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Knights of the Vine RUSSIA


Expat Over 28s Football League
Text by Nick Rees

ay 2003 – just short of 6 years ago but in Moscow years, it’s almost a lifetime.

That was the date that the Expat Over 28s Football League was invented when left-footed midfield dynamo, Darren Keane, and Moscow’s Mr Recruitment, Nick Rees decided that they wanted more than just watching football in dodgy sports bars.

Fast-forward 6 years and we have 9 teams with over 300 players from 73 different countries represented in the league.

The two original teams were the Cloggs and Casinos (named after the heavy Dutch and casino influence on the team) and also the Moscow Flagons (a piss-take of the Moscow Dragons rugby team’s name). Games usually were very one-sided as the organized and experienced Cloggs won heavily week after week.

Soon after, the teams were joined by the British Embassy and Expo Solutions but the British Embassy team pulled out after 15 minutes of their fi rst ever match as someone cut their lip during a corner kick!

There are two rules for qualifying for the Expat Over 28s Football league – you must be an expat and 28 or over. Strange that!

In 2007, this team was re-branded and called Pasha by the new team manager, Levent Endam. They were named after the distinguished rank given to heads of the Ottoman Empire. Levent’s team hasn’t won anything yet but if this was an expat boxing league instead, they would have been champions by Christmas! With 39 yellow cards issued to their team this season, they have almost 3 times more than anyone else but Levent is one of the league’s gentlemen and is addressing the problem as we write.

The Moscow Times team which started so weakly got sponsored by Lundbeck and under the guidance and organization of American gent Patrick Henry, they became a very strong and respected team that deserves to have won more than they have so far (which is absolutely nothing, actually!). They’ve respected the rules and followed them perfectly but unfortunately, this rarely wins you any trophies in any sport.

Pinocchio Restaurant sponsored a new Italian based team but again, like the Blues Brothers, they fielded illegal players but still won nothing. They were re-formed by Ary-Peter Oosterling in 2009 and are now called the Young Spartans.

The league began taking real shape in around 2005 when Bordo and the Moscow Bhoys joined the league. Bordo are mainly a French team run by Yann Sotty who is one of the gentlemen of the league. The Moscow Bhoys, on the other hand were run by a naughty Scotsman who was also caught cheating and had their first league title taken off them after a 15 points deduction was enforced by the league management.

Over the years the league champions have been usually been split between the Moscow Flagons with 7 league titles and 4 cup victories or the Storming Cloggs (as they are now known) with 3 league titles and 1 cup victory.

The Moscow Bhoys managed to break into the top three and went unbeaten over the whole 21 game Winter 08/09 season to become champions for the second time with an impressive 14 point advantage over the Cloggs in second place.

Expo Solutions were the only exception to the rule so far with a magnificent cup win in 2007.

During the winter season, the league plays indoors in the massive Lokomotiv stadium on the best surface money can buy but in the summer season, we play outdoors on grass and make it more of a family day out. We provide four types of shashlik for free, free salads, free beer and soft drinks so that the families can come along and enjoy the fun.

The summer season started in April and a new 9th team was added – the Turkish Real Brothers.

In all honesty, the league is there for fun but the standard of football is high. Many ex-professionals have showed up expecting an easy run out but have been kicked into touch by their manager for simply not being good enough.

We’re looking for team or league sponsors and, as always, new players so if you’re interested, contact Nick Rees at

Updates of how the summer season are going to appear in this magazine. So watch this space!

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