Comrade Yakov Iordanov: Spartak Moscow’s Lone Englishman?

Yakov Eordahnov, seemingly a typically Russian name, right? Not quite. In reality, this was James Riordan, the former professor of Russian Studies at the University of Surrey who led a rather interesting life as an academic, celebrity, class fighter and spy. But he was also the only ever Englishman to play for Spartak Moscow. At least according to Riordan himself. Many, including official Spartak club historians, have cast a doubt over his story's provenance.   Riordan's … [Read more...]

Soviet’s Last Success: The 1988 European Championship

  In the summer of 1988, Soviet football experienced its last great moment, when the Sbornaya reached the final of the European Championship. A few years later, the union would fall apart, but in 1988 the team was among the football elite. The Soviet Union had failed to qualify for every European Championships as far back as 1972, but under the guidance of head coach Valery Lobanovsky, they came back on track. In the 1986 World Cup, after a great performance in the group stage, … [Read more...]

Revolutionary Origins in Pre-Revolutionary Russia: the development of football in the Tsarist Empire

24 October 2017 marks the 120th anniversary of the first ever official football match played in Russia, a game between the Saint Petersburg Circle of Sports Lovers (SPb KLS) and the Vasileostrovsky Football Society. It was played out on parade ground of the First Military Academy, on the grounds of the Peter and Paul Fortress. This match is commonly regarded as the birth of Russian football. Although the first organised national division wasn’t formed until 1923, and the Soviet National team did … [Read more...]

Nikita Simonyan: How the son of an Armenian illegal immigrant became the ‘Grandfather of Russian Football’

245 matches, 160 goals, 0 yellow card and 0 red cards. These statistics are but a microcosm of Nikita Pavlovich Simonyan’s career for Spartak Moscow. Simonyan was as a player, manager, club ambassador and, above all else, still is a keen supporter of Spartak Moscow, and throughout this time has acted as a humble sportsman, functionary and gentleman. Upon celebrating his 90th birthday last season, the club hosted him as a honoured guest and invited him onto the pitch before the match with FC … [Read more...]

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...]

16 Years Without Number 16 – Remembering Serhiy Perkhun

Before PFC CSKA Moscow’s recent outing against FC Rostov in the Premier League, the Red-Blue fans displayed a massive banner with the text: “16 years without number 16”. Alongside the banner, was a giant picture of goalkeeper Serhiy Perkhun, who played for the club in 2001. The actions were in honour of the Ukrainian born goalkeeper, who died 16 years ago of a brain hemorrhage after a head-to-head collision with an Anzhi Makhachkala player during a game in the Premier League. Although it’s a … [Read more...]

Most Decorated Players of Soviet and Russian League Football

After a previous article exploring the "Soviet Champions, too" (players who played just one game in a season in which their team won the league), it's only logical to show the polar opposite: The most decorated players of Soviet and Russian football. READ MORE: "I was a Soviet Champion, too!" For this, I devised a numerical formula. Each trophy is worth a specific amount of points (league title - 50, European cup - 40, Soviet/Russian cup - 25, European Supercup - 10, Russian Supercup - 5). … [Read more...]

Interview with Maksym Kalynychenko, Part Two: The FNL, Spartak under Oleg Romantsev, and more.

Maksym Kalynychenko, who played for Spartak Moscow from 2000-2008 sat down with Alexey Spektrowski in collaboration with our friends over at ProSpartak. Here we present Part Two of the interview in English, where the pair discusses the state of the FNL and Maksym's experiences of traveling throughout Russia, Soviet Football including the work and life of Nikolai Starostin and Oleg Romantsev's dominant Spartak Moscow side in the 1990s. Make sure to read Part One first, … [Read more...]

Interview with Maksym Kalynychenko, Part One: Spartak’s Situation Today

Maksym Kalynychenko, who played for Spartak Moscow from 2000-2008 sat down with Alexey Spektrowski in collaboration with our friends over at ProSpartak. Here we present Part One of the interview in English, where the pair discusses the current situation in Spartak, the players, and Massimo Carrera. ***   The first questions, of course, will concern Spartak. What happened in the game against CSKA? Well... Everyone saw what happened. We lost. Losing a game in two minutes is bad, … [Read more...]

Akhmat Grozny – Three Name Changes, Two War’s and One Crazy Owner

Before this season we saw a change in names with the team of Grozny. The city which is located in the province of Chechnya. So what happened to Terek Grozny? Why is it now Akhmat Grozny? And how has the war and the destroyed city affect the city’s greatest football team? History of Chechnya To understand everything, we must start it all from the beginning. Chechnya was taken over by Russia as early as in the middle of the 19th century. It’s a province which possesses several large oil fields … [Read more...]