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  1. Jimbob and Chesterfan, glad to have you guys onboard! I hope to have a story update soon and get into the football side of things
  2. Even if this didn't work out, it would turn out to be on hell of a vacation Donovan thought to himself. His suite was unlike any he had ever seen. Most of the accommodations he was used to came in the $80/per night or less category, and even that was extravagant. He couldn't imagine what the club was paying for this suite. Slate floors, a king sized four post bed, marble bathroom, a full office area with desk, chairs, and meeting table, and the most breathtaking view of the Bulgarian Parliament building he could imagine. Donovan couldn't wait to see the view at night, as he had seen pictures of the city at night and it looked amazing. Hell, in daylight it was enough to stop you in your tracks. Most intriguing was a giant statue that sat in front of the Parliament building that he was especially keen on checking out when he had some free time. A giant stone statue of what appeared to be a man on horseback, but he couldn't quite make out the details from up above. The statue itself seemed to be perhaps two stories tall, and made of either marble or perhaps polished limestone. So much history he thought as he forced himself to avert his gaze from the view. He needed to get down to business. He began to pour over the info on his team that he had been given, and that he had scoured off the Internet prior to his travel. He made several notes to himself, and then noticed that he needed to get showered and changed for his visit to the stadium. ****************** Emil was waiting for Donovan at the lobby entrance to the hotel. Donovan didn't try as hard this time to engage the stone faced Bulgarian in conversation, and instead hopped in the back of the car and stuck his nose in his paperwork. The club had already started the process of enrolling Donovan in all the requisite UEFA courses to put him on his way to his advanced license, and officially named him 'Intermn manager' until he could become fully qualified, so Donovan was filling out the necessary paperwork that had to be submitted. Within 10 minutes he felt the car roll to a stop. Donovan looked up from his paperwork and nearly did a double take. What he saw caught him off guard. They were at the entrance to the Akademik Stadium. The Facade was almost, what Donovan would describe as, Carolina Blue in color (sky or powder blue), and had the appearance of 50's era soviet airport. As he exited the vehicle, he was even more taken aback, as his new surroundings were nothing like the area his hotel was in. He realized that Sofia was a mix of medieval and more modern architecture, and he knew that Bulgaria used to be a Soviet Bloc state, but what he was looking at was straight out of an old James Bond movie. Across from the entrance was what appeared to be old apartment block, all concrete, with graffiti covering the retaining walls round it's base. All around the stadium were decaying soviet era apartment blocks, some high rises, some one or two story. All very decayed, and unkempt. It was a stark contrast to what he was presented in the city center. Donovan was met at the main entrance by a man he recognized from his interview. He re-introduced himself, his name was Ertan Kara, and he was one of the acting board members and a former player with the club. Ertan cut a striking figure, standing at about 6 feet and 4 inches tall. Donovan figured him for a Center Back in his playing days with his broad physique. Etran led Donovan out and into the main stand, where he could now see the entire stadium. It only had one main stand, and it appeared to hold around eight to ten thousand spectators. It almost mad Donovan sad to gaze upon the stadium really. You could tell that once upon a time, this was a very impressive complex. It was laid out in the traditional Soviet Olympic stadium manner. It had a central ground where the pitch was, and it seemed in decent shape. Around the pitch was an old Olympic track that had decayed so badly that they had placed rubber matting over the track to prevent injury while walking on it. In fact, it appeared that the matting had been laid down so long ago, that it too was now decaying an was sun bleached, with weeds poking themselves up from between the cracks. There were still patches of concrete behind each goal, where the track and field stations for shot put, discus, pole vault etc once were, and directly across from the main stand were numerous tennis courts, and further off a swimming facility, complete with decaying concrete high dive platforms. Donovan thought about what it must have looked like in it's heyday. Before him on the pitch was his new team, in the midst of their Saturday training session. Four coaches milled about amidst the players as they performed drills. Donovan didn't bother to take notes yet, he would start his selection process on Monday during his first full day on the job. Etran led him back inside after some small talk about the history of club, and down to the club offices. He still felt like he had stepped through some weird time portal as the offices were just like every 60's era movie he had ever seen. Dark wood panelling on the walls, shag carpet, blue in color, gold clocks in post modern designs on the walls, and old yellowing newspaper articles and photos on the walls describing a different time, a much brighter and happier time at this club. Donovan couldn't make out the writing, it was all in Cyrillic, but he got the jist. Etan led him all the way through the offices to the back, it was a ghost town, but of course it was Saturday he thought. He was led back to the Charmain's office and motioned inside. 'Down to buisness' Donovan though, not quite knowing what to expect.
