Valediction - England

Slimchap

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Time to finish this story off, the final chapter in the journey of The Manager.

Chapter 1: http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/football-manager-2013-manager-stories/109806-english-riviera-brighton-hove-albion-fc.html

Chapter 2: http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/football-manager-2013-manager-stories/112719-warrior-king-ghana.html

Chapter 3: http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/football-manager-2013-manager-stories/113955-immortality-england.html

Chapter 4: http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/football-manager-2013-manager-stories/119456-clube-da-fé-sao-paulo.html

Chapter 5: http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/football-manager-2013-manager-stories/125815-la-beneamata-internazionale-milano.html

Less focus on the players themselves this time, more on getting to the substance of the last hurrah. You don't need to have read all the other chapters, but it will help in understanding what he's been through and who he is.

I will say that if you haven't read any of the other chapters and will only read one, read this one.

As those of you who listen to the music will understand, a big thanks to David Arnold, who I'm sure is an avid reader of this story...
I've saved some of the best pieces till last, I hope you manage to read in time and get the whole package!

No face this time, what utter nonsense that was.
View attachment 389394
 
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Slimchap

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2040 - 2056: Senescence and Moulder

View attachment 389390


((https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOWPA0oRSd0))


View attachment 389385 The Inter crowds were forgiving of their man in charge, his ambition to take them places snatched away...along with the rest of his career. As Gerrard held them together to take the league title, the English staff made way for new men with plans, new ideas, new ambition. They all limped home, trophies to their names, jobs waiting from a bevy of English clubs.

View attachment 389386 A director, he never imagined it, not till he was 80 and more wrinkled out the bath than in. At least he was back at Brighton, the supporters chanting his name for the first game he sat in the box, a wave, a bittersweet smile. The young Brighton manager clapping hard down below to rev up the troops; that should be him, frontline.

The world of football moved on, as it remembered the deeds of Sir Bobby Robson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho...The Manager's; so to it forgot them in lieu of new ones.
England were the last to hold dear what he had accomplished, as the globe hyped and rose in volume every two and four years, England remembered what he had done, they had to, so little else was forthcoming.

World Cup 2042 - Hosts Spain
England defeated in the quarter finals 0 - 2 by Croatia. The Croats go on to beat the Argentineans and win it.

View attachment 389383 View attachment 389384

Phil Jones leaves the England role; Steve Foster England under 19's manager makes the step up to the main job.

European Championships 2044 - Hosts Scotland

England knocked out in the Quarter Finals 1 - 2 by Slovakia. Spain win on penalties against Portugal after a 2 - 2 draw.


World Cup 2046 - Hosts South Africa

England lose in the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] round to Holland 1 - 3. Germany win the tournament with a 5 - 2 victory over archrivals Italy.


Steve Foster steps down from the role of England manager, the FA hire Brighton manager Pascal Thomas.

European Championships - Hosts France

England are defeated in the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] round by world champions Germany 1 - 3. France beat Italy in the final 2 - 1 to win the home tournament.


World Cup 2050 - Hosts China

England fail to even escape the group stages; drawing 0 - 0 with Italy, beating Nigeria 2 - 1, and losing 0 - 2 to the USA. Holland beat Russia 2 - 1 in the final to win their long time coming first World Cup.


Pascal Thomas resigns. The FA again look to Brighton, appointing Italian manager Alberto Tenconi.

European Championships 2052 - Hosts Italy

England fail again to escape the group; 1 - 1 against Norway, 0 - 2 loss to Germany, and a 1 - 1 draw with Spain. It may have been the group of death, but the early exit sits well below the standard England still expect. All three other teams progress, leaving just England to fly home.

France beat Holland 3 - 0 in the final.


World Cup 2054 - Hosts Brazil

England make the semi finals, losing to Belgium 1 - 2. Italy defeat the Belgians 3 - 0 to lift the cup again.


Tenconi suffers pressure to depart the England role after failing to give a good performance at the tournament, despite reaching the last 4. The Italian resists the media and fan calls baying for his head, sticking with the job.

European Championships 2056 - Hosts Spain

England lose to Germany in the quarter finals 4 - 0; France beat hosts Spain 4 - 1 in the final to become champions of Europe yet again, their golden generation of players reaching maturity.


Tenconi is sacked, the nation cheers with wounded cries, relief to mask the shame of defeat. Where did the glory of 66 go? Of 2028? Of 2030? When did the magic of England's golden years die? The fans grown older; their heroes long since retired, replaced with new talent, sporadic talent, inflated egos, managerial disasters. Long ball, ugly challenges, encouraged diving. The world of football moved on from 2030, adapted, evolved. England stayed behind.

'We won't copy the models of the German, Dutch or French FA,' said the English FA, statements released from the old boardroom and over the phone, on the sly, 'the English have always been at the fore of football and its evolution, and will continue to do so-'

The Manager switched off the screen, not able to stomach it any longer. 70 years old, and as the youth were screaming for change in tactics and personnel in the England setup, even he could see they were moving backwards, further and further still. 4-4-2, hacking centre forwards like the seventies.

What could he do? Sixteen years of rest, of taking it easy, of slow walks with his wife, of watching the Seagulls and Three Lions from the expensive suited and arrogant mouthed directors boxes. ****** angina, his useless heart and now feeble body. ****** watching his grandchild kick a ball about and only be able to contribute with his presence alone. ****** the English FA, the old farts too proud, too single-****** minded.

He breathed a sigh, the longest in years. His wife caught it, looking up from her book with eyes that flashed curiosity in one and worry the other.

"What's the matter? You know what they're like."

((https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HykiSTg8w84))

"I can't do this anymore."

The book lowered, appal writing itself into the lines of her features. "Don't you dare start worrying me again!"

He looked her square in the face, iris' filled with anger and regret. "Sixteen years,"

"I don't care!"

"Sixteen years I've sat and watched, watched as they've wished and hoped, clenching my fists and prayed like when I was a child that we might do it."

"Welcome to the real world honey, took you long enough to realise you're in it again."

"Well I don't want to be, I don't deserve to be! I can do something about this mess!"

