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Adam Chabukiani: Defying All Odds

The story of a young Georgian refugee, born through the chaos of the Abkhazia War to find his feet in the footballing world.
Started on 5 October 2015 by Jack
Latest Reply on 5 July 2019 by Justice
Nobody likes him anyway!

14th April 2020

I parked up my Honda S2000 in the allotted staff car park. Some players still got the bus from their apartments, especially players like Tony Cooke who hadn't even passed their driving tests yet. Some arrived together in cars, like Matthew Fletcher and Ben Blackmore who turned up in Ben Foster's Audi R8.

'Hiya boss,' shouted over Matty James, who clicked the button which locked his car up after dragging out his Adidas bag full of football gear like boots, shinpads, kit and deodorant.

'Hi Matty!' I called over in response, 'Feeling good today? Massive game,' it really was a huge game today. We just needed a win from this game against Rotherham and that would send us into the Premier League for next season via automatic promotion.

James walked over to join me as we walked in through the players' entrance which had been constructed with the most recent stadium expansion at Horsfall Stadium. 'Absolutely boss, went to bed when my kid went to sleep last night at six - couldn't have had a better kip if I tried!'

'Mine was completely the opposite,' I said. 'I couldn't get a wink of sleep last night whether it be the excitement or how I would set you lot out to play today - I don't know,'

'Well we're looking up to you today, boss.' Matty James winked at me before jogging off to join his teammates in the changing rooms.

I waited outside the changing rooms, doing a head count as everyone scuttled into the Lynx-scented room. As my Assistant Manager Wayne Benn turned up he got up close to me, saying in a very low voice: 'Have you not heard?'

'No, what?' I asked in a confused manner.

'Jamie Carragher's watching us today, I don't know who he's looking at.' he looked concerned. Carragher had become Queens Park Rangers manager over December 2019 and was looking at one of our men today.

'Ah, it's nothing to worry about Wayne,' I said propping my arm up on his shoulder. 'We get gaffers down here all the time, but the fact is if we win today then we can become one of those teams who just poach players all the time,' I walked off without waiting for a response from Benn.

'Right then boys! Listen in, I believe we've got everyone in,' I said as I clapped my hands to get everyone's attention. 'Right, same formation as usual - Foster, you're in net surprisingly. Mason, Gary, Ty and Miguel at the back,' I looked towards Holgate, Cahill, Browning and Layún while saying that. 'Marcos and Ben Blackmore in the middle, Hallahan on the right, Shigeru on the left. Up top we'll have Carabina and Matthew Fletcher.' I looked across the changing rooms. 'The rest will be on the bench so keep warm, it's 12 degrees out there today.'

The players responded well to my selection and began to get changed into their kits, or into their tracksuits if they were substitutes.

'Listen boys, this is the biggest game in this clubs' history. People will be looking back on this game saying "that was the game that got us into the Premier League". As footballers some of you will not have a bigger match than this in your entire careers,' I paused for effect before raising my voice tenfold. 'NOW LET'S FUCKING DO THIS!'

The players ran out onto the pitch after they had shook hands with today's opponents and officials. Me, Wayne Benn and several coaches, physios and substitutes took our places on the bench for today's match. I felt Wayne Benn's arms wrap around me, whispering 'Fucking come on...'

The referee blew the first whistle of the match as Rotherham's strikers kickstarted the biggest day in Bradford Park Avenue history.

Our first chance came very early into the first half. Layún picked up the ball for a throw-in on the far side of the pitch. A throw to Ben Blackmore was quickly returned as Layún dribbled inside with the ball. Gondo and Layún played a one-two down the left flank before the left-back gave it back to Blackmore. Blackmore found his central midfield partner Llorente on the edge of the box, with his back to goal. Llorente found Fletcher with a great pass and the Australian hit the post before it was cleared.

'Bollocks!' I shouted, rather embarrassingly loud. As much as I was disappointed we didn't get an early goal, it was magnificent football and I hoped it set the tone for the entire game.

Then, in the thirteenth minute of the match another chance arose for us. Adam Davies had kicked the ball out from a goal kick. Tyias Browning's headed clearance could only reach Madine in our half. Madine played it to Loza who was excellently dispossessed by Gary Cahill, as the former England defender marched out with the ball unchallenged by red shirts. Cahill hit a fast, low ball along the ground for Fletcher to stop and control. I stepped up off my seat as the striker played a wonderful through ball for Carabina. Carabina rounded the keeper and scored...

'YEEEESSSSS!!!!' I jumped out of my seat. The crowd went wild, with some fans even spilling onto the pitch which the jobsworth stewards hated. 'Have it!!!' In celebration, Carabina - the goalscorer - ran over to the right hand corner flag, doing some very jazzy samba dancing before being taken down to the turf by his overjoyed teammates. GET IN I thought to myself.

