Dynamo Moscow in Britain FC Dynamo Moscow

Dynamo Moscow, British club reps meet for 70th anniversary of iconic tour

8:09 PMAleks Vee

by Aleks V | @aleksvee

It was just another cold, wintry day in the Moscow Oblast as Dynamo prepared to face off against city rivals Lokomotiv. The pregame fireworks, however, suggested this was no ordinary derby.

This past month, Dynamo Moscow celebrated the 70th anniversary of their historic tour of Britain, in which the team beat Chelsea, Cardiff City, Arsenal and Glasgow Rangers with a combined score of 19:9. Representatives from all four clubs and family of the Dynamo players from the 1945 team were invited to Moscow for anniversary-related festivities and were VIP guests at the derby at Arena Khimki on November 30th.

Photo: fcdynamo.ru

Following a sneak peak at the Dynamo stadium's ongoing reconstruction, the group were joined by the club board for a meal at a restaurant and were shown a video put together by Dynamo TV. Then it was off to Arena Khimki, where the guests were not only treated to gifts, but also to a thrilling match that ended in a 2:2 draw. A ceremonial kick off was performed by Arsenal director Ken Friar OBE and Natalia Frolova, daughter of Dynamo manager Mikhail Yakushin, who coached the team during the tour. Among other attendees were three representatives from Cardiff City, Arsenal legend Liam Brady, ex-Glasgow Rangers defender John "Bomber" Brown, and Chelsea ambassador Tore André Flo.

Flo, who had a spell at Rangers, remembers playing at the old Dynamo stadium, where he scored a goal in his team's 4-1 second leg win over the Moscow club in the second round of the 2001-02 UEFA Cup. The game remains Dynamo's last against a British side in any competition.

Few today can brag about having had a firsthand experience related to the 1945 tour, and Ken Friar is among them. "I remember how as a boy I wanted to see the Arsenal-Dynamo match," he recalls. "But tickets were impossible to get, so I had to listen on the radio." Indeed, 54,000 filled the stands that day at White Hart Lane, the Gunners' temporary home after WWII. The match proved to be one of the most memorable - ask anyone who's heard of the Dynamo tour, and they'll probably mention the high-scoring, controversial contest played in a thick "pea souper" of a fog.

Although there was no match between the British and the Russians this year, smiles were exchanged, and memories were made and shared, just as they were 70 years ago.
Photo: fcdynamo.ru
In true Russian style, events surrounding the anniversary began long before the actual dates, when Dynamo attended Soccerex in Manchester this September. Thus, the visit to Moscow by the British two months later became symbolic - it paralleled the return visits in 1954 and 1955, when Arsenal and Wolverhampton set foot on Dynamo stadium.

Such gatherings demonstrate that the importance of the tour lies beyond the pages of text and photographs. They reignite interest in a shared history, and more importantly remind a new generation of the connection between the future and past.

As a famous Russian expression states, "the new is actually the well-forgotten old".
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