Five Stars With a Past in Russian Football

Since the formation of the Russian Football Premier League in 1992, a long range of quality players have amazed fans around the country. However, with so many players coming through the ranks, some more memorable than others, others more profitable for bookmakers, it is easy to forget a couple, especially for people who don't follow the league closely. Therefore, we have dived into the history books to find five superstars you might not know played in Russia at some point in their … [Read more...]

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...]

The Evolution of the 5 Man Defence in Russian Football

One of the most common opinions about the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) – rightly or wrongly – is that the style of football and tactical approach applied to the games is somewhat straggling behind the rest of Europe. Common observations from pundits and football fans alike include that the RFPL is one dimensional, the football in Russia is slow, the football is old fashioned and the players are thugs. Many of these opinions will be drawn from the showing of Russian clubs in European … [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...]

Anatoli Ilyin – The Golden Striker

On Thursday, February 11, the 84-year-old Anatoli Ilyin left our world. Perhaps you have never heard about him, but he was a football icon in the Soviet Union and especially at Spartak during the 1950’s. The Red-Whites owes much of their reputation Ilyin, who scored many important goals during his career. In 1956 for example, he scored the winning goal in the final of the Olympic Games in Melbourne against the rival Yugoslavia, a goal that earned him the title Master of Sport of the USSR. In … [Read more...]

History of Zenit St. Petersburg kits throughout the years

Back in December, Russian Football News posted an article about a free exhibition taking place in St. Petersburg documenting how Zenit kits have changed throughout the year. Unfortunately the exhibition is now closed. However, Thomas Giles managed to go along to the exhibition over the New Year holidays and has uploaded the free booklet handed out at the exhibition which explains the history behind each kit. Enjoy. Russian Football News acknowledges that this booklet is not their … [Read more...]

‘Strelec’ in the GULAG: Eduard Streltsov’s Incarceration and Survival in the Vyatlag Archipelago

Curse of the Råsunda Råsunda Stadium in Stockholm – for many Russian football fans a name synonymous with mythic tales of what might have been for the national sport, and their star player, Eduard Anatoliyevich Streltsov the “Russian Pelé”. Like so many other would-be football superstars he was tragically robbed of his career and could even be recalled as the “Russian Duncan Edwards”. The 1958 World Cup was the watershed moment in Brazilian Pelé’s career, on 29 June the then … [Read more...]

Dinamo  – The footballing embodiment of Leningrad and St. Petersburg

Nobody would deny that current Russian Premier League champions Zenit St. Petersburg hold the football monopoly in Russia's second city but this has not the always been the case. However, before Zenit's first title win in 1984 under Pavel Sadyrin, Dinamo Leningrad, as they were then, were the most supported club in the city. Their story is a fascinating one that embodies the history of the great city they represent. St. Petersburg, the capital of the former Russian Empire, is the … [Read more...]

Pinochet’s Coup d’État and How the Soviet Union Missed the 1974 World Cup

Despite winning the first edition of the European Championships in 1960, the Soviet Union’s national football team never did well on the biggest stage during the 1960s. The side took part in the World Cup for the first time in 1958, where they reached the quarterfinal, and between the debut and the tournament in Mexico in 1970 the Soviet qualified all four times, but the best result was a fourth place in 1966. In the semifinal, the Soviet side lost 2-1 to West Germany, a score that was repeated … [Read more...]

The Siege Game: Football In the City of the Dead

31 May 1942. At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the artillery and gunfire stopped for a moment to hear a blow of a referee’s whistle in Dinamo Stadium. Despite the brutal devastation wrought upon the populace by German forces, a football match between Dinamo Leningrad and Nevsky Zavod took place. It was not just merely a leisure activity for the besieged citizens to enjoy but a defiant signal of resistance, that Leningrad would not surrender. Siege Mentality German forces surrounded … [Read more...]