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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21. 'I will know who the new owners are'

"There's your change, thank you very much!"

Our last customer for the day exits the food stand, and I squat down on my knees, letting out a deep sigh. Sunderland lost to Stoke and we're now our of the Capital One Cup tournament, which sucks. We got to the final last year, so to be knocked out so early on in the process is pretty shit. The atmosphere amongst the fans was absolutely diabolical, and the last hour since the match ended has been non stop chaos.

"How you holding up kiddo?" Mary asks, gently patting my back.

"I'm fucking exhausted." I groan, "How do you do this every week?"

"Ah, you just get used to it. Go on now, it's nearly 11. Get on home."

I thank Mary probably twelve times before I grab my things and head out of the door. The crisp, cool air sweeps past my face, and Jared quickly appears beside me.

"You mind hanging about whilst I have a cigarette?" He sweetly asks, "I can't walk and smoke at the same time, not a very good woman."

"Sure, knock yourself out."

We walk towards the club shop, and I prop myself up against the wall as Jared lights up a cigarette. The flame crackles against the tip of the 'death stick', as my Mum likes to call it, and Jared breaths in a sigh of relief, followed by a puff of smoke that lands directly in my face.

"Oh, thanks." I cough, "Cheers for that mate."

Jared apologises immediately, causing us both to crack up with laughter. I notice that we are not too far from the players car park, and I have a sneaky look to see if I can find any players cars left. To my surprise there are still cars left, but no fans around. You normally find a whole huddle of fans that want to stay behind after games to even get a glimpse of their favourite player. But I guess it is a little bit too late. No one wants to be hanging round in the freezing cold at 11 o'clock at night.

"There's a fair few cars around mind. Think there's some more players in the stadium." I inform Jared.

Part of me is secretly hoping that Seb is around. I've not really contemplated what it would be like meeting him, and actually being able to talk to him. Of course it was beyond perfect him even looking in my direction, but actually being able to talk to him, and getting to tell him how much he's inspired me and helped me through my struggles with anxiety is something that I could only dream of.

A figure heading out of the stadium knocks me out of my daydream, and John O'Shea makes his way out of the stadium with his wife.

"Shit Jared, it's O'Shea." I noisily whisper, "God he's so beautiful."

Jared laughs at my comment on our club captain, and I re join him by the club shop. He drops the now tiny cigarette on the floor, and gently treads on it, making sure that the cigarette is completely stubbed out before we make our way past the entrance to the stadium.

My co-worker suddenly stops dead in his tracks and begins patting his trousers frantically.

"What's up?"

"Fuck I don't know where my phone is." He announces, dropping his back onto the floor to begin another intense search for his phone.

I scrape my feet across the floor and let out a deep sigh and scanning the stadium doors for any sign of life...or Seb...I'm not fussed.

"Where did you park the car?" An Australian appears out of no where.

"I didn't know you came in a car." I joke, looking back at Jared who is still searching through his back pack for his phone.

"Huh?" He asks, looking up at me.

"You asked me where you parked the car..."

Jared gives me a vacant expression, and quickly resumes his search. He pulls out a shiny white iPhone, and stands back up again, swinging his back pack over his shoulder and walking over towards me with a smile on his face. I push gently on his torso, moving a finger up to my lips as a group of male voices appear out of no where.

Jared didn't talk just then, it was someone else. Last time I checked we didn't have any Australian players, or anyone Australian that matter that was employed at the club.

"You're such a dick." One of the voices laughs loudly, "We've been in charge what, one day? You've already lost the fucking car!"

"Who the hell is that?" Jared mouths.

We both cautiously begin to step out in the open, and a group of 5 guys are huddled together. It's too dark to really make out who they are. They all seem pretty small in height, apart from one guy who stands out amongst the rest. I can't really see anything other than that.

"Who'd of thought we would be in charge of this place, aye?" The taller guy asks, nudging one of the other lads next to him.

"Fuck, they must be the new owners!" Jared whispers in my ear.