"No you can't, the GP says you're doing well,"

"I don't want to ****ing live forever!" his hand smashed to the arm of the chair. Silence gripped the pair of them, shock narrowly beating rage in his wife's eyes, her parted lips scared, her fingers clutching to the fabric of her knees for support. It was a battle she never wanted, never again.

"You don't want to live anymore? Is that it? You don't want to see your grandchild grow up?! Or live to see me into my final years when we can go out together?" already tears were pooling in the ducts, a hand stroking through wispy silver hair, just as it always did when emotions overcame.

"I've given you sixteen years of nothing but retirement, early years of whatever takes your fancy, of holidays and shopping, of friends dinners and garden centres; all while I've watched my passion slip further and further to the horizon, so far out of sight that I am just an onlooker to this world I don't even recognise anymore, that I used to belong in. I just can't take it anymore.

"I see what goes on, and I know I should be out there, with the answers to all the problems, with my head in my hands or pumping a fist into the air as near 100,000 faces scream agony and elation. I have to hear my name again, chanted by the masses, not for fifty years ago; for now!"

"I've lost you to it haven't I? I thought it would subside and you'd see there is more to life."

He shook his head as she mopped the drops spilling over. "I only buried it, because I had to; but when you live it for so long; when the racing driver hurtles at hundreds of miles an hour, feeding off the adrenaline, they can't switch it off their dependency to it; I can't switch off my need to be back out there. I have to give myself the chance."

"And you won't listen to me anymore? You won't care if you die because the world won't leave you alone again? The pressure to succeed too great that your heart gives out and puts you in the morgue?"

"Two years, give me two years if they give me the job, just two. Win or lose, whatever happens to my body, when two years are up and the World Cup is done, whatever is left of me is yours until I perish."

He got up and walked over, her eyes following him as the cloth of her sleeve drew away the salty waters, red skin rubbed and weary. Leaning over, his arms scooped about her, and engulfed in his hug she sobbed to his chest.
"I hate you, you *******."

"I know."

"Two years."
 
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Slimchap

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2056 - 2058: Danse Macabre

"I present, for his second period in charge, the England Manager."

A hand outstretched to welcome him, the amassed press applauded, a nervous chorus from them as the old man took his seat, looking in his gait and appearance as though he would be better serving the nation in the upper echelons of the FA rather than stood at the edge of the pitch.

"Thank you, thanks." He said leaning into the microphones, looking his age. The flashes blazing at him, snapping their glimpses of his frail exterior primed before them, ready to either crumple beneath their speculations and demands or ride the charge of their piercing words and invasion, ride them to emerge as glorified as he once was.

Q. "Firstly, congratulations on your appointment as manager of England again, however," he knew there would be one, "what can you tell us of your medical condition? Will it be a problem in your conducting of your duties?"

A. "What can I tell you of my medical condition?....pom pom pom....well, it still exists," a little laugh went round, "I will be attacking the England job in a more restrained manner this time. Less time with you the press, less obligations to show my face at functions and as the face for the England team, less time travelling about the country to matches."

Q. "Without wanting to be rude, do you believe that you can fulfil the requirements for the job then if you're only able to communicate with us less frequently, or more importantly view the players less?"

A. "Whilst not in person, I'll still have all the footage to pour over, and as for talking to you lot..." he let that trail off with a wry smile, polite laughter eking out a few syllables, "I feel that all this job truly needs is for me to tackle what our boys manage to produce on the pitch, everything else is just circumstance to the world football has become since its inception."

Q. "Do you believe your break away from the game for sixteen years will have an impact on your ability to change tactically to the game?"

A. "No, and I'll prove that as we both play my football, but we play modern football. I've not been off playing golf or with my head in the clouds all this time; I've been sitting, watching, crying with you all each loss, shouting ****** murder at my screen each decision I'd have done differently," a quiet sombre collected over the audience, "it's been a nightmare, watching the best years of my career be had by other men," he cleared his throat, "so this is it, I've one last shot, and England will go far, I promise you. Thank you very much for your time."

A flurry of questions came at him, no more answers given as the men in their sharp suits filed out. The columns were written, the fans dared to believe the triumphs of old could be repeated. The business started.

((Intriguing Possibilities (HD) - From the Soundtrack to "The Social Network" - YouTube))

Steven Gerrard, 76, retired for 8 years and in fine health. One call was all it took and he had his old assistant manager, one last time they'd join forces to win it all.

Aaron Towler and Yalcin Akarsu, bought by him at Brighton, played their hearts out for England to win it in 2030, learned how to coach under him at Internazionale. Joined by Dalian Corns, the three Englishmen became his coaches, the idols of this generation, they became the men to drill the players on the training field.

The five men who had brought home the greatest trophy on the planet 36 years ago met the troops; anticipated commanding words before dazzled eyes, men ready to obey as their heroes now stood before them instead of chancers and possibilities. Here now leading them were three players who had lifted the trophy, the assistant who had captained club and country himself, and the man who managed it all.

Belief was the first step. Instruction was the next.

Wingplay, he'd built a career on it, sold it to the world as slowly they tried to copy his design, tried to find a way to counter it. Width and speed, slick movement, adaptability, precision in the pass and in the shot. They'd show him the professionalism he demanded or they'd never play for England again.

Pat Ohakam, right winger. He knew him from Brighton, fast, deadly with the final ball, a leader on the pitch, an inspiring machine driving down the line, could only play down the right. He was given the captaincy.

Dean Way, right winger. Manchester City's golden star, winner of a ballon d'or, runner up to another, linked with the one coming. He was a sparkling talent, but unfortunately not able to apply himself on the left. Vice Captain, whoever played right wing would lead the men.

Patrick Price, striker. Arsenal's aged frontman. He ranked among the best strikers in the world without fail; a wealth of caps for his country, almost as many goals. This world cup would be his last for certain, he had a point to prove.

Terry Allen, striker. Manchester United's English hero, 26, coming into his prime. When Price wasn't there, Allen was.

Right wing and up front. England were blessed with these four individuals of world class. Centre back and on the left of defence they had star individuals, real strong dependable talent. In the centre of midfield they had passers who could dictate and pull the strings at will.

