Football

"It Was Mental" - Aiden McGeady Describes Surreal Meeting With Spartak Moscow Ultras

"It Was Mental" - Aiden McGeady Describes Surreal Meeting With Spartak Moscow Ultras

The series of interviews Open Goal have been periodically releasing of Aiden McGeady's chat with former Celtic youth teammate Si Ferry have been absolutely outstanding thus far, as the Ireland international has given a candid, honest, and often hilarious reflection on his career.

We heard about his breakthrough into the Celtic first team and suffering the wrath of Neil Lennon, we learned about how mental Tommy Gravesen was after he arrived from Real Madrid, and McGeady expressed his thoughts on the hassle he took for declaring for Ireland, but up next is perhaps the most interesting, and certainly most unusual, aspect of his past in the game.

When Aiden McGeady signed for Spartak Moscow, nobody really knew what to make of it. It's rare to see an Irish player playing outside of the UK, but Russia was unchartered territory.

McGeady revealed that after a tough initial six months, he really started to like the place, but there would regularly be moments that were crazy compared to what he was used to in Glasgow.

Once such moment was a meeting with the leaders of Spartak Moscow's ultra group after a poor start to the season, and it sounds absolutely surreal.

We had quite a bad start to the season, lost the first four games, we were bottom of the league.

The manager comes in and he goes 'Right lads, we've got a meeting today, the heads of the ultras are coming'. The Spartak fans were passionate, really, really good fans, but they'd proper ultras as well. They'd fly everywhere as well, fly to Siberia, five hours on a flight for an away game, and they'd fill the away section. Unbelievable fans.

But I was kind of like 'What's all this about? Why are the heads of the ultras coming into the training ground?' He invited them all in. They obviously wanted to speak to us, and he went 'Yeah, in yous come lads.'

6 or 7 guys come in, one, the main guy who was talking, the leader, he was just like an ordinary guy, but the rest of them were all skinheads, tattoos everywhere. So he just starts speaking in quite a nice manner, he was angry, but he's saying things like 'We have to get better, we support you through everything, but we need more from you', but while he's talking there's this guy next to him just swearing in Russian, and pointing at people. All the Brazilians.

The translator is translating for the Brazilians, and one of them, Welliton, we got beaten by Porto in a European quarter final, we lost 10-2 on aggregate, when Porto had Hulk, Falcao, they were unbelievable to be fair, beat us 5-1 away and then 5-1 at home, he was spotted out after the game.

One of the guys says to him; 'If I ever see you in a nightclub again after a defeat like that, I'll take the face off you'. He said that to the striker. And I was like 'What is going on here?'

So this guy kept shouting and swearing, then at the end of it they were kind of like 'Look lads, we just want you to do well, we support you through everything. Good luck next game, we'll be there, come over and clap us.'

And then they walked out, and as they're walking out they've all got guns in the back of their jeans...

How are they allowed in the training ground with guns? It was mental.

Jesus.

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Whatever about letting the ultras in to the training ground for a pep-talk, or a personal threat in the case of Welliton, letting them bring guns too?

Incredibly, McGeady spoke very positively of his time in Russia and revealed that when he did leave to join Everton the club wanted to keep him, as they had rejected offer from Zenit and Anzhi previously.

You can watch part 4 of the Aiden McGeady interview with Si Ferry below, and again we'd recommend it has he does a great job in telling the stories.

Mikey Traynor

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