  3. Thanks Mark, glad to have you back on board following along After the 18 plus hour flight, Donovan was ready stretch his legs and get a shower. He wasn't sure what to expect when he got to Bulgaria, Eastern Europe wasn't a place he had visited often in his military travels. The closest he had come to Bulgaria was Greece, and from what he had read, there were some similarities (mainly in the area of cuisine), but the two neighboring countries were really quite a bit different. Stepping off the plane Donovan found himself in a very modern, if a bit small, airport terminal. The glass and steel structure reminded him a little of the new airport in St. Martin in size and design, wide open and sparsely furnished and impeccably clean. Most airports he traveled through were busy, crowded, and every space was filled with either a shop or a seating area. Here it was nice and open, Donovan liked it, you didn't feel as cramped and claustrophobic as most American airports. The second thing that he noticed was that most signs were written in Cyrillic. He didn't know why he hadn't thought about this prior, but at least the instructional signs were all also written in English. Making his way out of the terminal, Donovan found the ground transportation area. He had packed light, not knowing if he would be there a week or several months. He didn't have much in the way of possessions regardless, but left the bulk of his clothing back with his family in St. Louis. Not having to wait for his baggage always made the trip that much easier, he had his carry on and a backpack that he hefted up to his shoulders. A glimmer of memory hit him, of hefting his Sea bag up on his shoulder at any number of airports across the world as he had done so many times in his military career, and soldering on to a new duty station, boat, or new adventure. Donovan smiled at the thought of his new adventure. *********** He found his car at the curb right outside the terminal. His name printed across a white board. His driver was a tall broad shouldered man with dark close cropped hair and brown eyes, his face as broad as his shoulders. His driver opened the back seat of parked black sedan and Donovan saw the nice leather interior. Donovan introduced himself to the driver, who told him that his name was Emil. Emil then loaded Donovan's bags in the trunk, and got into the drivers seat without saying much past his introduction. Donovan asked how long it was to the hotel and stadium. "Not far" was the only response. "Are we going to the hotel first?" Donovan asked "Hotel first, yes" came the direct reply, "Then I take you to Stadium, we need to be there in 2 hours." Donovan thanked Emil, and tried to engage him in a little conversation as they rocketed off from the curb and into the city, But Emil made it plainly evident that he was not interested in any chit chat with this foreigner, so Donovan decided not to pursue it. He was a little perplexed, in all of his reading about Bulgaria, he had read that Bulgarians were generally welcoming to Americans, and would generally engage you in conversation. Maybe Emil was the exception to the rule, or hell, maybe he was just having a bad day. Regardless Donovan looked forward to a hot shower and a change of clothing. Maybe his next driver would be more interested in conversation. Donovan called Doug from his cell as promised, but kept their conversation brief, as he noticed that Emil was taking an interest all of the sudden as soon as he heard Donovan on the phone. He noted the Bulgarians eyes on him in the rear view mirror, following his side of the conversation with Doug. Donovan again shrugged it off as he hung up the phone, not five minutes into the drive and they were pulling up to a very nice looking hotel that read Radisson Blu on the street facing sign. Similar to the Airport, this structure was mostly modern steel and glass, and looked quite beautiful. Donovan got out as Emil unloaded his bags from the trunk. Donovan instinctively reached for his wallet to tip the driver, but realized in a moment of panic, that he had not exchanged any money while he was at the airport. He was certain that hotel had money exchanging facilities, so he turned to Emil to let him know that he needed to go get some dollars exchanged to Lev. Emil quickly waved this off and proceeded to get back into the car. As he entered the vehicle he said to Donovan, "2 hours, I will pick you up here then." And sped off not waiting for a response. 'Guess I won't be getting a more talkative driver' Donovan thought as he turned to make his way to his hotel room.
