Jim McGough founded Ajax USA, a prominent unofficial supporters club of AFC Ajax Amsterdam, which he operated from 1996 to 2007. Over the past two decades, he has conducted extensive research on the life of Eddy Hamel, the first American, and first Jewish player of AFC Ajax Amsterdam, for a book in progress. He was interviewed in 2019 by Sports Illustrated for an article about Hamel: Remember the Ringleader. He lives in California.
Jordan Florit is a freelance writer currently writing ‘Red Wine and Arepas: How Football is Becoming Venezuela’s Religion.’ The book uses football as the lens through which areas of Venezuela’s culture, society, and politics are explored. Jordan’s work has been featured on These Football Times, Pundit Feed, The Terrace, and more.
From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. The Starostin brothers and Spartak Moscow achieve unprecedented success on the pitch. They earn recognition from the public as well as the State for their accomplishments, receiving the highest honors in front of Joseph Stalin himself. As one Lavrentyi Beria ascends to the top of the NKVD and rivals Dynamo, off the pitch they will face their darkest days yet when the iron fist of the Secret Police comes swinging at full force against them.
In this episode, we talk to the guys at Saltair FC, Andy Munoz and Josh Clark about the history of this very “real” and legendary club from Salt Lake City, Utah. I know, it sounds weird, but it was a grand ol’ silly time and hopefully fun for you listening as well.
Make sure to check them out on Twitter and Instagram, their handle is @Saltairfc, they just released a dope jersey that only the cool kids will have. You can get yours and find out more on saltairfc.com.
Part 4 begins in the year of 1934. The Soviet Union opens its borders for diplomatic reasons which in turn exposes their football to the outside world. The Starostins will encounter new ideas, opponents and different styles of play, helping them push the evolution of the Soviet game.
Nikolai will lead the creation of a new club, Spartak Moscow, and will challenge Dynamo Moscow’s growing supremacy on and off the the pitch. As great as their achievements are, it will begin to bother some folks, enemies will rise and with that, an ever present danger surfacing in the background.
In part 3 of the series, we pick things up in 1926. We see Krasnaya Presnia achieve a new levels of success and popularity. The Party’s constant changes in its fight against Capitalism will steadily create more problems, but thanks to the work of Nikolai Starostin and company, the club and players will keep uncovering new ways to grow, ultimately finding themselves on the verge of something big.
Part 2 of the series spans from 1918 to 1925 and in that time frame, we see the Starostins deal with life in the post revolutionary landscape of the Soviet Union. Consequently, they will go from tragedy to the promise of a bright future ahead and along the way, there will be lessons to be learned, examples to be followed and cautionary tales.
There’s no other story in world football like that of the Starostin brothers’. Born in a family of hunters from a peasant background in the Russian Empire, they fell in love with the beautiful game, grew up in the revolutionary Presnya district in the middle of the Bolshevik Revolution. Led by their eldest brother, Nikolai, they created Russia’s most popular football club, Spartak Moscow, and became champions. Then suddenly, from night to day, they would go from sporting heroes to enemies of the state and thrown to the wolves in the Gulag.
After 10 long and horrible years of suffering, they come back to cement their position as some of the most important figures in all of Russian football history.
To better understand how everything happened, we take a look at all the moving pieces and watch them fall into place to get a complete picture of this beautiful story of determination, success, glory, injustice, tragedy and survival. It’s nothing short of incredible.
This decorated WWI veteran turned French international footballer is the subject of our first episode. We dive into this forgotten man’s journey through the early days of French football, his rise to fame and how it all came to an end in tragic fashion.