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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
Pages  
16 May 2004

Bradford City vs Leeds United


The bell rang in the Bradford dressing room. It was showtime.

"OK, lads," said Bryan Robson, clapping his hands together. "I know I don't have to say much today. It's quite simple. If we lose, this club goes down, more than a few of us will be left looking for new clubs and Bradford City could well go out of business.

"Whatever you've got in your bodies and in your hearts, I want you to give it all out there today. Everything. I want you to think about all those fans that have come up the motorway to support us. This club means the world to them. Just remember that.

"And lads, there's good news too; it's that there's no pressure on you at all today. If it doesn't go our way, I'll take the flak. No problem. But, if there's glory to be had out there, it's all yours.

"And believe me, if we can pull this off, you lot will be heroes at this club for the rest of your lives! Now let's go out there and do this!"


"Come on!" roared the Bradford players, leaping to their feet. Adam jumped up and clenched his fist as tight as he could. He was sure that his whole career, his whole life even, had been building towards this day.

The Bradford players exited their dressing room and lined up in the tunnel. They were all jogging on the spot, nervously chewing gum and tipping their heads from side to side.

"What's up?" said Anthony Wilkes - Adam's England youth teammate and best friend in football. He locked Adam's palm in his own and pulled it to his chest.

"Anthony! How's it going? Good to see you, mate!"

"Whoa!" said Anthony, suddenly taking a surprised step back, looking at Adam suspiciously. "What's happened to you?"

"What do you mean?"

"You been on the weights or something?" Adam realised what Anthony was talking about: his new physique. It was true, he must have grown about two inches and put on a stone of muscle since their days together in the England Youth Teams.

"Yeah - you could say that," Adam smiled, remembering how on his first day with Archie he'd hardly been able to lift a five-a-side goal. Within a couple of months he'd been able to march the whole length of the pitch carrying the goal above his head.

"Hopefully I'll see you out there today," said Anthony. "I'm sub. I played for the First Team in the Cup last week."

"That's wicked!" said Adam. "Told you we'd make it!"

The Leeds United players were coming out of their dressing room now.

"OK, man. Good luck and we'll catch up later," said Anthony, slapping Adam on the back as he went.

"Yeah - see you mate." said Adam.

But the smile was wiped off Adam's face as soon as the Leeds team lined up in the tunnel. Standing next to Adam, wearing a poisonous expression on his face, was Lee Bowyer. Bowyer was glaring at Adam as though he wanted to destroy him.

Adam took a deep breath and looked straight ahead. Somehow, he'd completely forgotten that his direct opponent today would be the man whose taunts, almost exactly a year ago, had nearly wrecked Adam's entire career.

Today, they would sort this out once and for all.

On the pitch.
There is only one thing I can say about this story
2015-11-14 04:42#221596 SooruSooru : There is only one thing I can say about this story
Thanks for the support, man! :D
16 May 2004

"And you join us here in Leeds for a terrific climax to the Championship season. What a game we have in store for you today.

"The hosts, Leeds United, will need only a point to win the league title and promotion the the Premiership, while Bradford City come here knowing that only a win will be good enough to save them from relegation.

"And even the team lineups are not without a little drama. Now, who remember Adam Chabukiani? He was the young midfielder who put in a starring performance for England Under-16s in last year's Montaigu Final in France, only to be cruelly struck down in a shocking car accident only days later.

"That was the end of the young prodigy's career. Or so we thought. Today Adam Chabukiani is back... but there has been a change: Chabukiani is now playing for Bradford City!

"Chabukiani has only just started playing again, but Bantams boss Bryan Robson clearly believes he has nothing to lose today, so he's put Chabukiani in from the start!

"Buckle up, people. This could be a classic... It's Leeds United versus Bradford City... and it's live!"


Adam put his hand to his forehead to shield his eyes from the sun. He waved to his mum and Jeremy. They were in with the rest of the Bradford fans. He was so glad they made the journey. He had a good feeling about today.

As the referee put the whistle to his mouth, Bryan Robson turned to look at his troops one last time. Now was the moment for any final instructions. Any last words of inspiration. But Bryan didn't say a word. It had all been said. They all knew what they had to do.

As the whistle went to get the game underway, the noise from both sets of fans made it seem like there were a million people crammed into Elland Road. The stadium was practically vibrating! And the players responded to the atmosphere. This was more like a battle between warring gladiators than a game of football.

One particular confrontation on the halfway line between the two hard men, Dominic Matteo and David Wetherall - also playing against his old team Leeds today - was so colossal that they almost burst the ball as they went in for the tackle. Even the referee was playing his part. Apart from one early booking - Lee Bowyer for a deliberate handball - he seemed prepared to allow most things to go.

The intensity was unbelievable. Neither team were prepared to give any ground. How could they? There was too much at stake.

