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Opinion

Russia’s greatest footballer is Kiev’s favourite son and he played at St James Park

4 months ago
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On Tuesday 23rd of November 1982, I stood in the crowd at St James Park to witness second division Newcastle United play Dynamo Kiev in a friendly.

Newcastle had recently added the then current PFA Player of the Year, Kevin Keegan, to our ranks.

However, on a cold night it was the former holder of the Ballon d’Or, Oleg Blokhin, that I and most of the near 14,000 crowd had come to admire.

Blokhin was fast and strong, generally everything we had hoped he would be. The Toon, who ran out 2-1 winners, were also excellent on the night, to help warm up the faithful.

Oleg Blokhin became European Footballer of the Year in 1975, after Dynamo won the UEFA Cup Winners Cup and he had scored in the final.

They won it again in 1986, four years after his run out at Gallowgate, and the veteran scored in the final again.

He also won eight League titles and five domestic cups, whilst Oleg Blokhin is also Dynamo Kiev’s all-time highest goalscorer with 266 goals from 582 appearances(also a record).

He is still the only man to have been capped over 100 times for the Soviet Union and is also their record scorer with 42 goals from 112 appearances.

As I am taking somewhat of a sabbatical from writing for The Mag, I thought a nostalgic look back at the career of a man who was an absolute legend for the two most talked about countries in the World at the minute, would be appropriate.

Football used to be an international game that helped bring people and nations together.

It was also the catalyst for great banter amongst supporters of rival clubs.

As the recent forums on here have become more political with the current tensions in Eastern Europe, I have come in for a bit of stick for some of my opinions, and been accused of being various things which I categorically refute.

I’ll be back in due course once I’ve recharged my batteries, with more Newcastle United history, nostalgia and no doubt, the usual smattering of mackem baiting.

By that time lets all hope for a peaceful resolution in Ukraine and hopefully (but hardly likely) the end of all wars.

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