And yet, England were lacking. It wasn't the golden generation of before. There was no dynamite left winger as Akarsu had wowed; no man off the striker like Towler who had dug out the moment of sublime when England were faltering in the face of success. No goalkeeper to boast about, nor right-back, or a defensively minded midfielder. There was moderate cover for left-back, and constant calls from the press and fans for this player or that to be dropped, promoted, given more time on the pitch.

He looked at the eyes of his squad, ready to burst out onto the training pitch, to show their heroes what they could do. A long view of them, soaking in the picture, the weaknesses, the ferocious stars who would drag them through.

They'd be up against the best, the French superstars, the Brazilian masters, the Dutch, Italians, Portuguese, Danish, Argentineans, Mexican, Germans, Spanish. Everyone had true world stars, whole squads of godlike players who could demolish anything that stood before them.

And here sat the English, peppered with holes, clinging to their few adroit individuals, and lead by a sickly man pouring his last vestiges into one final chance at the ultimate glory.

He sucked in a breath, a face like thunder as he issued one gravelly sentence.

"Time to show your worth."

9[SUP]th[/SUP] August - Friendly - France - Stade de France
Lawrence 33. 1 - 0.

1[SUP]st[/SUP] September - WCQ - Cyprus - Wembley
Trivunovic 5, Allen 38, Christodoulou 45, Price pen.75, 93. 4 - 1.

5[SUP]th[/SUP] September - WCQ - Switzerland - Letzigrund
Ohakam 13, Allen 49, Simon 56, Breu 73. 2 - 2.

6[SUP]th[/SUP] October - WCQ - Montenegro - Wembley
Baker 6, Orton 14, Baker 36, 64. 4 - 0.

10[SUP]th[/SUP] October - WCQ - Faroe Islands - Svangaskaro
Lawrence 20, Baker 25, 36, Ohakam 40, Baker 45, Glover 47, Price 66. 7 - 0.

8[SUP]th[/SUP] November - Friendly - Belgium - Wembley
Bartley 8, Gray 10, Price 14, Ohakam 19, Price 45+1, Devolder 49, Price 64, Hocquet 65, Orton 70, 73. 8 - 2.

2057


30[SUP]th[/SUP] January - Friendly - Scotland - Wembley
Naismith 6, Pusic 11, 54, Gray 63. 3 - 1.

20[SUP]th[/SUP] March - WCQ - Greece - Wembley
Skatharoudis o.g.22, Lawrence 28, Price pen.43, Lawrence 64. 4 - 0.

1[SUP]st[/SUP] June - WCQ - Cyprus - GSP Nicosia
Allen 26, Charalabous 71, Allen 79. 2 - 1.

5[SUP]th[/SUP] June - Friendly - Tunisia - Wembley
Pusic 25, 28, Baker 90. 3 - 0.

15[SUP]th[/SUP] August - Friendly - Algeria - Wembley
Price 8, 12, Bartley 16, Sim 84, Belakhdar 85, Burke 88. 5 - 1.

7[SUP]th[/SUP] September - WCQ - Switzerland - Wembley
Price 1, Pusic 9, Price 11, Ohakam 19, Bartley 45, Stucki 73. 5 - 1.

11[SUP]th[/SUP] September - WCQ - Faroe Islands - Wembley
Pusic 2, Lawrence 4, Pusic 17, 25, Trivunovic 34, Pusic 45, Price 58, Pusic 60, Ohakam 65, Burke 75, Sim 89. 11 - 0.

12[SUP]th[/SUP] October - WCQ - Montenegro - Pod Goricom
Price 28, 70, Savic 71, Price 82. 3 - 1.

16[SUP]th[/SUP] October - WCQ - Greece - Georgios Karaiskakis
Taylor 41, Allen 86, Lyberopoulos 88. 2 - 1.

Group DWDLGDPts
England910+3728
Greece703+1321
Switzerland622+1020
Cyprus316-1010
Montenegro217-97
Faroe Islands019-411


16[SUP]th[/SUP] November - Friendly - Portugal - Wembley
Allen 6, Semedo 44. 1 - 1.

20[SUP]th[/SUP] November - Friendly - Italy - Wembley
Sbarra 38. 0 - 1.

2058

5[SUP]th[/SUP] March - Friendly - France - Wembley
Mendes 15, Price 19, Masson 45+1, Breno 62, 67. 2 - 3.

7[SUP]th[/SUP] June - Friendly - Holland - Wembley
Lawrence 73. 1 - 0.

England believed they could do it. The best team in the world - the French, the veteran maestros of Brazil, the Italian virtuosos....everyone, believed they each could do it.

Momentum, health, preparation, luck.

To Canada. His boys moulded, sculpted to his design, the time for his final shot at the world at hand.
 
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Slimchap

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Slimchap

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The World Cup 2058 - Canada

((https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxRYi-HCpVQ))

Land of tall trees, bear safety guides, winter sports, and the World Cup.

His family had forgiven him his selfish desire, his condition monitored at all times, nothing dramatic to cause him stress, England had listened to him, performed when needed, and booked their place without any fuss.

Now, before them, lay the last challenge of many of their careers; his, Gerrard's, and the numerous players too old to continue beyond the summer on the international stage. The media were kept at bay, players performing interviews in downtime, paparazzi too focused on wags and gossip than to break into hotels or intrude in this polite country, policemen sparkling in red, 'no trouble 'ey'.

His family had mercifully escaped the notice of the lenses and columns. An old wife was no story, nothing to splash over the glossy magazines. She stood by him at all times, patient as she watched his medication slip down his throat, his sleep getting shorter in favour of early rises, training to be done, tapes to go over, damned tactics to figure out.

England braced itself, aware that it may not see the golden trophy for some time should they fail. They could take it no longer, a nation filled with the passionate and hopeful, packed with dreamers. Yalcin Akarsu and Aaron Towler's hands wrapped about the angels of the world, holding it aloft. Believe.

