Boro Primorac - The invisible man in Arsène's team


GUNNERS4L1FE (Forum Member) on February 21st, 2007, 7:46 pm

Boro Primorac has been one of the keys to the Arsenal manager's success wherever he has gone, says Wayne Veysey AFTER shaking hands with opposite number Ronald Koeman and a q u ick exchange with one or two players, Arsène Wenger's first port of call in the wake of tonight's Champions League clash in Eindhoven will be a post-match debrief with Boro Primorac.

The big, bald Bosnian's routine — both at half-time and when the final whistle blows — is to scurry down from his seat in the stands to offer any tactical or technical observations to his boss and long-term friend.

Pat Rice may sit alongside Wenger on match days and assume the public role as No2, but there is little doubt that the mysterious Primorac — who many diehard Gunners fans would struggle to recognise — is the French general's most trusted lieutenant.

A rugged central defender who captained the former Yugoslavia during his playing days, Primorac possesses the sort of physique that could earn him extra-curricular work as a nightclub doorman — and a vigorous handshake to match — but in English football his profile is minute.

He shuns interview requests with a self-deprecating shrug: "Why would you want to speak to me? I'm not important." The evidence, however, is to the contrary.

The 52-year-old is a highly-valued tactician and Wenger's chief sounding board on players, tactics and team selection.

"Boro is an encyclopedia of world football," said Arsenal great and former goalkeeping coach Bob Wilson. "Name a player and he'll know his height, weight and which foot he favours. He watches tape after tape on football, channel after channel.

"He's Arsène's ally and they share the belief that the three most important things in the game are technique, technique and technique."

Armed with stopwatch and whistle, Wenger personally runs all Arsenal's training sessions himself with the precision of a Swiss clock.

However, according to one Ashburton source: "If Arsène delegates anything, he delegates to Boro. He is the man he trusts most."

Wenger and Primorac's friendship was borne out of adversity.

They first became acquainted at Cannes in the early 1980s, where the Frenchman was an assistant coach and the Yugoslav a player, and then became rival managers in the France Championnat in 1993 — Wenger at Monaco and Primorac at Valenciennes.

But it was Primorac's role in the 1993 French football scandal that resulted in the jailing of Bernard Tapie, the Marseilles president, which was to secure their bond. The fallout from the crisis also resulted in Marseilles being stripped of the Champions League title.

After being told by one of his players, Jacques Glassman, that he and two team-mates, Jorge Burruchaga and Christophe Robert, had deliberately thrown an end-of-season game against Marseilles, Primorac bravely ignored Tapie's attempts to buy his silence and his evidence in court was crucial to the club president's conviction.

After bringing down Tapie, Primorac became something of a scapegoat in French football. At 39, his top-flight managerial career was effectively finished.

"Many people felt Boro broke the code of silence in football," remembers a Valenciennes source. "He suffered a traumatic time giving evidence against Tapie. He was personally threatened and Valenciennes got rid of him.

"The results weren't brilliant at the time and he never had great success as a manager, but Boro was robbed of his career by the scandal. He had taken great personal risk in giving evidence against Tapie and was to pay a huge price."

Wenger's Monaco suffered the most because of Tapie's corruption and the Arsenal boss had been impressed by Primorac's courage and integrity.

The Frenchman had publicly supported the man who was to become his long-serving accomplice and eventually offered him a coaching job after moving to Grampus Eight in Japan in 1994.

They have been comrades ever since and when Wenger moved to Highbury two years later, Primorac naturally went with him.

"If Arsène Wenger was to leave Arsenal tomorrow, Boro Primorac would go with him. Pat Rice wouldn't," observed former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour.

"Boro is clearly Arsène's right-hand man but it is hard to say how important he is to Arsenal's success.

"They are all important — Pat Rice, [physio] Gary Lewin. But at the end of the day, Arsène picks the team and his neck is on the block."

Those who have worked with Primorac at Arsenal talk of a charming, highly-intelligent individual whose language skills — he is said to be fluent in eight languages (Serb-Croat, French, English, Japanese, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian) — puts even Wenger and the multi-lingual Philippe Senderos in the shade.

"He is a lovely bloke," adds Parlour. "He is a big practical joker and very popular. He is probably closer to the players than Arsène Wenger because he has been there and done it as a player."

The man without portfolio has a wide brief at Arsenal, from assessing players to everyday tasks such as conducting the pre-training warm-ups, stretching, sprint sessions and shortsided games. Former Arsenal goalkeeper John Lukic refers to him as the BBC man, revealing: "He was only in charge of balls, bibs and cones, because Arsène does everything.

