Fudbal | Azmir Husić

[Azmir Husić & Brent Björkman]

Azmir Husić: “Um, there is no man in Bosnia that doesn’t like soccer. So I’m a fan of soccer. So now, I joined a team, called Sloboda, and when I get there, back in 2012 — Sloboda is established in 1999 — and it’s really one of the teams [that] joined always highest league in ex-Yugoslavia. Uh, and, uh, when they get there – when I get back, they’re actually one league down because of all the problems they have. You know, they are one league down, and that’s my team that I liked since I was a child, you know? Then I see they’re in a bad situation, then I walk to the mayor of the city, I say, ‘I want to help establish Sloboda.’ He said, ‘Are you sure? Many of them tried, they didn’t make it.’ I said, ‘I want to try because that’s the team I like and I will do anything to try to get them back in Premier League.’ He said, ‘Okay, it’ll cost some money, you will need some money.’ I said, ‘I’ll try my best. I’ll be at least loyal to you.’ He’s the mayor of the city, you know, he can a budget to the city. ‘At least I will do my best. I will talk to people and try and get some money.’ [The mayor said], ‘I am willing to give some money to help establish Sloboda, even if you help us, I think we can make it.’ I said okay. Then they organized meeting and voted for me to be President of Sloboda.”

Brent Björkman: “In 2013, right?”

AH: “In 2013 in February.”

BB: “I saw it on–”

AH: “Yes, the 14th of February, 2013. Then, I started from nothing. They owe a lot of people money. I got a call every day, maybe 5-10 people say, ‘Sloboda belongs to me, money for this, this, for the restaurants, the hotels, uniforms, stores. Everybody – the people did work. They say I didn’t get my pay for two-three years. All of that, they all say, ‘okay, let’s talk’, and we organize again. We’ll take care of everybody, just be patient. Let’s do some work. We need to play. We need to try to get into a Premier League, where it’s high, where we can get some money, where people can watch and paying tickets, uh, for watching and everything. But we’re down one league, we’re no interest to nobody. Then I bring in Ćiro Blažević, he’s the coach of Croatia, when the Croatia was third on World Cup. And nobody believed a coach like Ćiro Blažević come in to take Sloboda over, in one league down. In ex-Yugoslavia, nobody believe Ćiro would take any teams from ex-Yugoslavia. But when I tell my people what we need to do and everybody give some ideas what to do, my people need something like positive shock, something like, you know, when you get shocked with something real good. Like when you get a health shot and feel better after that.. We need something to change. And everybody say we need to do this, and I say ‘Ćiro Blažević, he’s the only man.’ [They] said, ‘you are crazy, he will not ever come here’, I said, ‘we got to talk with him, I’ve got to talk with him, he might.’ I just ask them, ‘Are you fine with that?’ And they say, ‘Yes, of course, we’re fine – But you’re just wasting your time’, you know, ‘he’s not going to come.’ Then I get a number and I call. When I call him – and he’s a really funny man – you know, when I call him and tell him why, he says, ‘Yes, what do you want?’ I said, ‘I would like to see if we can talk for you come and take Sloboda to coach.’ He said, ‘Are you joking with me? You find me to joke with?’, you know he’s a really tough guy. ‘No, I – please, if you could give me a chance to talk to you for ten minutes. I will come Croatia. I will drive. All you need is to be on time.’ He said, ‘Okay, tomorrow be here at 11:00.’ I said, ‘Okay, I’ll take it.’ So I go back, it’s like a five-hour drive to I should maybe leave in the morning but what if something happen, you know. I know I have [a] good car but you know, what if something happens. Then I’ll never be welcome in front of him ever again. Then I go that night. I go to [a] hotel to make sure that I make it and wait for him. Then I come there and we make [the] deal in five minutes.”

BB: “Seriously?”

AH: “Five minutes. When I come there, I tell him who I am and he was thinking that we could probably not do nothing and he just wanted to give us a chance. He had his son with him – he does all the paperwork for him. And he had the lady, oh, her name I think, uh, Melinka, and she do something about the contracts here. And I tell him, ‘what can you do to – offer us?’ Actually, I was sitting on the other side, on the bar, when I come there at 11:00. There were there maybe fifteen minutes until 11:00. And I wait at his apartment at 11:00. I know he doesn’t know me, but I know who he is. And as soon as they walk in, they sit maybe five tables across. Then I wait for my time. At five minutes before 11:00, I walk up to him and say, ‘Excuse me, I interrupt you but Mr. Blažević, can I have a picture with you?’ ‘Okay, son, but let’s do it quick. I have someone I have to meet here at 11:00. You can take that picture quick.’ And I had my phone to his son to take picture, and I get close to him, and he takes [the] picture. There was a booth with three chairs. He sit in booth, his son sits on the left, and that lady on the right, and there’s one chair available. And he had me the phone back. Then I pull that chair out and sit. He says, ‘Hey, you just asking for a picture. I am waiting for somebody to have meeting.’ Then, I gave him my hand and say, ‘I’m the Azmir Husić – the one you’re waiting for.’ He said, ‘Oh man, you already get me. you already get me.’ Then he starts telling me what, what kind of requirements he has for him to come to Bosnia. I said, ‘Is that all you have to say?’ He said, ‘That’s my requirements. If you meet this, I will be coach of Sloboda, Tuzla’, then I tell him, ‘Do you want me to meet financing requirements right now or when you get there?’ Then he looks at me again, he didn’t expect that answer from me. You know, how somebody can make that decision that quick, and even offer you, ‘Do you want me to finish finance request right now or when you get there?’ He said, ‘Can you do 50% right now?’, and I said, ‘Yes.’ Just take me back to my room and we’ll do that. It was cash prize. Then I went into the room and I bring the man what he is requesting in an envelope. Then he looks to that lady and his son and said, ‘What to do now? It’s over.’ He was thinking it was all just talk, you know, he didn’t believe me. He said, ‘Who – what are we going to do now? This guy gave everything we asked?’, and his son said, ‘Now you gotta go, you got to be the coach of Sloboda.’ And that’s what happened. We brought him there for six months agreement. When he was coming, everybody – it was all over [the] news. Um, about Ćiro coming to take Tuzla. They’re saying our names a lot, they say – about how I did that good – and nobody believe – and everybody know that Ćiro will change. Tuzla has about 125,000 people and it changed in just 24 hours. Everybody talking about Sloboda, about Ćiro – how they’re going to go next week to watching games. All positive stuff. And in six months with Ćiro and us, to work, support, we did make it to Premier League. And our strategy – we just going to survive first year and we’ll get back in 2014. And we’re not going to do much because we already spent a lot of money on players and on Ćiro and you know. First year, I want only to stay in Premier League – not be one of the fourteen or fifteen place, which is taking you out, back in second league. And so and we hired some other people to come in, we find other players, and we survived that [season] 2014-2015 on ninth place. Then, we do a lot of reorganize on 2016 – 2015-2016 after first eighteen match. Sloboda lead first and it’s a very, very good possibility that we will play, we’ll play Europe and qualify for Europe, so. We’ll see. We have 12 games left. We hope we will keep one of the first three places. So those first three places, players – first one play the championship and second and third place play, uh, what you call the Europe Cup. So we’ll see.”

BB: “The season – what’s the season?”

AH: “The season – 2015-2016..”

BB: “What month – to what month is it?”

AH: “It will end – Last game we will know in May 2014. That’s why I’m going tomorrow and our first game of twelve games left starts tomorrow – on Saturday, the 27th. And last game will be in May ’14. Then we will know what position we are – I hope that we will in first three places.