Record season, stadium opening, Dynamo coach: Neftekhimik football players’ summary of the year
2020 was a year rich in events for Russia’s Neftekhimik Football Club. The team had a record season in its history finishing 5th in Russia’s second-strongest championship, had a Moscow Dynamo coach Kirill Novikov and its own football stadium meeting Football National League standards. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.
Neftekhimik football team appeared in the 1960s together with Nizhnekamskneftekhim. Players successfully participated in amateur competitions showing great promise for getting to elite sport. After winning the tournament Football of Russia in 1990, the athletes got the right to participate in the USSR championship’s second division.
Neftekhimik football club was founded in 1991. The club was 9th among 22 teams in the first professional tournament. In the next season, it reached the first division. The team won 22 victories, had 10 ties, 2 defeats, the goal difference was 71-16. Nizhnekamsk’s Neftekhimik confidently won the first place and was upgraded.
In 1993, the Nizhnekamsk players managed to reach the 1/16 finals of the Russian Cup. In the 1/16 finals of the Russian Cup in summer 1993, Neftekhimik played against Moscow’s Spartak at home (0-5) in front of around 10,000 spectators.
Unofficially obtaining the status as “giant-killer”, in the next season Neftekhimik made the best achievement in its history — 6th position in the Russian First Division Championship where it played until 1998 and missed it during one season.
In the season 2000, Neftekhimik had a great season by performing the next task of reaching the first division and didn’t lose a game and set Russia’s record.
In 2007, an agreement on cooperation was signed between Neftekhimik and Rubin. It was necessary to train staff for the republic’s first team, there weren’t given serious tasks in the rankings.
In 2011, when Timur Shigabutdinov was appointed as president of the club, the task of coming back to the first division was set again. The club’s funding stabilised, the team was first at the end of the season and joined the Football National League.
Nowadays Neftekhimik is an independent team, it stopped being a farm club for Rubin FC. In the 2016-2017 FNL season, the team finished 20th with 27 points and got to the Professional Football League. But it managed to go back to the FNL in 2018-2019 after two seasons in the PFL.
Results of 2020
In 2020, the football players had the first training camp only in June, participated in friendlies in July. The 2020-2021 FNL season began in August, in 2020, the team came 8th.
Revenue from key areas of activity of Neftekhimik FC in 2020, including advertising, was 252,683m rubles, which is an average indicator among FNL clubs’ budgets.
Net assets in 2020 rose despite a financial loss — the club handed over property at 6,911 rubles free within an equipment programme of children’s football centres of the Russian Football Union. The sale of tickets to the team’s home matches at Neftekhimik stadium, which was reconstructed, began in September 2020 — revenue was 260,000 rubles. Both revenue from sales and costs on usual types of activity increased in 2020 (24 million and 19 million). Moreover, in percentage terms, the ratio of the change in the revenue (+10,8%) exceeds the change in costs (+7,8%).
Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC supported the club financially by allocating 252 million rubles. The flagship of Tatarstan’s petrochemistry has been financing the development of physical culture and sport in the region since its foundation.
The opening of an upgraded Neftekhimik football stadium for 3,000 seats became a real present for all Nizhnekamsk citizens last year. The main sports venue was reconstructed by Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC for 400 million rubles.
Today the stadium with 42 years of history meets all requirements of the FNL First Division regulation. It is heated, the artificial grass is automatically watered, there are four floodlights and an electronic scoreboard. The stands for fans and spectators were replaced, there is a fan zone, playgrounds and parking, special ramps for citizens with disabilities.
“It is a completely new stadium: the reconstruction was top-class. Nizhnekamsk has two major sports — football and hockey. And we can say to football fans many thanks to TAIF Group of Companies, Mr Shigabutdinov who does a lot for football today, not only for football in Nizhnekamsk but also in the republic,” Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov said at the opening of the stadium.
Neftekhimik and Spartak veterans chaired by great coach Oleg Romantsev were given the right to open the venue. The guests’ victory 5-4 was the outcome of the match. The game was dynamic, and despite the victory of Spartak, this bright football festival will be remembered by Nizhnekamsk citizens for long. Besides the upgraded stadium, it brought a lot of positive emotions and deep impressions.
On the same day, Rustam Minnikhanov visited a new indoor football venue in Nizhnekamsk. The sports venue is located on the territory of Neftekhimik FC youth sports school. The first foundation stone was laid to the venue named Chulman Arena late last year.
The area of the venue is 5,800 square metres, the pitch is almost 100 metres long. A one-storey indoor facility accommodates changing rooms, a gym, waiting area, first aid station, the security and fire station, sports equipment and special equipment storage room. The venue will operate around the clock. The value of the project is over 329 million rubles. The money for the venue was allocated by the republican and federal budgets. Another landmark took place in 2020 — the Russian Football Union’s Neftekhimik FC youth sports school was given the status of Children’s Football Centre.
“Within development programmes of children’s football centres of the Russian Football Union, funding was received in 2020. It is planned to renovate the youth sports school, including to build two small football pitches, materials for this were received from the RFU. It is also planned to meet requirements and obtain the status as football academy for Neftekhimik FC’s youth sports school. Nowadays five pupils of the sports schools are playing for the first team.”
Record season for Neftekhimik
Despite the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Neftekhimik players had a record 2019/20 season in the club’s history. The Nizhnekamsk players were fifth in Russia’s second-strongest championship. In January, the team’s best half back joined Rubin Kazan where he recommended himself as a first-team player. At Neftekhimik, Denis Makarov played 44 matches and scored 18 goals. In August 2019, he was recognised as the best player of the championship.
Kirill Novikov who played in the European League with Dynamo Moscow chaired Neftekhimik just recently, in January 2021. With his coming, the audience of the club on social media doubled.
“The management here is serious, it sets ambitious tasks. Neftekhimik has lately recommended itself only well. I am glad to be here,” says ex-Dynamo player Kirill Novikov. “I want to make a more attacking team that knows how to play with force, this is why we will try to realise those visions we have and see how ready the football players are for such football, which is more intense and mobile, and build on this.”
In the 2020-2021 season, Neftekhimik is playing in the Olymp Russian Cup among Football National League clubs (first division). In 2020, the team was in 8th place.
“Neftekhimik FC doesn’t bear the name of giant-killer accidentally. The attention to the club grows at a very high speed. Hundreds of mentions appear on the Internet a month in the mass media. The club also recommended itself technically: the mock-up of the poster of our club was recognised the best in the FNL in the 2019/20 season.
A big football future awaits the club, the talented youth grow up, necessary conditions are created to develop football in Nizhnekamsk. With the appearance of the experienced coach, matches promise to be more spectacular and exciting.”
“I hope fans will support our team as they did throughout the season, while we, in turn, will make them happy with the result,” Neftekhimik’s coach Kirill Novikov concluded.
In 2021, Neftekhimik JSC will have another important event — the club will celebrate its 30th anniversary since its foundation as a professional club. It is time to remember those who founded the club. It is Director General of NKNK JSC Gayaz Sakhapov, First President of the club Ravil Shiyapov, Director of the club Nail Gizatullin, head of the team Nail Valeyev and head coach of the team Vladimir Morozov.