15[SUP]th[/SUP] June - Group F - Chile - Hamilton Community Stadium
Trivunovic 4, Price 18, Carcamo 21, Stevens 62, Price 78. 4 - 1.

23[SUP]rd[/SUP] June - Group F - Mexico - Winnipeg Community Stadium
Allen 5, Trivunovic 8, Dominguez 21, Pusic 48, Allen 56, 66, Baker pen.72, Dominguez 77. 6 - 2.

27[SUP]th[/SUP] June - Group F - Scotland - Toronto Community Stadium
Grant 5, Murdoch 13, Price 23, pen.45+1, Stevens 77, Lawrence 83, Bishop 89. 4 - 3.

Group AWDLGDPts
Holland 210+47
Serbia111+14
Iran102-33
Nigeria021-22

Group BWDLGDPts
Brazil300+89
Russia201+66
Algeria102-53
Saudi Arabia000-90

Group CWDLGDPts
Ukraine300+89
Morocco111-24
Portugal102+33
South Korea012-91

Group DWDLGDPts
France300+119
Uruguay201+46
USA102-33
Cameroon003-120

Group EWDLGDPts
Colombia210+67
Italy120+25
Germany 102-43
Jamaica021-41

Group FWDLGDPts
England300+89
Mexico20106
Scotland102-23
Chile003-60

Group GWDLGDPts
Denmark120+25
Argentina120+15
Slovakia03003
Japan012-31

Group HWDLGDPts
Czech Rep300+39
Canada11104
Australia102+43
Ghana012-71


1[SUP]st[/SUP] July - 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] Round - Italy - Ottawa Community Stadium
Barnes 20, Way 24, Lawrence 42, 62. 4 - 0.
2[SUP]nd[/SUP] Round
Holland 3 - 1 Russia
Brazil 2 - 1 Serbia
Ukraine 2 - 1 Uruguay
Morocco 0 - 5 France
Mexico 1 - 3 Colombia
Italy 0 - 4 England
Canada 0 - 3 Denmark
Czech Republic 1 - 0 Argentina

6[SUP]th[/SUP] July - Quarter Final - Denmark - Winnipeg Community Stadium
Way 2, Baker 73, Knudsen 80. 2 - 1.
Quarter Finals
Holland 2 - 4 France
Brazil 3 - 1 Ukraine
Colombia 0 - 0p Czech Republic
England 2 - 1 Denmark

9[SUP]th[/SUP] July - Semi Final - France - Scarborough Community Stadium

'- nothing seems to be holding back the French attack here! Hunter Lamb, the Manchester City player has the best of Masson again...a shot- wide! I think England can count themselves lucky there...'

They had to pick themselves up, England had to resist this barrage from the French, the best team in the world many said.

'Halim Saadoui takes it down the left, Gray moves to intercept, he's past him, Masson to cover, Gray's back now, Saadoui on the ball weaving toward the byline. He's got options, pass back, no, he does Gray again! Sliding it across the floor, it's Durand! Harris gets a finger to it!' The crowd breathed relief, the French only gathered their voices.

82[SUP]nd[/SUP] minute, they weren't going to last at 0 - 0 till 90 unless they changed. Ohakam, captain for the night out there, tired legs, he'd been the one to create something out of nothing, to show the French they couldn't send every man up else face the consequences.

"Get at them!!" shouted The Manager, "Attack!" the players exchanged looks as the stands gave off their scared trumpet call, goading their men forward, "ATTACK!!!" he bellowed. Ohakam ran, losing the left back.

Harris saw it! A long throw as he stretched his wingspan to full, the ball carrying beyond the falling back of all blue shirts. One touch to take it, one touch to spread it on, yes lad yes! Go!

England expelled the air from their lungs, he flew, dashing like a man possessed, of single mind. He raced into the French half, toward the box. Just the centre back to halt him now. In went the defender, only him to beat, Ohakam jinked it to his right, outside.

Down he went, oh it looked bad.

"Way!" Called The Manager turning to his bench, the man was on his feet in a heartbeat, "Ready now, quick, we can't lose this chance. Float it in there."

"No shot?"

"Float it I said!!!"

Ohakam hobbled off, the board went up, the English cheered. One captain for another. Way stood over the free-kick, England up in numbers, jostling in the box, waiting for their best chance to ****** it from under French noses.

The whistle went, Way delivered it, in, over the top, floated beautifully.

Stevens head met it, above the challenge, ignoring the elbow, eyes shut.

Keeper beaten, England held on.

Stevens 85. 1 - 0.
Semi Finals
France 0 - 1 England
Brazil 1 - 0 Czech Republic

All the way to the final. England had demolished, battled, scraped by, dug in; and with each victory, the nation admonished one another with braver tales of how they knew it would be so, of how they hoped it would be so, of the contest now to decide their generation's fate.

It was a final children on the small island had dreamt up in perfect worlds in their heads; England were to take on the mighty Brazilians, a reputation earned, six times winners, some of the world's greatest players ever to play the game having played for them, playing for them now, obliterating for them now.

Wallace, number 9, yellow shirted global star, ten goals in six games so far.

South America sat self assured the trophy was heading down the continents, the football they were playing; kids were dancing on the ball shouting their favourite names - 'Fabio!' 'Romulo!', mimicking the tricks, the unbelievable passing, the audacity in the tackle.

The streets of Montreal packed.

14[SUP]th[/SUP] July - Final - Brazil - Montreal Olympic Stadium

((https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHZlO53obi0))

The changing room was silent, a void of distraction as the entering old Manager took his time, careful steps to keep his feet. Nerves were on edge, limbs shook gently beneath the feeling of what was to come, he could feel it in his arms, the building sensation of his blood becoming overwhelmed with adrenaline, his heart beating faster as his mind raced, belting into avenues he hadn't dared touch for eighteen long years.

"Boys," they hung on his every word, "here we are. You're going to face Brazil, possibly the best side in the world. They said that about France, I said that about France, but this is Brazil. Every player on their team can score, can pass, can hound and dog you.

"Every man in the stands garbed in green and yellow truly feels that it will be them that hoist the trophy aloft. The neutrals, the people who don?t really care much for football, the experts....all of them, they all believe it will be Brazil to seal their names on tonight.

