The Apprenticeship

Vienna Barnes is given the opportunity of a lifetime when she is offered an apprenticeship to work for her favourite football club, Sunderland AFC. Sunderland AFC are one of the biggest clubs in the North East. After pulling off the greatest escape in Barclays Premier League history, the Black Cats are back in action, and sitting nervously towards the bottom of the table. Just as Vienna arrives at the club, a bombshell is dropped, and owner Ellis Short sells the club to a mystery new owner. This new owner is determined to keep themselves a secret from the footballing world, and the media are therefore forced to keep possibly the biggest secret and scandal in footballing history. Soon, all begins to fall apart at the club, and the new owners drive Sunderland into the ground. Thinking on her feet, Vienna steps in to offer her help in any shape or form. With problem after problem unveiling, will Sunderland AFC still remain intact by the end of the season?

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8. First Half

Author's Note

I have some big news for you guys! Well, it's only really 'big' if you guys are aware of the Sunderland players. I went to the Swansea game yesterday and I was lucky enough to finally meet Seb!!! If you don't know who he is, he's the inspiration for my account name 'LaLaLarsson', and he's my idol. So yesterday was a pretty big deal to me!

He was so lovely and kind, just everything that I know him to be. I'm so annoyed that I couldn't say more to him, but I was just too nervous. I waited about an hour and a half for him and as soon as I saw him and got a photo I turned around and cried my eyes out!

Aaaaanyway, post-match depression has well and truly set in! (For any fangirls/boys, it's basically the same as post-concert depression, just after a match instead :P) I'll try and update more over the week, but I'm starting university officially tomorrow so i'll be very busy.

But on with the next chapter! :)

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"Hey! My name's Anna Young, nice to meet you"

I nervously shake the confident woman's hand as her smile radiates warmth and friendliness.

"Hi, I'm Vienna Barnes" I nervously respond, quickly picking up on the woman's heavy American accent, "You're American?"

"Yeah, I just moved here from Chicago" Anna explains, "What about you?"

"Oh, I just moved from Nottingham. It's about 3 hours down south from here"

"That's cool!" She grins, "Can I get you a drink?"

I watch as Anna points towards the glossy black table in the corner of the room. It's piled high with bottles of champagne, and bowls of food, and I instantly feel myself begin to drool.

Come on Vienna, I know you love food, but now is not the right time to pounce on the sausage rolls and crisps.

"Erm" I stutter, "Champagne would be great thanks!"

"Haha, I like your taste Vienna" She giggles, strutting towards the majority of the rest of the group.

Outside I hear numerous people entering the stadium, and the atmosphere begins to build slowly. It's roughly an hour and a quarter until the game begins, and hopefully the players come out soon, cause I can't bare being stood around doing nothing.

Anna quickly makes her way back towards me, two champagne flutes filled to the brim with the sparkling fluid, and a wide grin on her face.

"Here you go" She announces, handing a glass over to me, "Cheers Vienna!"

We clink our glasses together gently, and I watch as Anna drinks the entire glass dry.

"Think I might get another glass" She announces, walking back over towards the table.

Well she'll definitely be drunk by the end of this afternoon, and I bet you I'll be stuck with the torturous task of holding her hair back. Fantastic.

"I would be careful with her if I was you" A voice says, making me jump slightly.

I spin around and see a rather skinny looking, young guy stood smiling at me. His chocolate brown, quiffed hair is sculptured perfectly on the top of his head, and his blue/grey eyes are glistening.

"She's a wild one" He chuckles, extending a hand towards me, "James, James McNamee"

"I so badly wanted your last name to be Bond" I joke, as our hands connect, "Sorry, you've probably heard that joke a million times"

"One million and one" He winks.

I nervously laugh at James' comment, and take a sip of the champagne. No one has really winked at me before. Nor has any lad really 'come on' to me like this.

To be honest, apart from Henry, and my male family, no lad has every really made conversation with me. So this is a completely new experience.

