With FM22 beta now officially launched, I am getting more and more excited to get this journey across Russia started. However, in the meantime, it is about time to announce the 11 clubs that I will be looking to manage here.
FC Dynamo Vladivostok
A recently recreated club in 2021 following the cancellation of all professional sports in the Primorsky Krai region in the battle against COVID-19. Originally founded at the end of the Second World War, the club has spent most of its history in the Amateur Football league, is it time for me to take them to new heights?
A jump in league quality as I arrive in Khabarovsk as SKA sit in the Football National League as an established side. Their first appearance in the top flight in 2017/18 ended with relegation back to the 2nd tier, but still have no domestic honours to their name as they only achieved promotion through a penalty shoot-out in their playoff against FC Orenburg.
A difficult job so early into my journey, but one I will certainly look to thrive on as much as I can. Perhaps I can look to keep SKA in the top-flight longer than their previous stay?
Back down a level from SKA as I return to the Professional Football League by the time I arrive in Chita. Formed in the 80s following the reorganization of FC Lokomotiv Chita, the club was actually excluded from the Professional Football League in 2006 following juridical irregularities, and after looking as though they may have found a way back in through the RFU not endorsing the exclusion originally, they went back on their original stance just 5 days before the new season started. FC Chita was then born from this decision and was admitted into the Russian Second Division.
Achieving promotion once, Chita was immediately relegated and steadied themselves once again. In 2016/17 Chita won their zone in the Professional Football League, but elected not to go through with the promotion due to financing; meaning this could be a very tricky club to manage by the time I arrive.
A club that was recently formed by the Novosibirsk Oblast government in 2019 to replace FC Sibir Novosibirsk, following their decision to not apply for a professional licence. With games being played at the Spartak Stadium, it is the most easterly venue to have hosted a UEFA club competition match, where the old team defeated PSV Eindhoven 1-0 in 2010.
Playing their football in the Professional Football League, it will sure be interesting to try and take on of the new boys in Russia on a journey to the top of the league pyramid as I start my ascent to Moscow.
FC Ural Yekaterinburg
Along with arriving in Yekaterinburg, I should also be arriving in the Russian Premier League. A team that has been on the edge of relegation over the last few years, but runners up twice in the Russian Cup are some of the more successful stories to come out of Yekaterinburg.
Another club that is government-owned, and playing out of one of the more unique World Cup stadiums we have seen in our time; there is a big task here to try and get FC Ural Yekaterinburg away from the relegation zone, and provide a platform for them to go on and build from.
FC Rubin Kazan
The Red-Greens are most likely going to be the biggest team I will manage during my journey in Russia, and one I am looking forward to getting the keys to. It’s been nearly a decade since Kazan saw success in the cup, and over a decade since the league title was brought back. A return to European football is also on the cards this season, following the expiration of their ban from UEFA for FFP, the first time since 2015/16.
A team that has been ever-present in the top flight since 2003, and saw the majority of their high finishes during the remainder of that decade. They have certainly slipped down the standards over the years, but it will still be good to ruffle some big boy feathers with Rubin Kazan.
FC Nizhny Novgorod
One of the newer clubs in Russia forming in 2015, FC Nizhny Novgorod make their debut in the top flight in 2021/22 following FC Orenburg’s failure in obtaining a Premier League licence. 2 years in the 3rd flight of Russian football, winning the league at the second time of asking, was then followed with 4 years in the 2nd flight, with mixed results.
By the time I hit the Moscow outskirts, I anticipate a challenge to get FC Nizhny Novgorod back into the top-flight and then stay there. A challenge that will be tough going, but will be interesting to see the new boys in amongst the experienced heads.
Arriving in Moscow comes with a really difficult choice, given that there are 14 different clubs to choose from, all at different levels. However, given that the three previous stops feature teams in the top flight, I want to drop back down for this stop.
State-Owned Enterprise of the Moscow Region Football Club Saturn Moscow Region, or better known as FC Saturn Ramenskoye will be my club of choice for the Moscow segment of this blog. The Aliens were originally formed in 1946 and by 2011 had dissolved due to huge debts, which ended their stay in the top flight.
Now playing their football in the Professional Football League, the top-flight is not far away from achieving as they look to wage war on the Moscow footballing scene.
Very little information is available on the town’s football team other than they play in the Amateur Football League. This could be a missed stopped if the team is not included in custom databases.
As I near the end of my journey, FC Smolensk should be the second last club I will manage before completing my journey. However, FC Smolensk owner Vladimir Savchenkov had recently written a letter stating his inability to continue to finance the club, prompting the club to drop out of the Professional Football League. It looks as though this could be a missed stop also, but time will tell.
FC Baltika Kaliningrad
The final piece to the puzzle; FC Baltika Kaliningrad will be the final team to be managed in my save. 1998 was the last time the team were seen in the top flight, and this long-term absence needs to come to an end.
Football National League is the level where you can find Baltika Kaliningrad, and I am adamant to take them back into the top-flight and cause some upsets when I get there with them, with an eye to European success. After one long journey, another long one begins on my search for eternal glory in Kaliningrad.