Then came a chance for our opponents, Rotherham United. Crowley swung in a corner, Holgate came off his position on the post to head it far away. Rotherham skipper Richard Keogh went to gather the ball in between the penalty area and the centre spot. Loza picked out a beautiful pass to the initial corner taker Crowley. Crowley passed a ball inside to Gary Madine who thundered an equaliser into the top corner.

Our stadium fell silent, with all that could be heard was my expletives from the dugout as I punched the brick structure in front of me out of anger, which severely hurt my knuckles. I watched as the opposition manager raced to the touchline in celebration along with other members of his staff. I wanted to hit him at that point, nobody can take away my big day.

Near half-time, we had a corner which was taken by our Japanese winger Shigeru Gondo. Philliskirk headed it away at the near post but Matthew Fletcher retrieved it on the left wing. The Aussie found the oncoming Miguel Layún from left-back and the Mexican passed it to his Latin buddy Marcos Llorente in the centre. Llorente gave it to Hallahan's feet inside the area and turned his marker inside out. Hallahan unleashed a powerful shot which hit the bar before falling gratefully into the hands of Adam Davies.

I was wondering, is it our day today? We had hit the post once, the crossbar once, they have had two shots and one of them equalises the score and we're pretty much at half-time. I'm getting a bad feeling.

The team came into the changing rooms at half-time deflated after conceding that goal in the 22nd minute. 'It's all okay boys. There's nothing to worry about out there today.' I said to the team calmly. 'We've been given a rough deal so far with that goal, but this is a brilliant performance by all of you. These fans have loved you this season and all they need is one goal and you will be known as the team who sent this club into the top-flight,'

After letting them talk amongst each other for the rest of the break, it was Matthew Fletcher who kicked us off for the second half.

Andy Kellett took the throw in for Rotherham in their own territory. It arrived straight at Mason Holgate's feet who launched a pass up to Fletcher, who was bullied in the air by Keogh, but his clearance only ended back at Llorente's feet. This time Llorente actually found Fletcher's feet with the pass and he controlled it well. He linked up with Carabina who held up the ball for Fletcher's run, to which he backheeled the ball through Prestia's legs as Fletcher powered the ball low at Davies' near post.

Horsfall Stadium erupted into a sea of noise as the goal net rippled to contain the sheer power that Matthew Fletcher had injected into his shot. I cheered in unison with the fans as Wayne Benn ran onto the pitch in the moment of absolute joy. We could well be going up today, all thanks to the hero that is Matthew Fletcher.

I decided that making a double substitution was the best decision for now, with some players beginning to run out of steam. 'Luke, Matty, get warmed up,' I smiled at both Luke Lloyd, Matty James who rushed out of the dugout to start doing exercises down the touchline. Marcos Llorente and Tyias Browning were coming off.

Kellett took the corner as we were trying to see out the rest of the game. He rifled it out to Cain who passed it to Gladwin. Gladwin sent it back out to Kellett who powered it into the box this time, which was met by Atdhe Nuhiu. There was a moment where my body stopped working as I waited for the goalline scramble to end. Ben Foster eventually held onto the ball, much to the delight of my body which then began to function once more.

It was about the 80th minute when I heard the public announcer on the Tannoy speakers telling fans to keep off the pitch at the end of the game today. That was when it begun to sink in that we were really doing this today.

92 minutes. We are winning 2-1 and the fans are whistling to the referee to make him realise that time is up. Ben Blackmore kicks it to Miguel Layún, who gives it to Gondo and runs down the line, possibly to get into the corner so Rotherham can't equalise any time soon. As he made his way down to the corner flag on the near side, that was when I heard the screech of the whistle.

Absolute pandemonium. The fans ignored the public announcer from ten minutes earlier and raced onto the Horsfall Stadium pitch in jubilation. I didn't blame them one bit. If I was still just a fan of this club, I would be doing the exact same thing. We had just completed our journey, from the depths of Vanarama National League North, to the Premier League in the space of five years is something no other fan will experience.

I was picked up by three fans, two had both my legs and one was propping up my waist as I was carried aloft everybody in the celebrations. This was my life as manager of Bradford Park Avenue, and nobody was going to take that away from me. The images that would come out today in the press will be the ones plastered around Horsfall Stadium and every Bradford surroundings nearby.

We are Premier League.
Brilliant stuff mate, wow! Premier League bound!
The premier league better watch out they won't know whats gonna hit them. Or they will and you get relegated :P
All up in this buisness!!
Fantastic achievement mate, now to go and take the Premier League by storm!
Fantastic achievement, congratulations!
Soze: I'm still trying to comprehend it mate! ;)

ninjaskill: Well there's dampening the mood and then there's that :))

Griffo: Big business in that Premier League stuff ay ;)

mgriffin2012: I bloody hope so! It was hard enough getting there I want at least top ten ;)

Justice: Thanks matey :D

A massive month for us as we near the end of the 2019/2020 season. As you saw earlier in the week, we were promoted by a 2-1 win over Rotherham United, with no other than Matthew Fletcher bagging the goal that will make us play Premier League football next season. The month began with a bang as we entertained both sets of fans and the neutrals with a 4-3 win over Southampton, who have failed to make the Play-Offs this season. We kept our sixteen-game unbeaten streak going into May as we didn't concede a loss to any teams this month.

