30 May 2019. The manager’s office, Central Stadium, Mykolaiv.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE: Grigor Pasha (manager); Andrey Zacharov (Chief Scout) and Pavel Ignatenko (Scout). Yuriy Chaus (Director of Football) is expected but has been delayed by matters pertaining to his new responsibility managing the U21s.

PASHA: OK, so the database is reasonably extensive. But actually that constitutes a  problem.

ZACHAROV: Problem? How?

PASHA: There are some gaping holes in the squad. The right-hand side is almost non-existent. Central defence, central midfield, and the bits in between aren’t too hot either. If we’re going to plug those gaps we’re going to have to move fast. So there’s no time to scout scores of players. I mean there’s only two of you. Plus Chaus, of course.

ZACHAROV: True, but what is to be done?

IGNATENKO: Could we create a database within a database? I don’t mean a short-list; I mean a long-list, but not a very long list. A medium list, if you like.

PASHA: That works for me. So here are the qualities I’m looking for, based on the kind of football I’d like to  be able to develop over time.

[ZACHAROV reaches for his notebook.]

First, I don’t want them to be able to play only with one foot. Second, they need to score highly — well, more realistically, they need not to score too lowly — in most, if not all, of the following: touch; technique; decision-making; positioning or off-the-ball movement; teamwork; work-rate; agility; quickness; natural fitness; and stamina.

ZACHAROV: That’s for outfield players…

PASHA: Yes. Goalkeepers, we will consider shortly. But in the meantime, let’s get cracking on establishing a pool of outfield players. Now I must be getting on.

[Pasha exits.]

ZACHAROV: ‘The kind of football I’d like to be able to develop…’: what do you suppose that means?

IGNATENKO: Search me. Doubtless all will be revealed. But, in the meantime, if we’re to exclude all players who are left- or right-footed only, then our task is made very much easier.


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