Grigor Pasha writes: June 2021. Here is a summary of my first two years at MFC Mykolaiv in the Ukrainian second tier.

First season

  1. We start well.
  2. We go into freefall.
  3. We arrive at the winter break just above the relegation zone.
  4. After the winter break we stage a couple of mini-revivals, both of which peter out.
  5. We go into the last match of the season still in danger of relegation.
  6. We finish one place above relegation.
  7. The board, for reasons best known to themselves, give me a new contract.
  8. Mariya (my half-sister) comes over from Bulgaria to stay and persuades me that the above constitutes success.

Inter-season and pre-season

  1. I prepare to strength the squad by allowing some contracts to lapse and sending some players out on loan.
  2. I play a blinder in the market, bringing in a couple of players on frees and several on loan from bigger clubs.
  3. We strengthen the coaching staff.
  4. We work out some new set piece routines

Second season

  1. We start well.
  2. We go into freefall.
  3. We arrive at the winter break just inside the relegation zone.
  4. After the winter break we stage a couple of mini-revivals, both of which peter out.
  5. We go into the last match of the season still in danger of relegation.
  6. We finish one place above relegation.
  7. The board, for reasons best known to themselves, give me a new contract.
  8. Mariya (my half-sister) comes over from Bulgaria to stay and persuades me, well, not to give up.

In other words, for all my endeavour, the season panned out almost identically.

Mariya, bless her, again sought to persuade me that this constituted success: “You did what they wanted. They wanted you to keep them up. You kept them up.”

Yes, Mariya, dearest. But I want more than just be grimly hanging on. I want the taste of success. or, at least, the promise of it. Or at least a glimpse of the promise.

So here I am: not drowned but wavering.

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