See ya, Nova! Thanks for all the goals (and more) !

Milivoje Novakovic and the 1. FC Köln have agreed to terminate the striker’s contract with immediate effect, according to an article posted on the club’s official site.

Though “Nova” had been committed to the club through June of this year, he’s been plying his goal-scoring wares on the other side of the planet while on loan to Japanese first-division side Omiya Ardija since August 2012, tallying 17 goals in 38 matches there.

But it’s the 82 goals in 172 matches for the Effzeh that has fans tipping their cap to the Slovenian international today as he will freely seek employment elsewhere.

Sporting director Jörg Schmadtke said of the decision, “All sides can live with this solution. We wish Milivoje Novakovic all the best for the future.”

Sadly, fans may find themselves not entirely able to live with the solution, as the “future” includes the waiver of a planned farewell match that would have given fans a much better opportunity to salute the former club captain whose 20 goals in the 2006-07 campaign helped lift the club back into the Bundesliga the last time it was playing in the second league.

For me, Nova belongs to the collection of players who caught my eye when technology brought the Bundesliga back into my sphere of perception and ultimately sparking my love for the sport, the Bundesliga, and, of course, for all things Effzeh.

Toward the tail end of the 2010-11 season, Nova notched eight goals in the club’s last nine matches. I can’t say for certain which of those late-season matches I caught, but I know it had to be one of them, because, if I’m honest, I probably could identify him by name and club before I could name all 18 clubs in the Bundesliga at the time.

My depth of knowledge and understanding of the league has increased somewhat since then.

In any case, Nova has to be credited in some part for my having ultimately found the right club for my personal fandom. I recall enjoying watching him before I knew I was Effzeh in my heart, and I recall being sad he was leaving in the wake of the drop to the second league.

Hence, I send my heart-felt wishes to Nova and wish him all the best, wherever he lands.

And, if I may send a bit of a selfish wish into the ether . . . PLEASE! Someone at Seattle Sounders FC pick up the phone and contact the man in order to bring him to the league where players of a certain quality who’ve reached a certain age can find new-found success. The MLS would be a great landing spot for Nova, if only because putting him in a Sounders shirt would greatly increase my interest in the local product.

Cool, Drew Carey? Thanks!

For the English-speaking Effzeh fans, new and old, I offer this Deutsche Welle video profiling Nova late in his first season in the Bundesliga. It’s worth the six minutes, I swear!

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