There was nothing between the two sides until, on eighteen minutes, Andy Gray decided it was time to interrupt the warfare with a moment of artistry. He produced one of the finest pieces of skill ever witnessed in these fans' memories.

He collected the ball from a throw-in, controlling it on his thigh with his back to goal. Then, as the ball dropped, he turned and struck a full-blooded volley high into the air. At first, no one in the ground was quite sure what he was attempting; they simply saw the ball fly up into the afternoon sky. But as the ball arced and began its descent, and the Leeds keeper suddenly turned and scampered back towards his goal, people began to see what Andy Gray's football vision had shown him a few seconds before: that he could take a shot from the halfway line!

Time stood still as the Leeds United keeper desperately raced back to try and tip the ball over. He just managed to get a hand to it. But it wasn't enough. He could only palm the ball further into the goal. It was in! Bradford had scored! They were on course! Every single Bradford player mobbed Andy Gray. Adam was so excited that he even kissed Andy's boot!

"What a goal!" screamed Adam. "You the man!"

Now the Bantams were flying. Their confidence was soaring. And on their next attack, it was time for Adam to get in on the act. As the ball came to him, his feet felt springy and powerful. He was in complete control of his body. This was his destiny. The time had come.

He took on Lee Bowyer for pace and shot past him like a brand-new Ferrari overtaking a clapped-out old banger. Bowyer only just managed to get back in time to block the cross and concede a corner. Adam bounced over to take the set piece. He had energy and confidence running through his veins. He had football power in his core He was back and he knew it.

He raised his hands in the air to clap the Bantams fans behind the goal. They were all shouting his name. And above them, in one of the posh executive boxes, smiling down eerily, was a face Adam thought he would never see again.

It was his dad.
I was not expecting the last part at all
Was he wearing a black mask with a cape, by any chance?
MJK46: Just how I wanted it ;)

Justice: Spot on description there :P
Leeds United 0 - 1 Bradford City | 37 minutes.

"Go on, Adam! Use your skills! Whip it in!" shouted the Bantams fans, as Adam prepared to take the corner. "Put it in the mixer!" but Adam felt sick. He felt weak. His legs were about to give way. He couldn't believe that, after all this time, his dad would just show up after being missing for nearly ten years. Today of all days. Hadn't he done enough damage?

Adam stepped towards the ball. He tried to curl it into the middle but his boot struck the corner flag and he fell flat on his face. It must have been the worst corner in the history of football.

"Oh dear, that's not what Adam Chabukiani would have intended," said the TV commentator, up in the gantry. "After such a positive start, perhaps nerves are beginning to get the better of the young man."

His sharpness... His hunger... It was gone. All he seemed to think about was his dad. He hated the fact that he was here, looking down at Adam. Where had he been when Adam needed him?

As the half-time whistle blew, Adam sprinted off the pitch before anyone else. He could hear the Bradford fans barracking him as he went.

"Get him off Bryan!"
"He's too young, Robson, make a change!"
We have to defend our lead, Bryan - we can't afford to play a kid now!"


And Adam couldn't blame them. He would have shouted the same. Adam sensed there was only one way out of this situation.

"What the hell's going on?!" Bryan Robson roared at Adam as soon as they got into the dressing room. "You start like a house on fire and then, for the last ten minutes, you can hardly kick a ball? It's like you don't even want to be out there. What's the problem?!"

"I'll explain later, boss," said Adam, standing up and walking towards the dressing room door. "But right now I've got to go and do something."

"What are you talking about?!" raged Bryan. "You can sit down like the rest of the lads and listen what I've got to say."

"Seriously, boss, I can't. This is something I have to do."

"If you walk out of that door, Adam, I'm subbing you. That's it."

"I promise, boss, I'll explain everything. Just give me five minutes." Adam didn't wait to hear the response. He left the dressing room.

Once he'd explained to the policeman where he wanted to go to, it was only a matter of seconds before Adam found himself in the Leeds United boardroom, which fell into a confused silence as the young midfielder, still dressed in his Bradford strip, entered the room. Everyone turned to look at Adam, but he was staring at one person.

"Adam!" said his dad, putting down his glass of wine and walking over to greet his son. Adam could now see the falseness of the smile that had fooled him for so long.

"What are YOU doing here?!" demanded Adam. He made no attempt to keep his voice down.

"What do you mean, what am I doing here?" smiled his dad, trying to usher Adam into a corner so he wouldn't cause a scene in front of everyone else in the boardroom. "I'm here for you, Adam, like always."

"Where the fuck have you been for the last ten years, then?" snarled Adam. He hadn't moved. He was standing right in the centre of the room.

"When you thought we weren't worth anything to you, you just dropped us all. Like we were a piece of rubbish. Well, newsflash! We aren't fucking rubbish! And we're not stupid, either."

