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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  
28 January 2004

The rain was beating down so violently on the groundsman's decrepit old shed that Adam could hardly hear the knock of his fist against the weathered wooden door. When it finally opened, a man stood in front of him, holding a steaming mug of tea in his huge, rough hands. He had an aggressive expression on his face.

"Hi," smiled Adam, attempting to hold his nerve. "I'm here about the job."

"What job?" snapped the man impatiently. "We haven't advertised a job."

"I know," nodded Adam. "But I want one."

As the heavy storm continued to pelt down, a fat drop of water snaked its way down Adam's soaked scalp, tickling his neck as it trickled along its journey. Adam didn't flick it away; he was focusing all his attention on the man standing in front of him.

Meanwhile, Archie Fairclough, Bradford City's Head Groundsman and Kit Manager, looked the young lad up and down. What had brought him here on a Thursday morning in the pouring rain? Didn't he go to school?

The kid seemed keen enough, and Archie knew that, now more than ever, he could do with an extra pair of hands around the place... But he was always wary of people who came asking for a job at Bradford. What were their real motives. He pulled his thumb and his fingers across his chin as his mind edged towards a decision. Strange, he thought to himself, I could have sworn I'd seen this kid before somewhere.

"There ain't no money in it, if that's what you're after,"
he grunted. "We're not on footballers' wages, you know... And we might be all out of a job come May anyway, if we end up going down."

"I don't care," the boy responded. "I'm not here for the money. I just want to help." And what's more, Archie Fairclough could have sworn he was telling the truth.
Another strong post, Jack. You do a nice job introducing characters and you've set a good tone for the meeting between Adam and Fairclough. Just an example of why a post doesn't always have to be long to be good.
Has to be one of the best written stories I've read. Every post just leaves me wanting more! KIU!
29 January 2004

Archie Fairclough probably looked older than he actually was. When Adam had first seen him, he'd thought that he must have been about seventy. But, having worked with him for just a few hours, Adam soon realised that the wrinkles he'd taken for age were actually just lines - evidence of the countless days he'd spent out in the open air.

The other feature that struck Adam about Archie was his strength. With his huge hands, he'd clasp a set of five-a-side goals, raise them above his head and walk the length of the pitch with them. His tattooed biceps bulged through the Bradford T-shirt that was his daily uniform

"All right, Cloughie!" all the Bradford First Teamers shouted whenever they saw Archie.

He was pretty much a legend within the club. He'd been the Bantams' groundsman for twenty years, and when Manchester United hero Bryan Robson had been appointed as Bradford City manager in November, one of the first decisions he'd made was to give Archie a promotion and ask him to sit in the dugout during First Team games.

So now Archie's grand title was Head Groundsman and Kit Manager. Adam's title was simply Archie Fairclough's assistant.

"What's your second name, by the way?" asked Archie as he led Adam out to the pitches. "I need to know to let the finance people know all your details so that you get your huge pay packet at the end of the month!" for some reason this made Archie laugh almost uncontrollably. He was properly cracking up. His mug was shaking so much that the tea was beginning to spill down the side.

"Chabukiani," said Adam.

"Chabukiani, eh?" Archie repeated, studying Adam closely as he spoke. "You know, there was a good fella I used to know with that last name. Georgi or George or something like that. I met him on holiday one time when I went around Eastern Europe with a few lads I used to know here. Jet black hair, startling blue eyes. A typical Eastern European."

"Oh, really?" said Adam. He took a step back from Archie, quick to realise he was talking and describing with perfection, his missing fathers features. He could feel the slightly salty prickle of a tear in the corner of his eye. "How long ago was this?"

"Oh, a good fifteen years now, aye," replied Archie.

"Ah, I see. squeaked Adam.

"OK," said Archie, changing the subject. "The first thing you can do is take these over to the academy boys." he was pointing to a crate of energy drinks.
2015-11-09 22:55#221379 C.J.Lippo : Has to be one of the best written stories I've read. Every post just leaves me wanting more! KIU!
I have to agree with CJ here, this story certainly keeps the reader scrolling for more. Good job Jack!
tenthreeleader: Thanks! I realised the lengthy updates were taking too much time for my readers thanks to you and I appreciate the feedback and encourage anymore ways to improve my story :D

C.J. Lippo: Thank you mate! Means a lot to receive that kind of praise so early into the long story I hope this turns out to be :D
1
31 January 2004

As soon as Adam got home from the training ground this night, he went straight into the bathroom and locked the door behind him. He had been embarrassed in front of his boss, Archie after dropping one of the five-a-side goals. He couldn't get the event out of his head.

He struggled to pull his clinging wet tracksuit top over his shoulders and head. When he finally managed it, he tossed the sodden top on to the floor, with it laying inside-out due to Adam's struggle to take it off.

