FM21 | Tales from Bordavia | #15 The Gambling Capital of Tambopul

For my main series “Totalitarian football” I’m going to be managing the made up club CSKA Aransk in the made up post-Soviet totalitarian Communist nation of Bordavia. I have covered the creation process in a series called “Creating Club and Country”:

  1. The birth of a nation
  2. Location, location, location
  3. The Club
  4. Crest and Kit
  5. Building Bordavia

The idea from the beginning was for CSKA Aransk to get invited into the Russian league system, where most of the adventure would take place. I was going to create a Bordavian league, but only the top tier, as a backdrop. However, after a literal hurricane of interest in getting involved in this adventure the idea took a turn into something completely different. Over 60 people have reached out and contributed with ideas for towns and clubs and stories. Bordavia has turned into a mystic but rather grim nation, full of quirks, stories and lore. I fell in love with both the commitment shown by you and the nation of Bordavia, which has lead to the creation process of an entire Bordavian database. This has been a real team effort, which I have enjoyed massively, but it has also meant that I haven’t had much time to write blog posts or record YT videos. Therefore I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone, by sharing stories from the nation of Bordavia up until the db release around Christmas.

If you want to read the other stories you can find them here.

Today’s story comes from FM LLaMa and tells the story of his first town in Bordavia; Tambopul! FM LLaMa has a great YouTube channel where he is currently running a youth only Kettering save series and also trying to conquer the world with the Indonesian national team in the series “The Diddy Men”.

The history of Tambopul

Tambopul has a unique place in Bordavian culture, being home to the nation’s only state-sanctioned casino. The Bordavian love affair with gambling stretches back to the 1800’s, when piglet racing and ferret tossing were two of the most popular pastimes in the country and people would wager huge sums on these events.

Due to the aerodynamic qualities of the local ferret population and the ability of local farmers to breed unrivalled racing piglets, Tambopul was home to many of the most anticipated events in the sporting calendar. The town would come alive for such events, with people flocking from all over Bordavia and neighbouring Russia to spectate and place bets on the outcomes. This led to significant growth of the town and many locals opened hostelries, guest houses and entertainment venues to profit from the influx of tourists during the sporting season.

Legendary racing piglet ‘Porkev’ wins the 1943 Tambopul Derby. Porkev went on to serve two terms as Tambopul mayor

By the 1900’s, the poor performance of the Bordavian economy meant that many Bordavians resorted to eating their prized piglets and ferrets during the ‘Long Winter of 1948’, significantly reducing the quality of competition in the nation. Although interest in these traditional sports waned, the nation’s obsession with gambling did not and Tambopul continued to be a favourite weekend retreat for citizens thanks to the development of grand casinos and gambling resorts in the town.

The rise of arm wrestling and fall of the Soviet Union

The success of the gambling industry meant Tambopul had one of the highest incomes per capita outside of Aransk and with the explosion in popularity of female arm wrestling in the 1960’s, the town prospered further. Perhaps the greatest female arm wrestler of all time, Rudi Karatspya is a native of Tambopul. Her popularity in both Bordavia and neighbouring Russia, the border of which is just 37 metres from Tambopul, ensured arm wrestling fans from across the Soviet Union would flock to Tambopul to see her compete. More than 8000 fans were in the arena to watch her defeat Irenya Federovic in the 1976 Grand Final, where Rudi walked away with first prize of eight pouches of chewing tobacco. Unfortunately, harsher times were to come for the town.

With the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 90’s and the closing of Bordavia’s borders to the outside world, General Ivan outlawed gambling in Bordavia, seeing it as a poison polluting Bordavian culture. Frustrated at no longer being able to visit Bordavia to gamble and view some of the world’s best female arm wrestlers, Russia developed its own gambling resort just beyond the wall General Ivan erected to partition Bordavia and Russia. For decades, the residents of Tambopul were taunted by the neon lights of the casinos just over the Russian border, whilst their own gambling activities were forced underground. Tambopul remained the gambling capital of Bordavia, but the opulent casinos and holiday resorts were replaced by illicit gambling dens where visitors placed bets in secret, constantly fearing discovery by the secret police.

Illegal gambling

The illegal gambling establishments in this border town continued to attract visitors from across Bordavia, but rather than middle class citizens escaping bourgeoise Aransk for a weekend of devilry, a younger, darker fraternity flocked to Tambopul, which became Bordavia’s vice-town. Those that became frustrated with the restrictive nature of Tambopul’s underground network of gambling dens would even use the local sewer network to defect into Russia to visit the plush, 24-hour resorts just 37 metres away. Some returned, but thousands each year would start new lives in Russia. In a bid to halt this drain of young, conscription aged males to Russia, General Ivan conceded and decreed to open one state sanctioned super-casino in the town called The Lucky37. He sent Secret Police operative Nikolai Vasilyev to oversee the smooth running of the casino and Vasilyev has also become a trustee and sponsor of the local lower league football side Klad Tambopul.

Football in Tambopul

Klad were founded in 1961, during a prosperous era for the town by local lemming farmer and bookmaker Vorax Goshev.  Goshev wanted to provide people with another sport to place bets on to swell his own fortune. Goshev also played in goal for Klad until the age of 78. Goshev’s niece, Dave, is the current President of the club. Dave was once a female arm wrestling prodigy and a graduate of the Aransk Arm Wrestling School, but her career was cut short by recurring carpal tunnel syndrome. She is now in charge of the family lemming farm and has also opened a canning factory manufacturing lemming chunks, a staple on the dinner table in most Eastern Bordavian homes.

Nikolai Vasilyev (left) Vorax Goshev (centre) & Dave Goshev (right)

Klad are nicknamed ‘The House’ and play in red and black in homage to the roulette tables that prop up the local economy.

Klad Tambopul home arena

The team are sponsored by the main employer in the town, The Lucky37 Casino. Klad means ‘fortune’. Club founder Vorax Goshev chose the name in the hope it might attract tourists to the town in search of riches that he might profit from.

Addition from Mikaelinho – Tambopul in the database

Klad Tambopul can be found in the 4th tier at the start of the 2020/21 season. They play in the Northeastern regional Divizion 2, where they face local rivals such as Lovit Rybu Lososyagorod. With the backing of The Lucky37 Casino, maybe you can take Klad Tambopul to Bordavian glory!?

Home shirt
Away shirt
Klad Tambopul logo

This was the fifteenth “Tale from Bordavia” and I’d like to thank FM LLaMa for his great contribution. There will be a new one every day leading up to Christmas. I hope you’ll enjoy these little stories and that they will spark an interest large enough to follow my main series “Totalitarian Football” and maybe even try the database when it comes out!?

I stream my “Building Bordavia” creation process on Twitch on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Come hang out and say hi!

I also upload episodes about the creation process to my YouTube channel. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss any content!

One thought

  1. It’s only when you read it back that you realise how ludicrous this story is! Why did a piglet serve two terms as town mayor? Only in Bordavia!

    Liked by 1 person

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