Get to know the staff behind the scenes in our regular segment, The Backroom.Slavisa is part of the bricks and mortar which make the Wanderers what they are today. Meticulous when it comes to detail, the go-to person for kit and a very proud recipient of the Chairman’s Award.
A case of being in the right place at the right time led Slav by chance down the path of managing kits and equipment for football clubs.
“It wasn’t really a thing where I woke up in the morning and was like I want to be a kit man or an equipment manager, it came across by pure chance,” explained Slav.
It started with an opportunity to work with the Head of Performance at Sydney FC, coming in as a volunteer at the club leading to many opportunities.
Slav then began to assist the kit man and got to learn about the job which is where he first met Tony Popovic.
He ended up working quite closely with Popovic and when the Wanderers were formed it was a phone call from Popovic which saw Djukic get the job.
A standard morning at the Wanderers starts bright and early at 5.30am for Slav who unloads the van after picking up the player’s laundry.
“I sort through everyone’s kit. Each individual has different sizes, everything from socks and shirts all the way to undies and I sort through it all and place them individually.
“I organize their drinks and pack everything to take down to the pitch, set the pitch up and come back to usually answer emails or prepare for the next session.”
The early starts have reaped many rewards for the Wanderers and the best memory by far comes from the club’s inaugural season.
“Not necessarily referring to the achievements and the success we had but rather how we started from scratch.
“We had absolutely nothing and we helped the club become what it is now. That outweighs all the achievements.”
Of course it has been challenging at times. The Wanderers previous season saw a hectic schedule and games being played within 48 hours of each other resulting in a lot of pressure behind the scenes.
“Obviously with the AFC Champions League we had a lot of players come in and there was a lot of demand for kit.
“Travelling to a lot of countries and having to come back and compete in different competitions was challenging.
“Trying to juggle two leagues and the FFA Cup on my own and having to endure travel was a huge challenge and I also had a pregnant wife at home.
“The reward from all of this was that we won the Premiers plate and we qualified for the Champions League and won it on our first go. That is something that will never be repeated again.”
Spending so much time at the club so far has not only created a sense of camaraderie but many hilarious memories. Some of which left him in tears of laughter.
"The best one was in season one where the team managed to convince me that I had receieved a massive fine and six week suspension from the FFA, they didn't tell me it was a joke for a few days so I ended up preparing an apology letter to the FFA. That was a huge stitch up.”
"There was also the time Anthony Siciliano won the Chairman’s Award and he screamed like a seven-year old.”
READ ABOUT ANTHONY SICILIANO HERE.
The best piece of advice Slav has for anyone wanting to head down the same path as him is having critical attention to detail.
“You definitely need attention to detail, that is what separated me from the rest. Whatever you do, you must do it at 110% and then some more.”