After almost a century-long wait, the builders say Spartak Moscow will have their own stadium by March next year, with the new arena also expected to host games of the 2018 World Cup.
The first stone of the future Spartak stadium was laid in June 2007, but the original project was changed, and building didn't actually start until three years later.
The $400-million project includes a 45.000-seat football stadium and a 12,000 capacity indoor pitch.
Construction work continues 24-7, and the ground is scheduled to host its first matches in March 2014.
“We're working flat out – and even the Russian winter can't stop us,” Aleksandr Shishlo, Spartak Stadium’s head engineer, told RT. “The actual building of the stadium should be finished by the end of this year, so Spartak will be able to play their first home game in the second part of next season on their very own turf."
Last September, Spartak's stadium was included on FIFA's list of arenas to hold World Cup matches in 2018.
But for millions of Red-and-White fans around the country, the future ground has already become special.
It's hard to imagine but through their 90 year history – Spartak the best supported and most successful side in the country have never had their own stadium
And while there are more than five years to go before the eagerly awaited World Cup comes to Russia, for Spartak fans the long-held dream of having their own ground will come true next year.
The football club was founded in 1922 and toyed with two names before finally becoming Spartak in 1935.
The four Starostin brothers were famous members of the early teams and it was the eldest, Nikolay, who proposed the name – inspired by the legendary gladiator and slave, Spartacus.
The side quickly established themselves as Soviet heavyweights, winning three championships before World War II.
However, all the other Moscow clubs were backed by government agencies and had their own stadiums.
Dynamo were the police side, and CSKA the army's, while Spartak was considered to be the ‘people's’ team, and the nomadic side had to play at various grounds.
Then, in 1956, the Luzhniki Stadium was erected. And the biggest Soviet sporting arena became home for Spartak for many years.
“Starostin used to say that it was important for Moscow that the Luzhniki Stadium hosted matches,” Fedor Cherenkov, former Spartak’s and USSR midfilder, said. “Every other Moscow side had their own ground. But only Spartak had a massive following in the stands. So, as the most popular team, we played at the biggest stadium.”
“In Soviet times, they said that Spartak were offered the chance to buy Luzhniki,” Rinat Dasev, world’s best goalkeeper of 1988 and Spartak legend, added. “But, in those days, no one really thought of what would happen the next day. And, we just kept playing there. It still belongs to the city. We considered the Luzhniki to be our home. When we hosted some of our rivals, like Dynamo Kiev, 90.000 people would come.”
Despite not having a ground to call their own, Spartak do have a training camp on the outskirts of Moscow – Tarasovka.
The place has become iconic for all the Red-and-White fans who've been welcomed there. And by the time the new stadium is opened, they will also have a new training ground located near it.
“We spent lots of time at Tarasovka,” Cherenkov remembered. “Players even celebrated their weddings there. Lots of fans attended the camp. It was fun to watch as they sat around Starostin in the stands, asking him for team news. Hopefully, this friendly atmosphere will continue at Spartak's new base.”
After a successful decade in the 1990s, Spartak has since failed to win a trophy in ten years. The Red-and-Whites are desperate to clinch a tenth Russian title.
And the prospect of sealing it in their very own stadium would be a double dream come true.
By posting your comment, you agree to abide by our Posting rules