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GCR Books

Oleg Luzhny; the horse, no the moose.

Oleh Romanovych Luzhny was born on 5 August 1968 in Lviv and is normally known as Oleg Luzhny.

Oleg was a right back who started out playing for Torpedo Lutsk and after a brief spell with SKA Karpaty Lviv moved to the all powerful Dynamo Kyiv in 1989.

He became captain and was captain of the side that got to the semi-finals of the 1999 Champions League, beating Real Madrid and Barcelona en route.

It was straight after that success that Luzhny signed for Arsenal (28 May 1999), bringing with him the nickname of The Horse – supposedly due to the way he galloped up and down the line.  But I have read elsewhere that this was a mistranslation, and he was actually called The Moose as in “the steady beast that just keeps going and finally wins”.

At the time we still had Dixon playing right back, and I suspect the original plan was that Dixon would fade out more quickly than he eventually did, and that Luzhny would take over.  In fact Dixon lasted longer, and then Lauren was also signed and he became Dixon’s successor.

Luzhny played 110 games including as sub for Arsenal and was part of the team that won the 2001/2 double.  His final game was the cup final on 17 May 2003 as we beat Southampton.

I remember one commentator who had not seen Luzhny since his days in Ukraine saying, on seeing him play at Highbury “whatever happened?” and I think quite a few of us wondered where the power and imposition on the game that we had seen on TV films, and had read about in reports, had gone.  Somehow Arsenal didn’t work out as expected for Luzhny.

But if we didn’t work out for him, then Wolverhampton, his next club worked out even less well.  He made 10 appearances in a year as the side were relegated. Arseweb reports him, however, as leaving Arsenal for Charlton, but he certainly was playing for Wolverhampton in that season.  Did he go to Charlton first?

After that he worked as a player manager in Latvia and then became an assistant coach at Dynamo Kiev.  On 5 November 2007 he became temporary manager of Dynamo Kiev but the mixed results he got did not suggest he could be seen as a permanent manager, although he returned to the post on 1 October 2010 after another manager left the club.

In June 2012, Luzhny was named as manager of Ukrainian Premier League club SC Tavriya Simferopol, but I am not sure what happened after that, although I have seen him talking several times about his deep worries for his country following the Russian invasion in 2014 – this link is to a piece on CNN.

On 30 January 2014 he popped up with a report in the Daily Mirror headlined Liverpool target Yevhen Konoplyanka is a ”headless chicken” not suited to English football, claims Oleg Luzhny

Overall he started for Arsenal 91 times.

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4 comments to Oleg Luzhny; the horse, no the moose.

  • Gord

    There are media articles suggesting that Luzhny was talking to Charlton, but I haven’t run across any which say that a transfer happened. TransferMarkt, SoccerBase and Wikipedia all have that he transferred from Arsenal to Wolves on a free. Wikipedia has Jul 7, Soccerbase has Jul 24 and TransferMarkt has Jul 1.

    Working with translate.google.com, I see that horse and moose are quite different in Russian. They are almost identical in Ukrainian.

    I don’t know if the following cut and paste will work.

    Russian: лошадь кінь

    Ukrainian: американский лось американський лось

    No guarantee that any of this mechanical translation is accurate.

  • Thanks Gord – I am sure you are right about the horse and moose – it depends which language you start from. Looking at his comments following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Luzhny is very pro-Ukraine and anti-Russian, and I guess so must be a Ukrainian speaker. The Moose it is.

  • I actually had a season ticket when Oleg Luzhny came to Wolves. I was only 12 or 13 at the time, but I remember him basically being very slow and miles of the pace. He seemed quite unfit and perhaps even carrying a bit of extra weight. Then again, the bloke was 35. All that being said, he was nowhere near the worst part of Wolves’s disastrous 2003/04 season.

  • Josif

    “He became captain and was captain of the side that got to the semi-finals of the 1999 Champions League, beating Real Madrid and Barcelona en route.”

    Not quite true.

    Dynamo had won the group ahead of Lens, Arsenal and Panathinaikos in 1998-99 before they did Real Madrid in the quarterfinals. Bayern München stopped them in the semifinals – Dynamo had had 3:1 lead in the first leg before Bayern equalized. Bayern won the second leg 1:0 and progressed to the final.

    Dynamo had severely beaten Barcelona in the group stage in 1997-98 though. The Ukrainian side won 3:0 at Kyiv and 4:0 at Camp Nou thanks to Andriy Shevchenko’s hat-trick. Three Dynamo players had poor spells at London clubs – Luzhny (Arsenal), Rebrov (Spuds) and Shevchenko (Chelsea). It wasn’t meant to be for them, I guess.

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