DOUBLE LOSS FOR BENDIŠ
- M. MALO?A, T. KIŠ, J. BAŠI?
- I. DŽONI
A disastrous two weeks for Hajduk saw Bendiš give up the top in two terrible home games, where Hajduk went from a bad position, to a worse position, to an even worse position. It just isn't getting better for normally brilliant manager, Timmy Bendiš.
It all started against Dinamo, where Zagreb's new signing dominated proceedings at the famous Poljud stadium. Brahian Alemán, much too expensive for the meagre Hajduk salary budget (clocking in at 500K/annum) dominated proceedings on the left wing, and, as a statement of intent more than anything, scored a hat trick against the defending double champions.
Visibly dejected, the press noticed, and, out of respect, didn't ask him too many questions. Bendiš made his way home, suffering one of the largest defeats as a manager.
The next week, he faced Cibalia, and just scraped out a win against the newly promoted Easterners. Not that they were very strong, but Bendiš had insisted that his squad win the match by a huge margin. The team entered very aggressively, and after 50 minutes were down to 9 men. Even severely weakened, Hajduk still managed to grab the third goal, before Cibalia pushed back for two at the death. An away win, but not a good one. Not even acceptable.
Bendiš's café was opening earlier and earlier, and closing later and later, as the Hajduk manager stayed on the balcony, working, for longer periods of time. At 25, he was the hardest working of his graduate class, and it showed on his face, as he trained with his team every morning at 11. He was the most exhausted of the them all, frequently falling to his knees just out of view from his players, and once in the privacy of his office, collapsing to a heap in the floor.
His assistants noticed though...
And then, another defeat came. Ivan Džoni scored the opener within the first 5 minutes, but Osijek preyed on Bendiš's exhaustion, as he was unable to cope with the changing tactics. Osijek scored three, and with every goal, Bendiš got more and more desperate.
Bendiš didn't speak to the press for the first time in 6 months. Still shaken from his interaction with the agent who-isn't-called-by-name-in-Split-anymore, he walked out of the stadium, and headed nowhere in particular. It wasn't until Bendiš's best friend came to a locked café at 8 in the morning that anyone realized that he hadn't come home last night. He called the club, and the police. Training was cancelled, and the club looked everywhere for him. Then, a call from Makarska, a city 65 kilometers south, where they said they found Bendiš sitting on a street by the sea, quietly sobbing.
Half an hour later (an impossibly quick drive, by any standards) a still crying Bendiš was lifted by his very concerned friend, before he took him home.