Goncharenko could have replaced Semak at Zenit. However, in Saint Petersburg they made a different decision.
Dmitry Zimin Aug 26, 2023 08:00 UTC Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
On the eve of the champion’s match against Ural, we recall a little-known story from the past.
At the beginning of 2016, Viktor Goncharenko had been helping Leonid Slutsky at CSKA for half a year. Quiet job with good prospects. Indeed, at that time it seemed that the current YouTube hero could fully lead the Russian national team after Euro 2016. And besides, Victor is the main candidate for his position.
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At that time, Goncharenko already had a very good experience behind him: European Cups with BATE and a good result with Kuban. At the time of his dismissal from the Krasnodar club, the team was in fifth place. Then there was a strange period in the Urals, when the coach got off to a good start, and then, before the match with Terek, he just left, and the club announced the termination of the contract. Many knew and understood this: Goncharenko is very talented, but time and time again Viktor finds himself in places where not everything is always decided on the pitch.
The invitation of the second coach to CSKA was met with skepticism by many. The Belarusian obviously needed to take a breather after the emotional story in Yekaterinburg. But the most interesting thing is that at that time the coach was already noticeable in St. Petersburg. Someone from the management was clear that Goncharenko could coach Zenit in the future.
Victor Goncharenko and Leonid Slutsky
Photo: Pavel Tkachuk, Championship
And now let’s remember what happened then in St. Petersburg. André Villas-Boas announced in autumn 2015 that he would not renew his contract with the club, leaving room for a successor in the summer. Naturally, letters immediately rained down on Zenit from agents willing to bring in any coach. But the leadership took a breather. And definitely not in a hurry. They were all watched, but carefully. Naturally, at some point even the name Goncharenko came up, which some liked. But many understood that the Gazprom club curators could not approve this candidacy. They are used to respectable foreigners. And they weren’t ready for other coaches yet.
Photo: Elena Razina, Championship
Therefore, in the summer of 2016, Mircea Lucescu, on Alexei Miller’s yacht, told how footballers develop with him, how he himself is young and ready to give results. And then the Romanian was offered a contract and partial carte blanche. He may seem funny, but according to our information, they also talked to Goncharenko. And especially for him they came up with this setup: he leaves the post of Slutsky’s assistant and goes to Zenit-2. There he has been working with young people for a year, two at the most, and when Lucescu stops working, it is Viktor who he recommends with all his might as a replacement.
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The coach did not immediately refuse. Of course, he did not want to go down to FNL and work in the second team. But in the spring Victor did not make explicit proposals either. And he decided to wait. And then “Ufa” turned and offered a concrete offer, which the coach accepted. And six months later, Goncharenko turned out to be the main one in CSKA.
And Lucescu was fired a year after his appointment. So if Goncharenko agreed to lead Zenit-2, he could well claim the role of the new head coach. On the other hand, it may not be so. After all, in St. Petersburg the operational management was changed, and Sergey Fursenko returned to the management, who dragged Roberto Mancini along. It was a year before the arrival of Semak.
It is also interesting that Goncharenko, as a coach, does not work out at all with Zenit. A win in 19 games is not at all what you want to see. The only success came in the 2018/2019 season, when the coach worked with CSKA and won 2-0 in Moscow.
And with the Urals so far a complete collapse – two games were lost by a total difference of 0-6. It’s time to correct the statistics in your favor. On Saturday we already have a new opportunity. True, it must be remembered that in the history of Russia the Yekaterinburg team has never beaten Zenit.