Poise, Persistence, Perfection – An Ode to Anatoliy Tymoshchuk

Football is filled with contentious personalities. Hard-man defenders, stroppy strikers and mercurial midfielders are as common within the game as corner flags and crossbars. It’s rare that a day passes within the sport without one or more of the participants creating controversy for the press and problems for their management. Which is why we are allowed to shed more than a few tears when a true gentleman of the sport hangs up his boots. These few good men keep our faith in the game alive. … [Read more...]

Keisuke Honda – The Emperor Who Lost his Way

Ever since Japan participated in their first World Cup in 1998, the Land of the Rising Sun has produced a number of excellent footballers. One of them, Keisuke Honda, made a name for himself in Russia, developing from a promising, yet unknown talent, into a world class player, able to fight with the big boys. However, as brilliant he was on the pitch, equally challenging he was off the pitch, where a cynical approach to business and an impeccable belief in own abilities made him leave the club … [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...]

The Night CSKA Moscow put Barcelona and Pep Guardiola in Camp Nou

CSKA Moscow is not a club you would associate with fairytales. Soviet Top League and Russian Premier League champions a combined 13 times, the early 2000s saw CSKA emerge as a dominant force in Russian football, capped off by success in the 2005 UEFA Cup – but it wasn’t always like this. Prior to the significant investment of Evgeniy Giner and Roman Abramovich-owned firms like Sibneft and Aeroflot, CSKA Moscow was an altogether different club. READ MORE: Russian Club Owners: Evgeniy … [Read more...]

Spartak-CSKA Preview: The Return of the Myaso-Koni Derby

Myaso (Meat), and Koni (Horses) are two historic, vitriolic aphorisms cast by both sides of the East Moscow divide. Spartak fans refer to themselves as myaso in a satirical throwback to their origins as food industry workers, while koni refers to the location of CSKA’s original ground built upon a hippodrome. Arguably the most voracious and competitive of the Moscow derbies is finally upon us, six months after their last meeting at the Arena Khimki in March, where CSKA ran out 1-0 winners thanks … [Read more...]

The Loskov Legacy and His Return to Lokomotiv

"He's an outstanding person. He's a club legend. He never put himself above others. Even with the younger players he talked on a par, giving them advice. He's probably the best player ever of not only Lokomotiv, but of all Russian football". This is how current former Lokomotiv Moscow defender Taras Burlak, currently with Rubin Kazan, described Dmitriy Loskov in 2015. More than four years have passed since Loskov wore Lokomotiv's kit for the last time, but now the Kurgan-born midfielder is … [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...]

Luch-Energiya Vladivostok – The Eastern Outpost of Russian Football

After writing about Baltika Kalingrad, who are situated in the far western reaches of Russia in my previous piece, I felt it was only fair to travel 10,000 kilometres to the far eastern corner of the Russian Federation to balance this. There we find the city of Vladivostok, also known as Russia's Gateway to the East. READ MORE: Baltika Kaliningrad - The Western Outpost of Russian Football Vladivostok is the capital and administrative centre of Primorski Krai. The city is situated on the … [Read more...]

The Russian Mafia in World Football

Last season, RFN reported about the alleged involvement of Russian gangsters money laundering through a Portuguese second division side. Quite rightly, the European football establishment was appalled. However, this is not the first and certainly not the most high profile involvement of Russian bad guys in European football. In his new book; Thief In Law, a guide to Russian prison tattoos and Russian-speaking organised crime gangs, Mark Bullen gives us a rundown of how the Russian Federation … [Read more...]

The Last Time They Met: Slovakia – Russia (2011)

Russia will look to build on Vasily Berezutski’s last-gasp equaliser against England when they face Slovakia in Lille. Slovakia, following their opening game loss to Wales, need to win but it does not bode well for them – if recent head-to-head records are anything to go by. The two teams last played on 26th May 2014, before the World Cup in Brazil, in St Petersburg and Russia won the friendly 1-0. Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored the only goal of the game in the 82nd minute to give victory to … [Read more...]