  4. And it seems I’m alone here, hollow again As I’m flailing again against the wind And the scars I am left with swallow again As I’m failing again now, never to change this Even though he had known her for over 20 years, it still felt dirty, almost as dirty as the motel he now found himself in, but he needed it, and so did she. This happened once every two to three years, had since they were in college but it always felt the same afterward... regretful. Not the act mind you, that was fantastic as always, but the realization that it had happened yet again. While Donovan was deployed durng his Navy stint, Taryn had made the decision to go with stability over lust, and had settled down with someone she had seen in college, when Donovan wasn't around. Donovan knew about the relationship and at the time didn't really care. He wasn't a faithful boyfriend. Being deployed overseas, he found comfort in the arms of a number of women, and besides he wasn't the jealous type. If he could have fun, so could she, Donovan thought. If it was meant to be, it would happen later when he was ready to settle down. But the time passed and Taryn was ready for a family long before Donovan was, so she made the choice, but apparently not with all of her heart. What Donovan had mistaken as a young man for true love, he knew now was pure lust. Fact was he had never found a woman he was more aroused by, she always had that over him, and she used it when she wanted. He knew that they would never have anything outside of these chance encounters even though Taryn always held out a romantic view of their relationship. The fact was that Donovan had tried to be honorable when he learned of her marriage and subsequent pregnancy. The timing of the marriage and pregnancy always caused a twang of interest in Donovan's mind, the timing just seemed off, but he never allowed that though to enter his mind, it would drive him crazy if it found a permanent purchase in his brain. Besides, Taryn swore that he was misremembering the whole thing when he posed the question, and he did from time to time. She swore had given birth to her son well over twelve months since the time that had seen each other last that summer, she never waivered from that. But.... Donovan never remembered it that way. He couldn't think about that for long though, too many far reaching implications. He didn't want to open that closet, not now, it would do more harm than good. Donovan just let himself get lost in the moment, the moment before they both had to leave and get back to their lives, only knowing that this scene would most likely repeat itself in another year or two. He had stopped caring about honor when it came to Taryn years ago, he was resigned to this fate. ************** As Donovan sat in the back of the cab headed toward the airport, his cell phone buzzed in his pocket. 'She shouldn't be calling me this soon after.' Donovan thought to himself as he pulled the phone from his pocket. It wasn't Taryn, it was a number he didn't have programed in his phone, and it was from back home, at least that was what the area code indicated. It was Doug, he was calling Donovan from his home, that explained the unknown number. "D, it's Doug" came the loud voice over the phone. "What's going on Doug? I'm on my way to the airport now." Donovan let it slip... "What do you mean you're 'on your way to the airport'? You're supposed to be IN the airport Donovan. Did you miss your flight?" Doug asked with increasing anxiety and tension rising in his voice. "Don't tell me you missed you flight man! I thought we talked right before you werre leaving for the airport..." "Calm Down Doug," Donovan quickly cut him off, "I'm in Baltimore, I didn't miss my flight this morning. I just had an errand to run is all, besides I didn't want to sit around an airport for twelve hours Doug." Donovan half lied. Donovan was quick on his feet to deflect the question as he forgot that he hadn't told Doug about his little planned pit stop. When Donovan had been booking his travel, he had managed to work in the long layover in Baltimore to see Taryn, but Doug nor anyone else needed to know about that. "You had me scared there buddy!" Dough quickly replied, the tension leaving his voice. "You are all set with ground transportation when you get in to Sofia tomorrow morning, I just spoke with the club." Donovan knew why Doug was playing nursemaid to him, and it wasn't out of loyalty to a client, or just being a good guy, Doug got a nice cut out of Donovan's salary as stipulated in the contract he had signed with Doug's company to have them find job opportunities, just like any headhunting outfit. Ten percent of Donovan's salary would give Doug a nice Christmas