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On June 20, the best Armenian football player of all time, the first head coach of the Armenian national team, Honored Master of Sports of the USSR, Honored Coach of Armenia Eduard Artemovich Markarov will turn 70 years old!

The best pages of Baku and Armenian football are connected with him. "Oilman" under Markarov "took off", became the bronze medalist of the USSR championship and disappeared into oblivion when he left the team. 
"Ararat" before him did not rise above the eighth place in the national championship, and here immediately the second place, then the first, two victories in the USSR Cup. hung up  shoes on a nail, and "Ararat" again became a gray team, lacking more than stars from heaven.

He also excelled in the USSR national team, achieving the highest success among Armenian football players in it - bronze medals for fourth place at the 1966 World Cup in England.  


He also had coaching successes with the USSR national team - a bronze medal at the 1991 World Junior Championships, and a gold medal at the 1990 European Youth Championship.

Being the head coach of Ararat, in 1976 he won silver medals of the national championship and a diploma of the finalist of the USSR Cup with the team. Twice in 2000-2001, with Ashtarak "Mika" he won the Cup of Armenia, and with Yerevan "Erebuni" - bronze medals of the national championship in 1997. 

There is in his trophy collection of awards and the prize of the best scorer of the USSR championship in 1962. 

For many years, Eduard Markarov has been the vice-president of the Mika football club, and heads the youth school in it. On the eve of the anniversary, the legendary football player and coach are all in worries, time is running out. For "NK" he found a few precious minutes.


- Eduard Artemovich, have you heard that a team of veterans of the Soviet Union is coming to your anniversary?

“Honestly, I just heard it too. Everything is kept secret, they want to give a surprise. I know that in Moscow, the president of the Union of Russian Football Veterans Alexander Mirzoyan is engaged in the formation of the USSR national team of my time. Russian and Ukrainian football players are to arrive from Moscow on a charter flight, and guys from Tbilisi will drive up in cars. They will arrive on June 19, the next day there will be celebrations, there will be a match between Armenia (not only Ararat players of the “1973 flood” will play in our team) - the USSR, then a banquet and so on, as it should be on such days.  


– You laid the foundation of our national team, you were its progenitor. Could you compare that Armenian team with the current one?

- We started during the war years, in the cold and hunger, when the treasury of the federation was empty. In that hard times, I invited great guys to the national team. The team was very strong. A fusion of experienced players such as Ashot Khachatryan and Hamlet Mkhitaryan, Sarkis Hovhannisyan and Yervand Sukiasyan, and young, talented players who later did a lot for the development of the team - Artur Petrosyan and Harutyun  Vardanyan, Razmik Grigoryan and Yervand Krbashyan, Sargis Hovsepyan and Armen Shahgeldyan. But there was a significant drawback - the lack of international experience, since most of them played in the Armenian championship. 

And today the championships of Russia and Ukraine have become very strong, European level championships, promising for further growth of players. Now almost all of our national team players play there. Today, the Armenian national team holds many international matches, experience has come, it has begun to win, they have begun to reckon with it, to beware, somewhere to be afraid. 

Recently, we watched how the second team of the national team played with Serbia. Although they lost, they played with dignity, on an equal footing. This means that the national team has a “long bench”. 

In the national team, along with the stars of the new generation - Mkhitaryan, Movsisyan and Piselli - veterans Sarkis Hovsepyan and Roman Berezovsky continue to play superbly, who even added along with the youth. 

- You want to say that even when a footballer is over thirty, he must and can improve. Until what years?

- Before leaving football, you should always study, at any age. Especially young people who have already achieved something and believe that they can do everything.

Maxim Gorky once said to an aspiring talented writer: “You don’t really know anything, sir, but you guess a lot ... Therefore, go among the people.” He did just that and then achieved a lot, it was Isaac Babel. 

- What would you change in the Armenian national team, becoming its head coach again? 

- Nothing. Maybe just give some advice. The team has a good coach. Of course, Vardan Minasyan has not yet reached the level of a European top coach. But he is a promising, thinking, self-improving coach. He has improved a lot lately. He is on the right track and should not be disturbed. Now you can't take his team with your bare hands. She was unlucky with the draw for the World Cup qualifying round, she ended up in the "group of death", but she will not distribute points, I assure you 100%. And if we're lucky, without which success in football is impossible, we can adequately play against Italy, Denmark, and the Czech Republic. 

- What prevents Armenian football from rising to the level of the 70s?

- And then, and today everyone (the republic and the Diaspora) worked for one team, then for Ararat, today for the national team. But then there were many more football teams that supplied reserves for Ararat. Several Armenian teams played in the Union championships in the first and second leagues. Ararat lined up every day to watch the reserve team. Dozens of talented guys came from Baku, Tbilisi and other cities of the Union. 

We all went through street football, which is almost non-existent today. There was an all-Union tournament "Leather Ball", and "Ararat" of the 80s consisted entirely of its participants. 

We lost a lot during the years of hard times, when our football schools were actually destroyed, many football fields in Yerevan and the regions of the republic disappeared. In those years, we lagged far behind the general world development of football. Now it's all gradually catching up. The football schools of Pyunik, Banants, Miki are successfully operating. A football academy appeared in Yerevan, a similar football forge is being created in Gyumri. 

