GENERICO.ruSportVasily Utkin died. Why will we remember him for a very long time?

Vasily Utkin died. Why will we remember him for a very long time?

On the evening of March 19, the sports world was shocked by tragic news. The legendary journalist and commentator Vasily Utkin has died. He was 52 years old.
A talent with a complex character. In the cult film “Election Day,” Igor Tsaplin, appointed by businessman Emmanuel Gedeonovich as a candidate for governor of either the Samara or Saratov regions, utters the sacramental phrase: “I’m not interested in football.” It caused Homeric laughter only because the role of Tsaplin, first in the play of the Quartet I theater and then in the film, was played by Vasily Utkin, who commentated on the Champions League finals and was awarded the highest awards for football commentary.

Utkin came into the profession at the most wonderful time for journalists and commentators. It was possible to say and write everything, although not everyone knew how. Utkin knew. Having gone through a good school in the program of the former viewer Alexander Politkovsky “Politburo”, Vasily in the spring of 1994 became an employee of NTV. This company then brought together the best television journalists in the country.

The “Football Club” program, hosted by Utkin, was noticeably different from the “Football Review” of Soviet times, and indeed from all programs dedicated to football. In some ways it was ahead of its time and in many ways superior to even the current analytical programs about football that fill the air of the only specialized federal television channel. In the mid-90s, Utkin found a “trick” that allowed the program to gain exorbitant ratings.
He recruited a team of young and daring reporters who were not afraid to ask tough questions and highlight the negative aspects of domestic football. The host of “Football Club” did not spare even the then untouchable Oleg Romantsev, not to mention coaches and functionaries of a lower scale. For which he was loved by the fans.

Vasily’s life was not limited to football. He worked as part of the channel's television crews at the Winter Olympics, and commented on other sports at the summer Olympics. When I saw Utkin up close during the 2012 Olympics tennis tournament at Wimbledon, I almost couldn’t resist remarking: “How huge he is!” We must pay tribute to the producers of the show “Hunger”, who chose Vasily as the host. He judged KVN, played in plays and films of his friends from Quartet I, and even starred in the role of Alexander Nevsky. True, in the parody show “Big Difference”.

Like any multifaceted talented person, Utkin’s character was far from angelic. He regularly argued with his immediate superiors. He could respond to completely adequate proposals for comments with expressions that cannot be quoted in the printed word, or even did not even notice less venerable colleagues who worked with him at the same competitions. He fell asleep during a Champions League match, and then categorically denied that this was due to a “violation of the professional regime.”
Powerful return to TVV In May 2017, Vasily announced that he was retiring from his career as a football commentator. He did this after reporting on the English championship match on the Eurosport channel. It wasn’t that it was impossible for him to live without big television, but it was very boring. And yet there are no former television commentators.

Already in the summer of 2017, fans of Spanish football heard a familiar voice on one of the social networks. I couldn’t do without Utkin and the 2018 World Cup, held in Russia. But Vasily commented on only one game between Spain and Portugal, after which the contract with him was terminated. The commentator even asked not to disturb him with calls and to respect his privacy.
After parting with official TV channels, Utkin was quite in demand. He was willingly invited as a columnist by various print publications, he was a welcome guest in radio studios and was very active on social networks. It’s a rare event in football life that hasn’t received his, as always, professional and most often caustic commentary.
Recently, many publications have published reports about the deteriorating health of the popular journalist and commentator. Utkin passed away at the age of 52. We will no longer hear the phrase with which Vasily traditionally ended his reports: “Play football!”


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