bonus, but he had to make sure Donovan showed up to take the job and lasted through the first few trial weeks first. "There should be someone meeting you at the terminal carrying a sign with your name." Doug continued, "He will take you to your hotel as you will be getting in on Saturday morning." "What will I do till Monday?" Donovan asked now shifting mental gears and trying to plan his next steps. He realized just then that he had allowed Taryn to dominate too much of his thought process. If he was going to make an impression, he needed to get back to business. Doug filled him in on his weekend itinerary, "You will be able to get in to tour the facilities Saturday and meet with the players if you so desire." Doug told him. "The current care-taking manager will be running a limited practice Saturday afternoon, and will meet with you after. He said he will keep the squad there after practice if you wish to address them then." "No, no need to keep them around." replied Donovan "If you speak with the club tell them that I'd rather wait until after the weekend to meet with the squad, an introduction can be provided Monday morning." "Oh, one more thing," Donovan interjected before he ended his call with Doug, "will I need a translator?" "The club has assured me that about half the squad speak fairly fluent English and that your Assistants and their teammates will translate for the rest." Doug answered easing Donovans mind a little. They wrapped up the converstion and Donovan told Doug that he would give him a call when he got in to Sofia and found his ride. ********* A few hours later, Donovan boarded the Air France flight that would take him on his first leg. 'Business Class... man, I could get used to this.' Donovan thought to him self as he settled into his seat and opened his briefcase. The club had provided the funds for the flight and had initially offered to fly him First Class, but Donovan though it better to show some fiscal restraint and go Business Class instead. He figured it was a nice upgrade from coach and his new position at least afforded him that in his mind, he was going to be the manager of a professional club after all. He never realized how nice Buisness Class was on an international flight, he could only imagine what First Class must be like. He would spend a good deal of the flight going over the information provided by the club on the squad, all the information he was able to gather on their last season and individual performances, and the rules and regulations of the Bulgarian Football League. After that, he might order a drink and get some rest. He was on his way.
  5. "You have nine new voice-mails and one old voice mail" the phone reported in Donovan's ear. Donovan had been home all of an hour and had his phone plugged in when he remembered to check his voice-mail. His brain still wasn't at 100% efficiency, or he would have remembered as soon as he got in the door. "Message one: 'Hey Donovan, it's Doug, please give me a call back as soon as you get this, got some big news for you bud. Talk to you soon.'" Doug Ortega was his headhunter who had been repping him around to various clubs to hopefully get him a new gig somewhere. Hopefully he had a good lead, that's what it sounded like at least. Donovan looked to write a reminder down to call back Doug but was stopped short.. "Message two: 'Donovan, it's Doug again, call me back as soon as you get this man, seriously it's important.'" Message three, four five.. all the same.. Donovan was anxious by the time he got to number 9, "Donovan, I don't know where you are at man, but I can't stress how time sensitive this is, get back to me by 12 today or we may lose out on something big." Donovan looked at his watch, it read 12:43 pm 'Crap...' Donovan dialed Doug's cell phone as soon as he hung up. "Hey Doug what's going on man, I just got your..." Donovan was cut off as he tried to speak. "D man, I'd ask where you've been but we don't have time, I'll explain later. Hang on a sec, gonna put you on hold, hopefully they are still in the office." Donovan heard the line click as Doug put him on hold. He really hated how Doug continued to use 'D man' when talking to him, it made him want to reach through the phone and choke the dude out. He would correct him if it we not for the fact that he needed Doug's services, and didn't want to ruin a relationship over a pet peeve, but still... The line came back, "Donovan, are you at home? Do you have Skype installed on your computer, please tell me you do, please man.." "Yea, yea Doug, what is this about?" Donovan wanted to slow his headhunter down and see what was going on, he was feeling a little uncomfortable being rushed into something. "No time