Europa League Preview: Real Sociedad – Zenit St. Petersburg

Real Sociedad v Zenit St. Petersburg - Thursday, 7 December 20:05 GMT - Estadio de Anoeta, San Sebastián. Zenit St. Petersburg have already qualified for the Europa League knockout stages, joining both Spartak and CSKA in the next round. However, they now must travel to Spain in a direct shootout with Real Sociedad for first place. This is the most straight-forward of all games involving Russian sides in terms of permutations; Zenit simply must not lose in order to be seeded for the knockout … [Read more...]

Revolutionary Origins in Pre-Revolutionary Russia: the development of football in the Tsarist Empire

24 October 2017 marks the 120th anniversary of the first ever official football match played in Russia, a game between the Saint Petersburg Circle of Sports Lovers (SPb KLS) and the Vasileostrovsky Football Society. It was played out on parade ground of the First Military Academy, on the grounds of the Peter and Paul Fortress. This match is commonly regarded as the birth of Russian football. Although the first organised national division wasn’t formed until 1923, and the Soviet National team did … [Read more...]

Everything you Need To Know About: Zenit St Petersburg

After a relatively fallow few years in the transfer market, Zenit are back in business just in time to christen their spectacular new home at the Krestovsky Arena. Five Argentinians and five Rostov players have joined over the summer under new boss Roberto Mancini as a total of 27 players passed through the revolving doors in St Petersburg, and after an unbeaten domestic record so far there are very few who will bet against them winning silverware next summer. They may have made heavy work of … [Read more...]

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...]

RFN Confederations Cup Predictions League

Cristiano Ronaldo, Alexis Sánchez and Ruslan Kambolov are all set to rub shoulders this week as the cream of world football roll into town to fight for the FIFA Confederations Cup. What a cracker to kickstart the tournament as well; New Zealand, fresh from a friendly win over Irish second division club side Cabinteely, open up proceedings against the hosts in the Krestovsky Stadium (sorry, “St Petersburg Stadium”...) on a relaid surface that only arrived a matter of days ago. Denis … [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...]

Vibrating pitch and corruption allegations? A normal day at the office on Krestovsky Island

The uncompleted Zenit Arena in St. Petersburg has once again hit a familiar roadblock in both construction and corruption. The old Kirov Stadium on Krestovsky Island was demolished the best part of a decade ago and the forecasts were that the new stadium, based on the old site, would be opened by 2009. However, thanks to numerous delays ranging from design flaws to monetary issues, we may now not see the stadium be ready in time for the fast-approaching 2017 Confederations Cup. Despite … [Read more...]

Russian Super Cup 2016 – Photo Reportage

    RFN reportage of the 2016 Russian Super Cup from Lokomotiv Stadium Zenit St. Petersburg kickstarted their 2016/17 campaign with a 1-0 victory over  rivals CSKA Moscow to retain the Russian Super Cup at Moscow’s Lokomotiv stadium on Saturday. Midfielder Mauricio got the only goal of the game for Zenit in the 22nd minute. The Brazilian stabbed home Artur Yusupov’s cross at the far post to give the Sine-Belo-Golubye their fourth Super Cup and set up the summer … [Read more...]

Zenit – Spartak: The Capital Calling

There are few cities more contradictory than St. Petersburg. Its uncanny likeness to a major European town – a product of the travels of its founder Peter I to the cities of Manchester and Leipzig to study their structures – seems to almost mock its status as the site of the Bolshevik October Revolution, the event that sheathed a Communist curtain between Russia and the west. Nevertheless St. Petersburg’s markedly severe 313-year history seems to seep through its glorious architecture and … [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...]