"But he has a far more important role as Arsène's eyes, ears and sounding board. And he is a fully qualified coach who did put on sessions when the boss was away."

Another ex-Gunner Paul Merson also sings his praises.

He said: "Boro was a football nut who was a great help to me when I was coming back from injury. I remember thinking, 'this bloke knows his stuff '. He was also very easy to speak to and more accessible than Wenger."

The Arsenal boss has admitted to sometimes signing players — such as Portuguese winger Luis Boa Morte, now at West Ham — purely on Primorac's recommendation, evidence enough of Wenger's faith in his most trusted adviser.

And whatever happens in Eindhoven tonight, the Frenchman is sure to seek lengthy consultations with the big man in the shadows before planning for the return leg.


The website this article is on requires registration so i copied it on here.
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RC8 (Elite Member) on February 21st, 2007, 8:38 pm

Excellent article. I've read about Boro before, and he seems to be a great man and a good tactician.

The story of how and why Arsène offered him a job is exemplary, and it makes me very proud of the management team we have here at Arsenal.

Thanks a lot GUNNERS4LIFE for posting it here. I appreciate it.
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M+D (Trusted Member) on February 21st, 2007, 8:41 pm

Great read. Very interesting to hear about one of the less well known figures who are integral to Arsenal. Great story about him sacrificing his career to give evidence.
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Mostarac (Trusted Member) on February 21st, 2007, 11:08 pm

Great to see a fellow Bosnian at Arsenal. He used to play for my Velez before, and is also from Mostar just like I am.
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Jackus (Forum Member) on February 21st, 2007, 11:09 pm

Very interesting, thanks a lot for posting this. Nice to learn more about the goings on behind the scenes at Arsenal.
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albakos (Trusted Member) on February 22nd, 2007, 9:48 am

A very nice read indeed. My father remembered Boro on his playing days. He says that he was also quiet as player as well.

Thanks.
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stiiphunn (Trusted Member) on February 22nd, 2007, 9:59 am

Thanks for posting this! Great read- and the article's right. I don't think I would recognise him if I'd see him.
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True Gooner (Elite Member) on February 22nd, 2007, 12:40 pm

Good read, hardly heard much of him before.
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alibey (Forum Member) on February 23rd, 2007, 12:33 am

FFS sake, i didnt hear for Boro for a such long time. Hes from my hometown Mostar, southern Bosnia called Herzegovina.

Hes an outstanding expert and Im sure hes done so much for the Gunners, glad to have our man up there in England.
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tactica442 (Trusted Member) on February 23rd, 2007, 8:05 am

Boro has a hitman face, if looking at him from distance. Interesting to know from Ray that Boro is actually an approacheable man.
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Clrnc (Trusted Member) on February 23rd, 2007, 10:24 am

omg. i didnt know that much behind the scenes. thanks dude.
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YuenBiaoFan (Trusted Member) on February 23rd, 2007, 12:12 pm

tactica442 wrote:Boro has a hitman face


LOL, it's true, he looks like one of those archetypal dodgy Slav geezers.
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Mostarac (Trusted Member) on February 23rd, 2007, 8:50 pm

Picture of Boro when had slightly more hair on his head :) and while he was at Velez. He is 1st from left back row.

Image
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Nutsy (Elite Member) on February 23rd, 2007, 8:56 pm

:respect Boro. thanks for posting this mate ;)

Mostarac (Trusted Member) on February 23rd, 2007, 9:00 pm

Gunners_Nadz wrote::respect Boro. thanks for posting this mate ;)


No problems, mate :) .
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Nutsy (Elite Member) on February 23rd, 2007, 9:13 pm

Mostarac wrote:
Gunners_Nadz wrote::respect Boro. thanks for posting this mate ;)


No problems, mate :) .


and the article too ;)

Clrnc (Trusted Member) on February 24th, 2007, 10:59 am

btw, i am curious about the backroom staff etc. why did wenger make pat rice his assist when boro is his most trusted. also which coach did wenger brought in and which was already here?
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bojed (Trusted Member) on February 24th, 2007, 11:21 am

arsenal_hleb wrote:btw, i am curious about the backroom staff etc. why did wenger make pat rice his assist when boro is his most trusted. also which coach did wenger brought in and which was already here?


it might be the case that maybe pat rice is more of a "man-management" kind of guy while boro is an astute strategist.

perhaps Arsène wants his best strategist to see the game from a wider view and give some suggestions on how to play the game for the other half.

and i think it's quite hard to do that from the dugout, which is where pat rice usually sits.
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YeahBee (Forum Member) on February 24th, 2007, 3:23 pm

Mostarac wrote:Picture of Boro when had slightly more hair on his head :) and while he was at Velez. He is 1st from left back row.

