The Black Secret of Luzhniki – Between Memory and Oblivion

20th October 1982, Sixty-six Spartak Moscow fans would traverse up the stairway on Tribune C of the Central Lenin Stadium, the current Luzhniki, for a UEFA Cup game against Dutch side HFC Haarlem. This would be the last time they would ever make their journey, as, during injury time, they tragically died in a stampede, the majority of which were adolescents enjoying their first-ever game. 38 of the victims were aged eighteen or under, with the youngest, schoolboy Volodya Anikin, who had just … [Read more...]

Nikolai Sokolov – The Founder of Russian Goalkeeping

Lev Yashin is considered perhaps the best to ever play football, but even before him, the Soviet Union has had a long line of great goalkeepers. One of these is Nikolai Sokolov, who both Nikolai Starostin in Football Stars and Anatoly Akimov in The Goalkeeper and his Role in the Team name as the founder of the Soviet goalkeeping school, which later gave birth to Yashin, Rinat Dasaev and many others. Sokolov was born in Moscow on May 12, 1897. At this time, football wasn’t a sport for Russians … [Read more...]

Aleksandr Samedov – From Spartak to Spartak

Although the confirmation of Aleksandr Samedov's signing for Spartak Moscow dragged out, the transfer has been an open secret for more than a month now. The transfer means the winger will once again play in the famous red and white colours after leaving the club in 2005. Samedov, who was one of Lokomotiv Moscow's most important players before joining Spartak, fell out with the Railroader's iconic Head Coach Yuri Semin after he took over the team following the club's presidential change in … [Read more...]

Mid-Season Review: FC Rostov

After finishing second last season, and focusing everything on qualifying for the Champions League group stage, it was natural that Rostov would struggle domestically this season. The extra European fixtures have clearly taken their toll on the small squad, explaining why they have lost games they probably wouldn’t have lost last season. Furthermore, listeners of the RFN Podcast will know that Rostov’s summer wasn’t quiet. Talismanic Head Coach Kurban Berdyev left the club to pursue a … [Read more...]

Mid-Season Review: Spartak Moscow

Introduction Despite finishing 5th last season, Spartak Moscow’s board decided to trust Dmitry Alenichev this summer as he was allowed to keep his job. In the transfer market, they reinforced their wing options with Roman Zobnin, the central midfield with Fernando, the defence with Andrey Eschenko and Mauricio, and, most importantly, the coaching staff with assistant Massimo Carrera. However, after the Europa League exit to Cypriot minors AEK Larnaca, Alenichev was sacked, and Carrera was … [Read more...]

VVS MVO Moscow, Vasily Stalin’s toy

VVS MVO Moscow is not a club name that many will recognize, and the acronym doesn’t reveal much about the club either. Nevertheless, it is a club with a short but interesting history. VVS MVO Moscow, a sports society VVS MVO Moscow was a sports club based in Moscow. The name was short for Voenno Vozdushnye Sily Moskovskogo Voïennogo Okrouga (Военно-воздушные Силы Московского военного округа), which means 'Club of the Air Force of the Military Region of Moscow'. It was founded in 1944 on … [Read more...]

Spartak’s Museum: Glory to the Past

What is a football club? A club is obviously a team with players and a staff around it. It has leaders, on and off the pitch, and the most fortunate clubs also have people working for them. But a club is also a name, and values to which fans identify themselves. The brand of the club has to be developed, either by winning trophies today, or by remembering remarkable achievements from the past. This is the DNA of the club. It allows the supporters to recall moments like derby victories, trophies, … [Read more...]

The Berdyev Saga at Otkritie Arena

All football clubs have their ups and downs, whether they are from a sporting point of view or from a strategic one. To minimize the problems on the latter, the club needs to develop a general sporting strategy by asking the right questions. What are our goals long-term and short term, and how does these fit together with the budget? How much should you allocate to transfers, and what kind of salary policy should you implement? Furthermore, how big a chunk of the overall budget should be … [Read more...]

Berdyev, the Savior of Spartak?

It is safe to say that it is never boring to follow Spartak Moscow. Being a supporter of the Red-Whites means you’ll have to face unexpected events almost every week, and last week was no surprise. Spartak were knocked out of the Europa League qualification against unseeded AEK Larnaca from Cyprus, after a goal in the 87th minute at Otkritie Arena in the second leg. The home side were unable to take advantage of their countless opportunities during the game, and the Cypriots took their chance in … [Read more...]

Renaissance, Hope and Europa League for Spartak Moscow

On April 16, Spartak Moscow lost 5-2 in St. Petersburg against Zenit after an absolutely pathetic performance. Following the defeat, the Red-Whites were in dire trouble and found themselves in seventh place, far away from the European football the club had publicly announced as the goal for the season. At this time, goalkeeper Artem Rebrov was captain of the team and an undisputed first team player. The central defense was composed of Vladimir Granat and Salvatore Bocchetti, while Aleksandr … [Read more...]