3 June 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: So you asked me how we should scout for goalies. Let me ask you, what do you think we should be looking for?

ZACHAROV: First off, agility and reflexes.

IGNATENKO: Handling too, surely. I mean, if you’re no good with your hands, why are you in goal?

PASHA: I think they’re good answers, obviously. But I think of goalies I’ve played with. It’s great when you have one that produces saves for the camera.

But you know what, what I really always wanted was someone who simply found ways to get in the way of the ball. Some of the most effective goalies I played with were pretty ugly in their style.

ZACHAROV [opening his notebook and picking up his pen]: So your turn, boss. What is it you think we should be looking for?

PASHA: Well, communication, definitely. Our defenders need someone to remind them what they should be doing, no question.

But [looking pensive] I’m also thinking bravery, concentration, decision-making, determination, and positioning. And anticipation would be a very welcome bonus.

Andrey, Pavel: you both look uneasy.

ZACHAROV: Oh, well, I mean all those qualities will be welcome . It’s just that, as a list of priorities, it’s unconventional.

PASHA: True. But perhaps, by differentiating our search from theirs, we might uncover an undervalued asset. I’m sure ugly goalkeepers come with a discount.

[Enter Chaus, looking flustered, in all ill-fitting tracksuit.]

And it doesn’t work out, we can blame it on our Director of Football here.

CHAUS: Sorry I’m late, chaps. U21s training over-ran. But I heard the word ‘blame’, so I assume that we’re discussing our chairman’s commitment to investing in people.

 

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