The roots of Russian football racism – Part Two

February 2, 2016

“Slurping – the sound that suck calves make when you’re weaning them, or pigs at the trough, or Russians drinking hot tea. It isn’t racism from me, they don’t want to let the tea cool, or be ‘civilized’ and add milk. I was on a platzkart train from Voronezh to Moscow and my neighbours were all having breakfast and slurping tea. I’d fallen asleep just before midnight cheesed off. In the four bunk kupe next to mine a group of relatively well-heeled men and women in their mid-20’s were drinking tea and talking politics. They were liberal and very anti-Putin. Any other time I’d have an interest in their conversation, though when they kept commenting about a family from Tajikistan in the next kupe, I spoke out.” backpagefootball

Bust and boom, Russian football style

January 25, 2016

“This morning I grabbed a coffee with a friend who works with a national championship club here in Russia. In the luxurious surrounds of the McCafe near Kievskaya Station we discussed the impending doom in his club. We’d soldiered together in 2010/11 and, then, at just 25, he was ready for greater things. I recommended him to a position with a Moscow-based club and after only four months he was brought away to a National Championship club to work his magic there. As we drank our cappuccinos he began to tell about a coming bust.” backpagefootball

Around Europe: Mourinho looms over Man United; Argentine attackers star

January 25, 2016

“As the transfer window gets set to shut and teams in Europe’s top leagues take stock of where they stand, significant developments continued to unfold around the continent. Arsenal, down to 10 men, lost ground in the title race after a London derby defeat, while Manchester United also slipped again at home in the Premier League. Real Madrid dropped its first points under Zinedine Zidane, while Pep Guardiola is facing another injury-induced challenge at Bayern Munich. Two Argentine strikers are fighting it out for top honors in Italy, while in France, the title race is over already. Here is what caught our eye Around Europe this week.” SI

World Cup 2018 – peace at last

January 17, 2016

“Amid the dying embers of 2015 there was a spark which spoke volumes about the nature of football and politics, which are always one and the same. And it all revolved around the fallout from the bids for World Cup 2018. In Russia, as we know, all football clubs are political vehicles. They are backed by local cities/regions, or by politicians/businessmen, bar one exception.” backpagefootball

Unhappy New Year in Russia

January 4, 2016

“While working on a year end review with all the fun of the fair and recovering from a series of dentist appointments, a brilliant article flashed across my LinkedIn page that sent me into uproar. It nudged to restart an article from October which I felt was going to sound too unreal. Thanks to our apparatchiks here in Russia, I needn’t have worried, the unreal just got real again.” backpagefootball

Back Page Football’s five most read articles of 2015

January 4, 2016

“It’s been another big year for Back Page Football as we published almost 1000 articles that covered news, views and opinion from all across the globe. As we head into 2016, there’s no better time to look back at the 12 months that was, and below are the features that grabbed the attention of our readers the most.” backpagefootball

Euro 2016 lacks a clear favourite as France, Germany, Spain all flawed

December 17, 2015

“Euro 2016 will be the first-ever European Championships comprised of 24 teams, a format that opens up the tournament to the continent’s minnows. Yet assessing the runners and riders ahead of Saturday’s draw, it feels like one of the most closed European championships in a long time. There are three clear favourites who each have something obvious to shout about: France are the hosts, Spain the holders and Germany the world champions. Other than this trio, it’s incredibly difficult to make a case for anyone else triumphing.” ESPN – Michael Cox


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