"But what of our faithful?" he scanned the room, three walls of anxious faces, nerves climbing for the expectations of them, "What of our supporters? Your friends, family, the children you used to be? The men you have become? What of them? Are we to go out there and listen to the masses as they proclaim Brazil have this contest already won?"

He filled his lungs, letting the air slide out gently, eyes shutting for a moment. "Men who let opportunities pass them by are sheep, nothing more. They seize nothing, breed and die, forgotten like the rest of humankind.

"Just a few of us climb to scale above the rest, we see what the air is like up there, in the clouds, on the mountain top," he looked to Akarsu, Towler and Corns, "just a few of us get to taste what it is to become the greatest in the world, what it is to become masters of this planet if only for a night." A small cheer went round, excited, building.

His hands were shaking.

"England expects boys, I expect. Give everything, make me proud, make yourselves proud! Take your opportunity, seize it, and find out for yourselves...just what that feeling is like! Just what it is to look out on the world as the champions of it!!!"

A great roar went up from all corners! Towler was crying out, Way, Price, fists were balled and white at the knuckles, veins pulsing, spittle flying. Gerrard boomed at them, "Get out there and win this thing!!!!"

Emerging before the players, the Manager stepped out to the cacophony of thousands upon thousands of frightened and electrified fans, colours of every sort dotted into seas of yellow and white, the drums of Brazil, the chants and songs of the English.
This was what he lived for, the scene of absolute pinnacle, the scared and passionate faces ready to greet the onslaught.

The players emerged, Fifa's anthem played, Brazil's, England's. Shake hands.

"Ready?" said Gerrard calmly, a comforting smile to his friend. The Manager nodded. "It's been a pleasure to come back, to do this all over again."

"You're just a greedy ******. We both are." They smiled.

((You may want to turn it up the volume just a touch))
((https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKemdI4yqwE))

The Referee blew the whistle, Brazil got it underway.

My god they were good! Without even passing it back they were just the pair of strikers pushing it up the field, past the first and second line of players coming on to meet them, back and forth between them, a wheel away and pass, a step over and drop it through the legs.

Edge of the area, a shot! The stadium had the air stolen from it, Harris got up and over to it - two hands clawing it to his chest as he thumped into the ground. Cheers from the Brazilians for the effort, anxious applause from the English for the save.

'So early in the game...England are in for a rough ride if that was anything to go by,'

Thrown out, Glover the left back took it to the line, up the flank, long ball over the top to the chasing onwards Lawrence. England turned inside, looking for the head of Price.....the keeper claims.

The Manager looked around at the flags dancing their figure of eights, the banks of journalists screaming with hoarse voices to the hundreds of millions watching, to his bench, his loyal staff who had been to the edge of it all and returned victorious, to the subs now bent forward onto knees eagerly following their comrades in arms, fighting to hold back the oncoming yellow tide.

It was deafening, every side assaulting his senses as the fluid masses of the stands merged and shifted. He closed his eyes, the smell, the adrenaline in the air, the stench of the sweat caked on every individual as the night air refused to draw it clear.

The crowd grew in volume. His eyes flickered open, Fabio was through.

Brazil had the lead after 25 minutes. England brought on the play again, Brazil snatched it, out to Emmerson, switched to Wesley, cut inside, through ball to Wallace, Wallace turned on his heels.

Brazil 2 - 0.

England kicked off, accompanied by the cheers of the stands roaring their delight for the South American dominance. Gerrard wrote down on paper, Akarsu leaned over to consult.

The Manager got from his seat, striding to the edge of his area. His heart was beating out of his chest, rage seeped in, fury, agony and frustration. Belief.

"Come on England!!!!" screamed the Manager as the play drove on, the ball out for a throw nearby. Dean Way caught the words of his boss, heads turned, looked his direction, "Give me everything!!! Everything!!!" His hands cupped, lungs raw, eyes full of the desire for them to succeed, limbs shaking.

"Come on lads! We're better than this!!!!" Way bawled, the England fans sensed the mood, the lions roared.

England threw it back, Stevens played it up to Sim, the Brighton midfielder gave it to Pusic the Norwich man, he turned, dropped it back to Trivunovic the geordie born and bred. Trivunovic got his head up, there, one ball, over the top coming from the right.

It sailed beautifully, heads watched it as the defender back-peddled, rising into the air to try and touch it away....missed!

Way soared in behind the back line, the keeper coming out to close it down, he flashed his eyes up to spy the options. An early shot! High into the corner, the net rippled beneath the pinpoint effort,

'England are back in with a shout!!' commentators exclaimed, fans rocked their seats, hugged and slapped each other's backs; the players piled into a mob, shifting slowly back to their own half.

Press and press. Half time. More of the same, strong words for galvanised minds, England didn't want a 10 minute break, the momentum was theirs!

They started the second half, straight into it, fly out the blocks.

50 minutes.

England have a corner, cleared, back in, keeper pushes it onto the post.

55 minutes.

Way skips in from the right, aims at the far left, palmed away, defence clear.

60 minutes.

Subs, fresh legs, yellow cards, tension rising.

65 minutes.

England free-kick, inches wide.

"Come on!!!" roar the stands, children hide their faces behind fingers and scarves, the weak look away.

70 minutes.

Brazil break the England defence, Wallace smashes the crossbar, the rebound cleared to Lawrence, England break! Down the left, can't reach the byline, Pusic, Price.....Price......Price!!!! Saved! The English can't take it, the Brazilians aren't playing their drums anymore, no more dancing, nervous faces, worried eyes.

"Come on boys!! Come on!!!!!!" screams The Manager, screams Gerrard, Towler, Akarsu.

75 minutes.

'and here come England again, down the right, Way, he beats his man, looks up, ball in...cleared away, nothing is getting past Romulo in defence tonight! Oh England, this pressure for nearly 50 minutes, can they keep it up?'

80 minutes.

Way skins the left back, bombs on, Way, come on son....get that ball in, please. He crosses----- England holds its breath, Price launches....head it Price, head it....

