FC Rotor Volgograd

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Rotor Volgograd
Full name Football Club Rotor Volgograd
Nickname(s) Сине-голубые (Blue-cyan)
Founded 1929; 88 years ago (1929)
Ground Zenit Stadium
Chairman Andrei Rekechinsky
Coach Valery Yesipov
League Russian National Football League
2016–17 PFL, Zone South, 1st (promoted)

FC Rotor-Volgograd Volgograd (Russian: ФК Ротор Волгоград) is a Russian football (soccer) club from the large city of Volgograd, Volgograd Oblast (formerly Stalingrad). They play in the second-tier Russian National Football League, after winning their PFL zone South in the 2016–17 season. They are the largest and best supported Volgograd club and for most of their existence have been the city's only representatives in the national league system. They played at the top level of Soviet/Russian football either side of World War II, from 1989 to 1990, and from 1991 to 2004. During the 1990s they were one of the strongest clubs in newly independent Russia and qualified for European competition four times. In recent years financial and ownership difficulties have repeatedly threatened their professional status and they have played mostly in lower regional leagues.

History[edit]

Both the current team name and the former name "Traktor" are references to the Stalingrad Tractor Factory, once a major producer of tractors, and the scene of heavy fighting during the Battle of Stalingrad during World War II.

Soviet era[edit]

The creation of a Russian national football pyramid immediately prior to World War II propelled Traktor Stalingrad to national prominence. Traktor were champions of the new fourth-level Group G in 1937, and were then promoted straight to the highest-level Group A as it expanded from 9 clubs to 26. They remained at the top level until 1950.

Rotor then spent three decades at the top regional level, although the creation of the Supreme League in 1970 pushed their league from the second level overall down to the third. They gradually improved throughout the 1970s and finally won Zone III of the Soviet Second League (the third tier) in 1980 and 1981, and were successful in the promotion playoffs the second time.

In 1988 Rotor finished second in the Soviet First League, earning promotion to the Soviet Top League. They finished 13th and last in the downsized 1990 competition after the Georgian and Lithuanian teams withdrew, and the decision was made to relegate them. However they bounced straight back as champions of the First League in 1991, thus becoming founder members of the new Russian Top Division after the USSR collapsed.

Top Division/Premier League and Europe[edit]

In the mid-1990s, Rotor was one of the strongest clubs in Russia, rivalling Spartak Moscow for the championship, yet never winning it. Rotor became the league runners-up in 1993 and 1997.

Rotor played five successive seasons in European competition, from 1994-95 to 1998-99. They qualified for the UEFA Cup through their league position every year except 1996-97, when they instead chose to enter the Intertoto Cup. Unfortunately for Rotor, the fall of communism had left all the former Eastern Bloc leagues badly under-resourced compared to their Western counterparts, and indeed Rotor were knocked out by all four of the French and Italian clubs they played. The exception came against England's Manchester United in 1995-96. Having drawn the home leg 0-0, Rotor raced into a 2-0 lead at Old Trafford before United scored their first goal. Rotor were seconds away from being the first European club to win at Old Trafford when United's goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel scored a famous equaliser, but the 2-2 draw meant Rotor progressed by the away goals rule.

Full European results:

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
1994-95 UEFA Cup 1R France Nantes 3–2 0–3 3–5 Symbol delete vote.svg
1995–96 UEFA Cup 1R England Manchester United 0–0 2–2 (a) 2–2 Symbol keep vote.svg
2R France Bordeaux 1–2 0–1 1–3 Symbol delete vote.svg
1996–97 Intertoto Cup Group 7 Belarus Ataka-Aura 4-0
Ukraine Shakhtar 4–1
Turkey Antalyaspor 1-2
Switzerland Basel 3–2 Symbol keep vote.svg
SF Austria Linz 5–0 2–2 7–2 Symbol keep vote.svg
F France Guingamp 1–2 0–1 1–3 Symbol delete vote.svg
1997–98 UEFA Cup QR Poland Odra Wodzislaw 2–0 4–3 6–3 Symbol keep vote.svg
1R Sweden Örebro 2–0 4–1 6–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
2R Italy Lazio 0–0 0–3 0–3 Symbol delete vote.svg
1998–99 UEFA Cup QR Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Red Star Belgrade 1–2 1–2 2–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
  • QR: Qualifying round

In the 2000s, Rotor's results declined, and in 2004, the team finished last in the Russian Premier League. The club's owner Vladimir Goryunov, a member of the Duma and head of the parliamentary sports committee, explored options to save Rotor from relegation, such as expanding the Premier League to 20 teams. But in January 2005 Rotor were unable to make the required financial guarantees and so lost their professional licence entirely.