buddy, sorry, I'm sending you a number. I need to to dial in with Skype, it's an interview. I would give you more time, but the team's board was supposed to end the search today at 7pm local time, and it's now 7:45, they are only making an exception for you because I talked you up so much and they liked your resume. This is big time D man, Full time Professional club man, and the pay is way above what we were expecting, so get on that call now and call me back to let me know how it went!" Donovan hung up with Doug and immediately logged onto his laptop, bringing up email and Skype, in no time he was connected with a group of people in what appeared to be a small conference room. There appeared to be around 6 people in all, but Donovan could not see out of the video cameras line of sight so he couldn't be sure. He was very glad however that he had showered when he got home, and put on a fresh polo shirt instead of a t-Shirt, that could have been embarrassing. "Mr. McBee I presume?" The dark haired older man at the head of the conference table on my screen began in thickly accented English, "We are pleased to get to interview before concluding our search." Donovan couldn't immediately place the accent, it almost sounded Russian "Allow me to introduce myself," The man continued "My name is Atanas Ivanov, I am the Chairman for Football Club Akedemik." Donovan studied the mans face as best he could, he was older, with sun damage wrinkles lining his face. Donovan placed him at somewhere in his late fifties to early sixties, but he appeared to be in very good shape. "This is my Managing Director of Operations Manol Velev," Mr Ivanov said as he gestured to another older man to his right. The man he pointed out was much leaner and had sharper features, and cut a very harsh figure in contrast to Chairman, "And these," he continued "are the other members of the board here at the club." "Pleased to meet all of you," Donovan began "I am honored that you allowed for me to speak with you so late in the process, I hope to answer any and all questions you may have to your satisfaction." And thus Donovan's interview commenced. ************ Donovan was back on his cell phone several hours later with Doug "So how did it go man?" Doug asked impatiently "Not sure, they asked some pretty tough questions, to be honest I'm not sure why they would even be interested in me in the first place." Donovan said hoping for a clue as to what this was really about. "Here's the story D..." Doug filled Donovan in on who the club were, and what they were looking for. Club Akademik were a professional club in the capitol city of Sofia in Bulgaria. They have a long tradition, and have as of recently been relegated down from the top tier to the Western "B" group of Bulgarian football. There was a huge falling out among supporters and the club, and they are having trouble finding anyone local to even apply for the position. Like it or not, they probably wanted an unknown foreign manager to act as a fall guy while they get the club back in order and restore it's image in the community. The chairman too a lot of flack for intervening and being heavy handed, but no one was sure if it was him, or his Director, or a little of both. Stories were leaked to the press, and a bad season saw a huge loss of revenue, and the firing of the then manager. They needed someone to come in and say the right things while the administrative staff tried to bring in some new faces, and do a PR blitz to hopefully restore the clubs image. While that was going on they needed a decoy, a foreign manager that the press and locals may be distracted by, a little Three Card Monty as it were. Doug added that it would be easier to place blame on an outsider for club failures than burn a bridge as they had with a club favorite who was the last manager. This way the enemy is a relative outsider and an easier target for lifelong fans, and not the club Chairman, as it is now. Donovan thought for a few moments, he wasn't sure that this appealed to him. He had been put in this exact situation before and while it got his foot in the door managerially speaking, he wanted to find a small club (preferably Stateside) that he could grow a good resume with. He didn't want to uproot again, only to be gone again in a matter of months, this time with the added possibility of death threats. "How much would they pay me to be lynching fodder?" Donovan asked jokingly, he had no real intention of saying yes even if they did come back and offer him the job. Doug's response had more than a hint of glee attached. "Thought you'd never ask buddy." Doug told him... Donovan started looking up ticket prices to Bulgaria as soon as he hung up the phone.
