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Football: Angry fans strip coach in first press conference

FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 09 Oct 2013, 13:05 IST
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Ivaylo Petev being confronted by the Levksi Sofia fans

A group of angry fans of Bulgarian side Levski Sofia disrupted a news conference where new coach Ivaylo Petev was being presented and proceeded to embarrass him.

The fans who were unhappy with Petev’s appointment stormed the press conference and made him take off the club’s shirt, he was wearing, and then proceeded to usher him out the door in a shocking sign of discontentment.

Levski, the 26-time Bulgarian champions, were unveiling new coach Petev on Tuesday after having sacked Serbian Slavisa Jokanovic, just a few hours earlier. This after the club made a rather unimpressive start to the new season as they currently lie mid-table.

38-year-old Petev comes with a reputation of being one of the best young coaches in the Balkan region after having led Ludogorets to back-to-back league titles in the last two years.

So, it cannot be that bad right? Non-performing coach replaced with a man with proven credentials definitely sounds like a logical thing to do.

Well apparently not! The major grouse that Levski fans seem to have with Petev is that they believe he is a supporter of their bitter city-rivals CSKA Sofia.

Even before the news conference interruption, a group of hostile fans burst into the Georgi Asparuhov stadoim shouting slogans against Petev: “You’re not welcome here. Get up, undress the shirt and go. Levski will not play under you as coach.”

The unfortunate coach was then forced to go topless soon after when a smaller group invaded the media room and forced him to take off his jumper followed by the t-shirt that he was wearing. They then forced him to exit the room and soon turned their attention to chief executive Nasko Sirakov. There were no security officials present at the conference.

Sirakov, a crowd favourite and the club’s all-time leading scorer with 206 goals in his 14 years at the club between 1981 and 1994, was shocked beyond recognition.

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“This is the hardest day in my life,” said Sirakov, while announcing his resignation shortly after.

“But I wonder if there’s a place in the world where the fans choose the coach.” he added.

Levski owner Todor Batkov labelled the incident a disgrace.

“It’a stain on our club, this is unprecedented… But we stand behind our decision - Ivaylo Petev is the new coach of Levski,” he told reporters.

Petev is Levski’s fourth coach of the year after former players Ilian Iliev, Nikolay Mitov and the aforementioned Jokanovic. PEtve himself was fired by Ludogorets after a shock defeat in the opening round of the domestic championship. You can watch the video of the shocking incident below.

Published 09 Oct 2013, 13:05 IST
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