CSKA-Sofia: Meet the Manager

Lilyana Dimitrova has been appointed manager of CSKA-Sofia, becoming the first female football manager in top-flight football. Dimitrova, 27, replaces Milos Kruscic who resigned less than 24 hours after taking charge.

The appointment has divided football fans across the world, with many wondering whether Dimitrova can make the jump into a male-dominated world and bring success to her new club.

When asked during her first press conference how she would command respect within the dressing room due to being a female manager, Dimitrova was indignant in her reply:

If my father or brother were sat in this seat now, would you be asking them about respect? Women have fought in wars but for some reason nobody expects us to be able to manage a group of men who kick a ball for a living. Football is in my blood. I’ve been surrounded by it my entire life. I’ve done the same courses as many of the other managers in this league. The only difference is I have a pair of breasts.

Lilyana Dimitrova (born 13 March 1991) is a Bulgarian professional football manager, who currently manages CSKA-Sofia. She is the daughter of sports agent Petar Dimitrov.

Dimitrova signed for FC Sportika Blagoevgrad at the age of 16, signalling the start of an underwhelming playing career. Due to persistent knee injuries, she struggled to break into the first team and at the end of the 2008/2009 season was released from the club without ever having played a competitive match.

After being released from Sportika, Petar Dimitrov touted his daughter to clubs in the United States in the hope it would relaunch her career. Dimitrova eventually signed for Philadelphia Independence in 2010 for their inaugural WPS season – she went on to make 23 appearances over 2 seasons but again suffered from several reoccurrences of knee injuries.

When the WPS folded in 2012, and on the advice of doctors, Dimitrova announced her retirement from professional football at the age of 21 and returned to education.

In 2014, Dimitrova relocated to England and attended the University of Chichester for 3 years while studying for a degree in Football Coaching and Performance. Alongside her University course, Dimitrova gained her National B Licence and assisted in coaching the Under 14’s squad at Chichester City FC.

CSKA-Sofia is her first full-time coaching appointment in professional football.

CSKA-Sofia: A History

CSKA Sofia are the most decorated Bulgarian team, holding 51 league and domestic cup titles – they are also the only Bulgarian team to reach the Champions League semi-finals, albeit the last time being back in 1982. Over recent years, Ludogorets Razgrad has challenged their dominance and have beaten CSKA to the league title for the last 3 seasons.

CSKA Sofia Milestones

1948Officially founded under the name Septemvri pri CDV
1948Won first league title
1951Won first league and cup double
1954 – 1962Won 9 consecutive league titles
1956First European Cup appearance, reached Quarter Finals
1964Sacked manager, Krum Milev, after 16 years in charge
1967First Bulgarian team to reach European Cup Semi-Final
1968Signed Petar Zhekov, the top Bulgarian scorer of all time
1985Forced to disband after violence during the Bulgarian cup final
Refounded as Sredets
Hristo Stoichkov banned from playing for life
1986Hristo Stoichkov ban overturned
2002Won first league title since 1998
2005Won 30th league title
2008Refused license to play in Champions League due to unpaid obligations
2008Former Club President, Aleksander Tomov, arrested for embezzlement
2013Withdrawn from Europa League after financial problems
2015Refused license to play in Bulgarian top tier due to unpaid debts, demoted to 3rd tier
2016First 3rd Division club to win Bulgarian Cup
2016Reinstated to Bulgarian top tier

Managerial Merry-Go-Round

Out of the last 20 managers, only 7 have stayed longer than 3 months. The shortest tenure belonging to club legend Hristo Stoichkov who lasted just 1 month in the role, leaving due to the club’s poor financial state.

Krum Milev is deemed the most successful CSKA manager, winning 11 league and 4 cup titles in 16 years. He was sacked in 1964 after finishing 11th during the previous season and only 3 points clear of relegation.

What the (FM) Future Holds

  • will I be able to end Ludogorets run of 8 consecutive league titles?
  • will I be able to turn CSKA into a European powerhouse?
  • will I be able to last longer than 3 months in charge?

In my next blog I’ll be outlining my aims for my FM20 save, I have a few ideas up my sleeve and have taken inspiration from a few other bloggers. Now, where’s that beta so I can get planning…

FM20: Save Announcement

And the winner is…


In what could be a controversial decision after the events of Monday night, the team I shall be managing in FM20 is CSKA Sofia.

I did consider abandoning the idea after the England game but a Bulgarian save is what was voted for in my twitter poll so it’s only fair to give people what they want.

Plus, Football Manager is a fictitious game in a fictitious world. If I want to have Bulgaria as a hippy dwelling, free love kinda country (in my head I’m imagining the last scene of Mad Men) then I can.

FM 20: The Choices

After a few weeks of deliberation, I’ve narrowed my FM20 save down to just 4 options and you’re going to be the people to choose where I’ll be starting.

Hopefully, it will turn into a long-term save and I’ll do a bit of club-hopping to keep things interesting, but I’ll only move on once I’ve brought some form of success to my current team… or when I get sacked!

So let’s get down to business and where FM20 is going to take me, the common theme being:
teams who have had success in the past but have underachieved in recent years or are missing something from their trophy cabinet

Holding the record for the most Swiss National Championship titles, Grasshopper are currently without a title since the 2002-03 season. Their last domestic cup success came in 2013 and they have never made an impact in Europe, very rarely making it further than the Qualifying Rounds.
What can I say about Liverpool that you don’t already know? The most successful English team in Europe, most recently winning the Champions League, but their first Premier League title still eludes them after 27 seasons!
With 54 league titles and 7 domestic trebles to their name, Rangers are one of the most successful teams in the world. Unfortunately financial difficulties in 2011 saw them liquidated and having to start over in the fourth tier of Scottish football. Now back in the top tier, their quest to retain the dominance of Scottish football begins.
CSKA Sofia are the most decorated Bulgarian team, holding 51 league and domestic cup titles – they are also the only Bulgarian team to reach the Champions League semi-finals, albeit the last time being back in 1982. Over recent years, Ludogorets Razgrad have challenged their dominance and have beaten CSKA to the league title for 5 of the last 8 seasons.

Head on over to my Twitter page https://twitter.com/TheFFM_ to vote for the first club of my FM20 save!