About the weight of a 40-year friendship

About the weight of a 40-year friendship

“I cannot scratch a 40-year friendship lightly. Bobi Mihailov will not lose a congress with Levski’s vote against him”.

With this explanation, the majority owner and legend of the “blues”, Nasko Sirakov, argued the club’s support for Borislav Mihailov for president of the Bulgarian Football Union.

Our football may be nearing the bottom, the evidence of corruption, incompetence and lack of interest of the managers may be in front of our eyes, but nothing – we are friends. Friendship above all.

Then, in October of last year, Levski’s vote could overturn the result of the elections for the president of the BFS. However, the 40-year friendship tipped the scales, and Mikhailov barely held on to power to continue ruling as we are used to.

It’s amazing what our favorite game would be like if it wasn’t based on this type of friendship.

All of Bulgarian football at the moment can be seen as a sad consequence of such long-standing friendships and entangled interests, which have wrapped the popular sport like tentacles and are persistently dragging it down. These are the friendships that must collapse in order for Bulgarian football to have any chance of changing its direction of development.

The presence of Nikolay Mihailov in Levski in his current state must also be related to the 40-year friendship. There is no other reason why the president’s son has been tolerated for so long at “Gerena” (other friendships support him in the national team).

The 34-year-old goalkeeper has long been out of his best form, not just physically. The burdened and clumsy guard is a time bomb, ready to explode at the most inopportune moments – such as, for example, in front of the crowded stands of “Georgi Asparukhov” in a match against an unremarkable opponent, who would easily be defeated, if there were no sloppy shoots allowed.

Of course, it would be unfair to blame Mihailov alone for Gerena’s nightmare against Hamrun Spartans on Thursday night.

Levski could have decided the match much earlier against a team that had to be overcome – because of the full stadium, because of the success against the much stronger PAOK, because of the figure of Stanimir Stoilov, because of the financial income from qualifying in the next round.

Alas, the Blues’ misses were something that Stoilov and the fans expected. Even before the matches with Hamrun, the coach emphasized that the finishing pass and the finishing shot are the big weaknesses of his team.

However, Levski scored late goals in both games and it all came down to a few moments where Mihailov, as captain and leader, had to set an example for his teammates. A did the exact opposite and thwarted everyone’s efforts to score two goals almost by himself – with no real chance created in front of his goal.

Thus, the rise of Levski in the last year was severely broken. And during this period, as many good and meaningful things happened to Gerena as the supporters had not experienced for years. It’s not that Stoilov put together some super team that played alien football. But the progress since Murray’s return has been huge, the fans are hopeful, the results are there.

In order to eliminate a rival like PAOK at all, the Bulgarian Cup was won – well, it’s true, not with Nikolay Mihailov in goal, but with 17-year-old Plamen Andreev. It is probably too early for this boy to step into the European battles, but Levski made the choice not to look for an experienced goalkeeper to compete with Mihailov and patiently wait for him to lead the battle with the kilos.

The draw against Malta’s Hamrun is a direct consequence of the club’s friendship policy.

When Mihailov made that horrific mistake in the Champions League against Werder Bremen in 2006, everyone in the “blue” camp had to forgive him. Because it was a mistake by a talented goalkeeper whose career was still ahead of him.

The blunders against Hamrun are a sign of something else. A sign that the 40-year friendship already weighs too much on Levski and on the whole of Bulgarian football. And it is time for it to stop being decisive for Gerena’s club decisions.