‘You’re really enjoying this football management lark, aren’t you?’

I nod my assent.

We’re sitting in Incanto, a bistro just down the coast in Burgas, where my half-sister Mariya lives. It’s early April and we’re celebrating the two-year extension of my contract with PFC Pomorie.

On the table is a superior bottle of Black Sea Riesling, which I am trying to prevent my dear brother-in-law, Tsetso, from polishing off single-handed.

‘What is it you like so much?’ Mariya asks.

‘The opportunity to make decisions, ‘I say. I’m given a budget and a set of targets and then it’s down to me how I convert the one into the other.

Success criterion

‘And,’ she asks, ‘how will you know when to stop? And what will you count as success?

I hadn’t really thought about that. I haven’t even completed my first season and I’m have just begun, courtesy of the extended contract, to contemplate the next two. So I pour myself another glass of wine (‘If you don’t mind, Tsetso’) and think.

‘I guess most managers would ‘When I’ve won this or that, or qualified for Europe, or whatever. Well, I want to win things, sure.

‘But,’ I move a little closer to them her so that I can speak sotto voce, ‘for me there is just one success criterion: I want to become the longest-serving manager in my league.’


Image credit: “Raising Riesling” by buck82, generously licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. The photograph is actually from Germany, but you get the gist.

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