A suitcase without a handle forgotten in a storage room: what happens to Metalist


Back in January, we had to admit that the management of Metalist made an extremely surprising decision when, instead of Oleg Ratiya, they appointed the Serbian specialist Peritsa Ognenovic as the acting head coach of the team. Under the previous coach, the Kharkiv team did not shine at all in the Ukrainian Premier League, but they managed to leave for the winter break in 11th place. With Ognenovich, the team predictably went downhill, having gained only one victory in 12 matches (with three draws and eight defeats), and even that over the same hopeless outsider of the elite as the current Metalist itself – Lviv (1: 0).

When four months ago, the author of these lines shared the impression that with the appointment of Peritsa Ognenovich, Metalist had clearly taken the wrong path, even in the comments to that material there were many supporters of “conspiracy theories” – they say that it was the journalists who deliberately “drowned” the team and “ cling to her. But after four months and after 6 points scored in 12 matches, no one is screaming about third-party intrigues around the team, because even the hardcore fans of the current club management have become obvious that the project is really moving with “negative acceleration”.

The fact that the appointment of Ognenovich did not improve in any way, or even worsened, the situation within the team became clear back in mid-March. By that time, Metalist had fallen from 11th to 15th place in the UPL standings, and the media reported that the Serbian specialist no longer actually performs his functions, being such a “wedding general” in the team. And even though those rumors were never officially confirmed, and Ognenovich de facto continued to perform his functions, this did not change the essence of the matter.

Ognenovich managed to get his first and so far only victory at the head of Metalist only in the tenth match in the Premier League. It is symbolic that the Serb, as his colleague Yuriy Lyakhovetsky calculated, was on a par with such very dubious figures in the history of our championship as Jacob Gall (Stal Kamenskoye), Giannis Christopoulos (Tavriya), Fabrizio Ravanelli (Arsenal-Kiev) ), Sergio Navarro (“Carpathians”), Eric van der Meer (“Steel” Kamianske), Dario Drudi (“Zirka”)…

How did the path of club projects end, the teams of which at a certain stage were headed by the specialists listed above? Where are Stal Kamensk, Tavriya Simferopol, Arsenal-Kyiv from the capital, Karpaty Lviv and Zirka from Kropyvnytskyi now, perhaps, none of the true admirers of domestic football needs to be further told.

Most likely, Metallist is now going on a similar route. Judge for yourself: in order to maintain a residence permit in the Ukrainian Premier League for the next season, the Kharkiv team needs to get at least two wins and score 6 points in the remaining three rounds, and this is taking into account that Inhulets, Rukh and Veres in their matches for a similar tournament segment will not score a single point. Only then will Metalist manage not only to avoid direct relegation from the elite, but even the stage of transitional matches. How realistic is this? No more than a couple of percent, and even then such an optimistic forecast for Kharkiv residents can only be made solely as a sign of respect for the theory of probability.

As in the case of Lviv, the situation with Metalist is moving in the only logical direction – towards relegation from the Premier League. And this is not a question of positive or negative attitude towards the Kharkov football project revived by Alexander Yaroslavsky. You just need to objectively assess the situation.

When a team in an obvious crisis signs an absolute no-name for the domestic football market in the person of 25-year-old left-back Roberto Corral, this is either a desperate attempt to find the notorious diamond in the mountains of waste rock, or some kind of agency business that has nothing to do with football. Why was the Spaniard chosen as a negative example? Judge for yourself: in seven UPL matches played for Metalist, Corral’s effectiveness is 56%. In total, on average, he performs only 44 actions in terms of 90 minutes of playing time. And this, let’s not forget, is not an attacking player, but a left-back in a team that is an outsider of the tournament and, therefore, is forced to play “from the stove” most of the time.

In fact, personnel issues for the management of the current Metalist, as they say in such cases, are a wagon and a small cart. For example, what does the 34-year-old Brazilian veteran Anderson Pico do in the Kharkiv club, who, interestingly, also plays on the left flank of the defense? Even on the UPL website, the profile of this legionnaire contains data that makes it clear that the current Pico, in terms of his physical dimensions, is rather not a football player, but a boxer or weightlifter. With a height of 170 centimeters, to have a weight of 83 kilograms … It still surprises you that all that Anderson Pico has done since his October transfer to Metalist is 10 minutes in a duel against fellow countrymen from Metalist 1925 in November 2022?..

UPL. Anderson Pico

Do not forget that in the classical sense of personnel management in football, and even in the championship, where there is a limit on legionnaires, invited foreigners should be higher in their level than those who can be signed on the market for a comparable budget. Even a cursory analysis of the composition of the current Metalist makes it clear that the money spent on the conditional Corral or Pico with a high degree of probability could have been invested in Ukrainian players, and it certainly could not have been worse. It might be possible to save even more. And we are forced to talk about all this against the background of permanent rumors about wage arrears, which in Metalist, as well as in a number of other UPL clubs, is about three months.

Therefore, one should not be surprised when, during the match against Metalist 1925, the TV camera snatches out the Metalist coaching staff in the person of Peritsa Ognenovich and his assistant Ruslan Fomin, who, losing in the score 0:2, sit quietly sitting on the bench, either in prostration, or in some kind of half-asleep. Obviously, both are well aware that they are no longer able to influence anything, and if so, then why waste energy, because nerve cells do not recover, and everyone has only one life …

Ruslan Fomin and Peritsa Ognenovich

It is obvious that next summer Metalist’s football project is in for big upheavals. The current management has not shown its ability to pleasantly surprise, especially in a situation close to critical. The fact that Alexander Yaroslavsky stopped investing in his once beloved offspring was reported in the press back in January… The ideological inspirer of this project, Yevgeny Krasnikov, now has enough worries at Dnipro-1, which is fighting a fierce championship battle with Shakhtar.

So it turns out that the current Metalist is no longer just the notorious suitcase without a handle, but a suitcase without a handle, and even forgotten by the owner in the storage room. Will he ever return for it, will he remember the loss? And if so, will he not decide to throw it away immediately, so as not to fool his head in the future? There are a lot of similar questions around Metalist now. But with the answers, as well as with the results of the team in the UPL, things are extremely bad …

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2023-05-23 13:30:00

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