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Ardit Sinani - The Walk Of Life

Started on 10 November 2017 by Aaron
Latest Reply on 6 December 2017 by Justice
Aaron's avatar Group Aaron
5 yearsEdited

Three Punches

That's me, yeah...On the floor. No, no not literally me. Metaphorically speaking I'm down and out. Ali looking over me, that's life. That's life giving me whole world of shit and not for the first time. Does it bother me? Would it bother you? Sure. This isn't about how many times you're pushed to the ground though. It's about how long you spend down there and how long you take to get back up.

Now I could sit here and write about how my life's been one crock of shite, following up with some quotes by Ali. Would it make for a good intro? Hell probably, the man was smart. The smartest. He had an amazing way with words.

Instead of doing that, I'm going to quote Roberto Duran - "Getting hit motivates me. It makes me punish the other guy more. A fighter takes a punch, then hits back with three more."

That's what I've lived my life by for 20 years. 20. Jesus Christ it's been that long. I'm getting old.

Twenty back breaking years since that day. Before I was 19 I'd been all around the World and lived in many different countries. Some might say I don't belong to any country and some wince at the strange accent I have. My dad was born in England and on a trip for work one year to Serbia he met my mother.

Of course my father traveled a lot so we were always on the move. I spent my early years in England, then we went back to Serbia to be closer to my mothers family. At the age of 9 we moved away again to Russia, and in between the years of 89' and 97' found ourselves living in America, Turkey, and Italy.

Strange right? I know. My friends were few and far between. I was never around long enough to make them, and we didn't have the internet back then so you couldn't keep in touch.

By 1997 I was 19. Remember how I mentioned Italy? Long story short, my dad loved football and in his time Liverpool were a big deal. It's where I was born. It's who I support. He got me into the beautiful game and always pushed me to be the best I could be whenever I had the chance to play.

Though one day in Italy, playing for my team a man walked up to me. This man would change my life...Or at least I thought. He had me down on his list as "The next big thing" believe me I snuck a quick look.

"You sir are a talent. You may be a little older than we'd like but potential is still potential. How do you feel about playing for A.C. Milan one day?"

Obviously my jaw dropped and I struggled to catch a breath to reply. I won't bore you with the bullshit in between though. I think you know what my answer was.

One game, yes for AC Milan, not the first team. The u21's team. It all fell apart. I had scored 19 goals in the league, 10 assists, we were on course to win the league. Then that second to last game is what really changed me.

A tackle from the other player, had me down on the floor within a second. It wasn't a bad tackle, it didn't have to be. The way I landed and twisted my knee is what ended my footballing career there and then on the spot. Everything I'd worked for in those early years of adult life just taken away.

But getting hit is what motivates me, it makes me punish the other guy more. A fighter takes a punch, and hits back with three.

And I'm a fighter.

I had to be.

With a name like Ardit Sinani.
Great start Aaron my man
Intriguing start, looking forward to this man, very well written!

The Left Jab

I got hit once, hard. Harder than ever before. So I vowed to never let it happen again. Some may say these things are out of control but not me, nothings impossible.
These three punches...They would connect. I knew they would. They had to. I'd make them count.

After my career changing injury, my manager at the time called me. He called me to tell me that the club would keep me on my contract until it's end in 3 years despite my injury and that they would do all they could to help me find my new path.

Between the ages of 22 and 23, my contract was quickly running out and soon I would be left to fend for myself. I salvaged what money I could from my weekly wages over the three years. Wages weren't like they are now in those days.

In those 3 years Milan helped me on with my coaching badges, I loved football and I was desperate to stay involved. So they invested in my ambitions. I stayed on with them as a coach for younger teams. Not the u18s or anything...More like the u12s.

It was better than nothing, it was something and it enabled me to move up the ranks to the u20s as a coach by the age of 26. This was a bit more like it. The potential I saw in some players...The potential in few players I saw develop who are now known all over the world as stars. That could have been me.

I had finished most of my coaching badges by 29. I just needed to save some extra funds for my continental pro licence. I started to get confident, and I started to believe in myself. I dreamed of managing a proper club. A proper senior squad. Not a youth team.

Here I was, 29, coaching at A.C. Milan. I made myself a career and although my playing career was cut short, I didn't let my injuries stop me from pursuing my dream to become a star in football.

The left jab.

The Right Hook

30 Years of age, it's a funny one. Sort of in between your youthful and exciting years and becoming a middle aged person. I'd become this old before I came close to my new dreams of becoming a football manager.