Romulo lashes his forehead to it, the leather blows from danger, into the waiting grasp of Fabio, Brazil get out from their back line.

85 minutes.

"Way!!!" Cries The Manager, his hands about his mouth again. The winger hears it just, above the sound of 70,000 people all struggling to catch their breath, "Run it!!!!!" He cries, the man doesn't hear. The coaches are all on their feet, booming the call!

One nod. Masson, right out to Way. The winger sees it through it legs and runs onto it. Brazil fall back, they know what's coming, they know that if their tired legs can sprint home they'll see off the threat, strength in numbers, get it clear.

"Come on!!!!!" bawl the stands, the fans back home, the white shirts and three lions.

'this is it, England have to get something now as Brazil get bodies behind the ball, here comes Way...'

He beats the centre mid, touches it right to the line, back in, the left back squares up, step over, fake right! He goes left! Way cuts inside,

"Go on!!!!!!"

"Go!!!!!"

Every lion crashes their voice onto the field, to the penalty area, this has to go in, England are running out of time. Romulo comes across, the ball knocked past, just one more touch! A foot comes out...

'Way....WAY...... DEAN WAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!'

England peel away in celebration, nothing can hold them back now!

England 2! Brazil 2!

"Keep going! Keep going!" He screams, his heart is beating like before, racing, uncontrolled.

90 minutes.

One last effort from the left, Lawrence on his right, deflected into Tinguinha's grateful arms.
Full time.

((https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0_3CV8qEe4))

Calm, calm.

Breathe, slow down, breathe. Muscles burning with agony, chests fighting a losing battle.

Water bottles squeezed into panting mouths, players dropped to their backs, staring at the stars as the physios and coaches worked their calves.

Those held in the prison of their commentary box try to heal the wounded nerves of those back home, the faithful glued to their screens as the scenes they are witnessing surely can't be happening. England never make a final easy.

"Sleep tomorrow."

All eyes pulled to The Manager, viewing his exhausted and drained face, his hand holding onto Gerrard for support. He was at his limit, there was nothing left even for him to give, watching this scene of desperation and the last moments of his entire career.

One more lungful of air, drawing that precious energy to his core as he witnessed the last set of faces he would send out there with his encouragement. He was famed for it, motivation, determination, the will to win.

"Sleep tomorrow, for a month, for a year,"

He smiled, knowingly, letting the sound of their captive audience fill the air, fearful pleas ringing out, begging them to keep going, just a little more, please. The cameras watching, fixed upon them as the great spectacle not a person on the planet isn't sat before now, mouth agape in disbelief as the English never say die, that they show the world they'll not give up, not in the face of the ultimate prize.

"Live forever."

Faces lit up, eyes wide with the exhilaration.

"Come on boys COME ON!!!!" thundered Way, then Pusic and Sim, Stevens....all of them. Gerrard joined in, the coaches, all of the English.

The whistle blew, England pushed Brazil back, further and further still.

'Brazil are camped in their area! 10 men at all times behind the ball, not a man up the pitch! How can England be forcing Brazil like this?!'

"Go on England!!!!!" "Come on!!!" "Come on you sons of *******!!!!"

Sim robbed Wallace trying to run it out of defence, sideways to Trivunovic- a shot! Blocked, falls to Price! Saved!

"Ooooo!!!" ring the stands, the commentators are struggling for voice, the Brazilian support are doing their best to revive their ailing men.

The clock is ticking on, England corner, headed out. Another, doesn't beat the first man; still England throw everything forward, everything!

Price is felled at the edge of the area, is that a penalty?! Come on, say it is! Rectify the injustice of all those years ago, of the final of '26, please ref.

'and he?s given....a free kick! That must have been close-'

A yellow card, should have been red.

The English groan, hit high over the top.

Fabio shoots from 40 yards out, they take the breather, England never stop, back at them, attack attack attack!!

'the Brazilians are playing for penalties here, they've yet to miss one for 8 years people, here's hoping we find an answer soon, and here come England again!,'

Way is fighting on reserves, another barnstorming run, down the right he flies! Two men to beat, tackled by the second, Abbott steals it back! Into the box, Price, stuck under his feet, he can?t get it clear!
The defender wraps a boot about it, smashes into Pusic, down for Sim!

"Hit it son!!!!!!!!!!!!!" cries The Manager with every last bit he has got.

A rocket, bottom left, nothing stopping it, eyes watching it crash home.

'THEY'VE DONE IT!!! Wayne Sim scores!!! England have the lead!!!!'

Euphoria, rapture, the English transported to the heavens. Millions across the land are on cloud nine, almost tears as they see the end in sight, see the moment they've dreamt of, as children, as women and men.

"Get back!!!" calls Gerrard, players still beaming from ear to ear, "Get back!!!"

A look at the clock, just a minute to go.

Hold on England, hold on. Brazil launch a desperate attack, the last throw of the dice, all bodies tearing forward. Stevens gets the foot in, Glover hoofs it clear, Price chasing it down. Brazil send it forward, come on lads, hold on......the referee looks....
England 3 - 2 Brazil

((https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho3OTDuRrXk))

'England have done it!!! England are World Champions!!!!'

"Hah Hahaha!!!" exclaimed the bench with enormous, delirious grins, the coaches all throwing themselves at Gerrard and the Manager, subs piling in, the players out on the pitch diving into one great mass of ecstatic bellowing lungs.

The three lions had reached the top once more, the fans letting go of every emotion held in check, the hugs resulting in tears flowing steadily, couples kissing, children hoisted to their parents shoulders as they gaze upon the sea of flags and white shirts screaming the kind of adulation afforded on such a night.

It was a whirlwind, his chest was thumping like crazy, players jumping into him, grabbing his arm, anything to get near him. His coaches pulled him to one side, the breath gone from his lungs, the blood feeling like it was struggling to find its course.

"Relax," Gerrard said, guarding him. The Manager looked up to him as a hand clutched to his chest, "We've done it, we got our wish! Relax."

Breathe. The men all hugged, congratulations for one another.

Brazil collected their medals. England stepped up, and with the injured Ohakam and Way together, their hands lifted the World Cup skyward, fireworks and a shower of metal falling from the night sky.

