Four years. It had been four years since I had retired from the game - my 'promising' professional football career being cut short due to a combination of ill-fated serious injuries and a lack of any real success. I often wondered if this was down to my nationality, and me being an outsider - it took me time, as often is the case, to realise that I simply was not good enough. The potential the scouts saw in me, was something I could never fulfill.
But life was comfortable. I had saved enough from the contracts and release fees I had been paid, and managed to fork out a living after getting a degree post-grad school. Life had been going good. It WAS good. Until what happened to Patricia. When Patricia died, I pleaded. I begged to God that I would do anything - absolutely anything in the world to get her back. I was essentially comatose - I'd be in bed all day for weeks at a stretch, not moving, not even flinching. I could still feel her, her presence, as if it was around me but beyond reach.
I almost thought I was delusional when he walked in to the room. A dark blue suit, and a thin well-woven shirt made of fine fabric. He is nothing how people tend to portray him. No horns; no pointed tail at the back. He seemed like a man - just like you and me.
I hung onto every word he said, as he offered me a deal. A deal, that he said was a one-time offer. Six Champions League medals. I manage the team for as long as it takes to win Six Champions League medals, and he would bring Patricia back to life. To be frank, it sounded a deal too good to be true. But the opportunity to see her again, to touch her again, was something I couldn't let pass. Which is why I agreed to the deal and signed the contract as fast as I could. Before he left my bedside, he spoke in his deep, brooding voice... "I'll be in touch. I'll see you tomorrow? It's a big day..." before breaking into a mild chuckle.
I even partly wondered if I was hallucinating and all of this was in my head, but that changed - when he handed me my club badge right before he left. The only odd thing? The date on the club badge and my 'supposed' day of taking charge of the club had already passed a couple of years ago. Was this a joke?