Stadium Boom Begins in Russia

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False Nine Russian correspondent, Andy Shenk, looks at the problems facing Russian clubs in their efforts to persuade fans to come to games ahead of major improvements being made to stadiums all over the country, with one eye on the 2018 World Cup Russia hosts…

Russia is on the cusp of a football stadium boom. The new venues are sorely needed: 12 of the country’s 16 Premier League teams play in Soviet-era arenas with minimal comfort, poor lighting, and inadequate drainage on the pitch.

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The Caucasus Question in Russian Football

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Sometimes football rivalry can go further than just fans’s distaste for other clubs and their traditions. False Nine Russian correspondent, Andy Shenk, looks at the Caucasus region in Russia and how the area’s recent success in football has exacerbated further tensions between ethnic Russians and their mountainous compatriots…

For many in the United States, Russia brings to mind only cold Siberian steppes and grey old women in frumpy grey overcoats. The stereotype is as propaganda-driven as Russia’s perception of America as one big dissolute reality TV show. Continue reading

The Mystery of Andrei Arshavin

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False Nine editor Hugo Greenhalgh reflects on the Russian star’s troubled career at Arsenal… 

An interesting bit of trivia emerged just before Arsenal’s Capital One Cup Quarter Final away at Bradford. If a certain player had travelled to Yorkshire that night, he would be returning to the site of his professional debut. Continue reading

2012-13 Russian Premier League Halfway Point Review: Race for the Title

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False Nine editor, Andrew Belt, assesses the front-runners of the Russian Premier League in the first of three 2012-13 review pieces of the campaign so far as the teams ease into the winter break…

Two weekends ago, the Russian Premier League broke up for the safety of warmth during winter as harsh weather comes to the country. Continue reading

The Ballon d’Or 2012 – The False Nine’s Verdict

This week Fifa released the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or 2012. The False Nine team share their thoughts on some interesting nominations and omissions…

The Manager’s Shortlist: The Ones Who Got Away

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Liverpool vs Anzhi Preview: Russia’s Black Swan Comes to Anfield

False Nine editor, Andrew Belt charts the rapid progression of Anzhi Makhachkala ahead of their away trip to Liverpool in the Europa League. The third and final part of a trilogy previewing the game, comparisons are made between the evolution of the club and the growth of a rare type of swan…

Misanthropic TV critic, Charlie Brooker, blew the whistle on a particularly vulgar American TV programme on his Screenwipe review several years ago. Called The Swan, supposed ‘ugly ducklings’ were transformed into ‘beautiful swans’ via painful plastic surgery. Continue reading

Liverpool vs Anzhi Preview: Samuel Eto’o

False Nine co-editor James Dutton provides the second part of a trilogy previewing Anzhi Makhachkala’s trip to Anfield this week. The subject, the highest paid player in world football…

Samuel Eto’o is enjoying a prolific twilight to his glittering career in the Russian Premier League

Think of Anzhi Makhachkala and the first thing that comes to mind will probably be Samuel Eto’o; the Russian club’s marquee signing during the 2011 summer transfer window has become the poster-boy for one of the most ambitious clubs in European football. In return the iconic Cameroon striker has become the highest paid player in world football, earning a reported £350,000 per week – equating to roughly £16 million over a year. Continue reading