It passed, from hands to hands, lips pressing to the surface, the fans cheering wildly as they got to actually see the trophy in English hands.

And then Harris turned to him, the glinting idol in his gloved hands.

Oh to look at it, the magnificent shine of its surface, the gold reaching into your eyes as you see the world, lifted up by the hands of the angels. Champions of the World, the greatest trophy on the planet, back in his hands.

"I really am a greedy man aren't I?" he whispered to himself, looking down at the priceless object, seeing the warped reflection of his aged features in the gold of the Atlantic Ocean, "hello again, old friend."
 

Slimchap

Member
Dec 6, 2012
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((Turn your volume back down if you turned it up for the final))
((
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYdC90Vc8so))


1 year later.

A guest at Wembley, England Vs Ghana in a friendly to pass the summer months.
His wife at his side, she was happy now, happy that his bit was done, he had achieved all he could achieve, and now he was hers and hers alone.

That wasn't to say he couldn't watch the football anymore, she enjoyed accompanying him for the few matches he was invited to, there to see as every face which met them heralded an amount of praise and respect for the man which was surely unbefitting of anyone involved in a sport.

Guided toward their VIP seating area, the fans were already packed into the home of football, and a slim looking man decked in a crisp tailored grey suit put himself between the path and the couple, a warm smile written upon his chin.

"Excuse me sir, but you're required briefly to come this way."

"But my seat is through there, I'm not going to sign a billion autographs or stand on my feet for too long..."

His wife chuckled, the kind man gestured down the hall to a set of steps, "This won't take long, I'm afraid we require just a small favour from you."

"As if the European Championship and Two World Cups wasn't enough," he laughed to himself, evoking the same from the gent.
Through the corridor they paced, down the levels, something was going on, people were starting to appear in adjoining corridors, smiling, then clapping.

The noise grew, until as natural light emerged down the tunnel, he recognised precisely where he was. The crowd were starting to cheer, a man on a microphone announcing something-

'-lease now, for our special presentation, our twice World Cup winning, England-' oh god, 'Manager!'

His wife and he walked down the tunnel, emerging to 90,000 plus people applauding, and a scene he thought could never exist.

There, behind the smart man holding out a microphone ready and waiting, stood so many faces he knew, so many individuals who loved him and he them in return for all they'd done for him. And in each of their hands, there held, were the trophies which they had toiled so hard for, season on season, year on year, driving on together under his instruction until the glinting masterpieces were safely in their grasp.

Such old faces, older than The Manager, younger, aged harshly, still fresh, all beaming with pride.

Kyriakos Papadopoulos with a Champions League, Jimmy Armstrong with a Premier League, Gianluca Caprari, Douglas Maximo, Keisuke Honda, Norberto Tradito, all representing just some from Brighton.

From Ghana stood Andre Ayew with their replica of the African Cup of Nations, and Kwadwo Asamoah with their World Cup.

From Sao Paulo, Chairman Mao, The Prince Alberto, Claudio Bonfante, Paulista, Sangweni; in their hands the Brazilian Cup, Copa Libertadoes, league trophy, Club World Championship, South American Recopa.

From Internazionale, Lloyd Daniels with the Champions League, Hisayuki Nakatani with the Scudetto, Fabiano Panisson with the Italian Cup.

And from England. Yalcin Akarsu with the World Cup, Steven Gerrard with the European Championship, Ashley Stannard with the Confederations Cup, and Aaron Towler, the now England manager, holding onto the real World Cup.

Not all his employees, colleagues and friends had survived against the advances of time, slipping away one by one. But as he stood, viewing as some of his brightest and best held their accomplishments in their hands, the knot inside him of grew. His child and their family emerged to one side, smiling away as they all dressed in their best were esteemed witnesses to their patriarch's send off.

The microphone was handed over, the crowds already well aware of what the scene represented and who everyone was.
He marshalled himself, staring at his friends, family, and the stands, packed with those grateful to him for all his endeavours.

"Thank you," a brief applause went round, as he tried to control himself, "to see so many of you brilliant and special people here is a dream come true for me, though I'm not picking up the tab in the bar," sporadic laughter whipped round the stadium.

"To all of you here, thank you so so much for the chance to share my journey with you, I'm so proud of all the support you've given me and my teams," the natural reaction flared up from all sides, he paused, smiling ever so wide, the tears were almost there.

"I shant last much longer doing this, so, thanks to my agent of course, the greedy swindler. My players, who gave me absolutely everything, everything. My amazing child, and most of all my supportive wife," the tears started to fall, hers too as they stood gazing upon one another before this mass audience, two old people at the end of their journeys.

"If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have managed to dictate any of this," his hand swept the field of priceless trophies, "none of these moments of absolute joy would have taken place;"

He tried, but that was his lot. The man took the microphone back as the crowd applauded once more, and he hugged his wife, whispering his thanks with his cracked and diminishing voice into her ear.

The Ghanaian supporters started to sing, '~Suuuuweeeeeeet Caroline! Bah Bah Bah! Good times never seemed so good!~',

That got a laugh, before the English led at first by a much smaller contingent sang one of their own, '~He wins us every game, but we can't pronounce his name! Ohhhhh our boy from Sussex!~'

Arms held aloft to the stands, he clapped those who sang for him. Photos were taken, with the old players, with the obscene trophy haul. His family basked in the spotlight, their name to be remembered now and always about the world.

And then it was done. The tears had all been shed, the smiles carried down the tunnel, and as England and Ghana got underway the fans turned their attentions to the game at hand, to their continued conquest of the footballing world, and to the futures their own lives as spectators might hold.

On the threshold to taking their seats, his wife stopped him as his kid's family all filtered through.

"Was it all enough?" she asked, smiling faintly.

He kissed her on the lips, leaning back to unfurl a grin of pure delight, taking her by the hand to join the others.

Of course it was, The Manager had won it all. All of it; and England were proud once more.



