Russia’s second-tier side Sibir Novosibirsk, who are headed by former Liverpool coach Alex Miller, are currently struggling to return to the Premier League. RT went to find out why the first British manager in Russian football has settled in Siberia.
While Anzhi make the transfer headlines in the Premier League, Sibir surprised everyone in the first division, as former Liverpool coach Alex Miller made history by becoming the first ever Briton to manage in Russian football.
Three time zones east of Moscow, 62-year-old Glasgow-born Miller has kicked off an intriguing experiment, taking charge in Russia’s third city of Novosibirsk.
“My first impression was that it’s a good challenge. I’ve always wanted to work at the top level. But this was a team that was one to go to the top level. And that was an exciting thing about it to try to bring this team to the top level,” Miller recalls.
The former Rangers defender and Hibernian manager also had short spells spearheading Japanese and Swedish sides, but is better known for spending nine years at Liverpool, assisting Gerard Houllier and Rafael Benitez. However, in Russia, the Scot will have to face more challenges than just the Siberian weather, namely, the language and the distances involved in his current work.
While Premier League leaders and defending champions Zenit have enjoyed success under Dick Advocaat and Luciano Spalletti, most foreign managers have struggled to bring results, both in Russia and in European tournaments.
But Miller is sure that Russian football will swiftly benefit by adapting to the new Western format.
“I think in 5-6 years Russia will be one of the major players in the Champions League,” he says.
Sibir are currently seventh in the second tier, and have slim hopes of being promoted to the Premier League this season.
However, Miller is optimistic about the chances of the remote Siberian outfit taking the route to glory, and putting Novosibirsk back on the map of Russian football.