Dynamo Moscow in Britain FC Dynamo Moscow

Dynamo Moscow in Britain: 19 Things You Didn't Know

6:16 PMAleks Vee

Part I in a series on the 70th anniversary of Dynamo Moscow's tour of Britain

by Aleks V@aleksvee

On this day in 1945, Dynamo Moscow played Chelsea FC, kicking off the first of four games in their tour of Great Britain.


Dynamo were the first Soviet and European football team to tour Britain after World War II. Their visit was not just one for the books, but one for the record books. The tour was covered extensively by British and Soviet media and became the subject of literature, poetry, comic strips, and, of course, a myriad of myths and legends.  

Although the Moscow club haven't faced off against British teams in years, the club's representatives attended Soccerex in Britain in September to build brand awareness, and to remind everyone of the 70th anniversary of one of football's most iconic friendly tournaments.

Here are 19 things you may not have known about the tour, one for every goal scored by the Dynamo: 

19 Things You Didn't Know About Dynamo Moscow's 1945 British Tour
1. It influenced two major changes for Soviet football clubs - joining FIFA, and adding numbers to players' shirts.
2. The tour is said to have influenced the invitation of the Soviet team to the 1946 European Athletics Championships in Oslo, although they were not yet members of the IAAF.
3. Dynamo's first training session in Britain was held in slippers so as not to damage the turf.
4. The British were puzzled by Dynamo's pre-game warm-up on the pitch, as their footballers usually warmed up in the locker room.
5. One of the hotels the Dynamo stayed at was the Imperial Hotel in London. 
6. Three of the four games had penalty kicks. Only one made it into the net - a spot kick from George Young that tied the game for Glasgow Rangers at Ibrox Park (2-2). Two penalties were saved by Dynamo goalkeeper "Tiger" Khomich.
7. Although the official reported attendance was lower, the match vs Chelsea had around 100,000 spectators, an all-time record for Stamford Bridge.
8. Chelsea earned £7000 from ticket sales.
9. The Soviet magazine Profile wrote that Chelsea vice-president A. V. Alexander offered Dynamo goalkeeper Alexei "Tiger" Khomich "any money" to sign a contract, "and, naturally, political asylum".
10. Rangers' George Young, along with Willie Woodburn (the latter did not play against Dynamo) were part of the team's famous "Iron Curtain" defence.
11. To avoid a color clash, Chelsea played in red.
12. Tommy Lawton, who was signed a week before the game with Dynamo, made his debut for Chelsea and scored a header to put Chelsea ahead 3-2. The match ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Lawton went on to make 42 appearances for the Blues, scoring 30 goals.
13. As per one of Dynamo's infamous 14 requests, one of their games was refereed by Soviet official Nikolay Latyshev. He was the first Soviet official to become a FIFA referee (1952) and to referee at a World Cup final (1958). He is also known for being the only referee to ever send off legendary goalkeeper Lev Yashin.
14. While at a hotel in Cardiff, the Dynamo players sang along to radio commentator Vadim Sinyavsky's piano playing.
15. Dynamo's 10-1 win over Cardiff is still their only game against a Welsh team.
16. Vsevolod Bobrov, a guest player from CDKA, was the top goalscorer of the tour with six goals (he also made eight assists). He later briefly played for Dynamo's rivals Spartak.
17. Glasgow Rangers, who drew 2-2 against Dynamo, were managed by Bill Struth, the club's second and longest-serving manager, and one of the most successful in British football.
18. George Orwell mentioned the tour in his rather pessimistic piece called "The Sporting Spirit", in which he wrote that he hopes the British "shan't follow up the visit of the Dynamos by sending a British team to the USSR". Follow up they did, as Arsenal and Wolverhampton visited Moscow in 1954 and 1955, while Aston Villa came in 1961.
19. Dynamo Moscow visited Britain again in 1955, and many times after. But their only other visit to feature at least four games was their tour of Britain in 1965. Their last match against a British side was a 1-4 loss to Rangers in the second round (1/32) of the UEFA Cup in 2001.

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