What Have We Learned From the First Third of the RFPL Season?

The first third of the Russian Football Premier League season has been predictably unpredictable. Spartak Moscow, the reigning champions of the league, sit in a disappointing 8th place. Massimo Carrera’s men have struggled to hold leads and pick up points against lesser sides, and this wastefulness has showed in their league standing. Meanwhile in Kazan, Kuban Berdyev has not yet been able to work his magic like he did in Rostov, with Rubin’s defense looking surprisingly porous at times. … [Read more...]

Everything you need to know about: FC Spartak Moscow

After a decade and a half of obscurity, Spartak Moscow is finally back to the big time, back into the Champions League and winning trophies. However, the honeymoon was short-lived as "good old Spartak" thus far in 2017/18 have returned to their now all too welcoming mediocrity. Hopefully, as in the grand days of Oleg Romantsev and Konstantin Beskov's reigns, Spartak have the potential to thrive in Europe. History Spartak has its foundations in the Russian Gymnastics Society (RGO Sokol), which … [Read more...]

What To Expect From the Russian Clubs in the European Group Stages

With the Champions League and Europa League group stages about to begin, it is time to take a closer look at the Russian teams competing in Europe. Over the years, the Russian coefficient has risen steadily, and in August 2016, Russia overtook Portugal in the UEFA rankings for club competitions, making it the sixth strongest league in Europe, which means Russia will have three teams in the Champions League next season, instead of only two. This season Russia have four teams competing in the … [Read more...]

RFPL 2017/2018 – Who Has the Best Kit?

SKA-Khabarovsk Premier Liga newcomers, like some other teams, decided not to bother and use last year's kits. They probably figured that nobody saw it last season anyway, as the coverage of the FNL is almost criminally low. The kit itself is nothing special, but there is nothing to criticize either. I personally like their massive badge, which looks appropriate on this empty T-shirt. FC Tosno The club from the Leningrad Oblast, founded in 2013, still hasn't built its own identity. … [Read more...]

Spartak Moscow – Lokomotiv Moscow Super Cup Preview

As usual, the Russian football season kicks off with the annual Super Cup game between the league champions and the cup winners. This season the game is between local rivals Spartak Moscow and Lokomotiv Moscow, and it is set to be a hotly contested affair, while the intensity of the match on the pitch should be matched by the intensity in the stands. The newly renovated Lokomotiv Stadium is the venue for the match, and all officials involved are expecting a sellout crowd of around 27,000, which … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Spartak Moscow

Since the elation of last season’s championship win, Massimo Carrera has understandably kept a steady ship during the 2017/18 off-season, overseeing merely two incomings and sanctioning only two senior departures, at the time of writing. The club’s first Russian title in sixteen years may have been a long and agonising drought, but was worth the wait for the fans of the Red-Whites, with the victory Spartak’s 10th Russian championship victory, extending the club’s record as the most successful … [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...]

Massimo Carrera – Russia’s New Champion

It is often said that it is always darkest before the dawn.  That has certainly been the case this season for Spartak Moscow. When the club was eliminated in the Third Qualifying Round of the Europa League after losing 1-0 at home to Cypriot minors AEK Larnaca on 4th August, it seemed that the Red-Whites were in for yet another chaotic and underwhelming season. This opinion was only strengthened when the owner Leonid Fedun promptly sacked head coach and club legend Dmitry Alenichev after the … [Read more...]

Reactions to Spartak’s First Championship in 16 Years

Spartak Moscow have won the Premier League for the first time in 16 years. On Saturday, a Quincy Promes goal secured a 1-0 win over Tom Tomsk, who were subsequently relegated, and the next day Zenit St. Petersburg fell to a shock 1-0 home defeat to Terek Grozny. The results mean that Massimo Carrera’s men are ten points clear of second-placed CSKA Moscow with just three games left. The Italian, who only took charge of Myaso in August, became the first foreign manager in Spartak’s … [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...]