Grigor Pasha writes: The situation, in my second season here on the Black sea coast with Neftochimic, as I see it is this: in the foreseeable future we’re not going to have enough money to buy success.
Even though my spending on wages is way below budget, we’re losing money every month. The way this club keeps going is by the directors putting their hands in their pockets every now and then.
The only way I can see to change the scenario is to bring kids through. We save on transfer fees; we have lower wage commitments; and, if we can unearth a really good prospect, a big club might come and pay some serious money.
In the short term, this entails a taking a wager: that we can achieve the board’s reasonable expectation (a top-half position in the Bulgarian Second League) whilst maintaining a squad in which 7 of the 26 are from the most recent intake.
The wager is that they’ll be good enough to do some sort of job for us now and will improve over time to become regulars.
In Not a golden generation, more like stainless steel I introduced some of the kids — the poacher Valchev and the set piece specialist, Zhekov. How are they doing?
Valchev has had plenty of game time, not least because one of our senior strikers has been injured and the other has been out of form. He’s played 11, scoring twice, with one man-of-the-match. His development hasn’t been dramatic, but is discernible. Though he moans constantly about strength training, he is gaining in strength, so he can just pipe down
Zhekov has started six matches and come on as sub in a four. He has a goal, an assist, and a man-of-the-match. We’re strong in midfield, so unless senior players get injured he’ll probably have to function as an impact sub.
Since, when we’re behind, my tactical acuity doesn’t extend far beyond ‘Let’s see if the boy can stick in a free kick’, he’s likely to get opportunities. And his development has been pleasingly wide-ranging: he’s on his way to becoming a well-rounded player.
A third kid whose gained plenty of opportunity — more really than I’d anticipated — is the boy Dmitrov. He’s very far from the finished article, but his speed and ability to tackle often gets him out of gaol — except, of course, in the air.
Now that’s he’s got into the team I’m inclined to persevere with him, despite the limitations.
The other four from the intake haven’t featured much. I was hoping they’d get some opportunity from the bench, but injuries have proved a constraint.
Overall, as things stand, I think the wager on last spring’s intake still looks a reasonable bet. The question is whether the senior players in the squad are good enough to lead the way.
After 11 matches (out of 34), we’re 8th, on 16 points — so just about OK. But 3 points separate 6th from 13th, so league placings are volatile.