  6. "Juice?" Came the voice as Donovan felt himself being gently shaken awake. "gnnuggh?" Was about all he could muster in the form of a response. "Here, take this, it's orange juice, and here are two aspirin." he felt objects being placed into his hands. As he sat up wearily he could sense that he was still dressed more or less, so that ruled out at least one question, and would make the next question a lot easier than had he found him self sans clothing. "I'm very sorry.. I'm still piecing last night together." Donovan started.. "My name is Sam.." came the immediate reply "And I brought you home with me last night because you were in no shape to drive, and you were refusing a taxi, the only way I could get you someplace safe was by pretending you were going to get lucky." She said with a little chuckle. Donovan could make a little of her profile out now after he finished taking the aspirin and downing the juice. She was pretty, long curly blonde hair, turned up nose, petite figure. "So we didn't..." Donovan started "No, we did not" came the immediate response. "I just put you in my bed so I could keep an eye on you, you were pretty hammered last night." "Was I much of an ass last night? Where did we meet?" Donovan asked trying to remember the events that led to this morning. "You were actually hitting on my best friend last night, but she wanted nothing to do with you, none of us really did, but you were very drunk, and kind of funny, so we let you hang out with us for a while and pick up our tab." She said, "But ONLY because you were insistent that we let you!" she added with a small giggle. "All my friends left, but I felt a little sorry for you, and the story you kept trying to tell about some psychotic ex, and your world travels was keeping me interested, even though you weren't making a lot of sense." Sam explained, "So I offered to take you home after last call because you were talking about driving home and you would not let me call you a cab no matter how I insisted." "Besides," Sam added "I live two blocks from the bar we were at last night." "Which was?" I asked "The Red Lion Pub" "Ok, that makes sense" Donovan said, "That around the corner from my usual hang out." "The Yellow Rose" Sam asked? "Yea, but I remember that none of my friends showed up, the last thing I remember was talking to the bartender as I was ordering shots." Donovan thought about how much he probably spent last night and wanted to cry.. he was still unemployed after all. Donovan spent the rest of the morning with Sam, having coffee, and laughing about what a wreck he had been, and getting to know the person who was kind enough to watch over him last night. Sam fed him breakfast, and told Donovan a little of her own story. Samantha also let Donovan know in no uncertain terms that she was not available. Even though she wasn't in a serious relationship, she had been seeing someone, and made it clear that she was a one man kind of girl. Donovan was fine with that. Although the more he looked at her in the post drunken haze, he found her very attractive, he also knew that he would (more than likely) be leaving the area very soon. A part of him realized that she might be lying about the boyfriend, as he was sure he had gone into great detail in his babbling last night about looking for another management position. And being a smart girl, Donovan was sure she knew that was not going to be a permanent fixture in the area. Donovan ended up walking back to his car around lunch time, getting Sam's number before he left, so he could take her out to dinner to thank her (he hoped at least). As he walked he remembered the voice-mails on his phone from that morning, so he turned on his phone... 'Damn!' the battery was dead, he would plug it in as soon as he got home. Donovan just hoped it wasn't a serious emergency
  7. Thanks Mark, I will try and keep this going, life intervened in a big way last time I started this, so I hope to get back into it on a more regular basis now but I won't guarantee anything other than if I can't find a good voice for this character, I will find an end point before starting my next story Editors note: As you can see, after several years I am trying to pick up where I left off with this story, it may work, it may not. My first game was overloaded with all leagues in the game selected as playable, and it was becoming impossible to keep it going let alone load up, advancing just a few days took over 30 minutes. Then as I said, life intervened with the birth of my first son[, and I dropped FM all together for a few years. Flash forward to now, I have picked up FM 2012 and would at the very least like to put finish to this story, so it may end in a while, or it may continue, we shall see. But I promise not to leave it hanging even if I do end up out of ideas, or a decent save game. I'm restarting with all European leagues and Mexico and MLS loaded, so it's still rather large, but hopefully a little more manageable. Donovan had immediately regretted agreeing to meet up with Taryn, she was crazy and he knew it. But she was familiar and a friend in times that he always needed it, and he found he could never say no to the woman, and that was a very bad thing. He had agreed to meet up with her around Baltimore in a few weeks, and he knew that if he was a no show, or if he told her he changed his mind, there was a 90% chance the loony woman would just show up at his door, despite them living almost 1000 miles away from each other. He needed to get out and grab a beer to clear his head, so he turned on his mobile phone and went through his address book, looking for someone, anyone really, to go out with for a beer..... or twelve. It was times like these that he really missed being in the Navy, back then there was never an night you couldn't find a wing-man to go out with, back here all his old school friends had jobs and families (two things Donovan expressly didn't have at the moment) that hampered their willingness to get hammered on a Thursday night. But he dialed through his contact list dutifully regardless. ************** What was that noise? It seared his brain... was it a fire alarm? Good Lord, was there an emergency? Donovan tried sitting up in bed, and quickly found he wasn't in his own bed... 'What the hell?' Donovan thought, even though just thinking sent shock-waves of pain though his eyeballs. It was dark, and he couldn't get his bearings.. As his eyes adjusted he made out heavy drapes hing over the windows, and.. was that lace on the bed covers? "Are you going to answer that?" a soft voice spoke from somewhere nearby, "At least turn the damn thing off if you're not" the voice concluded with a sigh. Donovan fumbled his hand over what he could only imagine was a nightstand, looking frantically for his phone. He finally found it after it had stopped ringing. 'Typical' He thought. He looked at his phone through bleary eyes... The clock on it read 9 AM, and he could see that he had missed 10 calls, all from the same number... a number that didn't immediately stand out to him, but there were voice mail messages too. Donovan turned off his phone and collapsed back into bed, the messages and his current location could wait for further investigation after he got a few more hours of sleep and a Bloody Mary in him. 'Where the hell did I end up last night?' Donovan though as he tried to will his aching brain back to sleep. 'And who the hell's bedroom am I in right now? Voice sounds nice enough at least...'
