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25.02.2009 · 00:00

Interview: Danilović and Šilobad about Partizan

Predrag Danilović and Mlađan Šilobad were hosted by „Uvećanje“ ('Enlargement') sports show at TV B92. They were talking about past and future of the club, the current results, finacncial problems and Partiza status... Danilović, can you make a comparison between times you played and European basketball now? I'd rather not compare. Both times have own features that are good. Maybe the basketball is more showbusiness and looks like NBA with commerciallity and side effects. In Serbia changs hapen on a smaller scale bcause of the financial situation our country faces for a long time. The period when I played basketball was a lot 'cleaner' although it had alot of problems, too. All in all, when you are a player you do notthink about such things but when you get involved in managing a club you face a lot of hurdles ad 'ugly' tings. However, the showbusiness basketball has a lot of beatufil effects like commerciality as the game stays the same but it gets a lot of new colours. No one cared about commercials in the past. Basketball is an expensive sport without profits and you need to have everything to offer in order to get sponsorship deals. The situation will be a lot bigger in 10 years and everyyhing will be alot different, except the fact that Partizan will still play Euroleague- said Danilović with a pleasant grin on his face.One of the basic problems that bother Partizan is arena? BC Partizan has a piece of land since 1998. We've tried many times since then but remained not-understood. We do not have to be on that particular piece of land we can even exchange it for some other. Every team with their own training arena has a lot smaller outlays. Actually, we would still play our games in Pionir but train in some other place. Maybe,some kind of privatisation could solve this situation as Red Star has the same problem, while Hemofarm and FMP have their own arenas because of the big companies that support them. Partizan and Red Star are big social systems and if the government helps, potential investors would be able to know to whom they are giving the money. We are association of citizens and we do not have any real estates but really good players. Actually, we have a lot of cups and trophies which is the most important fact for our club anyways. Divac and I gave money from our own pockets in the beginning but the same thing Vučićević and Drakulić did for Red Star, because of love for the club but this cannot last forever. It is unbelieveable that the government does not have any respect. I already said that basketball is an unprofitable sport in Serbia ,especially, and Europe. This is an expensive hobby. This hobby is for a man who can invest 8 millions euros a year and hope for a million or two in minus at the end of a season.What about big attendancies to the games? I cannot set the price for the stands at 100 euros. People in Serbia do not have enough for living not to mention paying for a basketball game. We have 'the full house' every time we play and that's what fills my heart. I am proud for the atmosphere and for the fact that our players play on the wings of fabulous fans and setting the prices higher would lead nowhere. Did anyone call to say: Congratulations for what you did by now? NO! No one called to say Congratulations but they called because they wanted to crucify us with the mask of 'simplifying NLB league rules and defending Serbian interests'. No way! No one congratulated to us. Are there any possibilities that you can acquire expensive sponsorship deals and hold good players for further seasons as Partizan almost ensured playing Euroleague in next three years? No, that issue is still hot. Many players have played for a long time here and some of them will go for sure. But we will find adequate substitutes for then, I hope. Our key players are noticed in last two years but they've been here for 4 or 5 years. We could not match CSKA and Panathinaikos contracts, who showed interest in our players, even if we offered big deals to the players. And you can not kill someone's life dreams to make money of he is doing, no matter how big his love for Partizan is. There are still many talented players and we will manage to get by. There will be surprises too.What about the fact that everyone chase for Partizan? It's much harder duty to defend the trophies to winning them but we've managed to do that for seven years by now. It is much easier now after winning the National Cup as we aimed for NLB league. One by one. Of course that it wouldn't be the end of the world if we did not win NLB or Serbian league. This is still just a sport, although people in Serbia do not understand it that way. Many of us payed for that with our health and nervs. Do you think that Duško Vujošević lost his weight because of a diet? No way, believe me. I suffer through this, and I can not imagine how hard it is to him and to his players. Are you sorry for coming to this function in the club? All considered, No. I love Partizan and I won my dearest trophy playing for them. This club was also my jumping board to the world, and I came back because it was a logical move. I've never been sorry for anything but I ask myself from time to time whether the situation in the club would have been better if Vujošević and me were not in the club. People say that Partizan would have a lot bigger budget in that case. Maybe, I do not know. I sometimes dream of that. When will the situation in Partizan change for better? Every single thing around our club is based on stupid things like whether the director of a big firm is a fan of Red Star or Partizan or whether someone fancies Vujošević and me. That is absolutely wrong. I just pray for the day when big systems under the government say: this is the team that deserves that much money, that will be controlled, for the achieved results and that we can function like Cibona. Zagreb gave them around 2 million euros. Not to mention Dinamo handball club who got even more. Money should be given to all teams which deserve that by their quality and results. It doesn't matter who is the fan of Partizan or Red Star. I hope things will change with this Euroleague contract as we work fairly for many years. Mlađan Šilobad explained the Partizan phenomenon that players are not released during the season nor they are leaving the club for the fact that paychecks are usually late: We are keeping everyday contact to all the players. They are, before all, very good people. They understand our problems and they know that Partizan owes no one. They know for which team they are playing and what will be the size of their profits. It is well-known that every single player who leaves Partizan gets a t least three to four times bigger contracts, and some of them even seven times bigger. For example, Palacio signed six times bigger contract than the one he had in Partizan. At the end of the season we have a very big choice of players who want to play for Partizan, they offer their services. Šilobad explained what everyone already knows... about who is in the charge when it comes to selecting the team: Duško Vujošević pulls all the strings. We are familiar with the fact that he rarely made a mistake when it comes to selecting the players who should sign for Partizan. We do not doubt in his decisions and he will do it as long as he wishes to stay in Partizan. Of course, it is not easy to evaluate a player. The first criteriim is that Partizan player has to be a good man and a person with a positive team spirit because we do not need players who are spoiling it as this is the only way a player can get sacked.