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?


16. "I've missed your perfect face"

Hey guys!

If you're paying attention you've probably noticed that I have been updating a lot more frequently. This is because I'm on a short holiday at the minute, but I have an unbelievable amount of work to do that I've kinda been ignoring so that I can update more. But this could be my last update until the weekend so I just wanted to say thank you for 500 views!


Come on Henry, pick up.


"Vienna? Can you hear me?"

"Yes!" I squeal, "But I can't see you"

"Fucking Skype..."Henry curses.

I know he's only fifteen, but he sounds hot as hell when he swears.

Butterflies swarm around in my chest as Henry's face begins to appear on the screen and I can barely contain my excitement.

"I've missed that smile" He grins, "I've missed your perfect face"

"It's so good to see you" I admit, sighing with relief.

Everything's been so chaotic since I arrived in Sunderland. I seem to have argued with pretty much everyone I've come into contact with, so seeing my boyfriend's face makes all the problems melt away.

"I'm literally counting down the days until you come home V"

"Same here" I sigh.

I notice Henry's face drop to the floor and with that, my heart. I can't help but think about what happened on my birthday, with Madison. No matter how hard I try to forget about that bitch, she somehow creeps up in my mind in some shape or form. I can't help but think something went on between them.

"What's wrong Henry?" I cautiously ask, "Seriously you're scaring me"

"Your parents contacted me over the weekend" He timidly responds, "Please don't freak out V"

Well, this isn't going to end well.


"They invited my parents and I round on Saturday" Henry slowly explains, "Just to talk and stuff"

I love how just because I'm not around anymore, my parents feel the need to butt into my relationship. By the way Henry's acting it sounds as if my parents interrogated him for two days straight. I know Vince won't really be that bothered about Henry, and I'm sure Mum will see the positive side of things, but how Dad acted I will have no idea.

I urge Henry to keep going with his story, trying desperately not to jump to conclusions. The last thing I need is to argue with him.

"They just asked me questions. Where do you live? What are you studying at school? What do you plan to do with your life?"

"Jesus Christ it's none of their god damn business!" I spit.

"It's fine, honestly. They weren't harsh or anything. Your Mum was quite pleasant to me actually, and your brother...erm," He stutters, "Vance?"

I politely correct my boyfriend on my brother's name, and he blushes adorably.

"Who's that your talking to?" A familiar voice says in the background.

My smile widens as Michelle appears beside Henry on the screen. Henry's Mum is one of those women that are always incredibly well dressed with all the latest designer wear. Her face is made up as if she's having dinner with the Queen, but she never looks like she's wearing 'too much'.

"Vienna! It's so lovely to see you again!" She compliments, "Did Henry tell you about Saturday?"

"Yeah he did. I'm sorry if my parents were a know" I stutter, "Forward with their comments"

"Oh goodness not at all! Well...your Dad didn't hold back with some of the questions towards Adam and I"

"Jesus Christ what did he say?!" I groan, dropping my head into my hands.

I trust my Dad not to completely attack Henry and his parents, but to know that my Dad didn't really hold back on the questions he had angers me so much. To be honest I'm quite surprised that Michelle's even talking to me, so I guess it cannot be that bad.

"I'll leave you two to it" Michelle kindly responds, "I don't really want to intervene. Lovely to see you sweetheart!"

"You too Michelle, bye"

A tense silence breaks out whilst we wait for Henry's Mum to leave the room. Henry looks as if he's planning what he will say to me, which is quite annoying but sweet at the same time. It's evident to everybody that I come into contact with that I have a bit of a temper, so anything can set me off if you catch me in a bad mood.

I don't like having anger issues, but if people piss me off it's just quite difficult to hold back from vocalising my views on the situation.

"Your Dad made a couple of comments about the age gap" Henry finally admits, "Just the usual, 'Are you not concerned with the age different between your son and my daughter?', 'Does it not worry you about how much older my daughter is?'

"What an absolute asshole"

"Honestly babe there's nothing to worry about, my parents were fine with it. He's just being a protective father that's all" He smiles.

"I understand the whole protective father role he's trying to play, but it's just a bit stupid in my opinion. I am legally a grown adult and I can look after myself"

"I know you can, that's one of the many things I love about you"

Even when I'm in the worst mood possible, and everything is getting me down, Henry knows exactly how to make me smile. Everything about him brings me so much happiness and joy. That sounds so unbelievably cheesy, but Henry and I have been through so much together

"What are you doing?" I politely ask.

"Just watching Sky Sports News, they're meant to be reporting about some breaking news coming from the Stadium" Henry explains, his eyes flickering between me and the television screen to the side of him.