  8. Hallucinating I'm debating life but it's still moving forward if I could just change the hands of time Well I'd do it better Just walk away ......Just walk away .............Just walk away Donovan was a long way from Sweden. His trek was a short one... IK Huge was destine for collapse just like CA Pimentense was, Donovan felt he had been set up for failure once again. But how long could he pawn off his failures on others? Six months in Sweden had netted him nothing aside from a few paychecks and some padding to his portfolio. The club had come close to folding shortly after his arrival, and were forced to release Donovan as manager just weeks into the new season. It really was a reach anyway as Donovan had found. The club was an amateur outfit from the start, but a promotion to the Second Division had filled the local board with enough gumption to start their own little search for a manager that had netted Donovan via his old chairman in Brazil. Unfortunately they didn't have the financial backing or bank reserve to pay a staff and players without considerable income. Nor did they have the ability to secure a loan, as a proper expanding club would do. It would have been one thing if they were in a competition that had a large purse, or if they had a shot at a big cup payoff, but that was not in the cards. The management had thought that the new standings, players, and an interesting manager might draw enough spectators to cover all those costs via gate receipts.. but such was not the case. You stick it out as best as you can in these situations, and despite winning three of seven in his first few weeks, the hemorrhaging of funds caused by his, and the few imported players salaries quickly overwhelmed the initial coffers, and the paltry gate receipts were no where enough to cover the expenses. Donovan then found himself packing his bags once again, headed for home. Shame, he hadn't even found a single pub to call home on a regular basis, nor a Swedish woman to keep him company even though they abounded, and he was very much interested. ***************** During his time home Donovan was able to catch up with a multitude of old friends who he could regail with tales of travel, both military and managerial. Now at 36, he was in no shape nor did he have any inclination to return to the military, but he missed it dearly... both the Military and managerial duty had the same type of camaraderie you feel as a part of a team. He needed to get back to that. After three weeks, he began another search for employment, this time with a much more bolstered Footballing resume. No, it wouldn't land him at Liverpool, but he may be in line for a spot on a USL or A League team here back in the states. And that would be just fine by one Mr McBee. A few days after putting his resume out to a few sporting agencies, Donovan's cell phone rang. It was a Baltimore area phone number.... "The Baltimore Blast"? He thought... that was an indoor league... or maybe the Real Maryland Monarchs.. they were a developmental league squad.. "Hello, this is Donovan McBee.." "Hey...." was the only response "......" "It's me silly.... Taryn..." 'Oh Christ' thought Donovan, 'not this again....' Tina was Donovan's first real girlfriend back when the two were still in middle and high school. They had met at a football summer camp and kept their relationship going through school, and into college. While Donovan had moved on, but it always seemed that Taryn had a twang of nostalgia every three years or so, as that was about how often she would pop back into his life, trying to rekindle a years dead relationship. Donovan was usually annoyed, but felt a certain amount of pity for her, at least that is how he envisioned it in his mind. She was indeed a tragic figure, and she always looked to rebound from whatever mess of a relationship she had gotten into by going back to Donovan every time. The real question was why Donovan didn't just outright block her number from his phone permanently.. but he knew... deep down inside... he knew why, and it wasn't something he even wanted to admit to himself. Taryn wasn't a world class model by any stretch of the imagination, but she was a very attractive girl. Six feet tall, taller than the majority of women, it gave her a certain model look. With her long auburn hair, and green eyes... those crazy green eyes... and her figure, she was a stunner just as well. While she wasn't voluptuous, she had an ex athletes body, but it was sexy, and damn if she didn't know it. "Hey Taryn, how have you been?" The standard greeting... "Not