“If pain must come, may it come quickly. Because I have a life to live, and I need to live it in the best way possible. If he has to make a choice, may he make it now. Then I will either wait for him or forget him.” ― Paulo Coelho
I was sat in the waiting room of what appeared to be the office of a former medical or law consultant. I was surrounded by dull, uninteresting walls and my feet rested on a dry, dusty carpet. There was no light in my room apart from a piercing white glimmer of sunshine which broke through the mangled, broken blinds which veiled an old, paper-thin window. The only other person in the room was a part-time accountant in her fourties and pregnant who raised her head away from the club accounts every few minutes to offer me a smile and beckon me to wait patiently for the chairman.
As the clock ticked on and the afternoon sun faded away, I moved around uncomfortably in my seat and re-read the notes which I had made when researching this football club. It took me several days to research each player, including several hours spent on Sports Interactive's popular computer game Football Manager 2014. The club's history was not a glamorous one, with the club's most famous title triumph being the Ismathian League Premier Division in 2012/2013, where they were subsequently promoted to the Vanarama South. They remain in that division for this season but after a strong influx of players, promotion could be on the cards, provided they had the right man to take them forward.
I had taken some time to research the chairman, Jim Collins. Luckily my connections in the British system allowed me to dig up as much dirt as I needed to know about him. From what I gathered, Jim Collins seemed to be a very nice person with a good heart. He was a man who loved the club he owned and wanted the best for the team and the supporters. I had no doubt in my mind that my interview with him would be a pleasant one, regardless if I were to be selected as manager or not. After all, this was my first interview and an experience to savour.
Hour more passed before the man himself, Jim Collins, opened his office door and beckoned me in. I collected all my notes, placing them back in to my briefcase, and stood up. The wait had stiffened my body and I stretched every muscle in my body and straightened my suit. I walked slowly towards Collins' office, taking in my surroundings as I walked in. There was one desk with a chair on either side and an old, run-down computer facing Jim. There were two filing cabinets in the far corner of the small, dark room and behind the chairman was a poster pinned to a wall with the crest of a football club on it. That football club was Whitehawk Football Club, of Brighton.
Four hours later, I had penned my first contract as a football manager. I had signed a part-time contract with Whitehawk FC, earning £875 per week. Not that I needed the money, I sent it all to local shelters around Brighton. If I didn't need the money, somebody else did and I was always as generous as I could be to others. It was in my nature, and people always appreciated that aspect of mine, even when I did become the most hated man Britain. But that's a story for another day.
My first interview as manager of Whitehawk FC was scheduled for the next morning so I started preparing for my life in Brighton by purchasing a mansion, yes a mansion, set on a hill surrounded by wealth and wonder. After all, if you can buy a mansion, why wouldn't you! A trip to a local car dealership earned me a brand new Mercedes and the best tailor in the country, Dorothy Rabla, applied the Whitehawk badge to three beautiful suits. I was all kitted out for my job and ready to start.
Whitehawk couldn't afford their own training facility and so all the midweek work was done in the stadium, The Enclosed Ground. My office was nothing special; a small room which looked to have previously been used as a storage room. This did not put me off, however, as I knew that the trek to the top would be a long and arduous one. I was scheduled to meet with my players later this afternoon, so the interview was to come first. I organised my new office and popped my head in to the changing room. It was filthy and unkept. That had to change.
Jim Collins, the chairman of the club, showed up soon enough and welcomed me with a warm, gracious hug. "Welcome to our home," he said as he brought me out on to the pitch. It was nothing special at all. Indeed, even training grounds at bigger clubs were capable of hosting bigger crowds than the 3,000 of The Enclosed Ground, 500 of which are seats. A picture was taken of us holding a Whitehawk FC scarf aloft. I was then pictured with a jersey in my hands; the red and white of The Hawks. It was a proud moment for me, one I would never forget.
We strolled to the press-conference room where I was met with a thunderous applause. Clearly the media of Britain had taken to my new role with open arms, or perhaps they were relieved I had put my other role on hold. I looked around me and saw familiar faces amongst the eager journalists. Jamie Carragher was there, as were Michael Owen and Les Ferdinand. It was a big day for all of us. I showed my appreciation with a courteous wave and I sat down in front of my interrogators. My name was written on a banner lining the back wall of the room;
Welcome To Whitehawk Football Club, Prince William Mountbatten-Windsor!