Real Madrid-Slaying Champions League Underdog. Money-Laundering Front for Arms Smugglers. Pride of a Soviet-Style Country that Doesn't Exist. We Went There to Investigate.
These are the stories that make the subscription worth it. Fantastic. I hope Dulanto gets a call up for Peru one day. What it would do for him and his family would be glorious. And I'm with you Grant, I want a Sheriff shirt with Dulanto on the back.
Cartilage Free Captain brought me here, I will be bringing more:)
100% agree with the commentator below about this type of story being worth my subscription. Keep up the great work Grant! and next time you are in Munich give me a shout so I can buy you a beer!
Wow, a great story. Could not help but chuckle a few times, even as you were in potential peril (sorry). Just fascinating, especially the detail about a corner of the world that i do t hear anything about in either soccer or geopolitical terms. Congratulations on a fantastic long form story.
Hi Grant !! Incredible story, brilliantly told. The football, the human details, the many strands... wow! My name is Rohit Khanna, I'm the Managing Editor of a news website out of Delhi, India. If ever in Delhi, pls do get in touch. If you ever need leads on similar sports stories with incredible human stories within them... India is a treasure trove of those. But am guessing you already know that! God Bless !! More power to your story-telling!
Great story. I happened to be in moldova and transnistria at the same time as yourself, and I attempted to cycle to hincasti for the petrocub- sheriff game from chisinau ( my thinking was that I could cycle there and back as the minibuses stop at around 5pm, but I underestimated how uphill it was and had to turn back two thirds of the way as I wouldn't have made it for half time. I also stood outside the ticket office with a large group of foreigners (mostly german ground hoppers) for 3 hours before the inter game before giving up and watching the game at a restaurant in tiraspol.However, great to see the monuments and atmosphere before the game. I can attest that getting tickets for the champions league games are difficult as they are all sold online at mysterious times ie the sheriff fc website didn't mention the ticket sale at all last wednesday at 12pm. All tickets were gone in an hour!!! ( and foreigners will have difficulty buying because international cards don't work in tiraspol.) Fortunately, a travel company in chisinau managed to organise a ticket for me for the REAL MADRID game yesterday ( at a big markup) just as I had given up all hope of acquiring a ticket ( but I don't mind paying more for a game with this interesting backstory) . They told me they hadn't any tickets( I left the office crestfallen)...then a batch came through an hour later and I made a dash to the office. I was lucky! Thanks for your coverage.Greetings from a scot world football fan. How much were the half and half scarfs at rhe stadium?
I only joined Grant's Substack a month before the World Cup, so I'm enjoying going back through older articles I'd heard so much of. His death struck me harder than I would have suspected. His curiosity, integrity, and storytelling abilities were profound. I'm grateful that this body of work remains to both fuel and comfort my sadness.
Shedding light on unknown, unpopular music albums, books saturated in an ineffable spirit of darkness, science and open-mindness... That was the initial idea of my jaroslavnovosyolov.substack.com
Everyone is welcome to subscribe and support! I also have fiction writings to share with You. Their turn will come as well! :)
Catching up on all your articles lately, holy shit, great story Grant! Makes me want to visit, love the feeling of being uncomfortably unfamiliar with a place!
Grant, just read this story - incredible! As it so happens (amazingly) we are in the middle of running a Youth Leadership Through Sports virtual exchange right now - the sport is soccer and our exchange is with Moldova. We have 26 girls from Vermont participating (we will be joined by the Moldovan group for some of the sessions) - we would love to see if you could ever join one of our Zoom sessions to talk about your trip and experience? Is there a way I can get in touch with you?
Kristine Lilly, Shay Haddow, and Yael Averbuch West are joining various sessions as well...
My email is email@example.com - I would love to chat. Thanks for all the great work!
Some of the best sports journalism I've ever read.
This was so good. Thanks for writing.
I totally agree - articles like this are why I subscribe. What a fascinating view from “our man on the ground”. Keep up the great work.
There’s a YouTuber Englishman who is slightly (?) obsessed by the old Soviet Union, speaks Russian, and does videos on his travels there. One video was on his trip to Transnistria. He goes by “bald and bankrupt”. If you want to see what the place looks like in video, check him out.
i don't know anything about soccer. I follow Salva Malamud on Twitter and I guess that's how I found your story. Loved the pictures and the maps and the descriptions of the towns and countryside and how you met so many locals to talk to even after ending up at all the wrong places but it doesn't really matter because that's all part of the story. Like you said, no boundaries.
As a fan of soccer but not an expert or aficionado, this was really a great read and not invested in how it plays out for the club and players - well done!
Incredible story, thanks so much for bringing it to us, Grant. Know you haven't been on the college hoops beat in quite a while, but think you'll still appreciate that what I thought about reading this story was the recent NCAA runs from Liberty and Oral Roberts--more great underdog stories when viewed from the perspective of the likable, deserving players involved and (for many of us) much less so from the perspective of the institutions they represented.