A lot of leagues all over the world kicked off over the past couple of weekends and probably the biggest of all was the Russian Premier League. With more than 3,000km between Zenit's Petrovsky Stadium and Tom's Trud Stadium, it's bigger in more ways than one.
We have already covered a few teams before here on FSC but now we look to show you the league in it's entirety. This time round the Russian league will be spanning 18 months so that eventually the league will come in line with most of Europe and play through the winter, a move not welcomed by some in Russia because of the severity of the winter weather -22oC in Tomsk anyone?
Zenit St. Petersburg (Зенит) - Nike
We start with the champions of Russia and one of the teams who challenge for the title every season, most prominently in more recent years. Managed by Luciano Spalletti and boasting a host of names that followers of the Champions League and Europa League will be familiar with, it's no wonder why. As we've seen from China and Japan, Nike are starting to favour patterns in their designs for 'bigger' teams. Zenit plays in an all light blue kit at home and an all-white kit on their travels and both feature a kind of windmill pattern, it really helps switch the kit from looking like dull teamwear to a more professional look.
CSKA Moscow (ЦСКА) - Reebok
One of only a handful of teams are still under the Reebok branding in Europe, let's not forget that they produce kits for the entire A-League. CSKA are one of Russia's traditional powerhouses as well as being one of the best supported teams in the country. The club has history of being the country's army team, which is why their crest still retains a red star from the former Soviet Union, CSKA also translates to English as 'Central Sports Club of Army'. The kit sees them stick with a striped design for both the home and away kits, in fact it seems only little bits have been modified with the stripes cutting off before the collar and both sleeves being only one colour. The away has had the same treatment sticking white and beige stripes but a change of collar and stripes makes this a new kit.
Rubin Kazan (Рубин) - Umbro
Surprise champions of Russia in 2009 they then went on the duplicate their efforts the following season, which is quite impressive for a team only promoted to the top tier of football in 2003. They now seem to have cemented themselves as regular challengers for the title. Hailing from the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia their kits reflect their location with red and green being the main colours of the flag. The home comes in quite a dark shade of red while the away is all green, both are in Umbro's tailored designs and seem to use the same template seen on the England away strip.
Spartak Moscow (Спартак) - Nike
The most successful Russian team from the Soviet era, Spartak have an illustrious history and this didn't stop after the fall of communism. In the following 10 years Spartak picked up a total of 9 titles. Since then though trophies have been rather hard to come by with only a single cup title to shout about. Spartak are once again using their traditional white chest stripe for the home shirt something which seemed to get slightly disregarded over the past couple of decades. They are also now using specifically made kits instead of modified Turkey kits they had last season.
N.B. Please note that the away kit pictured here is the European version and therefore has logos in different positions.
Lokomotiv Moscow (Локомотив) - Puma
As the name suggests Lokomotiv was once the team for workers of the Russian Railway, and still proudly till this day they display a locomotive in their crest and are also sponsored by the railways themselves. Lokomotiv switch from using Adidas over to Puma for the new season, their news kits use a couple of well known Puma templates in their famous red and (more recently fluo) green colour scheme.
Spartak Nalchik (Спартак-Нальчик) - Umbro
We get to one of the lesser known teams of the Russian League in the form of Spartak Nalchik but it's not really surprising seeing how they've only been in the top flight for 5 years. The 2010 season saw their best ever finish, just one place off a European spot. Spartaks' home kit sees them play in a red shirt made by Umbro, similar in design to that used by Rubin. The away uses the same template as just as the home but with the white and red reversed.
Dynamo Moscow (Динамо) - Adidas
One of the most famous Russian clubs, Dynamo have been big investors in the transfer market as of late, snapping up names such as German international Kevin Kuranyi and Bosnian Zvjezdan Misimovic. Despite being one of the most famous teams in the Soviet Union, Dynamo have found in difficult to mount a proper charge at the title, but with the sudden influx of foreign talent, this could be their season. After 5 years of Umbro kits Dynamo have switched over to wearing Adidas and are now using a similar template to that used by Spain, blue is home, white is away.
Tom Tomsk (Томь) - Adidas
Located in south-west Siberia, Tom are the most easternly located team in the Russian Premier League this season. Tom are another team with only a small portion of top flight experience, but they have settled down over the past few seasons as a mid table side rather than battling against relegation. At home they use all blue kits and away all-white kits are used, the template is as we've already seen on Venezuela.
Stay tuned for Part 2!