As you can see, in the top six there is basically nothing to play for apart from the title, which only either us or Derby County can win. The Play-Off places have all now been allocated to Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion.

At the other end of the table, Birmingham City are the only confirmed team to be relegated, but Middlesbrough need a late miracle to get themselves out of the drop zone. Millwall have a chance of Championship football next season, with The Lions only one point behind Blackburn and three points behind Brighton and Peterborough. The likes of Preston, Norwich, Huddersfield and Bournemouth are also not safe yet but are less likely to be relegated.

He did it last month, and he's done it again in April. Our Brazilian magician has won the Player of the Month award for the second consecutive month with some more outstanding performances, with the 21-year-old involved in a total of nine goals this month, he really is a great buy with 18 goals and 9 assists in 20 league games.

Jack's avatar Group Jack
8 yearsEdited

In the penultimate game of the Championship season, Bradford Park Avenue confirmed their victory which secured their league title.

Derby County lost out to Wigan Athletic in their 45th match of the season as former Avenue star Mason Bennett helped his old team with the goal which handed Bradford PA the title which they have so deserved this season.

Bradford made sure that the win was put beyond all doubt with a 3-2 victory over Huddersfield Town, with Huddersfield's O'Donnell scoring an own goal as Carabina and Michael Lieblein.

Bradford Park Avenue were able to lift their trophy at the familiar surroundings of Horsfall Stadium after the game as the travelling Huddersfield Town fans applauded the new heroes of football. The Terriers fans had a short drive from Huddersfield but left the stadium happy as they avoided relegation.

This is because both Middlesbrough and Millwall were confirmed as relegated today, with Middlesbrough drawing with Norwich and Millwall losing to Southampton sealing both of their fates before the last ball has been kicked for either teams.

With Bradford PA champions and Derby County already promoted, it is now up to the four teams in the Play-Offs to battle it out for the final promotion spot as they look for the big money in the top-flight.

Bradford Park Avenue are already expecting their big payout for competing and winning the Championship this season as they march into the Premier League in time for the new decade.

The Championship already know two Premier League teams that they will be facing next season in the Championship as Aston Villa succumb to one of their worst seasons in history, while Queens Park Rangers have also been relegated. Stoke City are currently in 18th but are level on points with Hull City and two points behind Wolves as they head into their final game of the season on the 17th May.
Congratulations on the league title.... Now all that's left is to conquer the Premier League!

As Bradford Park Avenue march on into the Premier League, changes at the club are already taking place as the board announce the construction of the clubs' new stadium.

With the plans put in place back when Horsfall Stadium received its last expansion, the plans were confirmed as Avenue revealed on their website and social networks earlier this afternoon.

Fans and officials related to the club were worried with regards to the stadium as they finished celebrating winning the league title. This is primarily because in the Premier League, the stadium requirements show that you need a minimum capacity of 12,000 and undersoil heating. Horsfall Stadium had neither.

The furthest that Bradford PA could expand Horsfall Stadium to was 7,500 because of restricted land around the stadium.

The official name of the new stadium will simply be: The Avenue. However, with John Dean securing a five-year stadium sponsorship deal worth £7,500,000 with 3i Group Plc., the stadium will be renamed 3i Arena due to that reasoning.

This multimillion pound sponsorship deal will help fund the new stadium as well as the £550,000 that is to be made by selling off Horsfall Stadium.

In total, The Avenue will cost the club £24,000,000 to construct, and are financing the move with a £23.65million loan which will be paid back over the course of ten years at a rate of £1.75million per month.

This is the single largest fee that the club have paid out for one development - eclipsing the £2,500,000 the club paid for the most recent expansion of Horsfall Stadium.

This isn't the only development going on over in West Yorkshire, with the club also developing their youth and training facilities for an estimated fee of £775,000. The club were proud to confirm that they received no external spending for this development which should be completed in five months time.

The new stadium is scheduled to be finished construction at the end of the 2020/2021 season with the stadium holding 15,493 seats and boasting undersoil heating for the first time in the clubs history.

The current contents of Peel Park on Cliffe Road will be ripped up for the construction of the stadium.
Great news with both the Championship title and the new stadium! The club is on the up well and truly now!
Terrific news in regards to the new stadium, time to build some memories there!
mgriffin2012: Cheers mate! I am really thinking so with all of the developments put forward by the board :D

Griffo: It'll be sad leaving Horsfall Stadium after so long, but you're absolutely right about the new era :)

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