"So, what did you mean about Anna" I ask, curiously.

"We sort of..."He begins, nervously scratching the back of his head as he finds the words to say, "Have a past. If you understand what I mean?"

"You two dated?"

"I went over to Chicago for a friend's birthday, and Anna was working in a bar. One thing lead to another and we ending up sleeping together" James explains, nervously looking towards Anna who is scowling at both of us, "She got pissed when I told her to leave my hotel room the next morning. She wouldn't stop texting me for days, so I ended up changing my number just to get some space from the stalker"

This isn't exactly the type of conversation I would wish to have with someone I have just met, but hey, at least we're bonding.

The noises outside grow and grow with every minute that passes by, and it's not long before the crowd begin to clap and the players are welcomed onto the pitch. I join the rest of the group on the balcony and take my seat as men in red and white striped shirts run onto the pitch.

All the players and officials shake hands, and we cheer as everyone takes their places on the pitch. The whistle blows and the game kicks off. A sudden rush of adrenaline takes over my body and all my nerves seem to disappear. This is where I love to be. Watching my favourite team play football. This is what I love to be doing. Working here and experiencing this every week, instead of a few times a year or once a month, is something that I cannot wait to start doing.

Not even five minutes into the game, and Tottenham are moving dangerously closer towards a nervous looking Vito Mannone in our goal.

"Come on Sunderland!"

"O'Shea get in there man!"

"Someone tackle him for fuck sake!"

Numerous comments are flying around the stadium as the ball is passed to Tottenham player, Nacer Chadli.

I run both hands through my hair as I feel the tension build and build, not only around the rest of my co-workers, but the 40,000 other supporters in the stadium.

In a split second, Chadli plays the ball past Mannone, and a roar of cheers from the Tottenham supports erupts as the first goal of the game is scored.

"The first goal of the game is scored by number 22, Nacer Chadli!" The overhead speaker reports.

My eyes glance towards the scoreboard, as a number one appears by Tottenham, and my heart sinks. Two minutes into the game and we're already losing.

"Can't help but think we could have another relegation struggle this year" A young girl says next to me, "Don't you think?"

"Yeah" I groan, turning myself to look towards the well spoken young girl, "I mean it's early days, but we still haven't won yet. Kinda frustrating, so I see where you're coming from. I'm Vienna by the way"

"June, nice to meet you" She smiles, outstretching a hand towards me.

We confidently shake hands as the atmosphere suddenly builds in the stadium.

"Go on Johnson!" James yells, standing up in his seat.

I look towards the goal, and Adam Johnson is storming ahead. Two opposing players hot on his tail as he edges closer to the goal.

"Come on Johnson!" I urge, frantically waving my arms around in the air.

He quickly fires the ball, and a roar of cheers break out as Adam Johnson scores the first goal for Sunderland.

"Yes!"

"Fucking get in Johnson!"

"Maybe that relegation struggle may not happen after all" I joke to June, as she laughs in response.

The majority of the first half was positive. As usual I text Mum every few minutes, giving her regular updates on the teams general play, as the game carries on.

I catch a glimpse of Larsson and smile subconsciously as I see him quickly dart around the pitch. He's doing everything that I admire him for. Even when I'm this far away from him I can see how much he's putting into the game. He misses a few chances here and there, to the crowd, and even to James' dislike, which causes a few harsh comments. I scowl over in James' direction and he laughs loudly as I continue to watch the rest of the game.

Time moves quickly as numerous shots are taken on target by both teams. 'Oohs' and 'Aaahs' fly about as we move into extra time.

"Come on lads" I mutter, under my breath, "You can do this!"

I watch nervously as the ball slips past John O'Shea, and the crowd openly show their displeasure as Christian Eriksen takes hold of the ball. My eyes squint together as I watch him take a shot at the goal.

"No!"

My heart sinks as the goal net ripples, and a thunderous cheer from the Tottenham supporters fills the stadium.

 

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