Interest in both the Russian and Ukrainian Premier Leagues is growing and growing. The Russian top flight is becoming one of the richest in Europe, and attracts some top class players; Ukraine does not lag far behind in the financial stakes, and the successes of Shakhtar Donetsk and the Euro 2012 tournament have brought the country’s league more attention abroad.
Current big stories about Russian/Ukrainian football are:
The dramatic change of direction at Anzhi Makhachkala, with the club’s owner pulling out large amounts of funding.
The decline of Dynamo Kyiv, now in danger of becoming only Ukraine’s third or fourth best side.
Controversial plans for a joint Russian/Ukrainian ‘super league’, which has divided opinions in both countries.
The progress of both countries’ national sides as they remain in contention to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
If you want to keep on top of all this and more, then start following these Tweeters (in no particular order):
@johnnyvirtuoso – a recent arrival to Twitter, and fan of Russian second tier side Arsenal Tula. Knows both Russian and Ukrainian leagues well.
@firatyal – Turkish expat living in Russia. Has a keen eye for individual player performances, and Premier League sides outside Moscow; Tweets about Turkish league as well.
@donetskway2012 – author of WordPress blog ‘The Viktor Leonenko Hall of Fame’. Plenty of Tweets about Ukrainian Premier League to keep you abreast of what’s going on during weekend fixtures.
@homosoveticus – PhD student in London, researching economics and politics of Soviet and post-Soviet football. Has a good overview of most Post-Soviet leagues. Works on both futbolgrad.com and russianfootballnews.com websites.
@premyer_liha – regular Tweets about news and in-match events of Ukrainian Premier League fixtures. Has good background knowledge of Ukrainian top flight sides.
@rusfootballnews – comprehensive news service, mostly but not solely focused on Russian Premier League. A lot of interesting articles on the companion website: russianfootballnews.com
@sereda_alex – Tweets about the Ukrainian Premier League. Great knowledge of players, as well as keen sense of irony. Blogs in English at http://www.ukrainianfootball1894.com/
@robdillonmta – author of ‘More Than Arshavin’ blog on Russian football; generally covers unusual and interesting angles
@footrussialive – plenty of in-game updates. Essential to follow if you find yourself having to go shopping with the family on a Saturday afternoon…
@jbcommentator – tells people the names of footballers they already know. Among others, commentates on Russian Premier League. Has an in-depth knowledge of Russian top flight players and teams (obviously, given his job…)
@dommnorris – writes about Russian Premier League for sfunion.net. Clearly up-to-speed with latest top flight developments and provides some interesting insights into this. Apparently likes a night out.
@jellingworth – RIA Novosti sports’ correspondent based in Moscow. Particularly strong on transfer stories and the link between politics/social issues and football. Once made Maria Sharapova blush, which is more than most of us gentlemen can say.
@david_novak1: Head of RIA Novosti’s English sports’ wire. Offers a particularly good insight in-match. Once had a Twitter argument with me about Hulk and Christmas, but luckily we sorted things out.
@arturpetrosyan: Editor in Chief of sport-express.ru. As well as Russian Premier League, Tweets about English top flight and has a very good knowledge of Armenian football and players. BBC website uses his Tweets.
@jamesappell: refers to himself as ‘Sportswriter, Russophile, Northerner.’ Moscow based, knows his stuff about Russian Premier League’s teams and players – recently wrote a good piece on Anzhi’s woes for BBC website. Seems to like a bit of irony, and good cup of English tea.
Let me know if there’s any one else I’ve missed…
Saul Pope is a Contributor to ‘When Saturday Comes’ magazine, and Tweets about Russian and Ukrainian football @saulpope. He is also the author of ‘New Holland’