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Comrade Jim: The Spy Who Played for Spartak



Like many working class children growing up in the war, Jim Riordan would dream of FA Cup glory for his local team, Portsmouth FC. Spartak Moscow, the team he would end up playing for, wasn't even on his radar. Taught Russian and trained as a spy alongside Alan Bennett and Dennis Potter, he was spotted to Berlin on National Service to listen in on the Soviets. Secretly mixing with Russian servicemen through informal kick-abouts, the passion of these idealistic young men could cultivate his interest in communism and Russian culture, which blossomed into a fully grown love affair. From Cold War Moscow at its coldest, through to his footballing debut in front of 50,000 people, Comrade Jim tells the humorous and remarkable true story of the only Englishman to have played - and survived - Russian league football.

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