2005-2014: Financial troubles and decline[edit]

Rotor's reserve side in the Russian Second Division, Rotor-2 Volgograd, became the club's first team and was renamed Rotor in 2006. In 2007 local businessman Oleg Mikheev acquired the club's main asset the Volgograd Central Stadium, and with it effective control over the club, but financial troubles continued and the team's performances in the Second Division declined.

Matters came to a head in 2009. Russia had officially launched its bid for the FIFA World Cup 2018 and Volgograd city was in line for a new stadium - provided they had a professional club to fill it after the tournament. Rotor, facing legal action and a transfer embargo due to their financial status, were not reliable candidates. The government created a new entity, FC Volgograd, intending to assume the Rotor name. In fact Rotor managed to co-exist with the new FC for the first half of the 2009 season, before Mikheev suspended operations and the government took ownership of the club and stadium from him. The two clubs were merged into one, and the new Rotor Volgograd were promoted to the second-level Russian Football National League thanks to teams above them withdrawing.[1]

The regional Ministry of Sport invested 150 million roubles ($4.9m) in the club's playing budget for the 2010 campaign, but it ended in failure as Rotor were relegated in 17th place. Governor Brovko admitted that the transition to the higher level was made too quickly. Former club player Sergei Nechay took over management and steered the team to promotion as champions of their Second Division zone in 2011–12. This time they were able to consolidate in the National League, finishing 9th and then 14th.

But financial troubles continued. A Ministry of Sport investigation found evidence of financial misconduct by club management along with substantial overspending,[2] and regional Governor Andrey Bocharov announced after the 2013 season that government support for Rotor was being withdrawn. The club dropped back into the Second Division (renamed the Professional Football League) for the first half of the 2014–15 (autumn-spring) season, then withdrew in order to immediately transfer to the 2015 (spring-autumn) Russian Amateur Football League, the fourth level overall.[3][4]

2015-present: Revival[edit]

In the 2015 season Rotor won the Amateur League Chernozemye (South-West Region) division at the first attempt by 11 points, suffering only one defeat in 22 games.[5] The 45,000-seater Pobeda Stadium is under construction on their old Central Stadium site, and it was reported in August 2015 that the first team are still interested in moving into the facility after the 2018 World Cup, which makes attaining a higher league status a priority.[6] They were licensed for third-tier Russian Professional Football League for the 2016–17 season. They won their zone of the PFL in the 2016–17 season and were promoted to the second-level Russian National Football League for 2017–18.[7]

Honours[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 17 June 2017, according to the PFL website.

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

No. Position Player
Belarus GK Illya Hawrylaw
Russia GK Aleksandr Kobzev
Russia GK Valeri Polyakov
Russia DF Ivan Drannikov
Russia DF Viktor Garayev
Russia DF Anton Piskunov
Russia DF Aleksandr Stolyarenko
Russia MF Roman Kontsedalov
No. Position Player
Russia MF Igor Krutov
Russia MF Oleg Nikolayev
Russia MF Vladimir Romanenko
Russia MF Artur Rylov
Russia MF Sergei Sechin
Russia MF Nail Zamaliyev
Russia FW Mikhail Biryukov
Russia FW Mukhammad Sultonov

Historical names[edit]

  • Traktorostroitel Stalingrad (1929)
  • Dzerzhinets-STZ Stalingrad (1936)
  • Traktor Stalingrad (1937)
  • Torpedo Stalingrad (1948)
  • Traktor Stalingrad (1958)
  • Traktor Volgograd (1961)
  • Stal Volgograd (1970)
  • Barrikady Volgograd (1972)
  • Rotor Volgograd (1975)
  • Rotor Volgograd (2004) (chose not to participate)

  • Rotor-2 Volgograd (2001)
  • Rotor Volgograd (2005)
  • Rotor Volgograd (2009) (merged into FC Volgograd)

Notable players[edit]

Had international caps for their respective countries. Players whose name is listed in bold represented their countries while playing for Rotor.

Reserves[edit]

The reserves team, called FC Rotor-d Volgograd or FC Rotor-2 Volgograd, participated in the professional competition - Russian Second Division in 1992-1993, 1998–2000 and 2004 and Russian Third League in 1994-1997. They came in 3rd place in their Second Division zone in 1993. In 2001, the reserves tournament for Russian Premier League was re-established and the reserves team played there while the main team stayed in Premier League.

In 2005, the main Rotor team played under the name of FC Rotor-2 Volgograd, as the parent club had lost their professional licence. Subsequently, Rotor-2 was renamed Rotor, and a Rotor reserve side entered the Volgograd Oblast Championship where they are still playing as of 2015.

References[edit]

External links[edit]