Posts Tagged ‘Spartak Stadium’

Ryazan v Zenit St Petersburg, Friday 9th July 2021, 6pm

July 22, 2021

I’m leaving this job at the end of the month and as I’m in wind-down mode have been taking the opportunity for some three-day weekends. They are so much better than the one-day weekends that I’ve put up with over the last twenty months.

The extended time off makes it easier to head out of town and this weekend Jen and I took a train to Ryazan. It’s just over two hours to the south-east of Moscow on the Kazan line. Most of the trains are sleepers but I found one with a seated carriage and booked tickets for a fiver a go. The train looked a bit on the old side but I quite like that. What I was less keen on was the lack of adequate air-conditioning. When it’s thirty degrees outside you want something functional. I spent most of the journey with sweat running down my body and hoping that the train for the return journey would be a little more modern.

Ryazan is worth a visit, particularly with Moscow having imposed more covid-related restrictions recently. There were plenty of bars and restaurants, a lot of them in the same pedestrianized street.

The highlights included a walk around their Kremlin. Until living here I hadn’t realized that it wasn’t just Moscow that has one. There was some welcome shade and whilst we didn’t go into all of the buildings, what we saw was interesting enough.

We also visited Pavlov’s house which has been preserved as a museum. One building is supposed to be as it was in his day and I liked this one best. I wandered around making mental notes of the things that would improve the look of our house and the winner was a bear skin rug complete with its head in one of the bedrooms.

In the other building were photos and explanations of Pavlov’s research. You’ve probably heard about it. In a nutshell, he rang a bell whenever he fed his dog and the dog came to associate the bell with food. He proved this by collecting increased amounts of saliva at bell-ringing times.

I’m not convinced that the research was of much use but he won plenty of prizes for it. What surprised me was that the dogs had a tap inserted into their bodies for the fluid collection. I’ve had dogs that slavered so much at the prospect of food that a bucket worn under the chin would probably have been sufficient to collect the required data.

Anyway, the match. It was a fixture in the Womens Supreme League between Ryazan and Zenit St. Petersburg at the Spartak Stadium. We were initially turned away at the turnstile for not having tickets which are usually just handed out for free nearby. We were directed to a ticket office where we were charged one hundred rubles each for a ticket. That’s around a quid and it’s the first time we’ve paid for a women’s game in Russia.

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing to charge admission. On one hand it might price some fans out, but there are plenty of free games outside the top two tiers of the men’s game and I don’t see too many people turning up for those matches. It also adds to the worth of the league if you have to pay to get in, so on the whole, I think I’m probably in favour. Mind you, with only around one hundred and twenty people watching it probably cost more to print the tickets and staff the office.

The Spartak stadium had a large and uncovered stand along each side with nothing behind the goals. A running track meant that we were further from the action than I’d prefer to be. Fortunately the ground was orientated so that one of the stands provided shaded seating and that’s where we sat.

Below us were the home ultras. There were around ten of them including a couple of kids who had been sat quietly with the dad and grandad but who made a break for it to more actively support their team.

Zenit had brought some fans too. It’s around six hours on the train so I hope they selected one with air-conditioning. There were around fifteen of them to start with but having selected the unshaded stand their numbers dropped as the game went on. By the end there were six but they kept up their shirtless support despite the heat.

Ryazan were in blue with Zenit in a white kit. It was a scrappy first half with neither side managing to keep possession for more than a couple of passes. Zenit had a free-kick that was well tipped over and Ryazan’s best chance ended with the visiting keeper turning a low shot onto the post.

At half time we moved to the other end of our stand in the hope that the distance from the Ryazan ultra’s drum would lessen its impact on our enjoyment. It did, but unfortunately the sound was replaced by that of a kazoo blown by a home supporter every few minutes. It’s a toss up as to which is most irritating.

Zenit took the lead ten minutes into the second half with a penalty that sneaked under the diving keeper. You could see the keeper’s frustration having guessed the right way to go but just not getting to ground quickly enough. There weren’t too many other decent chances for either side and the single goal was enough to settle matters.

The result didn’t change anything in the table with Zenit in staying second and Ryazan eighth of the ten teams.