On 4 November 1945 a party from Moscow Dynamo FC travelled to Britain to play four matches against top British teams. They departed 33 days later, leaving a trail of controversy in their unbeaten wake. Nothing went smoothly on this tour, from the party's three-times delayed arrival and their seemingly endless agonizing over the date of their departure; one match was played in dense fog and a British manager followed the team across the country in a vain attempt to retrieve six "borrowed" footballs. And throughout, the Russians were involved in disputes with the FA, the British clubs, the match referees and the press. On the pitch, the Russians played exciting football displaying their technically superior strikers. Off the pitch, a catalogue of misunderstandings and suspicions marked the team's progress around the country. With the Cold War not yet begun, Russia was still Britain's ally and everyone claimed to want to keep politics out of sport. But the Soviet authorities were clearly anxious that Dynamo's performance should reflect well on the State; and there were many in the British press eager to make political capital out of the controversy surrounding the tour.
The book contains a blow-by-blow account of the tour itself; a history of the Moscow Dynamo club and a discussion of the state of British football at the end of the war, including those aspects of the game - style of play, training methods, the issue of professionalism - which the Dynamo tour brought into question.show more