In November 1945, Arsenal faced Dynamo Moscow in a match that could easily become a great chaotic comedy sports movie.
A few months after the end of World War II in Europe, the English Football Association, in order to celebrate the peace between the United Kingdom and USSR, decided to invite Dynamo Moscow to play with some of the strongest clubs in the UK. Dynamo Moscow had won the USSR championship which ended in September of 1945 and was one of the best teams of the 1940’s era.
A game between English and Soviet teams was considered groundbreaking at the time. Dynamo especially saw these fixtures as an opportunity to prove that the then-unknown Eastern European style of play could be better than the tactics of the founders of football.
Dynamo Moscow had assembled a great team since it was very important to not lose these friendly matches. The team acquired CDKA’s (now CSKA) striker Vselovod Bobrov, and two more players from their “feeder” team Dynamo Leningrad. These transfers and the pressure to not lose came from their president Lavrentiy Beria, who was also the chief of NKVD, the interior ministry of Soviet Union, and the USSR General Secretary of the Communist Union, Joseph Stalin.
Due to the lineup additions and the dates of arrival constantly changing, very few people in the UK knew who Dynamo Moscow actually was, despite the popularity and wealth of the team. However, since it was a tour of friendly matches between allies in the World War, the Soviet dream team was awaited with respect.
When Dynamo arrived in November 1945, the team arrived with a translator and a radio commentator. The commentator criticized the British welcome, due to the dry greeting, without flags, music, or flowers. Officials of the British Federation did a handshake and then allowed journalists to make questions to the team.
However, the Soviet team was unwilling to answer to the rushed interviews and decided to stay quiet. This is why they also got the nickname “The Silent Ones” from a local newspaper…