|Full name||James Riordan|
|Date of birth||10 October 1936|
|Place of birth||Portsmouth, England|
|Date of death||10 February 2012(aged 75)|
|Place of death||Portsmouth, England|
|Height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Playing position||Centre half|
He was well known for his work Sport in Soviet Society, the first academic look at sport in the Soviet Union, and for his children's novels.
He claims to have been the first Briton to play football in the USSR, playing for FC Spartak Moscow in 1963. There are, however, no documents, match reports or eyewitness accounts that support his claim, and many details in the story were inaccurate.
Life and career
Born in Portsmouth in 1936, James Riordan learned to speak Russian during National Service training in the Royal Air Force from 1955 to 1957. In 1960, he graduated in Russian Studies at the University of Birmingham, before qualifying as a teacher at the London Institute of Education.
In 1963, Riordan studied at the Communist higher party school in Moscow; he was an avowed Communist, and was one of the few English students at the school.
His autobiography Comrade Jim: The Spy Who Played for Spartak includes an account of his games for Spartak Moscow; some Russian commentators have questioned these claims.
When he returned to England he became lecturer at Bradford University before moving on to the University of Surrey at Guildford where became head of the Russian Department and was awarded a personal professorship. In 1980, he was the Olympic attache for the British Olympic Association of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He held an honorary doctorate of Grenoble University and was President (2003-5) and later Fellow of the European Committee for Sports History.
His autobiography, Comrade Jim: The Spy who Played for Spartak, was published in 2008.
He has also made a study of "The Death Match" — the 1943 non-official association football match between Soviet POWs and soldiers of the Wehrmacht — and has written a scholarly article and a children's novel, Match of Death, on the subject.
- Sport in Soviet Society: Development of Sport and Physical Education in Russia and the USSR. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1977. (partially Birmingham, Univ., Diss.). ISBN 0-521-21284-7.
- Sport in European Cultures (2002)
- Sweet Clarinet (1998)
- When the Guns Fall Silent (2000)
- The Secret Telegram (2001)
- The Prisoner (2001)
- War Song (2001)
- Match of Death (2003)
- The Gift (2004)
- Escape from War (2005)
- Rebel Cargo (2007)
- The Sniper (2008)
- Blood Runner (2011)
- Mistress of the Copper Mountain: Folk Tales from the Urals (1974) ISBN 9780584623918
- Tales from Central Russia: Russian Tales (1976)
- Tales from Tartar (1979)
- The Woman in the Moon and Other Tales of Forgotten Heroines (1985) ISBN 0-8037-0194-2
- Russian Gypsy Tales (1985) ISBN 9780862410827
- An Illustrated Treasury of Fairy and Folk Tales (1986) ISBN 9780600310778
- The Wild Swans (1987) ISBN 9780091725495
- Folk-tales of the British Isles (1987) ISBN 5050010055
- The Sun Maiden and the Crescent Moon: Siberian Folk Tales (1989)
- King Arthur (1998)
- The Twelve Labours of Hercules (1998)
- The Young Oxford Book of Football Stories (2000)
- Kon, Igor; Riordan, James, eds. (1993). Sex and Russian Society. Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253332011.
- James Riordan (ed.). Sport under Communism. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1978. ISBN 0-7735-0505-9.
- Riordan, James & Arnd Krüger (eds.). The international politics of sport in the twentieth century. London: Routledge, 1999. ISBN 0-419-21160-8
- James Riordan & Arnd Krüger (eds.). European cultures of sport: examining the nations and regions. Bristol: Intellect, 2003. ISBN 1-8415-0014-3
- Arnd Krüger & James Riordan (eds). The story of worker sport. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics (1996). ISBN 0-87322-874-X
Riordan's first novel Sweet Clarinet won the NASEN Award, and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children's Book Award. Match of Death won the South Lanarkshire Book Award. The Gift was also shorted for the NASEN Award.
- Riley, John (2012-04-03). "Jim Riordan: Russianist and children's author". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-05-07.
- "Popular columnist Jim Riordan dies". Portsmouth.co.uk. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- "Patricia Stephens Due, James Whitaker, Josh Gifford, Jim Riordan, Whitney Houston, Last Word - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- "Professor James Riordan". University of Worcester. 2007-03-07. Archived from the original on 2012-12-23. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
- Kevin O'Flynn (7 November 2006). "Introducing the first Briton ever to play in the USSR". Football. Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
- Comrade Yakov Iordanov: Spartak Moscow’s Lone Englishman?
- "James Riordan". Oxford Education. Oup.com. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
- "В "Спартаке" играл английский шпион!". Utro.ru. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- Comrade Jim: The Spy who Played for Spartak. Fourth Estate, 2008. ISBN 9780007251148
- Riordan, James. The Sniper. Frances Lincoln, 2008. ISBN 9781845078850
- Riordan, James. "The Match of Death: Kiev, 9 August 1942" in Soccer & Society, Volume 4, Issue 1 March 2003, pages 87-93. DOI: 10.1080/14660970512331390753
- Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-275268-0