At the end of March, SD Europe were guests in Russia to meet the main architects of the FC Kuban renaissance in Krasnodar. The local football club went bankrupt in the summer of 2018, but has now resumed activities thanks to the fans who founded a new club.
In an SD Europe Exclusive, we asked them a few questions to learn more about their story:
What is the story? How did it start and why? What motivates you and what happened with the ‘original’ FC Kuban?
“It all started from the moment that shocked us all: we learned that FC Kuban would no longer exist. This was announced to us in May 2018. After the news settled, we united and decided that this club will exist. Kuban will live because it is alive in all of us, in the club veterans and within our stadium. We made a strategy to preserve the name, emblem, and the traditions that unite us. We have always loved our club. This love is real, honest, and true. The original FC Kuban will thrive following this dark period.”
What does Kuban FC represent for you?
“Kuban FC it is the biggest part of our lives. Kuban is our family, work, and the most important thing in the world.”
What kind of impact does the new role of fans have? What are some of the new challenges?
“It is worth noting, that all of us have seen the football club in a new light. There is so much to do and many problems to solve. Things which have been hidden for us and handled by hired staff are now our responsibilities. We have become more organized and disciplined, and really became attentive to the security matters. Challenges? Absolutely every bit of the process.”
What is your biggest success thus far? What is the next goal?
“We have registered the club in the top league of the regional championship (5th division of Russian football). We have also been running a huge promotional campaign. We have an agreement in place for an association with local professional handball club “Kuban”, whom have several Olympic champions within their squad. We have close historical ties with the same colors, name, and deep rooted traditions of supporting the handball “Kuban” matches with the football fans.
But our biggest achievement is that we have made it through and returned to our home stadium! We ended the previous contract, and now pay to play our home games in our home stadium, Kuban Stadium.The very first match set a new Russian record among amateur teams. More than 6,000 people came to watch the game! Our goal for this season is to win the league championship and participate in the Cup of Russia. This will give us the opportunity to face professional clubs and raise awareness of Kuban’s story to the whole football world.“
How is the local community, apart from the fans, involved in the project?
“The community factor is very important. We have found that a lot of Kuban fans work in many different industries. The radio stations and TV companies help us for free, the local and popular Russian celebrities support us a lot, even the government officials support us – and all this is due to their honest love of FC Kuban.”
What can the SD Europe network learn from your story?
“The main lesson is: to believe in yourselves, in what you are doing, and only then the rest of the fans and supporters will follow you. It doesn’t matter which country. Fear no obstacles — whether it is the government or matters of money. Stubbornness and the passion of your idea will overcome all the difficulties and challenges.”
What is the vision for the new Kuban? Where do you see the club in five years?
“We are at the beginning of a long journey. We clearly see our goal as the status of professionals, with a place in the Russian Premier League. After 5 years we would like to compete at a high level in Russia.”
What is your message to the SD Europe network?
“We would like to express our appreciation to the SD Europe network, for showing sincere interest to our club and our project. It can be very different here in terms of mentality and legislation, but here the passion for football lives. Millions of people love football here.”
Find FC Kuban here: https://fckuban.com/