After many years of fame the best player of the Kyiv Dynamo and USSR
national teams, who set seven still unbeaten records, has become a People's
Deputy, a far cry from sports. Since 1988 he has coached Greek soccer clubs
such as Olympiakos, PAOK, and Ionikos. He speaks fluent Greek.
Oleh Blokhin has recently come back home from Greece and tells about
his reasons for leaving Greece.
I have come back and from now on I will be working in the Parliament
exclusively. My retirement from PAOK was not unexpected for me. It just
happened that the coach who had spent two years working with the team did
not fit the club management as a person. They decided to dismiss him and
found a man with a name to substitute him with. I happened to be this man.
After 45 days the team broke out in a riot, demanding the old coach back.
- After your flight from Hromada to Greece, many people expected
that you would decline the deputy's mandate and a more experienced person
in politics would take your place in the party list.
- You see, I did not intend to go in for politics. But I was out of
business for awhile, retired from Ionikos and could not find a job. And
then Lazarenko made me this offer to join his party. I do not regret what
I have done; these elections have made Ukrainian life clear to me, even
though I was disconnected from it for a long time.
- So now you are a member of two parties at the same time -
you joined Hromada and you are still a Communist. People say you paid your
dues till the very last days?
- Yes, I was already playing in Austria, but continued to pay my dues.
Moreover, I paid in hard currency. I learned that the USSR split apart
after moving to Greece, but I did not retire from the party. I still have
my party membership card.
- They sent you to Austria instead of giving you a job in Dynamo
because of your conflict with Lobanovsky?
- I was very upset that they did not offer me a job in Dynamo. And even
now I cannot understand what kind of conflict there was with Valery Lobanovsky.
We both have strong characters and have achieved something together: we
won the Cup Champion's Cup two times. I gave 20 years of my life to the
club and after that they could not find me a coaching spot in the club.
They offered me to go to the Sports Committee and become an officer, doing
nothing but sitting in a chair.
- Some time ago you said you would want to stay in Kyiv and work
for Ukrainian sports. What about the conflict between two famous gymnasts,
your wife Iryna Deriuhina and Ludmila Turishcheva, the wife of ex-sprinter
and Minister of Sports Valery Borzov? Did it have any negative influence?
- That is Iryna's conflict and she said she would deal with it herself.
I told her I was going to stay away. And we are good friends with Borzov.
- Your marriage with Deriuhina supported the good Dynamo tradition
- you, Buriak, Bessonov, and Litovchenko married gymnasts almost at the
- Yes, Ira's mother, Albina Mykolaivna, used to separate us from her
students, but it did not help. The girls in gymnastics are beautiful, and
we were always traveling, never having any time for dating. And as luck
would have it, we were in the same competition times. And the result is
four sports families.
- Your daughter did not go in for sports, even though her mother
and grandmother were gymnasts. She decided to become a singer and even
released her first CD with three songs. Do you feel all right about this?
- That is her personal decision. Of course it would have been nice if
Ira and Albina Mykolaivna had persuaded her to become an athlete. But she
said she was not going in for sports.
- Do you still stay friends with ex-members of your old Dynamo team?
- We are close with Leonid Buriak. We spent 13 years living in one room,
and it's hard to forget this, that's why we are still friends.
- Back when you were a soccer player, you wrote four books about
yourself and soccer. One was entitled The Goal I Failed To Score.
Did you manage to score it now?
I am 46 years old now and I understand that normal, non-soccer life
has passed me by. More than 20 years of my life I have spent traveling
around the world, but what did I manage to see besides work? Now I simply
want to live - go on vacation, play tennis, read a book, go to the seaside.
I have a family and a teenage daughter. I have not retired from coaching
yet. I have scored all of my goals.