What a difference a year makes in football management

Grigor Pasha writes: June 2021. Here is a summary of my first two years at MFC Mykolaiv in the Ukrainian second tier. First season We start well.We go into freefall.We arrive at the winter break just above the relegation zone.After the winter break we stage a couple of mini-revivals, both of which peter out.We go … Continue reading What a difference a year makes in football management

Resurrection and the life

Early June 2020. Grigor Pasha writes: My first reaction, on learning that I'd somehow managed to keep MFC Mykolaiv in the Ukrainian second tier, was relief. But this was followed the next day by first, a sense of numbness, and then dejection. Yes, we'd stayed up. But I'd started with such high hopes. I had … Continue reading Resurrection and the life

Say not the struggle nought availeth

30 May 2020. Central Stadium, Mykolaiv. Goalkeeping coach Roman Chumak is in the stand, watching the final fixture of the league campaign. There are two relegation places to be decided and four teams in danger of the drop, of which MFC Mykolaiv are one. Mykolaiv are at home to Obolon-Brewer, who have secured a place in … Continue reading Say not the struggle nought availeth

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

30 May 2020. Central Stadium, Mykolaiv. Goalkeeping coach Roman Chumak is in the stand, watching the final fixture of the league campaign. There are two relegation places to be decided and four teams in danger of the drop, of which MFC Mykolaiv are one. Mykolaiv are at home to Obolon-Brewer, who have secured a place in … Continue reading Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Will we go down to the third tier?

30 May 2020. Central Stadium, Mykolaiv. Goalkeeping coach Roman Chumak is in the stand, watching the final fixture of the league campaign. There are two relegation places to be decided and four teams in danger of the drop, of which MFC Mykolaiv are one. Mykolaiv are at home to Obolon-Brewer, who have secured a place … Continue reading Will we go down to the third tier?

Why we play video games and what they can do for us

Du Malone writes: My experience of video games is very narrow. I've played a few in-game seasons of Cricket Captain and a few hours of a shipping game called TransOcean. That's all -- except for Football Manager (FM), which is a different story. What my experience lacks in terms of breadth, FM makes up for … Continue reading Why we play video games and what they can do for us

Elegy written in a west Ukrainian stadium

23 May 2020. Yunist Stadium, western Ukraine. Grigor Pasha, manager of Mykolaiv in the Ukrainian second tier, is reflecting after the game. After that drubbing at Prykarpattya, I was expecting the sack. It didn't happen. I guess they reasoned that, with only four fixtures left, it was too late to make a change. I made … Continue reading Elegy written in a west Ukrainian stadium

What the goalie said to himself

25 April 2020. The Karpathian foothills. Goalkeeper Amir Agalarov is on the MFC Mykolaiv bench, waiting for the game at Prykarpattya to get under way. I'm hoping that Yaroslav Kotlyarov will get injured in the first minute. Not badly, of course: I wouldn't wish that on anyone. But just enough for him to have to come … Continue reading What the goalie said to himself

Revival or a dead cat bounce? Diary of a manager

Spring 2020. Southern Ukraine. Extracts from the diary of Grigor Pasha, manager of second-tier MFC Mykolaiv. 23 March So, we had some fun hosting some friendly competitions -- the Black Sea Shield and the Black Sea Trophy. We got our squad match fit and, most importantly, our so-called sharp shooters -- Kravchenko, Soldatov, and Malyarchuk … Continue reading Revival or a dead cat bounce? Diary of a manager

At last — at long, long, last — an injection of talent

Late February, 2020. Grigor Pasha, the manager of Ukrainian second-tier club MFC Mykolaiv, is sitting at home, smoking a pipe of Turkish tobacco and staring at his laptop. His sleeves are rolled up. When I arrived here in the early summer -- My! That sunlit world full of dreams appears in my mind now like … Continue reading At last — at long, long, last — an injection of talent