As Adam looked up, his reflection in the mirror gave him a shock. He hadn't studied his body in the mirror for months. He twisted his white, freckled form from side to side, eyeing every inch of himself in the glass.

He softly patted his belly. Gone was the taut, hard stomach that he'd gained by doing hundreds of sit-ups during his Leeds United academy days. Instead, here was the flabby result of all the ice cream and chips that he'd tucked away mindlessly during his months as a couch potato.

Adam traced his hands up his body, towards his chest. He squeezed the loose flesh. He couldn't believe it. He even had the beginning of man boobs! He was right. Adam was fat. He ran his fingers through his thick, spiky hair.

"Right! Time for a change!" he said to himself, with a new determination in his voice. Then he picked up his clippers and began that change.

1 February 2004

"Oo, someone's had a haircut!" said Archie when Adam got to work on Monday. "But if you wanted to borrow the mower, you only had to ask!"

"What do you mean?" asked Adam, not getting in on the hearty joke from Archie.

"Oh, doesn't matter," chuckled Archie, his laughter slowly subsiding. "Gaffer says they're playing five-a-side today, so we need to move these goalposts over to that field. Follow me." Archie seemed to have forgotten yesterday's failure by Adam at lifting the goalposts very quickly.

Adam watched as Archie hauled the set of goals above his head and began the arduous trek to the other side of the training ground. Adam tried to lift the goals. But they were seriously heavy; Adam pulled, but he couldn't get them off the ground. Archie looked around and waved him on impatiently. There was no way he could say he was too weak. This was his job. Somehow, he had to lift the goals.

He bent his knees and crouched down beneath the crossbar. He exhaled a few times, as he'd seen weightlifters do. Then, with a huge push of his lungs and a rush of power through his arms and shoulders, he raised the goals high above his head. A little unsteady at first, he soon found his balance and followed Archie's direction.

Adam's whole body ached by the time they reached the training pitch and he and Archie laid the goals down either end. His thighs, which had taken the brunt of the carrying, were throbbing so hard, it felt as though they might burst through Adam's tracksuit bottoms.

"Thanks for that, Cloughie," said a man in a tracksuit, striding purposefully on to the pitch. Adam instantly knew who the man was. It was Bryan Robson, the manager of Bradford City.

"No problem, gaffer," said Archie, more cheerful than Adam had ever seen him before. "We'll come and collect them when training's finished."

"Nice one," said Bryan. Then he turned to look at Adam. "And I take it this is the new member of staff you've been telling me about, Cloughie?"

"Sure is, gaffer," replied Archie. "He's been with us a couple of weeks now. Good to have an extra pair of hands around the place."

"Yup - we need all the help we can get at the moment," Robson said, stretching out his hand for Adam to shake. "What did you say your name was again?"

"Adam, sir... I mean gaffer... I'm Adam." he said, nervously. They shook hands.

"Welcome to Bradford, Adam," said Robson, smiling widely. "Good to have you on board."
2015-11-09 23:10#221382 Justice :
2015-11-09 22:55#221379 C.J.Lippo : Has to be one of the best written stories I've read. Every post just leaves me wanting more! KIU!
I have to agree with CJ here, this story certainly keeps the reader scrolling for more. Good job Jack!
Thanks, Justice. Always great to receive praise early on in the story and it's encouraging me to push more and more updates out each day. Thanks again :D
5 March 2004

Sometimes, on a Friday, as a treat, Archie would let Adam go and watch the Bradford City team train ahead of their weekend match.

Adam loved being so close to the action. Although more than anything else he would have wanted to be out there on the pitch himself, standing as an observer on the touchline gave him an opportunity. He could study the game in a way that wasn't possible when he was in the thick of the action.

For the first time, Adam was able to analyse the way that football actually worked. The player Adam most liked to watch was Andy Gray. He was the Bradford playmaker and he wore the number ten - the shirt of legends.

Bryan Robson, jokingly, had said in an interview recently that, if Gray had been Brazilian, he would have had a hundred caps and been a national hero. And it was certain that, if Bradford did end up being relegated, Gray would be transferred to a bigger team. He was way too skillful a player not to be playing in Division One or above.

Adam marvelled at how Gray could spray fifty-yard through-balls to the striker, each one of them inch-perfect. He could even put backspin on his passes so that the ball held up enough to prevent the goalkeeper coming out to intercept them.

For a second, Adam allowed himself to imagine what it would be like playing in the same team as Andy Gray: Adam would be playing alongside him, knowing he could just run for any distance and Gray could find him with one of his perfect passes...

But then Adam stopped himself. He knew that was a painful scab to pick at.
This is fantastic!!! Keep it up!
2015-11-10 11:42#221410 smithy079 : This is fantastic!!! Keep it up!
Thanks man! :D
26 March 2004

"All right, I'm off, Archie," Adam called into the shed. As the training ground was empty, he'd mowed every single pitch today. He'd probably walked about five miles in total!

