End of an era. As Bruce Milne emotionally and publicly sells revered artefacts from The Tote Hotel, there is another item of furniture facing permanent removal. Veteran Tote Hotel Head Coach Steven "Sabo" Sabatino ( H.C 2007-2009) has been relieved of his duties by active new captain Banjo O Shannessy. No-one is safe with the new look Tote in 2010. There is speculation of a complete re-assessment of club staff and Captain Cleanup is certainly swinging the axe as the new floors are laid in the ol' Tote Hotel.
As a player, Sabo has his roots in the Ivanhoe Amateurs. His game was crafted in the ruck from the under 11's but as the formative years made their impact- his growing actually reversed and spent most his time for Heidelberg in the Diamond Valley being run over like a cat on the highway. Like most pub footballers- he chose music instead. An underground virtuoso in classical guitar, Sabo wandered through the next few decades in various jazz-bands, playing corporate functions, reluctantly performing and dj-ing on the side. He was alone with his coachinglessness. In 2007 he was approached by modern-era THFC founder Reggie with a staggering offer: "Sabo- I want you as coach cos you know fuck all about footy".
Sabo has a win-loss ratio of 4-1 over 3 years and has stated the infamous loss to Bar Open in 2008 a career low-point:
"I was a very emotional Coach during the 3 seasons I was there. Loved seeing them win and win well! The one defeat we suffered at the hands of our Nemesis ( Bar Open) was just too much for me!!"
Regrets. He's had a few: "I hated seeing any player getting hurt and regret I was unable to manage the inclusion of women in our team".
So what does the future hold? Anonymous sources report the self-governed / player-coached Bar Open side is overflowing in the pre-season and on a dark path towards a Lord-Of-The-Flies type scenario at Arden St. Perhaps the Birmingham Hotel is seeking a leader of experience? Rumours quashed immediately by Sabatino:
"I would never Coach another Pub other than the Tote. They are best blokes I have had the privilege to lead."
"My fondest memories aside from winning is having Kat Spazzy as runner! I would send Kat out with messages to players and she would bring back messages from players like 'stick it up ya arse' ".
Prior to Season 2010, Banjo has reported Sabo's current role with the club as "mentoring and motivational / spiritual leader". Since 2007, Sabo has been undefeated in Pub Footy's BDOG award. (Best Dressed On Ground). Onya mate. March on brother.