I met a girl just after my 30th birthday. I'd been with plenty before but none like this one. She was perfect and from the moment I met her I knew I'd found love but would she feel the same way?

We went out a few times, we got used to each other and grew on each other. It would be another year before we moved in together. This was after we found out she would be having a child. My child. My very own little person, a small part of myself and her.

We got married a year or so later, this was by the time we both turned 32 at which point my career with A.C. Milan was starting to blossom. Not only had I been coaching the u20s, they made me manager after the one before decided to leave for greener grass. They saw potential in me.

I must've managed the side for a good 4 years. At the 36 my child was now 5 years of age and as a family me and my wife decided to take a different direction in life and move further down the coast of Italy to the capital Rome.

But for those three years in between then and now, something never sat right. She got herself a job and I managed to get myself a job working with the scouts at Lazio. It was a good job, it was a fun job. Searching for such great talent...Though I never felt fulfilled. I wanted to manage not scout.

So here I sit now telling you my story, just a week or so after taking it upon myself to apply for different availability's at different clubs as manager. Only smaller sides, some in England, some in Italy which would have been of convenience. Some in Scotland, I really was that desperate.

Then, days later an envelope dropped through my letter box. "Great" I thought. "Another bill." However as I bent down to pick it up, it didn't look like a bill, nor was it a personal letter. I opened it up and read through. the paper inside was etched with a light green out line.

Mr. Ardit Sinani.

We recently heard of your availability, and having looked through your achievements in football management at such a young age, we would like to give you the opportunity to discuss becoming our clubs manager with our board of directors. Scotland needs young talent like yourself..."

Scotland?? For fu*k sake! The letter went on but I dread to read on and discover Dunfermline were trying to nab me. Although it would be better than nothing...Right

Wait a minute, what's this...?

Fantastic start Aaron, but I can't expect anything else from you I suppose. Loving the Boxing references, keeps me interested! I'd have to guess from green and Scotland that it's a letter from a certain Scottish Premiership side... ;)
Brilliant start bro, keep it up!
Scott, thank you mate I really appreciate that but who knows! The green might just be for decoration

infra, thank you i hoped ive gained your follow!
Scotts right this was a brilliant start with some great references! Scottish football doesn't know what's about to hit it

The Uppercut

The uppercut. A hard hitting blow which if used effectively with timing and accuracy can be an incredibly devastating hit to take. I know which end I'd prefer to be on. This is my final throw of the fist, the third punch - Though the hardest of the three.

I continued to read through the professionally written letter. As I drew closer to the end it became more and more promising. With each line I was beginning to feel more and more like whoever this club was, it's going places.

Then I got the final line.

"Come to Scotland, meet with our representatives, Celtic is calling your name Ardit."

Celtic? The Celtic? This can't be real! Is it? I looked at the bottom of paper...

"Signed, Ian Bankier."

My god, it was real. It was all true. The unreal nature of this ordeal overwhelmed me. How could such a massive club like this want my services? Out of all the managers in the footballing world.

Well I suppose there was only one way to find out. Go. So I did. Me, my wife and my son we traveled all the way from Rome to Glasgow where we pitched in a holiday in for 3 nights. In the morning my wife went to see some of the "Sights" around the city. I know...What sights?

We split up, and I headed to Lennoxtown where I was greeted by Ian himself and a few of the other board members. They were all so pleased to see me.

To begin with, we spoke of my availability and why I wanted to become a football manager. It was a dream so dear to my heart I told them, I just couldn't imagine doing anything else.

Through the interview I couldn't help but wonder what had happened to Brendan Rodgers their previous manager. I hadn't heard anything, there was nothing on the news. Had something happened to him?

We spoke of my past ventures in the game, they wanted to know a bit about my footballing knowledge but above all that they only seemed to be bothered about my burning passion for the game.

"We have high hopes for you" they said to me. "You're young, knowledgeable, passionate".

We left all smiles round, and that night me and my wife went out to dinner to celebrate. Even though nothing was yet set in stone it was still an honour to be considered. We had a delicious meal, and headed back to our hotel.

The next morning there was nothing, not a peep. I took a stroll around the grounds outside, spent some time in the downstairs bar, but nothing. I had my phone on watch all day.

Although at 7pm, there was a knock on our room door. I opened the door and standing in front of me with a big great grin was Ian Bankier.

"I thought I'd be the one to tell you, and I preferred to speak to you face to face.
We want you, and I know you want us. When can you sign?"

