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?


41. Headline in the making

"They're here. The twins and Beau, they're just walked in through the front entrance." Jared announces, "I haven't got a clue where Daniel and James are."

The group explodes into gasps and swear words as the strong fivesome that we haven't seen in weeks, becomes an unstable threesome.

"Well maybe they just don't need to be here. We don't know for sure." Francis tries to reassure us all.

"No. They've gone guys." I blurt out, as James' grip around my shoulder tightens in support, "Sophie and I heard them arguing when we started stewarding, and they stormed out. I don't think they're coming back at all."

Dean curses loudly, and I place a gentle hand on my chest as I feel myself panicking.

"Breathe." James whispers in my ear, but his best effort to comfort me feels completely useless.

Jared peers outside at the players car park, and his eyes widen once more. "Loads of cars are pulling up as well...Yeah, O'Shea's here. All the boys in the first team are."

Millions of different scenarios begin flickering in my head. There has to be some form of logical reason why all of the players are here, at six o'clock on a Monday night. Shit, they wouldn't fire some of the players would they?

No. Of course not. They wouldn't get rid of our longest serving players. We wouldn't have anyone left to play. It's got to be something else. Yeah. Maybe this is just Poyet's new way to train them for the next game. There's nothing wrong with that.

But that little voice in the back of my head is screaming that this isn't just a little late night training session. All that's happened since I arrived here, and I know now that nothing is ever what it seems. Nothing should ever be considered as 'normal', because half of the time nothing ever is. An Australian group of boys from YouTube took over this club from an American millionaire....

How the fuck is that normal?

Our tense silence is broken as a gentle knock is heard at the door, "Hello?"

Seb's face appears, and my heart flutters slightly as James nudges me gently.

"Is it okay if we all come in?" He asks, indicating that the rest of the team are outside.

June speaks on behalf of the group, and in walks the first team with the exception of John O'Shea.

Seb catches my eye, and his face instantly lights up. I can't help but grin as I meet him in the middle of the room for a hug, and all my worries seem to fade away. If there's one person in the world who can take away all my troubles, its Seb Larsson. Nothing will change that.

"How are you?"

"I'm a nervous wreck." I scoff, "I don't know why you're worried about me anyway. How are you?"

"The same to be fair with you." He half laughs, "We're all under so much stress and we just want to know what's going on."

I mumble in agreement, and Seb runs a hand through his hair, "Oh yeah, Will was asking about you. He's outside with Liam." He smiles adorably.

"Oh right, yeah. Thanks Seb."

Without a second thought I swiftly leave the room, and I'm met by Liam and Will who appear to be in a deep discussion over tonight's events. As soon as Will clocks my presence he strides over to me and wraps his arms tight around my waist.

"I've missed you so much." He groans, and I can hear Liam chuckling lightly behind us.

"I'll leave you guys to it." He announces, and before I know it, it's just me and Will.

It's been about a month since I heard from or even spoke to Will. So much has happened that I don't think either of us had time to even think about the other. The stress he must be under is absolutely heart-breaking. The way he's holding onto me almost makes me feel as if he could burst out crying.

"You okay?"

"Mmmm. I'm just really happy to see you." He mutters, "You make me ease."

Cue the butterflies in the stomach feeling. Wow I really have missed him.

"Well I'm glad I can help." I lightly chuckle, "On a more serious note though, are you alright?"

Will nods frantically, ensuring my worried self that he's doing okay and that he's taking 'each day as it comes'.

"I don't know if any of the other lads have noticed this though, but I haven't seen Adam around. O'Shea and Gus have gone to speak to the lads in the office, but Adam never showed up." Will's voice deepens, and I immediately detach myself from him and head for the locker room.

As I enter the room and briefly scan around the numerous people dotted around, I sudden realise that Will is right. Adam Johnson isn't here.

"What's up babe?" June asks, standing by my side as all eyes are now on me, "Have you heard something?"

I feel for Will's hand and interlock his with mine to gain even the slightest bit of comfort.

"Anyone noticed that Johnson isn't here?"

The room turns sour, and I think everyone here is thinking the worst.

Adam Johnson is one of the club's long standing players, and as a Sunderland lad himself, I would say that he is well liked. He's definitely one of the most hard working players on the team, so I can't think why he's not around to witness all this.

"This is such a head fuck." James groans in the corner, resting his head in his hands.

"I'm sure it's nothing. He's just had a child so he's probably at home with the baby. Calm down guys." Seb tries his best to ease the group as the pressure mounts.

A sudden pair of footsteps can be heard in the hallway, and Gus Poyet, and John O'Shea can be seen striding towards us...and surprise surprise, they don't look too happy.

Will and I move to stand by Sophie and June, his hand still firmly locked with mine. As our manager and team captain enter the room, silence breaks out, and I swear my heart thudding against my chest can be heard amongst everyone. I'm that nervous I feel like I might throw up.

"Right guys," Gus begins, "I won't erm, beat around the bush. We've just finished talking to what's left of our management. Daniel and James are no longer part of this company. The group have parted ways and it's now Jai, Luke and Beau."

There's no surprise there. I think we were all expecting that.

"The other news is," O'Shea takes over, and I can tell he's about to drop a bombshell. This is what we're all here for. Not Daniel and James. Something's happened to Adam. I can feel it. "Adam's been arrested for sexual activity with a fifteen year old girl, and the lads up in the office think it's only suitable to suspend him pending the outcome of a trial in court."


Frighteningly eerie silence breaks out as everyone tries to take in the worst bombshell to hit this club in years.

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