6 Symbol delete vote.svg
2006–07 UEFA Cup 1QR Luxembourg Jeunesse d'Esch 3–0 2–0 5–0 Symbol keep vote.svg
2QR Norway Molde FK 1–2 0–0 1–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
2007–08 UEFA Cup 1QR Belarus Dinamo Minsk 0–2 1–1 1–3 Symbol delete vote.svg
2009–10 UEFA Europa League 2QR Republic of Ireland Derry City F.C 1–1 0–1 1–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
2010–11 UEFA Europa League 1QR Northern Ireland Portadown F.C. 0–1 1–1 1–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
2011–12 UEFA Champions League 2QR Poland Wisla Kraków 0–1 0–2 0–3 Symbol delete vote.svg
2012–13 UEFA Europa League 2QR Croatia Hajduk Split 1–0 0–2 1–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
2013–14 UEFA Europa League 1QR Moldova FC Tiraspol 0–1 1–0 1–1 (4–2 p.) Symbol keep vote.svg
2QR Czech Republic Slovan Liberec 2–1 0–1 2–2 (a) Symbol delete vote.svg
2014–15 UEFA Europa League 1Q

UEFA Team ranking 2012/13[edit]

Rank Country Team Points
297 Bulgaria PFC Beroe Stara Zagora 3.450
298 Serbia FK Rad 3.425
299 Latvia Skonto FC 3.408
300 Hungary Paksi SE 3.350
301 Slovakia Dukla Banska Bystrica 3.341

References[edit]

  1. ^ LFF: Skonto stadions
  2. ^ "KÍ maintain Faroe Islands monopoly". UEFA. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011. "European record, set by Latvia's Skonto FC between 1991 and 2004" 
  3. ^ "KÍ er føroyameistari" (in Faroese). portal.fo. 12 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013. "KÍ-kvinnurnar settu eina tjúkka striku undir sítt 14. føroyameistaraheiti á rað, tá tær í dag vunnu 9-0 á ÍF í Fuglafirði." 
  4. ^ http://sportacentrs.com/futbols/citi_latvijas_turniri/12052012-latvijas_kausu_ar_pendelem_iegust_skonto
  5. ^ http://www.lff.lv/lv/virsliga/klubi/skonto/

External links[edit]