I think the real question here was where do I sign?! What on Earth! Manager of Celtic? My brain is truly frazzled.
Up the Hooops, good luck man, lets hope dominance reigns in Scotland and European Adventures are to be a crucial must have through the years
Oh christ whats happened to Brendan Rodgers, he was so full of character?

The Uppercut - Part 2

3 days had passed since I signed my contract with Celtic. They could only offer me 1 year, and made the promise that it would be extended were they to be impressed with me later on in the year.

A lot happened in those three days, I was told by my new employers that Brendan Rodgers had left due to disagreements with the board involving the progression of the club. What an idiot, I can't begin to see where he's coming from. Who knows, maybe I'll find out?

I came back to Lennox Town on the second day of my time in Glasgow. Still cooped up in that wretched holiday inn my wife was frantically looking for places to live. The Board said they would help us with living arrangements, but for now we had to extend our stay in the hotel.

I signed the contract that morning and met the players...And what a fine group of people I've inherited. We spoke at great length about objectives, where we felt we could go this season, and where the squad felt it was going to be in the next few years. Of course people come and go like buses in this business but there are some young and very talented lads here who are committed to seeing this club achieve great things.

To name a few we have Moussa Dembele who in the last few days has showed me just why he gets so many plaudits. He's going to be a star for this club and his country. He's one in a million. Probably the best player at the club, a diamond in the rough you could say.

We have Liam Henderson a young local lad who plays in central midfield. Eboue is a good looking defensive midfielder. Then we Ajer, and Tierney who I must say I'm looking so forward to working with. They will undoubtedly be my first choices in the back line, they'll keep us locked up for sure.

Though I did get some unnerving vibes from certain players. Scott Brown and James Forrest to name two. I can't say for sure that they agree with me being appointed. It's understandable, but the fact is I am here. If things get out of hand with these two, I hate to say it but an example will be made. Let's hope things don't escalate to that.

The last two days have been great though. Nearly all of the players have taken a strong liking to me which is imperative and they all seem to be working hard in training ready for the new season.

To begin with I have canceled all arranged friendlies. I can't begin to see what Rodgers was thinking. We have a possibility of 3 qualifying rounds in the champions league. I intend to get through all three, and pre season games will only burn the team out.

We begin with Dudelange from Luxembourg on the 12th of July. Yes, a team we should be walking through. I'll accept no less than big wins in each games. We have that quality so lets go out and show it.

The SPL, The Betfred cup, The Scottish Cup and The Champions League. I have high hopes in every one of these competitions. Celtic are very accomplished in Scotland and should be winning the treble but with my lack of first hand experience that may difficult in my first season. Who knows?

The Champions League though is our priority. Number 1. The route to true success for this club is European success and I won't be happy until this team can compete with the big boys on a European front.

I have high hopes.
Seems like you've settled well and look raring to go! Come on you boys in green!

A Long Road Ahead

I stood there breathless. What on Earth did I just witness? A 2-2 draw to FH from Iceland in the 3rd Qualifying round of the Champions League. We were 2-0 up. We just beat them 5-0 last week in the first leg, and we trashed Dudelange in the round before that.

No matter, we were through to the play offs and I was about to find out who our opponents would be upon walking through the tunnel back to the changing rooms.

This match made me realize how things can suddenly change in an instant and how pressure can quickly pile on top of you. Of course with only 2 late goals and another 5 more to get I was never worried about them getting back into the game but it gave me some perspective. I would be playing much better sides in the league and the Champions League.

The team drawn out the hat for the next round was Hapoel Be'er Sheva. I know...Me neither. Still, I wouldn't become complacent over a team because I'd never spoken their name. Anything could happen, as I found out today.

Though I remain confident in the boys and I'm certain we will be in that group stage draw. Which I'm already starting to become overly excited about. I can't even imagine going up against the likes of Barcelona, Bayern, PSG. I don't care how good they are, it would still be an honour to be paired up with one of them.

Hearts next week, then Ross County in the Betfred cup after that it's Partick Thistle. I'm not sure what to think. Is this an easy start? Is it a hard start? No bother. I'm still confident. The lads are raring to go and are adamant we can get off to a flyer.

At the end of those three games we get to decide our final fate on the big stage for the year. Qualify, or not?

It's a big big season for me. I don't know what to expect. If this goes wrong it could spell the end of my managerial career before it's begun. If it goes right, who knows where I might end up?

It's a long road ahead.

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