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A Rovers Link to Russian Football

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As the World Cup gets nearer the papers are full of Russian connected football stories.

This curious but intriguing story was published in The Sunday Times linking the Rovers, The textile industry, espionage, the Russian Revolution and the Russian Football League!

The story begins in the first decade of the 20th Century. Russia is keen to develop its textile industry through increased mechanisation. So they turn to a part of the world famous for its expertise in this field namely Lancashire.

Adverts were placed in the Times and other places for young men to emigrate to the Moscow area lured by offers of work and a sense of adventure. The advert also added that an ability to play football would be advantageous.

2 brothers called Clement and Harry Charnock from Lancashire went out there to work and after some months founded a football team called Morozovsky FC . Morozovsky was the name of the owner of some textile mills where many of the English ex pats were working. 

There is a grainy photograph of the team lining up for a photo shoot before a game but what is clear is that they are kitted out in the famous blue and white halves. So perhaps we can assume that the Charnock brothers were Rovers fans who had obtained the strip from Rovers.

They joined the Moscow League and were incredibly successful winning the league title 5 years in succession from 1910-14. The British diplomat Bruce Lockhart played for the team in 1912 before being expelled from Russia on espionage charges. The blue and white halves were achieving fame in Russia and Mr. Morozovsky must have been a very happy man.

However the onset of war brought an end to the football and later in 1917 The Russian Revolution ended English influence on the new national sport of football.

Morozovsky FC became Dynamo Moscow and played for a while in the blue and white halves but my Google search today showed that their strip is now mainly blue shirts, a bit like Everton.

There are many fascinating threads to this story. What happened to the Charnock brothers at the onset of war? Did they return home or stay in Russia even after the Revolution?

Perhaps they are known to people on here as Charnock is a common name.

I will now follow the fortunes of Dynamo Moscow more closely from now on!

Intriguingly back in England Rovers won the league in 1911 and reached 2 semifinals so were a dominant force in the domestic game and so were no doubt more than happy to kit out Morozovsky FC and influence the game in Russia.

When I read the story I felt a certain pride in supporting this great club of ours. We might be in a trough at the moment but we have been a real giant throughout the history of the game.

 

 

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Rovers have played at the venue for the World Cup Final, Luzhniki Stadium. Those who remember probably prefer to forget that particular occasion though!

As for the Charnock Brothers yes they were Rovers fans.

Edited by Vinjay17

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According to this Harry Charnock stayed in Russia and was vice president of the Moscow Football League

http://russianfootballnews.com/the-englishmen-who-brought-football-to-russia/

But I seem to remember there was a LT article about it a few years ago which said he escaped to Finland? during the Russian revolution 

Edited by perthblue02

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7 minutes ago, perthblue02 said:

According to this Harry Charnock stayed in Russia and was vice president of the Moscow Football League

http://russianfootballnews.com/the-englishmen-who-brought-football-to-russia/

But I seem to remember there was a LT article about it a few years ago which said he escaped to Finland? during the Russian revolution 

Many thanks Perthblue. The article has filled in a few gaps there. What an achievement by Harry Chapman the Chorley boy who became Vice President of the League!

 

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13 minutes ago, Dryhorse said:

Father of Russian football

Arthur Davidovich McPherson

 

A Scot 

Actually a Russian

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Dinamo Moscow has a bit of a dark history post-revolution. It was affiliated to the Cheka/KGB during Stalin’s time and was under the thumb of his right hand man, Lavrenti Beria. 

Club certainly has an interesting history!

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1 hour ago, BiggusMickus said:

Honestly, this DryHorse chap is like the Dad from Goodness Gracious Me! Only everything is Scottish, not Indian.

 

He will be telling us he's seen Nessy next.

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7 hours ago, perthblue02 said:

Actually a Russian

I believe that Arthur McPherson was very much involved in the football scene in St Petersburg which was the early centre of the game.

The Charnock brothers were involved in the development of the game in the Moscow region.

But you’re quite right to highlight Arthur’s role as he became President of the Russian Football Federation with Harry Chapman the Vice President.

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8 hours ago, Dryhorse said:

Father of Russian football

Arthur Davidovich McPherson

 

A Scot 

Oh well, in your world this no doubt means that Scotland have technically qualified for the World Cup. 

 

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Dynamo Moscow aren't the kind of club we should be celebrating being linked to, although linked to them we are because of Harry Charnock.  As in most Eastern European countries the Dynamo team represented the army and were given favours by the establishment to win things and keep the army on top.  After the fall of the USSR, similarly to the other Dynamos, they have fallen on hard times and even been out of the top division at times.  Last season they finished mid-table but haven't won the league for a long time. nasty club backed by neo-fascist thugs.

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