"My job is to 45 thousand spectators have been in the stadium and another 30 thousand have been outside staring at the screen", - says the president of "Rubin" and Mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin. For three months of work in the club he has been at the bases of the football teams in the world and now intends to adopt global best practices. He told “Business Online” about why the replacement of the coach would not decide whether the "Rubin" to become self-sustaining, about conversation with UEFA and trustees, as well as about plans for the next transfer window.
"We would not accept this challenge for the 9th place"
Ilsur Raisovich, what are the main results of the first months of work in "Rubin"?
I.M.: First of all, we were able to regain interest to "Rubin". The audience is back at the stands. I'm not a great coach or a football expert, but without the games that "Rubin" shows, it would not be possible. I dare to say that the game is back at "Rubin". During these three months only in the championship we were able to win five games, and we have completed the reporting period at the fifth place by the number of points in that time. It should be taken into account that there was no transfer window, and we played with those who were at that time, and there were a lot of losses. The best players are gone for various reasons...
9th place in the championship standings is not your ultimate dream, of course?
I.M.: No, we would not have accepted this challenge for the 9th place. In any case fans of "Rubin" are not interested in financial difficulties or economic crisis. And the status of the Republic of Tatarstan provides only the fight for medals, European club zone.
On the other hand, if we talk about where we have to go back, about the fight for the medals and European club zone, it must be borne in mind that the competition in the Russian Premier League today is very high. Teams "Zenith", "Spartak", “CSKA”, "Krasnodar", "Locomotive" are in the top of Premier League for a long time. The first three show a stable result in the last five years, "Krasnodar" is now on the way, it’s last year's third place is no exception to the rule or a miracle, but the result of systematic work of President Sergei Galitsky and his team, who causes great respect and admiration. A man walked up to create professional football empire; you will not name it otherwise. "Locomotive" has always been a team with serious ambitions and capabilities. Or you can take the famed Moscow "Dynamo" with ambitions of leadership, the Board of Trustees, the sports community and the fans. Or "Terek" of Grozny, which today has the largest number of draws - 10. If some of their matches ended in victory, they would be next to CSKA today.
You see 7 clubs (without "Rubin"), which are always fighting for the medals. Competition is very high, these problems cannot be solved hurriedly. It's not only about the desire and the amount of money, but also how to build a football club. And, above all, this is the infrastructure, the Academy, its own graduates, double, established sponsors, the base, and the scouts. There is always a miracle in life, but I do not want to get it by chance, I would like to build a system to please our fans with the game of our youth team and a double, and certainly of the first team. That's why we have since actively and deeply immerse ourselves in the football world - both in Russia and in Europe. In particular, we have been at the top-end clubs.
Did you have to somehow shake up the team, which was at the bottom of the standings of the championship?
I.M .: No major changes happened in the last three months. In my understanding, the team just had bad luck. No luck - and that is all. Therefore there were five consecutive defeats. What is a football team? This is the same as a family. There are families where you want to come from work, and there are those that you want to pass by a house. Climate in the team is important.
What were the first steps you have taken on a new job?
I.M .: Invitation of Ilgiz Fahriev as the CEO. For him "Rubin" is a home club for which he played, from where he left to the "Neftekhimik" and then came back. He got Kurban Berdyev here. You see, if we put the ex-official of the Ministry of Culture as the conductor of the orchestra, maybe it's justified to restore a certain order, but he cannot speak the same language with the violinists and cellists. And Fakhriev is just one of them; he talks in the same language to the players. He is always close to them, including the training. We talked with the players, discussing common challenges, the guys started to smile and laugh in training. The microclimate is the basic.
How did you managed to get the fans back to the stands?
I.M .: This is a great laborious teamwork, no less important than the football. We did not reinvent the wheel, because we cannot be the best specialists in all directions. We consulted, for example, invited Ivan Meshkov, a man who went through all the stages from the ringleader in fan zone to the person who oversees marketing. We literally took him off the train; he was going to Moscow, where he was invited to work in the Premier League - to lead their marketing direction.
