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Zimbru Chisinau Shirt, Year Unknown

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This is the shirt I acquired on a visit to Chisinau back in 2006. It is unfortunately a fairly simple shirt, with just four red stripes on either side to betray the plain design. The Zimbru badge is also screen printed on, making this seem like more of a t-shirt than a football shirt. I wish I had been able to acquire one of the Lukoil sponsored Zimbru shirts but, in Moldova at the time, commercially available shirts where hard to find. As it was, this was the only shirt available for sale at the team’s offices. In that sense it is indeed a rare shirt.

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Chisinau Republican Stadium, Chisinau, Moldova – Moldovan National Team (DEMOLISHED)

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There is certainly a bit of history in this post since the stadium in question no longer exists, its demolished state visible at the link. I visited the Chisinau Republican Stadium in the summer of 2007 and it was clear then that the 8,084 capacity stadium–built in 1952–had seen better days. It was a Soviet relic. I was reliving the Cold War years as I walked through the crumbling gates.

Perhaps this stadium is best known as the one that witnessed David Beckham’s first appearance for the English national side–the first of his 115 caps came at this most unlikely of venues. I can only imagine the culture shock that Chisinau would have provided in 1996.

Now that the stadium is gone it remains, in my mind, as a testament to an era of world history that is soon disappearing in the face of Industrial football. After all, the Kiev Republican Stadium shares only the name of its predecessor and not much else.

 

The Welcome mat is laid out:

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Soviet Realism juxtaposed with modern lighting on the stadium’s facade:

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A stadium struggles to keep up with the times:

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A classic Soviet Stadium gate crumbles:

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Chisinau’s Republican stadium has seen better days:

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At least a semblance of control is taking place:

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The pitch that saw Beckham’s first appearance in a Three Lion’s shirt–Its a long way from Manchester…and Madrid…and Milan…and Los Angeles…and Paris:

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Goodbye:

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