“We wish Yuri Pavlovich strength, health and prosperity”

Information about the possible departure of Yuri Semin from Lokomotiv at the end of the agreement appeared in sports media a few days ago. However, fans of railway workers until the last hoped that the 73-year-old specialist would still retain his post.

But at a meeting of the club’s board of directors on Thursday, it was decided not to renew the contract expiring on May 31.

“The board of directors and the management of the club express gratitude and appreciation to Yuri Pavlovich Semin for his many years of work at FC Lokomotiv. His name is associated with the most striking victories in the history of the club. Yuri Semin will forever remain in the hearts of all Lokomotiv fans. We wish strength, health and prosperity to Yuri Pavlovich, ”the statement reads on the official website of the railway workers. 

Today, a meeting of the Board of Directors of FC Lokomotiv took place, at which Marco Nikolic was unanimously approved for the club’s head coach. He will take up his duties on June 1, 2020.

We wish him successful work and big victories! Https: //t.co/hEDS3PhjPW

- Lokomotiv 🏠 #StayHomeStayLoko (@fclokomotiv) May 14, 2020

The new head coach of the team, as expected, will be the 40-year-old Serb Marko Nikolic, who previously worked with the Serbian “Partizan”, the Slovenian “Olympia” and the Hungarian club “MOL Fehervar”, previously called “Videoton”. It is reported that the young specialist was "unanimously approved" for his post and will begin to perform duties from June 1. 

What awaits in the near future Semin is still unknown. In a conversation with RT, he himself advised addressing this issue to the chairman of the Lokomotiv board of directors Anatoly Meshcheryakov and the club’s general director Vasily Kiknadze. 

“Will I continue my coaching career? I'm not fired yet. As soon as this happens, we will think, ”said the coach. 

In turn, Meshcheryakov stressed that an experienced specialist was offered a position in the club structure. They are also going to name the locomotive academy by the name of Semin. 

“We suggested that Yuri Pavlovich stay in the club, for which we intend to introduce the position of honorary head coach with the appropriate salary and social package. We would like Yuri Pavlovich to actually become an ambassador in those children's and youth projects that the club runs together with the RFSO Lokomotiv and Russian Railways, ”the R-Sport functionary quotes. 

And Meshcheryakov connected the decision not to renew the agreement with the coach with the need to “look forward”. According to the chairman of the board of directors of Lokomotiv, the club is facing very difficult times. 

“Now we have to extract the maximum result from what we have and rely primarily on internal resources ... Therefore, we considered that the club and the team are on the verge of a new stage in their development, and the current situation has the potential to make this decision - changing the head coach and inviting a new specialist, ”Meshcheryakov added. 

According to media reports, Semin has already rejected the offer to take any honorable position in the club. It is not clear what fate awaits his assistants: which of them will remain in Lokomotiv, and who will go to look for another job. One of the members of the headquarters of Yuri Pavlovich Dmitry Loskov admitted that he himself is in the dark. 

“Will I stay at the club?” I do not make decisions, I am in quarantine and do not communicate with anyone. Have I been offered to stay? I don’t know anything, I haven’t contacted anyone, I read everything in the news, ”the Championship expert quotes. 

In turn, Meshcheryakov promised that Kiknadze would make a decision on the coaching staff in the near future. The club’s general director himself was not available for comment immediately after the board of directors, but, according to one of the Telegram channels, he intends to communicate with the fans in the coming days through the YouTube channel of railway workers.

“The situation did not look like that the coach needed to be urgently removed”

The decision to part with Semin caused a serious resonance in the world of Russian football. Many expressed support for the coach, who left the team in second place in the RPL standings. In particular, the former ward of the specialist, ex-goalkeeper of the Russian national team Ruslan Nigmatullin believes that the verdict of the board of directors has nothing to do with sports results. 

“If I were the head of the club, I would leave everything as it is. But the post of general director is held by Kiknadze, and he decides what actions to take in order to then report to the board of directors. I think it was a general decision. Apparently, a conflict has ripened inside. Of course, the situation did not look like that the coach needs to be urgently removed, because the season can still be played out. In this case, as they say, nothing personal, only business. From the outside, the situation looks exactly like this, ”Nigmatulin said in an interview with RT. 

He also did not rule out that the departure of Semin could “drive a wedge” between the club management and the fans, and suggested that Nikolic in the new place would be extremely difficult. 

“For me he is a dark horse. After Semin, Nikolic will be doubly harder. Still, both football players and fans are very fond of Yuri Pavlovich. It will be difficult to achieve such an attitude. In general, it is not easy for foreign trainers in Russia to work, even for Serbs. Few succeeded in achieving good results. But I will be glad to make a mistake, I will be glad if Loko continues to play as well as under Semin, ”added Nigmatullin.

At the same time, in his opinion, the coach can still continue his career, despite his considerable age. I am sure of this and his long-term assistant in the “Locomotive” Vladimir Eshtrekov, who called his colleague and friend “a real fighter”.

“Time will tell if he will continue his career. The main thing is that he does not take up strength and energy. The last time we talked a few days ago. I congratulated Yuri Pavlovich on his birthday, but I did not touch on the topic of possible departure from Lokomotiv. I just did not know whether to believe what the media write. We talked about other topics. Discussed the possible resumption of the season, Semin argued that it seems like the championship should finish the game. I wished him success, ”said an RT specialist.

The former leaders of the club also spoke about the decision of the board of directors of Lokomotiv. In particular, the ex-president of railway workers Nikolai Naumov accused Kiknadze of wanting to "find a pocket coach."

“He wants to find a“ pocket ”coach who will listen to him and look into his mouth, but there will be no result. Firstly, all fans will be offended. We remember how fans treated Smorodskaya when she came to the club. Banners against her hung out at the stadium. Believe me, insults will go even harder. Fans will never forgive anyone for such an attitude towards Palych, ”said Naumov

“Secondly, coaching leapfrog will begin. Nikolic will come, he will not succeed and the result will worsen. The club will go in seventh or eighth place in the table. They will begin to change specialists, buy new players for them. It will last several years, ”R-Sport quotes Naumov.

Olga Smorodskaya herself, who headed the club in 2010-2016, said that she did not represent Syomin in a role other than coaching.

“Yuri Pavlovich managed to win titles only with Lokomotiv, for the club he is a significant figure, and this is obvious. If we talk about the fans, they have the right to express their opinion, and there should be a dialogue on the part of the leadership. But they must be treated with understanding. Now it’s impossible to say whether Lokomotiv will lose or gain, time will show everything, ”Smorodskaya cites the Championship.