By Bulldog Drummond
Oh where are the old days? The days when you could safely click onto a football web site and read about Arsene Wenger’s dithering and predictions that this will be the season when Arsenal get relegated, thus putting a stop to the celebrations in 2019 of 100 years in the top division?
Gone, all gone. Instead the nearest we get are headlines like “Dithering Pogba seems to think his mere presence is enough at United.” It’s just not the same.
Anyway, it seems we have never played a Bulgarian team before in the Champs League so welcome to another first for Arsenal.
Ludo is Latin for “I play” and it is rather curious to see Arsenal opening up the stadium for a board game of two to four players in which players move counters around the board, depending on the throw of the dice. A bit like the FA moving their executives and England managers around according to the throw of the newspaper, or a bizarre enquiry into football’s doings in Parliament which ended up with yet another manager being accused to malpractice, and the FA defending Large Sam for goodness sake.
So back to Ludo
In the USA it is called Parcheesi, Sorry!, Aggravation or Trouble but in Germany it is “Mensch ärgere dich nicht” which I am unreliably informed means “Man, don’t get irritated”.
Ludo has equivalent names in many other languages (such as Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, and Slovene). For example, the Macedonian name is “Не лути се човеку”, meaning “Don’t get angry, man”. In Iran, the game is called “منچ” [Mench] which is probably an adaptation of the German name.
None of which has anything to do with Професионален футболен клуб Лудогорец Разград which is commonly translated Ludogorets Razgrad or Ludogorets.
But let us not underestimate their position as little more than a board game, for in the Europa League in 2013/14 they reached the round of 16. They are only the second Bulgarian team (after Levski Sofia) to reach the group stage of the Champions League. In 2014/15 they became the first Bulgarian team to score points in the Champions League group stages when they defeated FC Basel 1–0 in Sofia.
And here’s a thought: Liverpool! are the only previous English club to have played against Ludogorets – that was in the 2014/15 Champions League group stages. Although Liverpool! won at Anfield, it was a 2-2 draw in Sofia. Now I know that was only Liverpool! but even so. Some caution should be observed.
The table this time around now looks like this.
|Paris Saint Germain||2||1||1||0||4||2||2||4|
Of course Ludo is actually Ludogorie – the region of the wild forests in north east Bulgaria. The club’s nickname is is the Eagles. When Lazio played them in the Champs League Ludo were given an eagle named Fortuna before the game. A nice touch.
The club was founded in 2001 as Ludogorie Football Club. They play in the Ludogorets Arena which has a capacity of 8,808 seats, having been founded in 2001 as Ludogorie FC. They adopted their current name from one of the first football clubs in the town, Razgrad 2000, which was founded in 1945 and subsequently dissolved in 2006 after lack of funding.
Here are their latest results.
|Date||Competition||Home team||Score||Away team|
|28.09.2016||Champs Lge||Ludogorets||1-3||Paris St. Germain|
|6||Cherno More Varna||10||17||5||2||3||12||11||17|
|7||Beroe Stara Zagora||9||13||4||1||4||8||11||13|
|12||Lokomotiv Gorna O.||10||8||2||2||6||9||17||8|
Who would have thought that a state in the western USA would be bottom of the Bulgarian league?
Up next, the teams
Recent tales from Untold and the Arsenal History Society