bad... why haven't you called me?" Hurt in her voice being dramatically overplayed as usual. "I just got back into the country from Brazil, I haven't really had time to look up everyone yet" A slight lie there... "Really? You have to tell me all about it! Did you meet any Brazilian women??? I hear they are really gorgeous Donovan... " She was always jealous of any woman I may see, although to her it was absolutely fine to tell me all about her boyfriends, or most recently her husband. "No, I wasn't there long enough, I went from there to Sweden for a few months..." "Sweden??!!! Really??!! That is soooo exciting! How did you manage all that, are you still in the military?" "..... no... I know we haven't talked in a while Taryn, but I've been out for almost three years now. In fact, I've gone back to Soccer. I was managing a club in Brazil, and then a small outfit in Sweden" "GET THE F*** OUT OF HERE DONOVAN!!" Yea.. they communicated in a time warp thought Donovan, and this was the first time he had talked to her in years. "You're a manager now?!?!?" Honest surprise.. "How come I didn't marry you instead of Gavin?" Here it came.. as always, she was trying to sound joking, but I heard 'that' tone when she uttered that last sentience. Donovan could picture the fake wry smile on her face.. "What are you talking about Taryn?" Donovan feigned honest curiosity... "You are a happily married woman.. with a beautiful daughter.. " Donovan almost bit his tongue, he knew the history and that things weren't going well, it was a spiteful jab on his part Tina's voice became icy.... "You know that story Van, let's not go there" She recovered quickly though, "But back to you, you're managing sides now? That is amazing! Are you headed back to Sweden? Get some of those hot Swedish girls?" The underlying displeasure at the though of him with another not hidden from her voice "No... I was released, the club couldn't stay afloat financially... I'm back to square one, looking for a new gig. I'd love another gig as a manger, but I'd just as soon coach at this point" There was no immediate response, and a long pause. Donovan knew what was coming next. "So when will I get to see you?" And there it was... He knew this question was coming as soon as he heard her voice when he answered. It was always the question, and it always got Donovan into trouble, because every fiber in his body told him no every time, but the memory of those moments in absolute rapture with her in his arms gave her an answer every time..... and it was always the same.... "When do you want to see me Taryn?" 'Damn my lack of self control' Thought Donovan......
  9. Just sticking my head in to say hello, I've never poked into one of these community threads, but I figured it was time. I've been a long time lurker, and one time writer, but I bit off way too much in my first attempt "Major Ambition" and the story has now sat dormant for several years as the trying to play a game with all leagues as playable quickly made the save file so large the game would barely load. On top of that I welcomed the birth of my first son into the world not long after I started writing, so FM time has been limited for a while now. Long story short, I picked up FM 12 last week and it brought me back to my favorite reading place after a year or so's absence. I've had a blast catching up on old story threads, and have found some great new ones (no surprise), so just want to say hello to all, and say thank you for all the great feedback and advice you all provided on my first effort, I may take another stab at it soon.
  10. I've been gone for a while from the forum and this is the first thing I picked up upon my return. I've spent the better part of two days reading through. Awesome job as always 10-3, this story is amazing, it really struck with me at fist on two fronts, first, I am an American Football coach for a local high school that was in a very similar situation to Kildare towards the end of the season. Without a win in 9 games, we pulled out a win in our last game, and I felt a little of that same elation in your first win at Kildare. The second is that I tried the same challenge twice in FM 2010 (I believe?) and really liked seeing the challenge play out from a narrative. Anyway, great read, I look forward to seeing how the friendly plays out soon! This makes me want to pick up my old story thread now
  11. Glad to see this is back!!
  12. I need to get my match rating average up above 7.00 and get some interest from some bigger clubs!
  13. Ouch! That's not going to help get me out of Brunei!