Russian Football News – Interview with Toke Theilade

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by Bettingrunner on 31 March 2016

Hello Toke, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Gladly. I’m a master student in International Development Studies at Roskilde University in Denmark. I’m furthermore a dedicated Brøndby supporter, something that has brought me many sorrows in the past ten years. I like to describe myself as a football romantic, and I believe that modern football is slowly killing the soul of the beautiful game.
I’m also a freelance football writer, focusing on East European, mainly Russian, as well as Danish football. I have been published and quoted in various media from all over the world, and have furthermore helped several Danish TV-channels with background information about the Russian national team and Russian clubs.

How did Russian Football News start?
To be perfectly honest with you, I’m not the right man to ask that question. Russian Football News was founded in the summer of 2013 by two Americans, and I didn’t get on board until later that year, although only as a contributor. The site quickly grew, but unfortunately they started to have less and less time to spend on the site, which is why I took over as Editor in Chief. At that time we were only three regular contributors, and the site was almost completely dead, but we have turned things around since and the site has grown a lot.

What’s your role there?
As I said before, I’m the Editor in Chief. It is my job to try to plan regarding features, series and news articles, and keep the steam of articles flowing. Furthermore, I read the pieces coming from the contributors to offer them feedback and make sure the quality fits with the goals on the website. It is also important for me to stay updated regarding news from the Russian football world to make sure we don’t miss any interesting stories or developments.

Who are the other main contributors?
Russian Football News has some great contributors. They are all really dedicated and they know their stuff in different areas. As I said earlier, when I started we were three regular contributors, and we published perhaps one piece each per month. Now we have daily pieces, a podcast, betting advice and many great features, and that couldn’t have been done without the great team I work with.

How is Russian Football News different from other blogs?
The most important thing about Russian Football News is that the writers have a great knowledge about Russian football. A lot of prejudices are often connected to Russian football, and our aim is to go deeper than those prejudices to give people some stories from Russia that they wouldn’t usually find in mainstream media. There are a lot of problems in Russia and Russian football, but there are also some good things going, and while we aren’t blind to the many negative sides, we also want to put some light on the positive things going on as they are often ignored.

What are some challenges you face?
It is always difficult to find contributors with the needed knowledge and passion. Another problem is time. Russian Football News doesn’t make any profit (in fact it does the opposite), meaning we can pay the writers. Therefore, writing articles, making podcasts etc is something we do in our spare time. The last major problem is to keep the writers on the site. Russian Football News has some great writers, who are all pursuing and achieving great things in their writing careers. While I’m thrilled to see them succeed, I’d of course also like to keep them on the site for as long as possible.

Let’s talk about football. In your opinion, who has a greater chance of winning Russian Premier League this season?
CSKA is the obvious candidate for the title at the moment. While Rostov have surprised everybody, including myself this season, I still don’t think they can keep going. Regarding CSKA, they need to keep their key players injury free as they lack some depth in the squad, and therefore won’t be able to replace guys like Ignashevich, V. Berezutsky and Musa.

CSKA Moscow is ahead in the ranking so far. Do you think they will win?
I do.

What team do you support in the league?
I try to stay somewhat neutral when watching the games, and instead of following a specific club, I look for the good, and perhaps untold, stories. I do however have to admit that I have developed a weakness for the ever-struggling Spartak as I see some similarities between them and then my Danish club Brøndby.

Who is the greatest Russian player of all times?
This is a difficult question to answer, as there have been so many greats. I will however have to go with Lev Yashin. Although I never watched him play, he is a player and a person I have always admired. When I was a young boy, my father used to tell me stories about him, so he is someone I have known and heard about my entire life, while I didn’t read about some of the other greats like Fyodor Cherenkov and Eduard Streltsov until later in my life.

 

Follow him on Twitter @TokeTheilade

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