Image


the one on the top left looks like Jaws
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Mostarac (Trusted Member) on February 24th, 2007, 3:25 pm

YeahBee wrote:the one on the top left looks like Jaws


Thats Boro :) .
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koivu (Trusted Member) on February 24th, 2007, 7:23 pm

Great read, many thanks for sharing this one!
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bethie (Forum Member) on February 25th, 2007, 5:08 am

great read!

but not so much on the football perspective. Boro must be applauded for taking the daring step as a whistle-blower... not much men will have the courage to do what he did and see their careers go down in flame. greater prop to the man who helped him along when he's at his most difficult.

on in Arsenal do we get great men, both on and off the pitch.
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RC8 (Elite Member) on February 25th, 2007, 5:45 am

Mostarac wrote:Picture of Boro when had slightly more hair on his head :) and while he was at Velez. He is 1st from left back row.

Image


Great picture Mostarac! I guess now if someone from Velez Mostar questions you for following Arsenal you can always say "Hey! our legend, Boro Primorac is a coach there!". ;)

Seriously though, the man has gone through a lot. It's interesting how a young boy from Yugoslavia became such an interesting figure, and travelled and coached in France, Japan, and was part of a team that would make history in English football.

But for people like him, who played for the national team of Yugoslavia and made their nation proud, the whole process of disintegration must have been very difficult to take. To think that the people with whom you shared so much were now of a different nationality... well, they will probably always be Yugoslavs at heart... at least in football.

By the way Mostarac, what is "Flora" (the sponsor on the shirt)?
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kamikaze80 (Elite Member) on February 25th, 2007, 6:54 am

dont they make margarine or butter or something?

great read on boro, very impressed by his sense of integrity, something the world could do with a bit more of.
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Mostarac (Trusted Member) on February 25th, 2007, 6:57 pm

RC8 wrote:Great picture Mostarac! I guess now if someone from Velez Mostar questions you for following Arsenal you can always say "Hey! our legend, Boro Primorac is a coach there!". ;)
Seriously though, the man has gone through a lot. It's interesting how a young boy from Yugoslavia became such an interesting figure, and travelled and coached in France, Japan, and was part of a team that would make history in English football.
But for people like him, who played for the national team of Yugoslavia and made their nation proud, the whole process of disintegration must have been very difficult to take. To think that the people with whom you shared so much were now of a different nationality... well, they will probably always be Yugoslavs at heart... at least in football.
By the way Mostarac, what is "Flora" (the sponsor on the shirt)?


:) . Boro has surely done a lot and has great experience, not just in football but also in life. He was part of the great Velez team of the 1970s with Bajevic, Maric, Vladic and so on who made it to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup. Then he left for Hajduk Split and eventually for France I think. Its also true as you say about the disintegration of the nation, mate. It even pains me sometimes and I was young at the time. Sometimes one thinks about what could have been if it was not for the wars or the nationalistic/fascist conflicts which arose, and I think guys such as Boro think the same too. I am not quite sure about Flora, but I think it was some kind of factory of butter products :) .
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Dreath (Forum Member) on February 26th, 2007, 11:57 am

Well, what's important is that he's an awesome coach in Football Manager :wink:

Big_Cake (Forum Member) on April 27th, 2007, 9:06 pm

he is an amazing guy, and surely he is the obvous candidate for this 'director of football role no?
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Grampus_Eight (Trusted Member) on April 27th, 2007, 9:51 pm

Reyesvanpersie wrote:he is an amazing guy, and surely he is the obvous candidate for this 'director of football role no?


Depends on what the director of football role means. What Arsène needs is a replacement for Dein someone to fly all over the world and help conduct negotiations with agents, other clubs, players and lawyers who knows about the football transfer and salary market.

That doesn't seem like Boro's expertise. Also, given that he is a man of such integirty who is to say he'd want to enter into the scumy, rough and tumble world of the transfer market?
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EMIR8_SOLDIER (Forum Member) on April 27th, 2007, 9:52 pm

hellllllllllllllll yeah but remember what wenger said in ne of his article....if he goes then this man will stay..boro will leave if wenger does so he is not the man IMO
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outlaw_member (Forum Member) on December 20th, 2008, 5:00 am

I came across this article whilst trying to find some info on Boro Primorac. He sounds like a very intelligent man, although his recommendation of Boa Morte didn't go too well. One thing I fail to grasp, is how can two extremely intelligent people use the First Team's flanks as some sort of education center?
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