"Of course you're not, Adam. Look, I'm sorry, I just had other business stuff over in Georgia," said Adam's dad, trying to put his arm around Adam's shoulder.

"Don't touch me!" shouted Adam. Now the whole room had turned to stare at them. "As far as I'm concerned, you're not my dad, and I never want to speak to you again. You're nothing to me." as he said the words, Adam felt a burden lift from his chest.

"Fine," said Georgi Chabukiani, and suddenly the smoothness in his voice was replaced by dark venom. His true colours were coming through. "But remember, Adam, you wouldn't be anything without me. I'm the one who got our family here."

"Wrong," said Adam. "You're the one that left us." as Adam walked out of the boardroom, he saw the Leeds chairman speak to two of the security guards. The guards approached Georgi and asked him to leave.

"All right!" Georgi snapped. "I'm going! Get your hands off me!"

Adam ran back to the changing room as fast as he could, but the players were already out on the pitch. As Adam sprinted down the tunnel, his heart sank. He was too late. He could see the fourth official was holding up the board. There was going to be a substitution.
ouch! great writing as always man
2015-11-14 22:10#221643 InfraRed : ouch! great writing as always man
Thanks mate :P
Leeds United 0 - 1 Bradford City | 46 minutes.

"Welcome back to Elland Road, where we can bring you news of a big half-time substitution. This should shake things up a bit... But it's not the change we were expecting... Adam Chabukiani is still on for Bradford.

"In fact, it's Leeds United who have made the change. They have brought on their prolific young centre forward Anthony Wilkes..."


"You better have a good excuse, Adam," said Bryan Robson as Adam dashed out on to the pitch to join the rest of the team.

"I'll explain everything later, gaffer," Adam insisted. "I promise you."

"Forget about that," said Robson. "Just do your talking on the pitch." then the second half kicked off.

Wilkes' height and pace made an instant impact on the game. The Bradford defence had to drop far deeper because they were scared of him running in behind. But what was even worse was that Adam could tell instantly that Wilkes was on fire. He was on a mission.

As Bradford were preparing to defend a free-kick on the edge of their area, Adam ran back into his own half and shouted to his teammates: "Oi! Watch him, yeah?" pointing to his old teammate. "He's dangerous."

Almost as soon as Adam had uttered those words, Dominic Matteo stepped up and floated in a beautiful free-kick to the far post. It bounced once before Wilkes, as brave as a lion, dived in where boots were flying to get in a header. It was a bullet of an effort. And it was Leeds' equaliser.

"No!" Adam yelled, kicking out at the advertising hoarding by the side of the pitch. He'd warned them about Wilkes! From that moment, the Leeds fans couldn't stop singing: "Champions! Champions! Champions!" they cried, roaring with pride. They knew a draw was good enough for them to win the league and promotion back to the Premier League.

Every time the ball went out of play for a goal kick, the Leeds United keeper took what seemed like an age to retrieve it, carefully place it down, take a deep run back and then launch it into the air.

Adam looked up at the massive clock behind the Leeds goal. There were now only six minutes left. Six minutes to save Bradford City. Adam knew, everyone knew, that if they went down, Bradford would go bust. They had too many debts to survive outside of the top two tiers of English football. It was simple: relegation would kill Bradford.

Adam couldn't let that happen. Not to the Bantams. They were his club. Always would be. He had to do something.

"Yes," Adam yelled as soon as he found a yard of space. David Wetherall laid the ball into his feet. "Turn!" he shouted, to tell Adam there was no one behind him. Adam spun and accelerated towards the Leeds goal. He weaved past two challenges, pushing the ball on to his favoured right foot. Now Lee Bowyer surged across to try and stop him.

One of Adam's step-overs was enough to take him past Bowyer. He was close now, close to the Leeds goal. The ground had fallen silent; everyone waiting to see what Adam Chabukiani would do next. He was going to try the chip... but he was taking too long... Bowyer had caught him now... Bowyer was lunging at him now...

Before Adam could get his shot away, Bowyer had flown into him from behind, ferociously mowing him down. He trapped both of Adam's legs under his heavy frame in the challenge. Adam crumpled to the ground.

Somewhere in the back of his brain, a word was ricocheting around Adam's senses: irreversible... irreversible... irreversible...

"Where is it, Adam?" asked the Bradford physio, rushing to get his painkilling spray out of his bag. "Tell me where it hurts." but Adam could not speak.
A few things. First It feels like Adams dad got in his head for the second half. Secondly were is the bench clearing brawl?? Finally I feel this is SOTM material right now. keep it up!
2015-11-15 02:34#221656 MJK46 : A few things. First It feels like Adams dad got in his head for the second half. Secondly were is the bench clearing brawl?? Finally I feel this is SOTM material right now. keep it up!
There's more of the second half to come so we'll see eh? ;) Thank you for the kind words as well :D
Leeds United 1 - 1 Bradford City | 88 minutes.