Trophy Haul

Brighton:

View attachment 569534 Premier League X 4
View attachment 569535 FA Cup X 3
View attachment 569538 League Cup X 4
View attachment 569541 Community Shield X 4
View attachment 388824 Champions League X 4
View attachment 388823 Euro Super Cup X 3
View attachment 388822 Club World Cup X 3


Ghana:

View attachment 388821 Africa Cup of Nations X 1
View attachment 569551 World Cup X 1


Sao Paulo:

View attachment 388820 Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A X 1
View attachment 388818 Campeonato Paulista X 1
View attachment 388817 Copa do Brasil X 2
View attachment 388816 Copa Libertadores X 2
View attachment 388815 Copa Sudamericana X 1
View attachment 388822 Club World Championship X 2


Internazionale Milano:

View attachment 388814 Serie A X 1
View attachment 569570 Coppa Italia X 1
View attachment 388813 Supercoppa Italiana X 1
View attachment 388824 Champions League X 1
View attachment 388823 Euro Super Cup X 1


England:

View attachment 569573 European Championship X 1
View attachment 388812 Confederations Cup X 1
View attachment 569551 World Cup X 2
 
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Slimchap

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Dec 6, 2012
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((https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3Dfl3ed1bA))

That's it! You're welcome two people ;)

Of course some details were dressed up for the story; Steven Gerrard retired and due to losing the Inter chapter so too did my England coaches as they weren't offered a job anywhere else. The final didn't go to extra time, but it just fit so much better taking it all the way; and in fact I was forced to take the England job before the previous European Championships, else risk waiting forever for it to fall before the World Cup. We won that btw, and the subsequent Confederations Cup, which may have contributed to the players respecting the manager more (for any of you purists).

For those who might be interested, with my terrible laptop grinding through the matches it was an ordeal to take any screenshots at all, so I took notes after the first few seasons when I realised I might enjoy making a story of it.

View attachment 389428 That's 39 pages of full page notes, double sided (so really 78); on how matches went, staff, reactions, noteworthy incidents, etc.

Endgame:

View attachment 389426 Brighton and Hove Albion - Manager years: 2012-19

Brighton enjoyed a period of unprecedented success following The Manager's seven years in charge of them, and the huge trophy haul during that time. They went on to retain the vast number of the players who had formed The Manager's team, who remained together for the best part of their careers, before it simply became a squad of many world stars brought together to keep the winning up.

The only domestic team that really stayed in touching distance of Brighton for decades was Manchester City, who through the power of extreme spending rivalled them for quality. The two teams won most of the silverware between them, each enjoying long and short stretches in the league where they would win back to back titles, domestic cups and so on.

Brightons greatest success really though despite domestic domination for so long has to be in Europe, where they won the Champions League for a total of 11 times by the time The Manager retired. They were the number 1 club for reptuation in the World for a good period of time before eventually things started to dip; changes in managers and poor signings for a lot of money at the end of their careers (think Andre Schevchenko) meant they fell away in Europe and England slightly, still in competition but not quite the huge power they had enjoyed being.

View attachment 389451 View attachment 389448 View attachment 389447


View attachment 389425 Ghana - Manager Years: 2019-22

Ghana sadly didn't manage to replicate any of their World Cup success which came in the story, managing only group stages and 2nd round exits mostly, with a few quarter finals thrown in. The country produced only sporadic stars and talents, backed up by far too many poor quality squad players who would have earned their trade in relegation threatened top tier clubs, or 2nd tier football clubs.

They did however win the African Cup of Nations a reasonable number of times to compete on respectable terms with their rival continental nations, neither dominating nor failing to obtain any silverware.


View attachment 389424 Sao Paulo - Manager Years: 2035-37

Sao Paulo became quite simply THE club in Brazil, attracting the best Brazilian talent both young and old, winning the domestic title so many times in a row that in fact the rankings for greatest managers ever had Jailson Finger (the manager who followed) as first, above Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson and all the rest; though the rankings on my game wern't quite 100% accurate as a lot of The Manager's honours for some reason were missing.

Sao Paulo also continued to challenge strongly in the Copa Libertadores, winning it a healthy number of times in the years until the end. Reputably, they finished the game the best that South America had to offer, and even after Brighton's slump ranked above them by a few places.

View attachment 389446 View attachment 389445 View attachment 389444


View attachment 389423 Internazionale Milano - Manager years: 2039-40

It still irks me that my save file with the Inter years corrupted, spoiling the legacy of The Manager slightly. Inter without the treble and subsequent league title delivered by Gerrard in charge ended up becoming the bridesmaid to Juventus and AC Milan, struggling to obtain much success or compete on a level field with Europe's elite. They certainly didn't slump to disgrace, but failed to achieve any real success which the club hopes, expects, and to a degree demands.

They finished the game just below Brighton in the club standings.


View attachment 389422 England - Manager years: 2024-30 / 2056-58

The struggles of England are quite well written in all chapters of the story, as they failed time and again to really surprise anyone or make ground against the world's best when The Manager wasn't in charge. England did however produce a great number of world stars, many plying their trade abroad in Europes best leagues. The golden generation of outstanding players fell during the first time in charge for The Manager; following that the squad always had at least 2 players who could be considered World Class, but didn't quite have the depth in the team as shown in the squad taken to the last World Cup, though it was still decent.

Nation and Club reptuations upon retirement: View attachment 389442 View attachment 389441


Valedictory - England Music Playlist:
1. A Real Hero - College ft.Electric Youth
2. Mother - Skyfall OST
3. Intriguing Possibilities - The Social Network OST
4. Listen to Beethoven - Warrior OST
5. Remember Us - 300 OST
6. The Day We Fight Back - Independence Day OST
7. Jolly Rodger - Independence Day OST
8. End Titles - Independence Day OST
9. Aftermath and Resolution - Super OST
Endgame post track: Summer - Joe Hisaishi

Thanks to anyone who has read this chapter, or indeed all of the story of The Manager. Thoroughly enjoyed writing this even if it is throwaway stuff. I hope anyone who has stuck with it enjoyed the story, I'll look back to respond to any messages if there are any to be had.

Here's hoping that come the World Cup we make a good showing of ourselves! Come on England!
 
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