The tram jerked round the corner and the colossal Olympic Stadium burst into view – a facility purposefully developed for the 2012 UEFA European Championship that The Economist estimated had cost the Ukrainian taxpayer an astonishing $13 billion. We hopped off the Soviet era tram just as a faint blast tapped our ear drums. Shrugging it off, we walked towards the front gates as another faint explosion rippled the air around us. More unusual was the comprehensive security force flanking the entrances – half the national guard seemed to have descended onto the Ukrainian National Stadium for a routine league Football match on a Sunday evening.
FC Start and the Ukrainian Death Match
In an effort to legitimise their rule, the National Socialists decided to relax restrictions of certain cultural activities in the territories they occupied in 1942. In Paris, this meant permitting a return to the café culture – a hallmark of Parisian society. And on the Eastern Front, the Nazis decided to organise a summer Football league in Kiev.
During and after Operation Barbarossa, the Kievans Continue reading
The Kozakken Boys
It isn’t often the FBTG boys wake up on a Saturday morning in the Netherlands. But when we do, we are seldom in a state to drive.
On our first Football-culture trip to the Netherlands, stadium tours in Alkmaar and Amsterdam were pleasant, but ultimately outdone by a rain-soaked yet brilliant Friday evening contest between SC Telstar and FC Twente and the Rabobank IJmond Stadion in IJmuiden. Mercifully Continue reading
Akhmetov’s Own Goal
Current Ukrainian Premier League champions and former Europa League victors FC Shakhtar Donetsk is one of Ukraine’s leading Football clubs. The vivid black and orange colours that adorn their kits are perhaps appropriately symbolic of the dark and fiery political struggle that threatens the future of those living in the Eastern Donbas region that the club calls home, and possibly even the club itself.
Two oblasts comprise what is known as “The Donbas”; Luhansk and Donestk, names that Continue reading
The Dynamo Legacy
Many Football club names across Eurasia feature the moniker “Dynamo” or an alternative spelling thereof. These clubs share characteristics. Normally located in the respective country’s capital, their logos feature a common attractive “D” design and are usually among the most successful in each respective national league. SG Dynamo Dresden and BFC Dynamo of Germany are both exceptions, but we will return to them later.
These common characteristics are not accidental Continue reading
Ultras Aufkleber of the Week – Dynamo Kiev
Ukraine’s biggest and baddest. Read up on our visit to see Dynamo Kiev play here.
One Night in Kiev
My guide picked me up at the station and found the bus line needed. It’s one of those adorable post-communist buses with peeling paint and a conductor sat in a high-viz issuing tickets. As we approach Kiev’s Olympic Stadium, quite a sight to see, the vast amount of police becomes apparent.
“Can you ask what’s going on?”.
My guide walks up to a guy in knock-off sportswear and they talk.
“Okay so there is a Football game right now inside that Continue reading