The referee was calling Lee Bowyer over to him. "You've had your last chance," he told Bowyer. "You knew what you were doing." he was reaching for his pocket now.

And then, suddenly, a massive roar erupted from the Bradford end of the ground. The Bradford fans had leapt to their feet. They were cheering now, punching in the air. All because they had seen Adam Chabukiani slowly haul himself to his feet!

As he stood up, the first thing that Adam saw was the referee reaching for his red card to send Lee Bowyer off. "No! Don't do that!" appealed Adam, limping towards the referee.

"What? Are you okay?" said the startled ref, looking Adam up and down.

"Yeah, no problem," smiled Adam. "I'm fine. Let him stay on. Let's play eleven versus eleven."

It was difficult to see who was more confused, Lee Bowyer or the referee. They both looked at Adam as though he'd just come back from the dead. And neither of them could work out why he was trying to save his direct opponent from being sent off. In the end, the referee simply shook his head and said "Alright, Lee. But this is your last chance!" then he put the card away.

"How's the leg?" Bryan Robson shouted across to Adam.

Little did he know it, but Lee Bowyer had just done Adam the biggest favour of his life: he'd given Adam the tackle that he'd needed to prove, once and for all, that he was over his injury. "I'm gonna be fine, Bryan," Adam yelled. "My leg... it just passed the test!"

Adam bent down and straightened his shinpad. He then looked up and stared Lee Bowyer straight in the eye.

You're only on the pitch because I saved you from being sent off, Adam said with his glare. You're on this pitch because I want you on this pitch. And now I'm going to finish you.

"Play it short," Adam whispered to Andy Gray, who was standing over the free-kick. Without saying anything, while the Leeds United wall was still organising itself, Gray flicked the ball subtly to his right. To Adam. Adam collected the ball and charged towards Lee Bowyer. He charged at him with such speed and power that Bowyer seemed spellbound, unable to react.

"Come on," Adam roared aloud as he soared towards Bowyer. "Let's see how hard you are now, Lee!" every single Bradford fan rose to their feet. Adam Chabukiani was in full flight. Adam passed the ball from one foot to the other as he approached Bowyer. Then he lifted his head and looked up at his opponent. In his eyes, he could see Bowyer's fear. They both knew that Adam was going to take him. It was just a case of when. And how...

Now! Adam shouted to himself inside his brain. Take him now! Put him on his arse! and with that, Adam dug deep into his body to find another level; a level he'd never been to before. From somewhere deep inside, he found an extra yard of pace.

Bowyer's body could not keep up with the rapid changes in direction. His legs twisted around themselves as they tried to chase after Adam. So in the end, after all his taunts and threats. the only thing Lee Bowyer could do as Adam sped away from him was... fall over. He sat on his bum like a baby.

Adam cut into the area and drew back with his right leg. The leg that had been in plaster. The leg that lost half of its muscle mass while Adam was in hospital. The leg that was held together by a bunch of metal screws. Adam gathered all the power in his body has ever possessed and channelled it into a strike. His foot flashed into the ball, pelting a supersonic rocket of a shot towards goal. It was unstoppable. The ball scorched into the top right-hand corner of the goal. It nearly ripped a hole right through the net!

Adam stood still. He turned to stare at the Leeds bench. Leeds United, the club who'd released him. The club who'd said his career was over. He wanted to run over to them, point to the name on the back of his shirt and shout "Adam Chabukiani! That's who I am! I told you I'd be back!" but before he had the chance to even do that, he was pulverised by his teammates. They collapsed into a human pile of joy.

While they were celebrating on the ground, Archie Fairclough sprinted out of the Leeds dugout and dive-bombed on top of them! Then he ran over to the Bantams fans and ripped off his shirt to reveal a t-shirt underneath, which said:

We are staying up!
We are staying up!


The Bradford fans were roaring that message back to him as he did a little jig of celebration in front of them. Archie knew the referee would send him to the stands but he didn't care. There were only seconds left. Bradford were going to do it. They were staying up. And his old maintenance assistant was the one who'd scored the goal!

Meanwhile in the other dugout, Peter Reid folded his arms aggressively across his chest. He knew the game was up. He'd just seen the Premier League promotion stolen away from him by the boy they'd released.

"The kid's a fucking star!" he shouted angrily. "We should never have let him go!"

Sitting next to him, Tommy Taylor nodded back enthusiastically. "You're right, boss. We should never have let him go, boss."

"For God's sake!" Reid roared. "I just said that!"

"It wasn't simply a good goal," the TV commentator said, as thousands of people at home watched the referee blow his final whistle. "It was a goal that saved an entire football club. Now that truly is a golden goal!"
YES! YES YES YES!

You are reading "Adam Chabukiani: Defying All Odds".

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