"Did you make sure all the touchlines were completely straight?" asked Archie. He was obsessed with the touchlines. They all had to be exactly perfect.

"Of course!" chuckled Adam. "See you next week!"

"And where do you think you're going?" said Archie, poking his head out of the shed.

"Home," said Adam. "I'm done."

"Not quite," said Archie, reaching inside to produce two tins of white paint from one of his cupboards. "I reckon our little shed could do with a lick of paint, don't you?" he smiled. "Especially now that it's an office for two..."

"Ah, come on, Archie," Adam protested. "It's the weekend and I'm seriously knackered. Can't we do it on Monday?"

"No rest for the wicked, eh?" Archie teased, handing Adam the brush.

Adam had no idea that painting a shed could be so tiring. It was seven forty-five by the time he'd finally finished and his arms felt so heavy he didn't know how he was going to carry them home.

"Not bad," said Archie, inspecting the work as Adam washed hands inside the shed. His fingers were almost blue with cold and his pecs ached more than if he'd done two hundred press-ups.

"There you go," said Archie, handing Adam an envelope.

"What's this?"

"Your wages - you're getting paid this month. But don't worry, I can keep 'em if you don't want 'em!"

"No... Thanks... I just didn't realise it was the end of the month already."

"Time flies when you're painting sheds, eh," said Archie, laughing heartily at his own joke. "Don't spend it all at once!"
just caught up with this man, some seriously great writing!
2015-11-10 20:31#221419 InfraRed : just caught up with this man, some seriously great writing!
Thanks for following, means a lot and encourages me to get more updates out! :D
6 April 2004

Splat. A stinking pair of wet and sweaty Y-fronts squelched into the side of Adam's face before landing in a messy heap on the floor next to him. Adam touched his cheek; it was wet with the moisture of someone else's sweat.

"Make sure they're nice and clean for me tomorrow, Adam!" It was Daniel Salmon. He could feel his cheeks going red as the Bradford Academy players started sniggering.

"I ain't doing nothing for you!" he shouted back to Daniel, who was just about to get in the shower.

"Oooh," responded the Bradford players gleefully. They were enjoying the rising aggression in the room.

"In case you didn't realise," Daniel responded, menacingly, "your job is to do whatever I tell you to do." He was now completely naked, striding towards Adam.

"We're all footballers," he said, pointing to his teammates. "And you're not!" the Bradford boys clapped in their appreciation of Daniel's disses.

"That's it, Daniel," they said, goading him on. "Take him down! Give him some proper licks!" at that moment, Adam felt more alone than he had ever done in his life.

But he knew one thing: he had to stand up for himself. "You're right," said Adam, using all the courage he could muster. "I may not be a footballer anymore... But at least I'm not scum!"

"Oh no, Daniel!" called one of the Bradford youngsters. "He's just blatantly disrespected you to your face! What you gonna do about it?"

"Teach the idiot a lesson!" and with that, Daniel pulled back his fist and sent a pounding punch piling towards Adam's face.

Instinctively, Adam snapped his head out of the way, feeling the gust of Daniel's lunge against his cheek. "Not this time," Adam said, elbowing the back if Daniel's shoulder blade with such force that he sent Daniel flying to the ground.

For a second, Adam couldn't believe what had happened. He looked below him, where Daniel was now lying on the floor, with his face buried in his own dirty underpants! Daniel wasn't down for long, though.

Like an angry bear, he drew himself up to his full, frightening height. Adam took a pace back. He was in trouble. There was a madness in Daniel's eyes as he marched towards Adam, who had nowhere else to go. His back was right up against the wall. Adam took a deep breath and tensed his stomach muscles to prepare them for the onslaught that was about to come...

"OK, time for us to get on with washing this kit, Adam," said Archie Fairclough, who'd come from nowhere and purposefully placed his body in between Adam and Daniel. "I've only got a few minutes before a meeting with the boss."

Although Archie was talking to Adam, he was looking Daniel square in the eye. For a moment, all three of them stood motionless. Then Daniel grimaced and took a step back.

"Yeah, you'd best get him away, Cloughie," he snarled. "We wouldn't want anything nasty to happen to your little assistant..."

"Don't worry," Archie responded while the two boys still glared at each other. "He's learned his lesson. And if he hasn't, I'll teach it to him again. Now go and pick up those pants, Adam, and we can get on with our job." for Archie, and for the sake of his job, he picked up the dank, soggy underpants that lay moist on the floor by the showers.

"One more incident like that and you're out. Gone," threatened Archie at the end of the day. He hadn't said a word to Adam since they'd left the Academy Team dressing room. He was furious."You're my responsibility," he continued. "And I'm not going to have you and your pride ruining my reputation at this club. You got that?"

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