It was after training, and for once I was content with the level of performance. I went and sat in the changerooms and soaked in my surroundings. For the next however long this will be my headquarters, my gate to victory. My new look squad will exit those doors and do Burgess Hill Town proud. Me, Micky, Matt and even Merlin had groomed this squad to its very core. Stars from lower divisions and scraps from higher combined to make a tightly knit team and for once in my life I was ready to go. I was ready for the challenge. And this time I would not come off second best.
Using my wage, I had booked a room at the Railway, which was soon becoming a favourite pub of mine. When I got back, I lay on my bed reading 'Proxima', an old Stephen Baxter classic. My favourite phrase in it was Per Ardua Ad Astra, through adversity to the stars.
Thats where we were going. To the stars. Through adversity of course.
My reading was interrupted by my phone. Gingerly, I hopped out of bed and walked over to my cluttered desk. I picked up the phone and swiped at a black screen. But I didn't know that at the time.
"Aah, Feliks. Nice to hear from you again."
"I don't seem to remember you, mate. What's your name?"
"You don't remember me? Ah, pity, Feliks, pity. My name is Horatio Johnson. I was the U18 Technical Director at Manchester United back in the day. I still remember you Feliks, you could have been a star."
My throat tightened. Why would he come back after 9 years?
"I assume from your silence you are quite confused. You see, your name has begun circulating in the manager community. I heard, and was delighted you had been able to bounce back after such a horrible incident."
Don't mention the first 8 years then.
"As a senior member of the Manchester United board, I would like to invite you to come down and have a chat."
"Could you be a little more precise?" As my curiosity grew, my patience dwindled.
"I'll be brunt. Feliks, we would like you to become our U18s Manager. We think you have the youthful approach and know how for the job. If you want the job, see me at Old Trafford at 3 pm tomorrow. Do not be late." The phone beeped.
I tapped numbly at where the end call button should have been. Instead, the screen was still blank. In my amazement, I failed to notice. Manchester United? After all these years, they want me back! How can this be?
I made a mental note to be there at 3 pm tomorrow. It did not matter. No other thought occupied my mind that night.