"Can you turn the screen around? You I can see the TV? I think this is about Ellis selling up"

Henry willingly agrees and begins to slowly adjust the screen so that I can see his television set up against the wall. I don't know his name but there's a male presenter talking about something to do with tennis, he presents pretty much everything.

"What time did they say the announcement was going to be made?"

"Sometime around 6 o'clock, what's the time n-"

'Everyone has been asking the same question over and over again, is Ellis Short, the current chairman of Sunderland, selling the club? We can go live to the Stadium of Light right now where the man in question is holding a press conference. This next clip will include some flash photography'

"Shhh!" I yell.

The television screen changes to a crowded conference room. Cameras are clicking in all sorts of directions and the occasional flashes are appearing. Ellis is sat in the middle of a long table with numerous microphones pointing towards him. Margaret is sat on his right and another man on his left, and he looks absolutely terrified. To be honest I would be too if I was Ellis, the press can be ruthless.

"For a while now, rumours have been circulating about the current situation at Sunderland, and whether or not I would be selling the club. I have been the chairman now for quite some time and even though I love this club with all my heart, you never know what is going to happen in any situation. Times change and people change, and sometimes you can never predict what will happen, or what other opportunities will come along. I was contacted by a group of young gentlemen and their manager who managed to put in a pretty good argument as to why they would like to buy Sunderland from me. I was completely against the idea to begin with, and I still am in some cases. But with the offer for the club, came another opportunity that I could take up in America and I just couldn't turn it down. So I accepted the offer and the new owners will come into power after the Burnley game this Saturday. This was never my intention, and it doesn't change my views on Sunderland at all. This club will always play such a huge part in my life, this was just something I had to do" Ellis confidently announces, reading off a sheet of paper.

"If anyone has any questions then go ahead"

The press goes into a sheer frenzy, with numerous voices shouting to get Ellis' attention as he scans the crowd.

"Yes, you in the red jacket" He politely smiles, pointing towards someone in the crowd.

The camera annoyingly doesn't show us the woman that Ellis called upon, all we hear is a small timid voice from somewhere amongst the heard of reporters and journalists.

"Can you turn it up babe?" I ask Henry, who appears to be engrossed in the conference just as I am, and probably the majority of the North East.

Henry willingly carries out my demand, but I don't catch what the woman says much to my displeasure. Ellis doesn't look too happy either.

"At the end of the day, this is just business. I decided to sell the club purely because I needed to be closer to my family and this new offer is a perfect chance to do just that" He responds, staring at the woman in the audience, "Next question"

Ellis scans the crowd again and picks out a well dressed man towards the front. His suit screams 'posh boy', and I'm already hating him before he's spoken.

"Greg Hills with The Telegraph. Mr Short have you not thought about what kind of backlash you could receive from the fans? I think everyone is aware that the North East football fans can be a pretty ruthless lot. Are you not worried that you could be branded badly for this? Are you not worried the fans could turn on you?"

"Oh of course I am!" Ellis admits, "I deeply care about the club's fans. Without them the players wouldn't be playing for anybody but themselves. You wouldn't get the same atmosphere that you do when all the fans are cheering their team on, so of course I care what they have to say about me. I am however aware that I will not be particularly popular with a lot of the fans, but I just want people to know that I never did this with any malicious intent. I have complete faith that the new owners will do a brilliant job. I can't stay in this position forever, it was just my time to go. I have to think about what is best for myself and Sunderland. I didn't feel as though I could do anything else for the club"

With the end of that question comes another.

"Laurence Taylor with BBC Sport. The obvious question on everyone's lips, Mr Short, is, who is the new owner?"

"I've said this before and I will say it again, the new owners would like to reveal themselves in their own time. I ask that you please respect their wishes and give them some space to get settled in. I am sure that once they are given time to fully adapt to the club then they will come forward and reveal themselves to the public"

"No further questions please" Margaret confidently interrupts, silencing the roar of press fighting to have their questions heard.

Ellis and Margaret step to their feet and begin exiting the room just as the screen returns to the Sky Sports News HQ.

"Wow" Henry sighs, turning the screen back around to face him, "They were pretty harsh on him"

"I know, I think he handled it pretty well though" I reply.

Michelle's voice appears in the background and I see Henry's face drop in despair.

"Right okay" He replies, turning his face back towards me, "I'm sorry V I gotta go eat"

"Ugh. Alright. I'll try and ring you tomorrow"

"I'm sorry we couldn't talk for long. Everything will be better when you come visit" He smiles, " I love you Vienna"

"I love you too. Bye" I feebly respond, hanging up the call before he has a chance to respond.

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