The national championship has become more unpredictable, the teams have become equal in class. True, partly due to the fact that the leading players of Pyunik moved to foreign clubs. Most of our teams now rely not on legionnaires, but on local staff, young players of their second teams. 

This is what we did in our club. There have been transitions along the chain. Graduates of our school began to play in the first league in the Mika-2 team, and from there the youth moved to its main team. Young people improve with every game, they obviously lack experience, but they have enthusiasm and a desire to prove themselves. Today, the rejuvenated "Mika" leads the standings in the major league of the national championship. The team's class will come with time. 

We need to play with foreign teams more often, and for this we need money, without which we cannot develop domestic football. We need big investments in the football infrastructure, and we don't have so many people willing to do so.    

- Who do you consider the best football player in the world of all time?

Definitely Pele. There are a lot of great, great players today. Take at least Messi. But the king of football remains Pele - 3-time world champion. Messi and other stars can do almost everything, but Pele is above all, he is the KING.        

– Of course, your children and their families will also come to the anniversary. Who from  them followed in the sports footsteps of his grandfather? 

- Eric in Moscow continues to play for the veterans of Russian football. His Ellochka showed promise in tennis, achieved some success, but left because of her studies. Preparing to enter the Faculty of Marketing at the Plekhanov Institute. The youngest - Allochka - is engaged in music and sports dancing. 

Erica used to be in Yerevan, when, by and large, the girls did not play football, she was great at chasing the ball in the yard with the boys. She did not leave this mischief even today in Moscow. She is the director of the annual award "House of the Year" - the national choice of the best House of Russia. 

Her Alena at one time was engaged in sports dancing, at an amateur level, since all her thoughts are in her studies. Recently, at the school Russian Olympiad in Spanish, she took 2nd place, like Ellochka, she enters the Faculty of Marketing, but at the Academy of Foreign Trade. 

The son of Erica and Grant, Grant the second, is only 2.5 years old, but he already decently fiddles with the ball, confidently hits the ball. Recently we celebrated the 85th anniversary of Nikita Pavlovich Simonyan. He, along with the hero of the day, opened the veterans' match with a kick. But his father today delves deeply into the history of football. Starts publishing books of the series "Idols of national football". The first in this series will be a book about the Markarovs, the children are preparing it for me as a gift for my anniversary. Grant plans to write books about Alexander Mirzoyan and Nikita Simonyan.      

- Eduard Artemovich, on behalf of the editors of our newspaper and its readers, let me congratulate you on the upcoming anniversary, wish health and new creative success to all Markarovs. 

- Thanks a lot. In turn, I wish your readers to see our stadiums filled not only for matches with leading European teams, but also for national championship games. Without the support of the stands, their breath, it is difficult for football players to show their skills, to play from the heart. At one time, in the presence of 70-80 thousand spectators, we could not play badly, with laziness. And when the stadium is empty, there is no mood, apathy sets in and you cannot show everything that you are capable of.    

I wish the newspaper to write more about football, to promote it.

I look to the future with optimism, I believe that there will be another full house at Hrazdan.  

Alexander Grigoryan ("Noah's Ark" newspaper, 2012)



In the last few days, I've been so wrapped up in something that I don't have time to post anything. Last week I visited the anniversary of Eduard Markarov, who turned 70 years old. Alexander Mirzoyan, President of the Council of Russian Football Veterans, who took an active part in the organization of the anniversary, invited me on this trip, and gladly agreed.

I did not find Markarov the football player, but my father told me that he was one of the most remarkable players in the USSR. Judging by the speeches at the anniversary, this opinion is not only shared by the pope. Markarov could have become a world celebrity, but he played in Baku and Yerevan, not in Moscow or Kyiv, and with the competition that was at that time in the attack of the national team, it was almost impossible to get there from Yerevan.

I even managed to enter the field in a friendly match dedicated to Markarov. I spent 15 minutes on the field together with Cherenkov, Shmarov, Kuznetsov, Kiryakov and our other veterans. It is an amazing feeling to receive a pass from Kiryakov and throw the ball under the blow of Shmarov, who scored the most memorable goal in my youthful fan life - to Dynamo Kyiv in 1989 - and then discuss in the locker room that he should have hit not on top, but on the bottom of the field my pass, in short, something out of a fairy tale ...

Another vivid impression from a trip to Yerevan is a visit to the Football Academy, which was built by the President of the Football Federation of Armenia Hayrapetyan. And this is far from the richest country in the world, which does not trade in oil and gas, but which really loves football. More than 10 chic fields with artificial and natural grass, a residential complex with all the opportunities for recreation and recovery, indoor and outdoor pools - I have been to many places like this, but what I saw in Yerevan really surprised me, and it is located All this within a 10 minute drive from the city center. What is also curious: there is an active development around the Academy, that is, many people would be happy to use this vast territory for the construction of something that can bring profit. In the Academy, there is not a single building that is provided for renting or other commercial purposes. Only for football. Please play!

As they say, there would be a desire. I think that with such an approach, everything will be fine for Armenian football, and the Armenian team will definitely play at the Euro-16 in France.




  "Armenian Pele" Eduard Markarov on the eve of the 70th anniversary 

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