I confess, when we met in the City Hall, I saw him for the first time. I asked him to stay in "Rubin", if this team means something for him. He did not ask me anything about money or about something else, but said that it was what he wanted, and that he will work. Therefore, it is necessary to ask Ivan about the marketing. It is a science. Not everything depends on money, that is the price of tickets, but we must realize that if we want to see good football, it is never free. The tickets are sold throughout the world, it is the show. Therefore, we have invited the best, trusting them. Our team is not only footballers, but also marketing, sales department and other areas. This is the same as in the Mayor's office: it is desirable to recruit the best in each direction.
"Gromov screwed things up"
And what is the legacy you inherited from former leaders of "Rubin"?
I.M .: I will say one thing that each stage, while my predecessors were working, met certain objectives. Thank to Kamil Shamilyevich Iskhakov, who led the team to the Premier League, won the bronze medals in it. Who then could think about it? Then he was replaced by Alexander Petrovich Gusev, an experienced man who loves Kazan and football. I still say him that it is hard to beat his and and Kamil Shamilyevich’s merits. Kamil Shamilyevich led the team to the Premier League, with Alexander Petrovich it became champion of the Cup of Russia twice, beaten "Barcelona".
Valery Yurievich Sorokin had specific challenges posed by the financial fair-play. I have such feelings that this fair-play was made to the Russian Premier League was not among the best championships, in order to weaken it. Every effort was made to sponsors were not interested in supporting the team. There are a lot of problems, which cannot be corrected in one day. Those tasks that were set before Valery Yurievich, he performed for A+. He cleared the financial Augean stables, while continuing to show results. Last year's fifth place is a good result by today's standards. He and his team, in particular Ayrat Garayev are people who have been forced to fall in love with football in a short period and have done a lot.
And what can you say about former director of the club Andrei Gromov?
I.M.: He screwed things up, and we hear it, unfortunately, from everyone. I saw him several times on the Board of Trustees, he have not leave bad impression for me. But his train of relations with the players, with agents was not the best. Does it disturb now? No, it does not interfere much.
Thet say that the whole group of players made the former coach of the club Rinat Bilyaletdinov go away. And it has been discord between Gromov and Bilyaletdinov in the team.
I.M.: To be honest, I do not believe it. Okay, let's assumeit. And where is the guarantee that you will stay at the club under new coach? In general, we had a specific task, and we needed to correct the situation, so there was no time and desire to understand the mistakes of the past leadership, including the transfer policy. It is a question of creation. Where to spend energy – to build new philosophy, new team and well-forgotten old traditions of champion "Rubin", or delve into the dirty linen? We work from the scratch, and the rest we will see in the spring when the snow melts.
"In the winter transfer window we must purchase four or five good players"
You said that the task of the club is getting into the zone of the European cup already this season...
I.M.: So far, no one has set this task. The main thing was to get out of the relegation zone, to gain a foothold in the middle of the table. Recently a board of trustees was held, which included Rustam Minnikhanov and Mintimer Shaimiev, who remain the most important supporters, as well as major shareholders: TAIF, SYNC. There I told, as I reported you that eight teams of the Russian championship are fighting to death for European for places in competition. Teams with the corresponding ambitions, infrastructure, strategy, transfer policy and budget. If we want to solve a big problem, this is not the case when we get our sword unsheathed and get involved in the fight and later we'll see any result. If we want to be presented among the best teams of Russia and Europe always, and through this to claim, in particular, about the possibilities and ambitions of Tatarstan, we need five-year program of actions for this. In five years we will celebrate the anniversary of the republic, it will be good to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Tatarstan with the victory of "Rubin" in the European League.
I say this to Elmir Nabiullin: "You are 20 years old. And our challenge to you is win the Europe League, and you have to play a star part, when we will do it. And then at the age of 25, in your prime, go to "Real," "Barcelona", "Bavaria", "Manchester United" - wherever you want. And our task is to grow our player, to thenhe defended the honor of Kazan and the honor of the country's national team. This will be our Feodor Chaliapin on the football field.
At the Board of Trustees all responsible and serious leaders have another life with all the love to football, with all desire. TAIF has a program of investment in new production facilities; SINH has plenty of problems of their own. I said that you need to understand where our ambitions and if we are ready to drop from top of the best teams and be satisfies with occasional victories. If the answer is “yes”, then let's wait and be honest to say to the fans. I did not ask anything, just told how today Premier League looks like. Relatively speaking, on what motorcycles guys ride – we cannot catch them at scooter.