The Retirement of St. Petersburg’s Prodigal Son, Aleksandr Kerzhakov

Nothing warms the hearts of football fans like seeing a local lad ‘come good’ for his boyhood club. Steven Gerrard in the Liverpool red. Fransesco Totti turning out in Roma’s claret and gold. In an increasingly disloyal game these flashes of tribal faith resonate. They offer glimmers of hope in a sport too often darkened by cynicism. Beyond the obvious visual appeal of homegrown talent flying the hometown flag is something deeper and more valuable. But to journey to the heart of this phenomenon … [Read more...]

Russian Club Owners: David Traktovenko (Sydney FC) – Developing Football Down Under

Born in 1956 in Leningrad, there was little doubt that David Traktovenko would grow up a fan of local side Zenit.  While he was also a keen follower of both basketball and ice hockey, football was his main love as he explained in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald in 2011, “All the kids were playing football, I played in the backyard. I never played professionally, but I played at school, at university, with my friends. I was a midfielder. At 10 years of age, my dad took me to the … [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...]