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...]

Teams that thrashed incumbent Soviet/Russian champions

After Zenit St. Petersburg soundly beat Spartak Moscow 5-1 last weekend, I did some research to look for other teams who managed to beat the reigning Soviet or Russian champions with three goals or more. Turns out, it was Zenit's third such win after 1958 (Dinamo Moscow) and 1971 (CSKA Moscow) and the 36th "champion-thrashing" overall. Spartak Moscow are now clean first on the overall list, having suffered through eight crushing defeats; they overtook Dinamo Moscow, who have seven such defeats, … [Read more...]

“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...]