Seven is a good number, Levski players like to say. The number seven has become symbolic for them because of the memorable victories with 7: 2 and 7: 1 against CSKA. In the second key contribution for “Levski” has Nasko Sirakov, who scored four goals.
It has been seven years since Sirakov uttered the words “I am leaving Gerena and my foot will not set foot here again.” Not only did he return to Georgi Asparuhov, but the choice of supporters for the man to receive the majority stake in the club was convincing, according to a vote organized by Vasil Bozhkov on Facebook. The accused businessman said he would give him the shares.
Sirakov’s sports path goes through ups and downs, some ups and downs. This makes him strongly loved and disliked by both his own and others.
On May 17 this year, he returned and announced publicly that he wanted to help the club in the difficult time when the future of the blues is in the fog. With an emotional and well-balanced message, Sirakov again won the majority of fans of the team on his side. But there are still many questions – why he changed his mind and returned to “Levski”, whether he is part of the backstage (which Bozhkov talks about), how he will actually cope with the financing of the club in a very difficult situation, whether he will look for an investor to whom to possibly then transfer the received shares.
“All of us, the Levski players, are to blame for this situation. Some with their actions, others with their inaction. Levski was not created to save itself. It was created to succeed, to win.” Levski “He will be able to save himself, but at the moment time is really pressing us. There is nothing we can do to save Levski without the shares,” the former striker told BTV’s 120 Minutes.
Between the ups and downs in “Levski”
As a football player, Sirakov, who is the son of silver Olympic wrestler Petko Sirakov, has become a symbol of Levski. With 165 goals, he topped the club’s all-time all-time rankings. In parallel, it was part of the greatest success in the history of the national team, reaching fourth place in the World Cup in the United States in ’94.
At the other pole is the moment when in the early 90’s during a match with “Chernomorets”, angry with the dissatisfaction of the audience of “Levski”, Sirakov took off his pants and showed his buttocks to the fans.
Even so, in the turbulent relationship between the club’s goal scorer and the fans, affection prevails. The picture is the same at the time when Sirakov was the leader. A time when he uses the qualities and finds the right levers to record huge victories. Under his leadership and in partnership with coach Stanimir Stoilov, “Levski” achieved the most significant success in its modern history with the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup tournament (now Europa League) in 2006 and the first entry of a Bulgarian team in the groups of the Champions League. league next season. In the spring of 2008, Sirakov was fired by then-owner Todor Batkov.
Five years later, he returned to Georgi Asparuhov as sports and technical director at Batkov’s invitation. Then 35-year-old Hristo Yovov joined the management, who was appointed technical director of the men’s team. (documents already show that Yovov, who was identified as close to power, was even the owner of Levski for a short time in 2019).
Although Sirakov aimed for three consecutive titles in three years, his second term was very short and unsuccessful. In the summer of 2013, “Levski” recorded a shameful elimination of “Irtysh” from Kazakhstan in the European tournaments, and in October there was a scandal with the undressing of coach Ivaylo Petev by fans during his performance. Sirakov reacted violently and said:
“I’m not resigning. I’m just leaving Gerena and my foot won’t step here anymore.”
Weeks followed, in which he sharply criticized Batkov and put it openly the issue of ownership and financing of “Levski”. “I don’t know who the owner is. Todor Batkov told me that he is the owner. But he can’t make the decisions on his own. He takes them together with Ivo Tonev (close to the Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Tonev at that time part of the leadership, and later co-owner). The money also comes from him (Tonev). This is the truth. This is what I know, “Sirakov said on October 10, 2010. He suspects that he was returned to Levski” in order to be discredited and disgusted and, above all, to shut my mouth. Because before I came to Levski, I was the biggest critic. ”
His harsh words continued in February 2014, when he called on Batkov to “publicly admit that he has no money and say who is helping him.”
The “thunder wolf” is lonely
A few months later, the biographical book “The One” dedicated to Sirakov and written by the current executive director of “Levski” Pavel Kolev was presented.
Despite the name of the book, Sirakov has true and long-standing friendships, being close to most of his former teammates from the so-called golden generation of the national team. He participated in various businesses – in December 2009 he became a partner with Borislav Mihailov, Emil Kostadinov, Lyuboslav Penev and the owner of “Tsarsko Selo” Stoyne Manolov in the company “USA-94”, dealing with “opening and operation of public facilities. catering and entertainment establishments, wholesale and retail trade “. Over the years he has participated in several other companies, one of which is a partner with the president of “Slavia” Ventsislav Stefanov and Manolov, and in “Lander Group” is a partner with his wife Iliana Raeva (the company is engaged in construction and real estate transactions) .
He is also close to the owner of CSKA-Sofia Grisha Ganchev. In 2013, Raeva said Ganchev would fund her United Bulgaria party.
At the end of 2016, even Ganchev told CSKA supporters that he wanted to attract Sirakov to the leadership of the Reds because of his qualities. There were allegations that the former attacker had given his consent. However, the idea was not accepted in the red community.
At that time, he and Ganchev were part of the management of Bulgarian football as members of the executive committee of the Bulgarian Football Union.
The picture in club football has already completely changed since the days when Sirakov was the manager of “Levski”, as he has a new strong player in the face of the extender of his hegemony “Ludogorets”, patronized by his owner Kiril Domuschiev.
In 2017, Sirakov gave a sharp response to Domuschiev, who had stated that the Tsarsko Selo circle was behind the candidacies of Sirakov and Lyuboslav Penev for head of the Bulgarian Football Union. This happened a few months before the congress in the Bulgarian Football Union, in which the legend of “Levski” does not participate as a presidential candidate. Domuschiev drew attention to Sirakov’s closeness to Penev and Stoyne Manolov, without naming names.
“I will answer him very briefly: Kircho, for another 20 years to buy TV rights for the Bulgarian championship, for the next 20 years to buy the Bulgarian football championship, you will still only dream that you can reach Sirakov in football. Continue with your 100 – 150 fans with sandwiches in hand (I know where their sandwiches come from) to chant “Bulgarian heroes” at your matches, and I, watching, will try to see more than one Bulgarian in the team – Svetlio Dyakov, I don’t know how he got into Nothing, a huge contribution and a huge benefit for Bulgarian football “, for Sirakov you by post to the site of his wife Iliana Raeva in “Facebook”, calling Domuschiev “Kircho of Deliorman.”
And added: “Calm down a bit, stop, I’m a rattlesnake. Know that it will not be easy for you with the rifle against me. ”
At the BFU congress in February 2018, Sirakov and Ganchev left the executive committee. Months of silence followed before the Levski legend returned to Gerena. This also raised questions about whether Sirakov was connected to either side.
In an interview with BTV, Sirakov spoke diplomatically, saying Borissov “is the most respected and well-received politician anywhere in Europe” and that Bozhkov has done much to stabilize Levski.
Now Sirakov is expected to enter a completely new role, and all the burden and responsibility will be on him. Including maneuvering in the atmosphere of opposition between the political and economic dependence of the club and the expressed desire of Pavel Kolev for full transparency and accountability of funds and actions.
Because at the moment Levski has about 16 million publicly announced debts and needs a strategy. It is interesting what it will be like in Sirakov’s eyes. In February 2017, he said on the topic: “Levski’s first main task is to announce a plan to the people – we will not fight for anything for the next five years, we will not lie to you, we will cut the budget in half. It will not be 12 million, and it will be BGN 6 million.In five years we will clear all debts.The club will be clean.Then we will sit at the table, make a team and fight for what you are.Everything else is lies, patches , throwing dust in people’s eyes and that’s why 200 people will go to the stadium. That’s the truth. There’s nothing to be fooled into. ”