Thursday, December 19, 2013

Badge of the Day #42 (Ararat Yerevan)

Today the opposite of tomato is a distant, irresponsible armchair

This particular artefact from the pin badge collection features Armenia’s very own Ararat Yerevan, a name first encountered & instantly seduced by late in 1975, when, representing the USSR of which they were then a part, & as Soviet Cup holders, they played against West Ham United, alas in a losing cause, in the Cup-Winners’ Cup second round: one recalls how, during the BBC radio commentary, all the players’ names seemed to end in –ian, such as Petrosian, etc, which sounded sufficiently different to be most intriguing.

On an expansively-related point, what a fabulous line-up of entrants the dear old, much lamented CWC had that season, also including, as the field did, yesterday’s-featured Borac Banja Luka, Stal Rzeszów, Haladás Vasutas Szombathely, Spartak Trnava, Reipas Lahti, Panathinaikos, Atletico Madrid, Wrexham &, most certainly not least, East Germany’s mighty Sachsenring Zwickau amongst its great names & favourites, a veritable fantasy roll-call of the could-have-been-hand-picked.

To return to Ararat Yerevan, following the previous season’s run to the quarter finals of the European Cup, that Cup-Winners’ Cup second round appearance, to all intents & purposes, saw the zenith of Ararat’s profile in continental club football, & since the collapse of the Soviet Union, their domestic success has, an initial Armenia League championship apart, been limited to regular Cup victories through the 1990s & another in 2008, although, going into this mid-seaon winter shutdown, Ararat head the league with an 8-point advantage, which is rather good & quite a turn-around following last season’s second-bottom finish.

Whatever the vicissitudes of on-field fortunes, of course, it’s things like club names & colours that really matter in the affection stakes, & Ararat Yerevan’s is one that has endured & will undoubtedly. The badge itself, acquired from where was advertised as being Scunthorpe but actually arriving postmarked from Lithuania, is, aesthetically, a rare delight & another of those hauntologically rich Soviet-era vintage objects, displaying the Cyrillic versions of both the Russian & Armenian forms of the club’s name, in addition to a representation of the mountain after which Ararat are named, which of course is so much more imaginative than the English preference for Towns, Cities & Uniteds.

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