Time and date: Just before lunch, 27 May 2019.
Place: the manager’s office, Central Stadium, Mykolaiv.
Cast: Grigor Pasha (manager); Anatoliy Didenko (assistant manager).
Pasha has the air of a man in his element. Didenko has the look of the man who has been disconcerted by the rapidity and boldness of the his boss’s decision-making.
DIDENKO: So this consolidation into just three squads: what implications does that have for staffing?
PASHA: Popelyshko will continue as manager of the B team. By all accounts he’s a good man, Popeyshko.
DIDENKO [pleased to find something he can agree with]: Yes, you’d struggle to find better.
PASHA: And despite the weight of his directorial responsibilities, Chaus has kindly agreed to take charge of the U21s.
DIDENKO: Has he? Do you know, I hadn’t identified dealing with youngsters as one of his main strengths.
PASHA: No, he said as much himself.
DIDENKO: I suppose if we build a support structure round him…
PASHA: There won’t be any support structure. My intention is to focus our resources as strongly as possible on the senior squad. Which is why, by the way, we’ve released Naumenko from his job as B team coach.
DIDENKO [looking relieved]: Well, I think we can live without Naumenko. But surely the U21 and B team squads need someone other than a manager?
PASHA: Oh, absolutely. We need to keep those players fit and injury-free. Otherwise we won’t be able to sell them or loan them out.
For the B team we’re looking for a fitness coach and a physio.
For the U21s too we’re looking for a physio and a fitness coach — and also a sport scientist.
[DIDENKO nods approvingly.]
And if I tell you that, for the senior squad, I’m bringing in a second physio and a couple of sport scientists, I’m thinking you’ll discern a theme…
DIDENKO: With that investment in resources, plus of course your own contribution to fitness coaching, we’ll be the fittest, least injury prone, club in Ukraine.
PASHA: I hope so, Anatoliy. That’s precisely my ambition. That will be our brand. When people hear MFC Mykolaiv, they will think ‘FITNESS’.
Image credit: “Sports Training” by staciecmorris, generously made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence.