There is no present and future without the past. This is an axiom. FK “Ventspils” was founded in 1997; however, football lived and developed in the town earlier, and those traditions and efforts of many people led to the foundation of the “yellow-and-blue” club in such form as it lives at the present time. It contributed to the achievement of the title: one of the strongest Latvian clubs. In 1969 Ventspils football players won the title of Latvian champions for the first time. The team was called "Venta". Senior supporters remember how our players shone on the Latvian football fields. The old-timer of the team Ariy Shmerling shares his memories about the champions team “Venta”:
Next considerable success came to “Venta” in 1967, when we won the Latvian Cup. For me it is memorable because I managed to score the second goal in the final and that determined the result of the match. By that time we had quite a fighting fit line-up, and 1969 already was our golden year! "Venta" became the champion! During the tournament we gained 43 points; 20 matches won, 3 matches ended with a draw and only 3 matches lost. Besides, we lost only in the away matches; therefore, we did not upset our supporters that year. We scored 45 goals and 16 conceded. At that time our leader was a playing coach, who is well known not only to the admirers of Ventspils, but the whole Latvian football, Vladimir Chikinov.
And here is our golden line-up: Leonid Virko, Konstantin Zhurkevich, Aleksandr Busarov, Valery Yashenko, Aleksandr Tronev, Ariy Shmerling, Vladimir Samohvalov, Aleksandr Novash, Nikolay Chaevky, Nikolay Pozdnyakov, Vladimir Chikinov, Viktor Yurinov, Viktor Litvinenko, Aleksandr Rakicky, Valentin Ipolitov, Vladimir Kutuzov, Valentin Vetrenko, Genady Hrustalov.
Of course, the victories do not come easy. There was a huge effort put both in the matches and trainings. However, at that time we had quite a modest material and technical basis. We trained in the sport hall of Ventspils port, had training camps in Piltene, several times went to Moldavia. We had close contacts with Children’s Sport School from which talented youth often came to our team. By the way, if in these days we have limits on the players from abroad, then at those times it was an obligation for the team to have two players younger than 18 years of age in the line-up. Thus, V.Kutuzov, V.Ivankovich, N.Dishlov and later Y.Romanenko, V.Fedotov and others appeared in our team.
Certainly, there were also experienced players, who played in masters teams, invited in “Venta”. Such players were V.Chikinov (“Daugava”), V.Vetrenko, A.Arakelyan, L.Virko (“Zvejnieks”). And this combination of youth and experience let the team win the leading positions in Latvia.
Here is a commentary of Vladimir Chikinov about those memorable and victorious days:
Everybody understands that playing in the team and being the coach of the team is not one and the same thing. It is very responsible job, and it is even harder to cope with it if you have to start in the middle of the season (V.Vetrenko prepared the team in the pre-season time). I wanted to be more on the pitch than sit aside and watch the team playing... Of course, guys did great! It is impossible to mark anybody out. Yes, some players had personal sportive achievements, but we have to talk about the team as a whole. About the team that observed the self-discipline, lived in a friendly atmosphere and in 1969 gained the right to be called the best club of Latvia.
New, modern history of football club “Ventspils” begins in 1997, the year of team’s foundation. In February 2007, the club that represents the town on the bank of the river Venta with the population of 45 thousand people celebrated its 10th anniversary. In such a short period of time FK “Ventspils” became one of the strongest clubs in Latvia. FK “Ventspils” rapidly developed and gained the reputation of a serious Latvian club, and won various trophies.
In 2003 FK "Ventspils” won the Latvian Cup for the first time in the team's history. The team won this honorary trophy the next two years in a row. And only the main height – golden medals of the Latvian championship – has not been achieved by FK “Ventspils” for a long time. The team won silver and bronze medals of the Latvian championship many times, but everybody in the club dreamed of the gold. And finally, in 2006 FK "Ventspils" became the strongest club in Latvia by winning the golden medals of the Latvian championship!
The Ukrainian specialist Roman Grygorchuk led FK "Ventspils" to the main trophy. Earlier the team was led by Russian coach Boris Sinicin, English coach Paul Ashworth, Lithuanian coach Saulius Shirmyalis, Latvian coach Sergei Semenov.
Despite the young age, FK “Ventspils” has quite a rich and interesting Eurocups history. In 1999 FK "Ventspils" had its debut in Intertoto Cup and managed to beat Norwegian team "Valerenga" by the total result of two matches. Later FK "Ventspils" took part only in the UEFA Cup, thus allowing the fans to see matches against such powerful and popular European clubs as “Stuttgart” (Germany), “Rusenborg” (Norway), “Brondby” (Denmark), “Newcastle” (England). The draw (0:0) in the away match against “Newcastle” may be called the greatest play achievement of FK “Ventspils”. However, even more memorable are the matches against the powerful team “Brondby” in 2004 when FK "Ventspils" managed to eliminate the famous Danish club from the UEFA Cup.
On July 17, 2007 FK “Ventspils” had its debut in the UEFA Champions league. A great present for the fans on a ten-year anniversary of the club! The yellow-and-blue started their historical trip of the most prestige club tournament of Europe in Wales, where they played against “TNS”. The author of the first “Ventspils” goal in the Champions league was the forward Vits Rimkus.
One week later, on July 25, „Ventspils” won the first victory in the Champions league beating TNS by 2:1 in the home match. Goals were scored by the defenders: Jean-Paul Ndeki and Deniss Kachanov. In the second qualifying round the team of Roman Grygorchuk played against „Salzburg”, led by the legendary Italian coach Giovanni Trapatoni.
In 2008 „Ventspils” will participate in the UEFA Champions league for the second time. And the first oponent of the yellow-and-blue will again be the champions of Wales – „Llanelli” AFC.
Keep it up, “yellow-and-blue”!