Zenit-84: Champions for a quarter century!
Zenit became USSR champions for the first time on November 21, 1984, when they beat Metallist Kharkov 4:1 in the last match day of the USSR Championship in Kharkov. Gold medals were won by: Mikhail Biryukov, Anatoly Davydov, Alexey Stepanov, Sergey Kuznetsov, Sergey Vedneyev, Nikolai Larionov (team captain), Vladimir Dolgopolov, Yury Zheludkov, Boris Chukhlov, Vyacheslav Melnikov, Vladimir Klementyev, Arkady Afanasyev, Valery Broshin, Sergey Dmitriev and Dmitry Barannik. For the first time ever four Zenit players were called to play in the USSR national team (Biryukov, Larionov, Dmitriev and Klementyev).
FC Zenit thanks the coaches of the Olympic Reserve School Smena-Zenit who were the teachers that made these footballers champions for the first time ever: V.G. Medvedev, O.I. Shilina, S.P. Karnilov, V.I. Stepanov, V.V. Vilde, G.F. Ermakov, A.N. Kolobov, D.N. Besov, N.G. Utkin, V.P. Smagin, B.A. Nikiforov, A.G. Mandirin, L.I. Fyodorov, B.K. Matrenin, and M.A. Rubin.
This historical victory of the tight-knit and cohesive Leningrad football club set the foundation for the development of modern football in St. Petersburg. Thousands of children imitated their heroes, and went to sports schools, and later ensured Zenit’s victory in the Russian Cup of 1999 and in the Russian Premier League in 2007, as well as the team’s European triumph in 2008.