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Tom Ashley

[FM 15] A Manager's Journey (reprise)

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Posted (edited)

 

Back in the winter, I started a story with a character I thought would be a lot of fun to bring to life--at least, the notes I'd made gave me that feeling.  One evening, I tried to load the game up, and it wouldn't start.  Then, life got too busy for me to devote the time and energy I'd like to give to a project, so I took several large steps back from FM for a while.

Now, I'm back, and I've decided I'd like to bring Ryan Bellamy back to life.  Please forgive me if I repeat the first post of my previous story.  I'd like to keep Ryan's backstory as it was, because some of the possible directions for the story are based on what came before.  FM15, "fake players," Italy, Holland, Denmark, and Norway loaded; Italy and Holland with some lower leagues activated through custom databases.  Any followers would be gratefully welcomed!

 

Prologue:  January 2014

A manager once told Ryan Bellamy he would have been a better footballer if he hadn't been interested in so many other things.  Perhaps he was right.  

A boy with fewer interests might have spent more hours kicking a ball around, rather than reading a book or poring over a map.  He might have had more than two seasons in the Eredivisie and another in the Danish Superliga if he hadn't insisted on going to university.  Latin, history, and calculus took time away from his workouts, time that might have made him good enough to play for Holland.  A man who cared only about football wouldn't have hung up his boots at 28.  Ryan had no regrets, because that was the life he chose.

He pursued his coaching badges, because earning them allowed him to exercise his mind within the context of the only job he'd ever had.  He was good at it, too.  

Now Ryan was thirty.  He had made enough money to be free from worrying about where his next paycheck was coming from.  He was single, and if there was ever a time when he could give a career in management a go, this would be it.  

Ryan's father was English, and his mother was Dutch.  Ryan had never known his dad.  Six months after Ryan was born, Paul Bellamy had returned to London for business.  A drunken driver plowed into the side of the rented car he was driving, killing him instantly.  Ryan's mum never remarried, and she remained close to Paul's family; Ryan had spent time in England, but he never played there, and he wasn't as well-versed in English football culture.  For that reason, he didn't see himself cutting his managerial teeth in England. 

He realized he would probably have to give up the comforts of a well-appointed apartment in Amsterdam and take a job somewhere in the lower leagues.  There might not be bookstores and restaurants and museums within walking distance.  But he knew he had to start somewhere, and the philosophical turn of his mind let him understand that the journey might be every bit as rewarding as the destination.

Now it was time for that journey to begin.  

Edited by Tom Ashley

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Posted (edited)

March 2014

The wind whipped down the narrow street, with a wintry edge that made Ryan zip up his jacket and tug his scarf tighter.  The cup of coffee in his hand was warm, however, and as he paused at the corner, preparing to cross the busy street ahead, he took a long sip.  

He wasn't sure what he felt like doing this morning.  He'd already been to the gym for a workout.  He didn't feel like a trip to the market.  He didn't really want another cup of coffee, but the café he'd just passed did look like an inviting place.  Amsterdam was home, but there were still delights he'd never discovered.  Ryan tossed his paper cup into a trash can, turned around, walked back to the café, opened the door, and went in.  He bought another coffee, found a table and sat down.  He had a paperback book in his bag, but he didn't take it out right away.  Instead, he looked around, taking in his surroundings for a moment.

He heard his phone buzz.  It was a friend of his, a former teammate at Groningen called Wesley Bosz.  The two of them had shared a flat during Ryan's first year at the club, before Wes met a local girl, fell in love, and moved in with her.  Wes was a classy right back with lots of pace, talented enough to win 21 caps at the U21 level.  Now he was in Italy, playing for Ternana, in Serie B.

***

Ryan had told Wesley about his plans very soon after he made them.  Wesley's reply was quick and simple.

"Ever think about giving Italy a try?  Johanna and I love it here."

"I don't speak Italian, for one thing."

"You didn't speak Danish, either.  That didn't stop you, and you learned it, right?"

Ryan laughed.  "You have a point there."  

From there, the conversation drifted off in other directions, as their conversations tended to do.  

***

Ryan and Wes chatted for a few minutes before Wes asked how the job search was going.  

"If you want me to talk to a few people, I can.  Maybe they can get the word out.  You don't mind a smaller club, do you?"  Wes inquired.

Ryan paused for a moment.  "Sure, I'd appreciate that.  A smaller club might be a good idea, honestly.  I can't expect a big one to take a chance on a lad with no experience."

"I'll do what I can, Ryan.  If you want to come check it out, we'd be happy to have you stay with us for a while."

Ryan smiled.  "Thanks, Wes.  I might take you up on that. "  

On the surface, it didn't make a lot of sense.  How would the conversation go?  "Hello, Sir.  Do you need a manager?  I have this friend in Amsterdam who played professionally for a while and wants to give management a go. Would you like to give him a call?"  Ryan shook his head at the whimsicality of it all.

Still, his phone wasn't blowing up with job offers now, was it?  

 

 

 

Edited by Tom Ashley

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