About Joel Amorim

From Porto, I started enjoying Soviet football at a very young age when I would watch Rinat Dasaev on TV, but it was probably Radchenko's brace and Shmarov's goal at the Santiago Bernabéu a quarter of a century ago that transformed me into an avid consumer of what was going on with the game throughout Eastern Europe. Punk rock fan and English teacher by day, football writer after the sun goes down.

Season Preview: Arsenal Tula

  The 2016-17 campaign was an utter disaster for FC Arsenal Tula and it was only saved by Igor Schevchenko’s goal in the second playoff relegation match against FC Yenisey at the end of May. Parting ways with experienced head coach Sergei Pavlov early on and for no understandable reasons proved to be an enormous mistake by the club’s board since his replacement, Sergei Kiryakov, didn’t bring anything new to the team, despite being given plenty of new players during the winter … [Read more...]

Valery Karpin and that infamous day in the summer of 1990

“When I arrived there, the team was… they had escaped relegation in the last match of the previous season. It was unthinkable what we had done in five years. It was Celta’s golden era…” - Valery Karpin (2015) Valery Karpin joined Celta de Vigo back in 1997, three years after landing in Spain to play for Real Sociedad. An excellent second season at San Sebastian with Javier Irureta’s Sociedad side worked as a stepping stone for a somewhat unconvincing one-year adventure at Valencia before … [Read more...]

The Night of Ilshat Faizulin in the Camp Nou

That one night in the Camp Nou probably was the pinnacle of his career. On 4th November 1992, Ilshat Faizulin was, to a certain extent, the hero of the night for a mighty CSKA Moscow that outclassed the all-powerful FC Barcelona in Catalunya. Faizulin contributed with two assists in that historic 3-2 win and his overall performance was absolutely brilliant. No one expected much from CSKA Moscow that night. A 1-1 draw in the Russian capital two weeks earlier had left the Armeitsy in a very … [Read more...]

The Russian Revolution at Sarrià

The 1991-92 campaign certainly causes mixed feelings to RCD Espanyol supporters. The departure of Head Coach Luís Aragonés at the end of the previous season had left “Los Pericos” adrift in their own sea of madness and the club’s board ended up deciding to bring in Ljubomir Petrovic as his replacement. “Ljupko” Petrovic arrived in Spain with an European Cup in his trophy cabinet after leading FK Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) to glory a few months before in Bari (Italy) against the … [Read more...]

A Closer Look at FC Ural’s New Man Aleksandr Lomakin

FC Ural’s head coach Aleksandr Tarkhanov is fully convinced that the team’s recent signing, Aleksandr Lomakin, will be of major importance for the Yekaterinburg outfit in the near future. During a short interview to FC Ural’s website, the experienced head coach remembered how hard it was to convince Lomakin’s former club, FC Yenisey, to release him and that the 21-year old midfielder has what is needed to help the team immediately. Lomakin was born in Moscow in 1995 and started playing … [Read more...]

Mid-Season Review: Arsenal Tula

Tula, a city known for its metalworkers and for being the main centre of Russian samovar production, is also home to FC Arsenal Tula, who are currently second from bottom at the Premier League table. The 2016-17 campaign has been extremely complicated for the Tula outfit so far. Two different head-coaches, just two wins from seventeen league matches, the elimination from the Russian Cup and a long and never ending list of injured players since the first day of the season have undoubtedly … [Read more...]

Stanislav Cherchesov – The Dresden days and the uncertain future

Although I have always been a hardcore supporter of FC Spartak Moscow, Stanislav Cherchesov was never my favourite goalkeeper. It is hard to admit that I have never felt the same kind of admiration for him that I had for Rinat Dasaev, who left the Moscow’s former powerhouse in the beginning of 1989, when Cherchesov returned to the Red-Whites after spending one year with FC Lokomotiv Moscow. Cherchesov’s trademark black pants tucked in his white socks, nevertheless, inspired my “career” as a … [Read more...]

Sergey Pesyakov – Spartak’s Unsung Hero

Artem Rebrov was Murat Yakin’s wingman on the pitch last season and things haven’t changed much with the arrival of a new head coach back in the summer. Dmitry Alenichev renewed his trust on the 32-year goalkeeper for this season and it is fair to say that Rebrov didn’t fall short of expectations in the matches he took part in. However, despite some solid performances he managed to pull off, Rebrov was benched after the heavy defeat in Saint Petersburg last month and so far he hasn't make his … [Read more...]

Rinat Dasaev’s dark days at the Nervión

“Había más de 3.000 personas en el aeropuerto. Salí del avión y no sabía lo que me iba a encontrar. Estaba nervioso, lo tengo que reconocer. Llegaba a un país muy distinto al nuestro, otro idioma, otra vida… ¡Qué difícil fue para mí! Me costó por lo menos un año adaptarme.” (There were more than 3000 people at the airport. I left the plane without knowing what was expected of me. I was nervous, I admit to that. I was arriving at a completely different country, a different language, a different … [Read more...]

Spartak’s Ongoing Perestroika

“If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you haven't done much today.” - Mikhail Gorbachev The former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev paid too heavy a price for his Perestroika (перестройка), but it is an undeniable fact that the USSR had been on the verge of collapsing many years before his desperate attempts to restructure and reform that stagnated nation. Almost a quarter of a century after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there is a Russian football club - Spartak … [Read more...]