Anyone who has ever picked up a copy of Football Manager and played a season in the UPL should definitely know Semen Yosypovych Altman. Born on the 21st April 1946 in Chuhuiv in the Kharkiv Oblast, Altman went on to become a goalkeeper, coach and manager.
Altman began a quite quiet playing career at a Kyiv sports school before signing a professional contract with Kolhospnyk Rivne in 1965. His time in Rivne wasn’t a long one and after 3 appearances he moved on to Volyn Lutsk. One season and 15 appearances later, Altman was on the move again when he signed for the club he ould spend he majority of his playing career at, Chornomorets Odesa. His spell in Odesa lasted from 1966-1972 playing 70 times for the club. Altman spent the majority of his time as a number two at Odesa, only really breaking into the first team and claiming the number one jersey as his in his final season with the club. A move to Zvezda Tiraspol followed, Lokomotiv Kherson next and then back to Zvezda before he finished his not so illustrious playing career in 1975.
His coaching career began in 1982, when he joined the coaching staff at Chornomorets Odesa, the team which he spent the most of his playing career. In 1989 he moved to Moscow, where he became the coach at Dinamo Moscow, before becoming head coach in 1990. In 1991 he returned to Odesa, rejoining the coaching staff at Chornomorets before once more leaving in 1994. During 1994-1996 he worked in South Korea, as one of the coaches of the countries Olympic team.
In 1996, Altman accepted the position of manager at Moldovan club Kishinev Zimbru. He led Zimbru to the Moldovan Cup in 1996/1997 season before doing the Moldovan league and cup double the following season. He finished his time in Moldova by winning the league title for a second time in the 1998/99 season.
In 1999 he returned to Ukraine, leading the coaching staff as manager at Metalurg Donetsk. He coached the team up to the end of 2002 where he reached third place in the Ukrainian Premier League on two occasions in 01/02 and 02/03. Though he didn’t finish the season with Metalurg, he is still credited with this 3rd place finish. In early 2003, he returned to Odesa where he managed to replicate his 3rd place finish with Chornomorets in the 2005/2006 season.
In 2003, fellow Viktor Leonenko Hall of Famer Oleg Blokhin was appointed head coach of the Ukrainian national team. One of his first appointments was to make Altman his assistant manager in what would end up being Ukraines first appearance at a major tournament and ultimately their best placed finish in a major tournament to date.
In 2007 he was hired by Illichivets Mariupol as head coach on a one-year contract but on 14 December 2007, Semen was unexpectedly sacked, despite winning the first leg of the quarter final Ukrainian Cup match against his former club Chornomorets, and the club sitting in 2nd place at the time. He spent 2008 as manager of Luch Vladivostok before having some time out of the game.
In 2010 he rejoined the coaching staff of the national team of Ukraine when Oleg Blokhin was reappointed manager of Ukraine. He stayed with Ukraine for a year before he left and was presented as the head coach of Tavriya Simferopol in June 2011.
Altman lasted a year in the job before being sacked on the 1st June 2012. Semen has since been involved in some TV punditry for various TV stations in Ukraine but hasnt taken any managerial positions since. His son, Gennadiy Altman is also a former player and current football coach who is out of work.
Semen Yosypovych Altman, welcome to the Viktor Leonenko Hall of Fame
Article by Andriy Luczka, co-founder of Donetsk Way. Followy Andriy on Twitter @Luczka