My heart begins to beat so loudly I can feel it vibrating against my chest. Since before I arrived here I knew that there were potentially going to be some new owners, and Ellis was going to sell up. We've been messed around with keeping the whole identity a secret, and it's all come down to this. I'm not going to give up now. I will know who the new owners are.

"Here's what we're going to do." I quietly inform Jared, "Get something, and throw it in their direction. It's got to be something that will make a noise, but won't draw attention to us."

"What about one of the stones off the floor?" Jared asks, pointing to a pile of minuscule stones beside the wall next to us, "Would any of these do? If we threw a handful?"

"No, they won't make a loud enough noise. What's in your bag?"

Jared carefully slings his back pack off for the second time, and lowers it down onto the floor. He glances towards the group of Australian lads still talking fairly loudly just a few metres away from us. He stops quickly and pulls out an empty plastic water bottle, offering it towards me.

"Well that sure will make a noise. Fuck it."

I shakily take the bottle out of Jared's ice cold hands and take a position in clear site of the boys. I don't know whether I should hit them with it, or just aim for the group. If the bottle is too close to us, they might come over and pick it up. Then we're busted and we'll probably end up getting fired.

"They'll see you Vienna, hurry up." Jared encourages.

The second Jared finishes his sentence, my ringtone blares out into the open and the bottle drops to the floor. My hands fiddle around with the pocket of my coat in a desperate attempt to turn the sound off.

"Shit Vienna, turn it off!"

"Hello?"

Oh fuck.

A few mumbles are followed by footsteps, as I send Megan straight to voicemail. Typical of her to call me in this situation, just typical.

"Is someone there?" One of the lads asks.

"Leave it Beau, it's just some kids messing about."

Beau.

"Shut up Daniel." He snaps, "Hello? Is someone there?"

I quickly raise a hand up to my mouth as my breathing rate increases. I look up at Jared and shake my head, signalling him to stay where he is. Neither of us can see what's happening now, and I'm terrified that if we pop our heads round the corner again, we'll come face to face with the new owners.

"Come on Beau, let's go."

Footsteps head in the opposite direction, and a few mumbles confirm that our new owners have vacated the premises. Jared and I leave it a few moments before stepping out into the open.

"Wow." Jared breaths, "I can't believe it."

"I know right, holy shit."

Just as we begin to recover from the sudden reveal of the club's new owners, Will comes strolling out of the stadium, gym bag in hand. He spots us and a wide grin appears on his face.

"Bun girl!" He cheers, "What are you guys doing out so late?"

Will begins walking over to us, and I quickly glance up at Jared who's jaw has dropped. I can't help but giggle as he resembles that of a goldfish.

"We erm, just saw the new owners leaving." I confess, "We were going to try and throw a water bottle at them, but then my phone went off and erm, yeah."

"You did what?" He laughs, "Oh god you make me laugh."

Will's gaze shifts from me to Jared, who appears to be hyperventilating. Our young midfielder outstretches his hand towards my co-worker, and introduces himself. Jared honestly looks as if he might faint on the spot, whether that being from meeting one of our top players, or the frost bite I don't know.

"Jared...wow I'm such a big fan."

"Thanks mate! I appreciate it!" Will laughs, before looking back at me again, "So what's this you were saying...you threw a water bottle at our new owners?"

"We were," I begin, laughing nervously at how ridiculous the whole story actually sounds when I say it out loud, "We just wanted to see who they were, but then my bastard phone went off and it all kinda went wrong from there..."

"You guys are mad!" Will chuckles, shaking his head at the both of us, "So I guess you guys know now then? You know the big secret?"

Our new owners are The Janoskians, unbelievably. As soon as Beau's name was dropped I new instantly who they were. 5 guys, all with Australian accents. They wanted their identity to be a secret, so that automatically informed the general public that they were of a high status, and to be honest, how many Australian people called with the name 'Beau' are around today?

"The Janoskians, yeah."

"I can't believe it myself to be honest. International stars like them and they bought a British football club. Doesn't make sense to be fair. But they seem like nice lads."

That's it. The secret's out. Our new owners are The Janoskians.

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