Russia is often overlooked as a hotbed of football, but with a blossoming domestic league and World Cup hosting duties just seven years away, now seems like a good time to bring a resource for all things Eastern European. In the Blog makes its long overdue return and features Dominic Norris, the man behind the superbly interesting and informative Football-Globe.net.
Hi Domm, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We like the idea of a site focusing on Eastern European football as it’s often underrated in terms of quality in our humble opinion. Where does your interest in that area stem from?
My interest in Eastern European football – and especially Russia – stemmed from seeing CSKA Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg winning the UEFA Cup in 2005 and 2008. It showed that the region is capable of competing with the more widely recognised forces of European football. However the history of the region’s football is what I find hugely interesting – especially in regards to the Soviet Union and consequently its collapse. The development of the Soviet Top League from its inception in 1936 to its end in 1991 is a path that witnessed so many incredible twists, feats and occasions that Eastern Europe has not witnessed since. The politicisation of Soviet football is also something that truly fascinates me – from the influence of Joseph Stalin to the desperation of the Union’s demise – there is so much to learn and so little time.
Have you any allegiances to a particular club or country?
I support Spartak Moscow – who you could probably compare to Liverpool in the fact that they remain a massive club in spite of the fact that success has not been seen for some time… Why am I a Spartak fan? Well it initially stemmed from learning about the formation of the club. It was essentially created by the three Starostin brothers – spear headed by Russian footballing icon Nikolai. At a time when the likes of Dynamo and CSKA were funded and controlled by government organisations – such as the army and secret militia – Spartak was created to be free of the shackles of such political influence. They were seen as ‘the people’s club’ and they brought an attacking brand of football to Russia that few had seen from Moscow’s biggest clubs.
To those not familiar with football in the region, your articles would come across as quite obscure. How easy or difficult is it to source information in comparison to the more ‘mainstream’ leagues?
Websites such as Sport Express, Football.ua and Sovsport are great for up to date news about what is going on in the world of Russian and Eastern European football – without them it’d be hard to keep up! For more historical pieces then it becomes a little more difficult but it’s important to not give up on finding priceless information. I recently wrote something about Gyula Limbeck (Link) who – during the mid 1930’s – was one of the first foreign coaches in Russian football. Finding information about him was tricky as there only seemed to be tiny snippets of his life online. Sourcing for material takes time but it’s always worth it.
You’re quite a frequent tweeter, posting quick snippets of interesting news from Eastern Europe. How important is that form of media to you in terms of interacting with people who hold similar interests?
It’s hugely important. There has never been a platform whereby journalists, bloggers and football fans can all communicate with each other so effectively. I feel that Twitter has meant that football writers are held accountable for the articles they produce as anyone can openly criticise or praise the work of others.
Twitter is also brilliant for finding new interesting writers and websites. Without it then I probably would not enjoy the likes of Mark Gilbey, Artur Petrosyan and Michał Zachodny – all of whom I avidly follow. You are not only able to find people who follow similar areas of football to you but also those who track football in places you would never otherwise read about. Twitter is a great tool for expanding your knowledge.
We’ve spotted some of your stuff on inbedwithmaradona.com and with Russia set to host the 2018 World Cup, can we expect to see you moonlighting elsewhere (*cough* BackPageFootball.com *cough*)?
Haha! Just say the word!
In Bed With Maradona has been a great website for me as it’s given me access to a huge readership which would have otherwise been impossible for me to find. I think it’s one of the best football sites around and Jeff deserves every accolade that comes his way!
I have a couple of projects in the works that I hope will come to fruition both online and in physical print and I’ll let you know when they go live!
Finally, you’ve got a nice minimalist site design and superb content. What does the future hold for such an excellent combination?
Thanks a lot. I’m just planning on continuing along the same path in regards to my blog – providing good content is always going to be my priority. Maybe I’ll try and get some guest contributors on board but as it stands I feel as though I need to become a slightly fatter fish before asking for the work of others!
But I’ll finish with the words of every footballer on the planet ‘the future? Only God knows…’
Cheers Domm, we’ll most certainly be saying the word!
If you aren’t already, make sure you follow Domm on Twitter.
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