II. A tale of passion and bluff
Fans are not happy with the board and are not afraid to show it. Ph: Anselmo Cunha / Agência RBS
When I wrote my article on the relegation and sent it to the press, I honestly thought I’d be fired. And I wouldn’t complain, given that as a club employee, it would be understandable to be fired after slamming the president like this
. And well, they did try to fire me. It just backfired massively.
I joined CBF Academy for football coaches really soon. Other kids my age wanted to be players, jump on the pitch and suddenly get in a plane to Europe. I wanted to be a manager, because being a player involves a set of sacrifices I just don’t feel like making, as I enjoy booze and food. Although I don’t have the discipline for being a player, I have a passion for both Grêmio FBPA and football, and I wanted to get involved somehow.
And passion makes you do stupid things, such as the article above. According to Brazilian law, the article is enough reason for me to lose my assistant manager job
without severance pay. And that would probably be the end of my career in the club of my dreams.
The thing is that I am not the only passionate person for Grêmio. Like me there are 10 million more
, 10 million who read my article or learned about it somehow, 10 million who agree with me. I know, I know, they would probably agree with anyone criticizing the president like this. Given the shattered popularity of our president - that only himself cannot fathom - I wasn’t that worried about bashing him publicly, but I really did expect some backlash after criticizing Renato
, a club legend and still worshipped by many fanatics. The fuss about it, however, was surprisingly minimal. He defended himself by publicly blaming the board for not liberating funds and that was it.
So when they tried to fire me, the Gremistas immediately understood this decision as a “Shoot the messenger” situation. They were frustrated, angry, and massively embarrassed by their club being relegated with a good financial state
, as the club spent years away from relegation risk with rather poor financial reports in the past. And they reacted accordingly, as in the picture that illustrates this post.
So the president came to me like nothing happened, saying that I could stay. As someone who worked with him in the club for some years, his behaviour didn’t surprise me, as he always screws up and then tries to mend the situation acting like nothing happened. This time, however, I didn’t have any of it
Me: yeah, things will have to change if you want me to come back.
RB: ok, then go.
Me: you know I’ll run straight to the arms of these people outside, right?
He stayed quiet for an awkward amount of seconds, as if calculating the situation.
RB: Fine. Fire away. What do you want?
Me: I want the next manager to be an inside hire. Thiago
(Gomes, coach/assistant manager) and I are sick of assisting managers that know less of modern tactics than us
. You can’t imagine how hard it is to respect the authority of someone who knows less than you. I am tired of having to dumb down what I say to not sound arrogant.
RB: You know what? Your demands are fair. You’ll hear from us soon.
As Thiago is older than me, I was talking about him. I thought that he should be appointed the new manager. I honestly think he is a good choice for the job
. So it came as a surprise to me when the president asked me back to his office.
RB: You are young. You have innitiative. You have until the end of the State Championship to impress.
Me? I’m only 26, the press will eat me alive and spit my bones in a few games. I knew what he was doing. He was bluffing. He wanted to throw me to the wolves outside
and make me taste my own medicine. So I answered:
Me: That is perfect and I appreciate the opportunity. We can talk about numbers later as your assistant prepares the paperwork.
And I double bluffed. I was terrified of being appointed manager
that early, but I refuse to yield.
Then he brought the papers with a quite reasonable financial offer. Triple bluff.
And I signed it. Quadruple bluff.
And then he signed it. I lost. F***.
Me: One last demand: I want your support. If I want to let a player go, I want you to rip his contract
. You won’t do to me as you did to the others.
RB: I’ll see what I can do - he said, smiling.
And that’s how two abstract elements of the broad set of stuff, passion and bluff, got me into the manager position at the club of my heart. I will lead the Imortal Tricolor in the State Championship, and as much as I am terrified, I’m also pumped. I know how to improve a lot of things here
. I just hope I will be able to turn theory into practice.