We are excited to announce that our semi-pro team manager Giorgi Minashvili secured a role as Academy Director for Dinamo Tbilisi FC, the biggest professional football club in his home country of Georgia. Dinamo are 13 times Georgian League Champion and won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1981. They were one of the few teams in the Soviet Top League that were never relegated. London Tigers is sad to say goodbye to Giorgi after the many years he has been with us but happy and excited at his success. We grabbed him for one last interview before he flew out in December.
1. How long have you been with London Tigers and how did you get involved?
From August 2007, as a volunteer coach assisting the first team, training with Valdas Dambrauskas who was the first team manager then.
2. How has London Tigers helped you?
Helped develop me as a professional football coach, I made lots of new friends, learned how to work with young players and colleagues from diverse backgrounds. I progressed from being a volunteer assistant coach to being a paid manager for London Tigers’ first team and gained my qualifications so that I am now UEFA A-license qualified.
3. What is one of your favourite memories with London Tigers?
Winning the SNT Cup with the Tigers in 2011 and winning the APSA tournament Cup in 2011. After you work so hard, to lift the cup is a great feeling, a reward for working hard with each individual and the team. Another is when London Tigers appointed me as first team manager. And every single three point in each game is a great memory.
4. What is one of your funniest memories with London Tigers?
Hahah. Four years and the finance officer still does not know how to write my name properly! Seriously, it is always funny and enjoyable at the Tigers’ office and having jokes with the staff especially Helal and Eddie who were always comedic.
5. Helal has a special question for you: who is your favourite staff member?
Well if Helal asked this question, then he is the answer. And not just staff but he is my golden sub-keeper too!
6. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a footballer but this couldn’t materialise because of injuries I got when I was 20, a back injury when another player crashed in to me. But I wanted to stay in the football profession so decided to become coach.
7. What inspired you into this area of work?
All my life I trained as a footballer, and gave it a lot of my time. My career as a player was over because of the back injury but as I wanted to stay in football I chose a different role. I do not regret this. In my family football is a big tradition – my father played for Georgia and was part of the team that won the Cup of the Cups in 1981. My father is proud of me. I loved football from the beginning, always played in school and took it very seriously. My grandparents loved football. Everyone, except my mother and sister, they’re doctors and they hate football.
8. What are your dreams and ambition now?
My ambition is to become the highest standard professional football manager. I want to start at Dinamo’s first team and move forward in Europe. I want to one day manage a Premier League football club.
9. Has anyone in particular helped you on your way to where you are now?
London Tigers helped so much including all the staff members and Valdas did a lot for me. He gave me an opportunity to get into London Tigers and show my ability as a coach. I learned from him and would love to work with him again in the future as professional football coaches. Also Crystal Palace Academy. And every single person who knows me, I received support from them, including my family members. If I try to name individuals it will become too long, I don’t want to miss anyone out. Lots of support from lots of different people and many gave me opportunities I am grateful for.
10. Now that you are leaving London Tigers, where are you going from here?
I’m going to my country Georgia’s capital, where I will be Academy Director of the biggest team in my country, Dinamo Tbilisi. I’m excited but there are lots of big pressure and big responsibility. The new role will be challenging as I will be ensuring the training programme of the 8-17 year olds at Dinamo and developing the structure for the club’s first team. I am ready for this challenge.
11. Finally, any words of wisdom you’d like to share with London Tigers members or those wishing to follow in your footstep?
I want to tell every young coach that you already have a big opportunity when you get inside London Tigers Football Club. Realise that after hard work, you can find your way into big football through them. I will always be grateful to Tigers because they gave me my first opportunity as a coach in the football pitch.
Again and again thank you to London Tigers, to every single staff member, to all the players who worked with me hard sharing both wins and losses and disappointing days. I wish them good luck in their careers. And I will always be happy to support and help them.