No Dob About It
Grilled's incoming transfer record, untouched since the arrival of the legendary Ahmed Abed-Sulaiman some forty seasons ago, was finally smashed today with the acquisition of former Algerian youth international goalkeeper Massoud Dob
. If anything could stimulate the jaded supporters, after yet another ho-hum campaign, this was it.
The move - prepared under utmost secrecy - was hardly uniformly well-received, especially amongst the pundit set. They quickly pointed to Dob's history as a journeyman, with the 23 year-old having joined - and left - four European clubs before turning twenty-one. None of Violent Shit (Italy), qzza steaua (Romania), Jourdain (France) or 1. FC Tábor (Czech Republic) could hold his attentions after his departure from then-Division Two side TRANSLATORS F.C, so it seemed.
Serbian side FKPK Vranje managed to keep him for two-and-a-half seasons after that, by far his longest stint at any one outfit, after he caught Massimo Mobilia's eye with impeccable performances against Ivory Coast and Greece. Former Kazakh Consolation Cup winners FC Wolfenbüttel would then come calling with an irresistable offer of S$16.7 million, however, but it would turn out to be a bad trade for both parties.
Dob made to assure Birds fans that his days of hopping around were over. "I feel that I've gathered enough experience from all over." he said in heavily-accented English. "I didn't have the intent to stay, with most of my previous clubs, but it's not the same now."
While most local analysts didn't seem impressed by that statement, they did agree that the S$16.3 million new signing did have the makings of a top-class custodian. "Dob's an all-round goalie with no glaring weak points." radio personality Jim Leng agreed. "He's become much more adept at reading crosses since his earlier days, from what I hear. Perhaps he could improve his command of the box, but that's more a matter of style."
Noubaryan, himself previously a goalkeeper, was open about having had to pull out all the stops to secure Dob. "Sixteen million is no joke, and the board took a lot
of convincing. They had wanted more time to think about it, but Finland's Haapaveden Taisto put money on the table, and I had to take charge - it was him and me, or neither."
"I'm well aware that previous great Grilled sides, those that won the big cups, all had exceptional goalies anchoring them: Abed-Sulaiman, Wong Tian Han, Valdir Dias Paes almost. I don't think it's a coincidence, and someone like Dobs is just what this team needs to steady the ship."