The name I go by in the world of football is Grigor Pasha, though I’m popularly known as Grisha. Grigor is a Bulgarian name. My mother was Bulgarian. Pasha is a Turkish name. I’m told that my father was Turkish.
The name ‘Grigor’ is associated with shepherding and the idea of being watchful. ‘Pasha’ is associated with leadership and implies high rank.
As it happens, the combination of shepherding and leadership perfectly captures the kind of football manager I aspire to be.
I’m less sure about the ‘high rank’ bit — my natural habitat is the lower leagues. But we can all aspire.
I’m a Black Sea man through and through, having been born, rather to my mother’s surprise, during a ferry crossing.
My playing career was undistinguished. Let’s not go into details: I like to be a little bit creative (so to speak) when presenting my football CV to prospective employers.
When my playing days came to an end I joined the merchant navy, which took me from port to port across the Black Sea.
My voyages enabled me to develop an interesting network and, after a while, I left the navy in order to work for some of my contacts and their organisations — as a consultant, shall we say?
Were you minded to try to trace activities during these years, you might find it difficult (though I’m told there’s a file on me, somewhere in Odessa). For one thing. ‘Grigor’ has a number of variants that I liked to switch between (for example, Gregor, Grigori, and even Krikor).
For another, like many sailors I acquired a woman in every port, Well, not every port, but at least several. If I haven’t made it easy for them to re-acquaint themselves with me, it’s because I could never afford all the paternity payments.
Besides, some of the organisations that I ‘consulted’ for think that obscurity might be a good thing.
Return to football
Now that I’m turning 60, I have decided to return to football and try to develop a career for myself as a manager.
I find that, while I’ve been away, the game has changed a bit. I hear words like ‘enganche’ and ‘segundo volante’ and, well, they’re all Greek to me.
But then I think, the size of the pitch hasn’t changed and there’s still a goal at both ends and, at the end of the day (sorry!), it’s all about scoring more than you concede.
I don’t need a data analyst to tell me that, do I?