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?


6. New Responsibilities

My eyes snap open as I briefly try and remember where I am. My normal pink and white coloured room is replaced by a very bare and open space.

The realisation that I'm not living at home anymore hits me hard. I expect to walk downstairs into the kitchen and be greeted by Mum's cheery face. Except I'm being woken up by the sound of my best friend snoring. I can hear her all the way from my room, I've never heard her snore this loud. Christ.

I grab my phone from the bed side table and immediately ring Mum. I know I'm probably going to burst into tears, but I need to hear a familiar voice.


Just the sound of her voice makes me burst into tears.

"Mum?" I sob, "I miss you"

"Oh Vienna, sweetheart. Is everything okay?" She asks.

"Yeah, I just felt a bit..homesick" I choke, wiping the mass of tears escaping from my eyes, "I think everything will be okay once I meet everyone tomorrow. I'm just so nervous"

"I know you are Vienna" Mum soothes, "You must take your tablets when you get off the phone, okay?"

"Yes Mum" I sigh, "Is everyone okay? Did Henry get home alright last night?"

"Fine, everyone's fine. Couldn't get a word out of Henry on the way home, what did you say to him?"

"Nothing. He just said don't cheat on me. Which I won't do obviously. I think he's just a bit nervous to see if we work out long distance" I explain, with yesterday constantly replaying in my head.

I couldn't imagine that Henry would cheat on me. But I don't understand how he knows Madison. They'll have had to come into contact at some point, cause I don't know anyone who just goes up to someone and starts touching them in the middle of a restaurant.

But hey, anything can happen in Nottingham.

"Might be an idea to give him a ring later" Mum suggests, "Just to make sure he's alright. What are you doing today? Is Megan awake?"

"No, I can hear her snoring from all the way over here. So I doubt she is" I joke, which causes Mum to burst out into a roar of laughter, "She's gonna try and find a job later, and I think I'm on food shopping duty"

"Alright darling, well I'm going to let you go. Remember to take your tablets, and make sure you don't buy loads of junk food!"

"I won't, bye Mum. Love you" I whisper, as I feel more tears begin to approach.

I hang up the phone before I give her a chance to reply. I need to learn to stand on my own two feet. I'm still young and there's nothing wrong with getting homesick, I think everyone does at some point. But I can't let it get in the way.

I glance at the time on my phone,


Hanging around in the flat will only make me more anxious, and give me more time to contemplate things. I ought to ring Henry and make sure everything's okay, but I feel stupid bringing up the whole Madison situation. He really didn't seem phased by her, but he also wasn't  absolutely repulsed.

I need to get out of here.

I jump out of bed and head towards the bathroom, toothpaste and toothbrush in hand. I tread lightly on the carpet so Megan doesn't wake up, because she is such a quiet sleeper...really, she is. Megan wouldn't dare wake anyone up with her loud snoring, not at all.

I open the bathroom door and walk straight to the mirror, examining my face. To my complete surprise, I don't actually look that bad. Apart from slight racoon eyes, and my matted mane of hair, I look pretty presentable.

I quickly brush my teeth and run a brush through my hair. There must be a supermarket round here somewhere. I've been to Sunderland hundreds of times, but I can guarantee you I will probably get lost.

Just as I'm about to reach for one of the flat keys, a loud knock on the door nearly makes me jump out of my skin.


I slowly and cautiously make my way towards the door, peering through the peep hole at the stranger at my door.

"Miss Barnes?"

My hands slowly open the door to reveal a rather cheery looking, middle aged man. Too cheery for this time of the morning.

"Ahh, hello" He smiles, "I didn't think you were in! Mind if I come in for a moment?"

Without responding I allow him room to enter the flat, and he happily strolls in. I don't know who this man is, and I'm starting to regret even heading towards the door.

"My name's Gregory Jacksmith, I do hope that name rings a bell" He jokes, "I don't think we ever met in person"

I remember him now. Gregory Jacksmith is the landlord for the block of flats we live in. Due to the fact that he's based here in Sunderland, we had the paperwork sent over to Nottingham so we wouldn't have to keep travelling.

"Oh yeah I remember you now. Nice to finally meet you Mr Jacksmith" I say, stretching my hand out towards him.

"Please, call me Greg" He chuckles, "Is the other Miss Barnes around? Megan?"

We shake hands, and I'm actually relieved to see my arm still attached to my body. What a grip.

"She's asleep actually, I can wake her though, if you need to speak to her" I offer, slowly heading towards Megan's room"

"No no that's okay, I know you teenagers like your sleep!" He laughs.

Yeah, we also like having food. Something we don't have a hell of a lot of right now, and something I'm craving quite badly.

"Anyway I'll leave you be. Have you got any plans for the day?" He asks, as we make our way towards the door.

"Just food shopping really, Megan's gonna try and find a job so we can split the rent. Just makes life a bit easier"

"Oh yes speaking of the rent. Your first payment will be needed by the end of this month. That's not going to be a problem is it?" He asks, sternly.

"No not at all. We've got it all covered" I reassure him.

"Alright well I'll see you later, bye now!" He waves, and quickly exits the apartment.

I swear if he had stayed any longer I would have thrown him out of the door. I'm pretty surprised Megan hasn't woken up.

I walk back to the kitchen counter and grab one of the keys, on the back of a scrap piece of paper I write,


Went out to buy food. Shouldn't be long.

Mr Jacksmith stopped by just to check up on us, we got rent due at the end of the month but I'll cover it.

Please make sure you check those jobs out!

V, x

The only reason I said I'd cover the rent is because Megan barely has anytime to get a job and get paid. I just hope she can find one, because I can't keep covering the rent for us, I'm already about to pay for the food shopping.

I quickly leave the flat, cautiously closing the door. I make my way out into the fresh morning air and head towards the town centre. There's a fair few people around, but I guarantee you, the majority are either hung over from student night, or they just can't be bothered to get up...probably because they're hung over too.

Out the corner of my eye I see a giant yellow M, hidden behind a JD sports. As I walk around, I see a fairly small Morrison's which fortunately looks rather empty. I walk in and begin the slow, tedious walk around the supermarket.

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