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?


7. 'Was it Seb Larsson declaring his undying love for me?'


"Vienna, is that you?"

"Yeah, it's me, I'm so sorry I didn't ring you yesterday, it was a lot to take in. You know, moving and all that" I apologise.

"It's fine, I was just so worried about you" Henry mutters, "Are you sure everything's okay?"

This can either go two ways, I tell him that everything's not okay. That this whole situation with Madison is weighing down on me, and I need to know what's going on with them too. Or I can simply say everything's okay, and lie to the one person I love most in this world.

"I just, can't stop worrying" I begin, slowly preparing how to tell him about Madison, "I can't stop worrying about Madison, at the restaurant. I know you said everything's fine, but Megan told me that she's got a reputation for splitting people up"

To my complete surprise, a painful silence breaks out, and I notice Henry's breathing increase dramatically. I swear to God if he's been cheating on me with her, I'll be heartbroken. He can't have. Henry wouldn't do that to me.

"Alright" He sighs, coughing nervously, "Before you and I got together, Madison and I hooked up. She wanted to go further but I said that there was someone else I wanted to be with. That was when I realised that it was you I really wanted. No one else"

That sounds so soppy, and cliché, but God I love him so much.

"Henry!" I squeal, "I mean, I'm still pissed that you too got together, but yeah. Just, be careful. You shouldn't really be seeing her though, should you?"

"She's friends with Marcus and Ben, so I'm guessing she'll be at their party next weekend" He explains, sighing in frustration.

Marcus Friend and Ben Kelton are Henry's best friends. They're pretty cool to be fair. All three of them are quite musical, so I sometimes listen to them sing, or play guitar. I don't think Ben or Marcus could believe that Henry and I are together. I don't think shocked is the right way to describe how they reacted. Don't get me wrong, they didn't hate that we were together, they just...didn't expect it.

"Okay, just...keep your distance. I don't want to sound like a protective girlfriend, but I really don't want you near her" I advice him.

"I won't Vienna, I promise" He reassures me, "Anyway, what are you doing today?"

"It's the Tottenham game today, so we've got a VIP room. We're just going to chill in there, watch the game and just get to know each other. Speaking of the game, I've gotta go. We're due in about an hour or so and I'm not even ready yet"

"Alright, well text me or something. Let me know how it goes. Please don't worry about Madison. She's nothing compared to you"

"Damn right she isn't" I giggle, "I love you, bye"

"Bye Vienna, love you too"

I quickly end the call and fall onto my bed. Groaning as my body begins to relax on the soft mattress. I should be really excited for today, but I can't help feeling nervous. My anxiety gets unbearable in these sorts of situations. Meeting new people scares me. I could be worrying for nothing, and they're all really lovely and friendly. However, I could be right, and they could all be a bunch of stuck up assholes.

"V?! Can you come in here a sec?!" Megan yells, from the kitchen.

I instantly jump to my feet and head towards her. She has a huge grin smothered across her face, and she's holding the flat phone in her hands.

"Guess who that was?!" She squeals, "Go on! Take a guess!"

"Erm, was it Seb Larsson declaring his undying love for me?" I question, a smirk beginning to creep in.

"Oh wow you're so funny!" Megan sarcastically answers, "No, it wasn't"

"Well if it wasn't Seb, I don't wanna know" I groan, heading back towards my bedroom.

"V!" Megan whines, "Do you not wanna know about my job interview?"

"Holy shit, really?"

"Patisserie Valerie were just on the phone, they want to interview me today at 3" She grins, "I could get you discounts on cake V!"

Something that brought Megan and I together, apart from our same surnames, was our love of food. We're not the skinniest of people, and I don't think we really care. But when Megan and I lived in Nottingham, we went to the Patisserie nearly ever weekend. I didn't even know they built one in Sunderland.

I know where I'm going on my day off.

"I didn't even know they had one here!"

"Yeah they just finished building it, so they're looking for new staff"

"Holy crap" I respond, "Well if this apprenticeship doesn't work out, I might apply for one with you"

"Shut up you idiot" Megan jokes, playfully punching my arm, "You've got this job, out of hundreds of people. They clearly want you for a reason. I know your anxiety is bad but just go there, and show those Mackems what an amazing, flawless, sassy human being you are"

"Thanks Meg" I smile, heading back towards my room.

All of the apprentices got an email yesterday from the Chief Executive, Margaret Byrne. She just explained about what is going to happen today, and she also mentioned that if we wanted to wear any SAFC clothing. If we have any shirts, scarves or anything, that we are more than welcome to wear them and show are support for the team.

I don't really have anything else other than my Sunderland shirt, so I decide to wear that, along with a pair of plain black leggings, red converse, and a purple hoodie.

I quickly glance at the time on my phone,


"Meg!" I yell, "I'm gonna have to go, we're needed at the stadium for 1"

In a mad rush, I grab my phone and handbag and head quickly out of the bedroom.

"Okay okay" She begins, "Have you got everything? Have you got something to prove who you are? Passport?!"

"Yeah it's in my purse" I reply, opening my purse briefly to check, "Yeah it's here, okay I best go"

I bring Megan in for a hug. Mentally preparing myself for today's events.

"Okay, have fun V!"

I kindly thank her and make my way out of the flat and down towards the bridge. My feet slam against the concrete pavement as I cautiously make my way towards the stadium. My eyes watch as burger vans, and sweet stalls are being set up around me, and I notice that a few fans are arriving already. I tug nervously at the ends of my hoodie as I continue my journey.

The Stadium quickly comes into view, and I notice a group of people huddled by one of the entrances. As I move closer and closer, I notice a short, brown haired woman wearing nude high heels, a white blouse, and a black skirt that hangs just under her knees.

"Hello there" She smiles, examining her clipboard which appears to have a list of people on it, "Are you Vienna Barnes by any chance?"

I nod in response as she asks to see some form of identification. My hands shakily hand over my passport and the woman observes it carefully.

"Great!" She announces, "Nice to meet you Vienna I'm Margaret Byrne"

Margaret extends a hand out towards me and I gladly take it.

"Okay that's everyone" Margaret declares, "If you would all like to follow me, I'll take your room for the afternoon"

Our group follows the well dressed woman to the away fans entrance. She leads us up a flight of stairs and to a part of the stadium that I have never been to before. Food booths are dotted about here and there, where staff members are chatting eagerly amongst themselves. We continue the walk down the hallway and head towards a room marked as,

VIP Ticket Holders only

Margaret confidently opens the door and we are lead down another long hallway, and past numerous rooms marked with numbers. On the walls I notice photos of old players, managers, and even some of Roker Park. The first photo I see was, according to a paragraph written underneath the photo, was taken in 1884, and is meant to be the very first photo of the Sunderland team.

Characters in the photos become more familiar as we continue walking. Margaret suddenly stops in front of room number eight, and unlocks the door.

"There you go guys" She smiles, as we all file in, "There's drinks and snacks on the table, and you can watch the game on the screen over there. Or if you like, you can step outside onto the balcony. I'll come back after the game. Have fun!"

We thank her kindly as Margaret leaves the room. I stand nervously in the corner of the room, as a confident looking woman strides over towards me.

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