18.11.2020

Loved football and pigeons, scored five against the British. What was Konstantin Beskov like?

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Konstantin Ivanovich Beskov was devoted to football, as a fan of the game and as a coach. He worked with the national team and headed many clubs, but Dynamo and Spartak were special for him. Konstantin Ivanovich spent almost his entire playing career at Dynamo, and as a coach led the team to their best result in recent history - runners up in the Russian championship and Cup winners. Spartak flourished under him, twice becoming Soviet champions. Beskov is also a versatile person with an interesting and complex fate.

Beskov loved pigeons from childhood

One of Beskov's biggest hobbies other than football was pigeons. As a child, he helped a neighbor first build a dovecote, and then take care of the birds. In the end, he couldn't resist, and got his own pigeons. This passion remained for life. Even when Beskov got married and went to live in the centre, the dovecote in his parents' house remained. Konstantin Ivanovich continued to watch his favorite birds, came to feed and care for them, and at weekends went to the market for new ones. He even brought back pigeons from foreign trips!

Beskov's wife Valeria Nikolaevna was jokingly jealous. "It was impossible to fight with pigeons. It should have been a divorce. And then he would have gone to be with the pigeons!"

Met his wife - not for the first time

"Football players and coaches need a stable base: a warm family, home comforts, and good relationships," Konstantin Ivanovich once said. He believed that domestic disorder affected the mood and performance of the player.

Konstantin Ivanovich met his wife, actress Valeria Vasilyeva, after the war in 1945, and lived with her for 60 years. Fate helped them get acquainted. He first met Valeria Nikolaevna in the Hermitage garden. When she and a friend passed by, Beskov said to a friend: "That's the kind of girl I would marry!”

Fate brought him together again. Beskov was a theatre lover, knew many artists personally. In the same Hermitage garden, he was discussing football with the famous singer Vladimir Kandelaki when the same girls approached him.

The meeting in the autumn of 1945 was decisive. While Dynamo were preparing for a trip to England, Konstantin Beskov and his teammate Aleksandr Petrov visited the famous cocktail hall on Tverskaya street, ate ice cream there, and saw the familiar faces again nearby. When they were already in the metro, the players realised that they had forgotten their kits in the institution, and they had to return: "And then I said to Sasha: ‘I really like her. If we meet them again, we will definitely approach them!’ Taking our cases, we left the cocktail lounge and fate intervened once more, as we crossed paths once more “Do you have Zhenya in your team?" asked Valeria. "We don't have any Zhenya. I'm the only single player at Dynamo," Beskov said. Then it turned out that Valeria Nikolaevna had mixed names up: she was not looking for Zhenya, but just Kostya.

On a tour of the UK Beskov received a very important telegram from his girlfriend wishing him a happy birthday. A few months later, Valeria became Beskova.

Scored and assisted in every match on the British tour

In 1945, Dynamo won the first post-war USSR championship, and as winners went on a tour of Great Britain, where they played four matches against Chelsea, Cardiff City, Arsenal and Rangers. Dynamo made a splash in the homeland of football, racking up an aggregate total score of 19-9 and enraptured British fans.

Konstantin Beskov shone at the British stadiums. He was noted for impressive displays in all games. In the first match against Chelsea, the forward made three assists in a 3-3 draw as Dynamo twice hit back from 2-0 and 3-2 down. They then defeated Cardiff 10-1 with four goals from Beskov, Arsenal 4-3 with one Beskov goal, and drew 2-2 with Rangers - in the third minute Beskov earned a free kick from which Vasily Kartsev scored, and in the 24th minute he again assisted the same Kartsev.

Konstantin Ivanovich was struck by London. The magnificent Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Piccadilly Circus, Baker street… And Beskov's wife recalled another detail that the footballer noted for himself in Trafalgar Square: there were a lot of his favorite pigeons there.

Worked as the chief editor of sports programs on television

In 1954, Konstantin Beskov finished his football career and became an assistant coach of the USSR national team. In 1956, he led Torpedo for a year, and in 1961 he took over at CSKA, where he worked for two seasons.

After leaving the army club, Konstantin Ivanovich found himself in a difficult situation: he was left without a team, although he was full of ideas and strength. He was saved by the head of the central television of the USSR Vyacheslav Chernyshov, who offered him a post as the editor-in-chief of sports programs.

"The situation was such that it was a kind of invigorating way out. It became suddenly interesting, even ideas appeared, probably not too professional, but curious in a sporting sense,” Beskov recalled in his autobiography. “In short, I dared to ‘retrain’ as acting chief editor of sports programs, having previously warned Vyacheslav Chernyshev, who headed central television. "As soon as we are sure that I am not doing my own business, I will immediately vacate this humanitarian post."

In the editorial office, Beskov had many responsibilities. He watched footage, worked with the authors and edited texts from a sporting perspective. "Very often there was no time for lunch," Beskov recalled. Konstantin Ivanovich spent six months on television, and in the spring of 1963 he became head coach of the USSR national team. He prepared the national team for the European Championships and reached the final.

Spent a lot of time on details and analysis of the game

Beskov was a coach who was very attentive to the tactics and analysis of technical and tactical actions of each player. He had his own notebook with ratings of his players. The same logs were kept by the players themselves: they recorded their own indicators and scores from Beskov for each match. As Aleksandr Bubnov recalled, Beskov gave a lot of ‘two’ marks [the lowest grade awarded in Russian education, the highest being five - en.premierliga.ru] even when the team won, but all these estimates were for internal work. In the reports about wins, only ‘fives’ always appeared.

"Beskov ratings were put in the notebook - who had five, who had two - and they were brought to meetings. Once in a good mood, he exclaimed: "Do you think only you are getting threes?” And he showed his archive of two or three marks given to Gavrilov, Cherenkov, Shavlo... "You are the same, don't worry," recalled Oleg Teryokhin, who played under the direction of Beskov in 1995 at Dynamo.

The defeat could be analysed for a few hours, as Beskov paid attention to every error, such as incorrect control or inaccurate passes. And sometimes the coach could draw attention to the mistake of a player who did not even participate in the match.

This happened in 1977 with Valery Gladilin. Spartak lost 4-0 to Kuzbass, Gladilin did not play due to suspension. Before the debriefing, everyone was scared, and Valery sat in the first row and said: "What do I have to worry about? I didn't play. And now you're gonna get yours".

Beskov comes in and says: "Yes. It's a shame to lose to a team like that. Why all this? But because we have players such as Gladilin, who don't think about the game and got booked out of the blue, unnecessarily, for their filthy language!". And Beskov continued in this vein for about 45 minutes. "In my own way, I was even pleased at the time," said Gladilin, "It turns out that I mean so much to the team, that he devoted an entire speech to me, despite the fact that I had not played. After the debriefing, I made fun of the guys: "You see: I didn't play, and you got given a four!”

"He chewed everything, sorted out every mistake, and showed it on the field. He demanded from us a culture of passing and quick thinking. At first, we got used to the new requirements. But when mutual understanding developed, we began to feel each other with our eyes closed,” said Viktor Samokhin, who played for Beskov's Spartak.

Konstantin Ivanovich’s players greatly appreciated his attention to detail.

Photo: Dynamo


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