“I was a Soviet champion, too!”

Today, I'll treat you to an interesting list of mostly obscure players. How obscure, you might ask? Well, they played exactly one game in a season where their team won gold, and never won championships again. Some players became "champions-too", but later won other championships (either with their own team, or with another). These players didn't make the list. 1936 Spring, Dinamo Moscow Viktor Dubinin (1901-1984). 1 game (90 minutes), 0 goals. Became Dinamo's manager in 1937 after … [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...]

Russia and the Cursed Group Stage

Come Saturday evening it was clear. After losing 2-1 at home in Kazan to Mexico, the group stage had once again been the last stop for Russia at an international tournament. The group stage is slowly turning into somewhat of a curse for Sbornaya, and not even the home field advantage could break this spell. In fact, since Russia participated for the first time in an international tournament under its own flag at the World Cup in 1994, it has only managed to advance from the group once, back … [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...]

Dinamo Moscow’s 1945 Goodwill Tour of Britain

“The Russians are Coming”: Arrival 4th November 1945, Croydon. Two planes, appearing to be Douglas DC-3 Dakotas, approached the runway and touched down amidst a barrage of London sunshine, a characteristically mundane and everyday sight for an airport which based RAF Transport Command from 1944. These giant planes would ferry ammunition and vehicles from factory to operating unit throughout World War Two. However, on this day, the influx of these two planes was a prodigious and preternatural … [Read more...]

Timeline of the Renaming of Russian Top Flight Clubs

The Soviet football system was very dissimilar to the Western system. In the early 1920s, all pre-revolutionary football clubs were dissolved; some of them were basically reformed under new names, after moving their "franchise" (football team) to some other location, some were created anew. There were no "football clubs" per se in the Soviet Union - officially, all football teams belonged to some "voluntary sports society" or the other, which was reflected in their names. Here's an incomplete … [Read more...]

Nikolai Starostin: My Football Years (Chapter 8) – Back to the Beginning

Nikolai Petrovich Starostin (1902-1996) was a Soviet football player and official. He was the co-founder of Spartak Moscow, which turned into the most popular club in the USSR and Russia, and worked as its head administrator for most of his life. Starostin is considered one of the most legendary and universally revered figures of Soviet football. In 1986, he published the book ‘My Football Years’ with Lev Filatov, and even well into his eighties, he retained a keen understanding of the game, … [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...]

Nikolai Starostin: My Football Years (chapter 7) – The Consistency of Mastery

Nikolai Petrovich Starostin (1902-1996) was a Soviet football player and official. He was the co-founder of Spartak Moscow, which turned into the most popular club in the USSR and Russia, and worked as its head administrator for most of his life. Starostin is considered one of the most legendary and universally revered figures of Soviet football. In 1986, he published the book ‘My Football Years’ with Lev Filatov, and even well into his eighties, he retained a keen understanding of the game, … [Read more...]

Round Table: The Greatest Players to Play in Russia

This spring, Russia celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Russian Football Premier League. Russian media Sport-Express recently published their list over the greatest players to ever grace the league, and now it is time for the Russian Football News team to look back and remember the maestros.  This time, the panel consists off: Joel Amorim (@Vostok1981): Writer for Russian Football News, WhoScored, FutnSoccer, Bola na Rede and Futbol Pulse Robert Ustian (@Robustmsk):  Football … [Read more...]