Passport magazine: Russian lifestyle
Home Archive August 2009

About Us

From the Publisher

Contact Us

Current IssueArchive
Restaurant GuideRestaurant ReviewsInternational Food BlogsWine TastingsTravelMoscow EmbassiesAirlines to RussiaMoscow AirportsCustoms and VisasResidence permitMoscow Phone DirectoryMuseums and GalleriesWi-Fi Hot Spots in MoscowClubs!Community ListingsMoscow Downtown MapMoscow Metro MapRussian LinksInternational Links
Advertise with Us
Our Readers - a profileAdvertising RatesDistribution List
Click for Moscow, Russia Forecast
Our Partners
Knights of the Vine RUSSIA


The Allianz Rosno Expat Football League
Text and photos by Nick Rees

As you can see, we now have a sponsor for the first time in the history of the Expat Football League.

We are genuinely proud and excited to announce Allianz Rosno, one of the world’s leading insurance companies, as our General Sponsor for the next two years. Their support will allow us to recruit new players and to form new teams as we aim to grow bigger and stronger. They will provide the new teams with new kits and give general help recruiting players. At the same time, Allianz Rosno’s sponsorship will help our existing players enjoy better facilities and also more social events. On behalf of all the players in the league, I would like to say a big thank you and a very big welcome to Allianz Rosno.

As usual, in this month’s issue, we’re going to focus again on one of the teams in the league and this one happens to be my team, the Moscow Flagons.

Initial games were one-sided to say the least and 12-0 defeats weren’t uncommon. A 9-1 defeat was cause for celebration and a night on the town! This changed over time as they got more organized, brought in new players and taught the players which net to put the ball in. Top lawyer Rob Wittering still struggled and is fondly remembered as the useless left back that scored a hatrick… in his own net! Going forward, he’s got the pace of a tortoise on valium but point him towards his own goals and he’s like a gazelle on heat!

Originally, the Flagons were also known by others as “the Mutants”. With Gary Bacon (aka High Tower), Pat Earl (The Duke) and Stuart Phillips (Lurch) all around 2 metres tall, we had a great tactic of never letting the ball hit the floor where the “small” people played. This was also countered by adding vertically challenged players like Mike Bartley (120cms with his boots on).

Thanks to 40 goals a season from “Mike The Strike”, aided and abetted by the blue-skinned Neil “Rat” Comerford up front, the Flagons started to dominate from the first season in 2003 onwards. The first Expat Football League season won on the last day of the season with practically the last kick of the game against our oldest rivals, the Cloggs!

Over the years, the Flagons have won 7 league titles and 4 cup trophies but recent times have seen them struggle to replicate the success. The Flagons are known as the most social team off the pitch, which probably accounts for the lack of success on it.

Kris Willson (aka Baby Spice but now known as Old Spice since he got married) is one of the quickest (and dirtiest) defenders in the league whilst our midfield dynamo, Ivo “The Engine” de Haas has got to be one of the best all-round players in the league too. Mike “The Strike” stopped striking and is now one of the most destructive defensive midfielders (even with his height problems) and our new player Misha can dribble better than a new born baby with rabies! Oleg (another great expat name) is actually an Australian (never mind, eh!) but is banging the goals in quicker than you can say Aussies are awful losers!

The reason for many of the league titles is the strength of our German keeper Rene Koinzack (aka Beachtowel) who used to play for German U21s and thankfully has proved to be a one-man Berlin Wall for the team. Other players of note are Tomas “The Tank” who chews these funny tobacco tablet things, little Stevie Newman who is the lightest footballer in the world, Danny who argues with everyone, Vlad who never passes, Pierre (Kermit) who has more silky skills than a Russian pole dancer and Ruud who’s 8ft tall but has a head like a 50 pence piece! The only player who’s nickname isn’t made up (because his real name is good enough) is our classy midfielder, Freek. Finally, we have Bambi (aka Gwyn) who’s the fastest player without a ball but the slowest with it, in the league!

Finally, there’s Rob Morrison (aka London Bus due to his ability to arrive at games, parties, his own birth, etc at halftime) who’s by far taken the Flagon tradition of writing the Match Report to a new level. A funnier writer (and nicer guy) than Rob, would be hard to find

We’re about half way through the season now and the league table looks exciting with Storming Cloggs, the efficient and organized Lundbeck (they do jumping and running exercises before games… that shouldn’t be allowed!) and the current champions, Moscow Bhoys, all locked on 23 points. Expo Solutions are 5 points behind last summer’s league champions, the Flagons, sadly 7 points behind the leaders and in desperate need of snookers!

The top of the Leading Scorers charts are tight with Hosein Abakpour sitting pretty at the top but sadly he has left Moscow to continue his work as one of the top brain-surgeons in his home country, Iran. Some say that his work here was far from over!

Juan ‘Ka’ Lopez is usually near the top somewhere and a new entry to the chase is Expo’s Abdallah who is a one-man scoring machine.

League Scorers Table

Hosein Abakpour Moscow Bhoys 13
Juan Ka Lopez Storming Cloggs 13
Abdallah Sboui Expo Solution 11
Oleg Khomenko Moscow Flagons 10
Misha Gouchtchine Moscow Flagons 8

A special mention must go to our two Turkish teams, Pasha and Real Brothers, who are both top of what I call the “Expat Boxing League” part of our site. This table (above right) shows the amount of yellow and red cards received by each team so far this season. Expo’s mild-mannered Irish Catholics mixed with the cool-headed Gallic French players that dominate their team is reflected in their excellent behavior so far.

We’re currently on a big recruitment drive and looking for new players and/or team managers to join the league so if you’ve played before and consider yourself more than a beginner, please go to our new site and follow the link to applying to join a team. It’s easy and you’ll never regret it! All teams provide sponsored kits, we have official referees and we play 11-a-side over 90 minutes. Come and join us!

Expat Boxing League

Team  Cards    Team  Cards 
Real Brothers 22   Moscow Bhoys 13
Pasha FC 21   Lundbeck United 12
Bordo 19   Lundbeck United 12
Young Spartans 19   Moscow Flagons 12
Storming Cloggs 16   Expo Solutions 11

By the time you read this, we will have had our summer League Cup, organized by Allianz Rosno. This will have been attended by over 500 expats and families/friends, enjoying the football, shashlik, beer, soft beverages, face-painters, bouncy castles and much, much more. What made this even more palatable was that it was free for everyone who attended which, thanks to Allianz Rosno and also Coca Cola – surely is a first of its kind in Russia!

The weather’s been great to us this summer so if you want to just come on down and watch, pop down to the back of MGIMO on a Saturday afternoon and enjoy some beer, shashlik and fun with us! If you’re good, bring your boots!

 Copyright 2004-2012 +7 (495) 640 0508,,
website development – Telemark
OnLine M&A Russia Deal Book
Follow Us