UKRAINIAN FOOTBALL

FOOTBALL: Fans take to social media calling for Yaroslavsky Metalist return

Kharkiv’s flagship football club ceased operations in 2016 due to insolvency but supporters are still hoping for a new chapter in the Metalist story

Business Ukraine magazine
Thursday, 05 October 2017 00:53

As speculation continues over the possible return to Metalist Kharkiv FC of former club owner Oleksandr Yaroslavsky, fans have taken to social media to express their enthusiasm. The comments section of a Facebook post by Kharkiv Mayor Gennady Kernes addressing Yaroslavsky's possible return was flooded with eager responses from supporters of the club, which was ceased operations in 2016 due to insolvency. Yaroslavsky oversaw the club's greatest successes in both the Ukrainian Premier League and European competition, leading many fans to hold out hope that he could bring the glory days back to the city's former flagship club. 

"I would like to see Yaroslavsky back at Metalist. During his time as president, the club had maximum support in the city and it was the local passion to cheer them on," wrote Olga Martynenko. "He put his heart and soul into the club,' posted Igor Yen. Other Facebook users mourned the 2012 changes at Metalist that saw Kharkiv's pride pass to new owner Serhiy Kurchenko, a famously young and previously unknown oligarch reputedly with close ties to then-president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. Many blame the takeover for the subsequent collapse of the club. "I've always regretted the fact that Metalist did not belong to Yaroslavsky. He built the team and garnered the support of the city. The stadium was always full. We never missed a match,” commented Juliana Ovchinnikova. “Yaroslavsky made a significant contribution to the city. He created an entire team and a beautiful stadium. This was his brainchild,” added social media user Tatyana Marinenko.  

However, others suggested that the legal issues currently surrounding the club make Yaroslavsky’s return unlikely. “What’s in it for him,” questioned Dmitry Vyalykh. “Yes, Yaroslavsky and Markevich (Metalist’s most successful trainer during the Yaroslavsky era) made miracles for Kharkiv! But now we need to focus on what to do next,” commented Maxim Nesterenko.  

The future of the former Ukrainian Premier League club is currently the subject of public debate following Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko’s 3 October statement confirming that Metalist Kharkiv had reverted to state ownership following confiscation from fugitive former owner Kurchenko.

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