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The Prodigal Son: A Manchester United Story
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  1. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend

    The Prodigal Son: A Manchester United Story

    The Prodigal Son: A Manchester United Story
    31st January, 2005:

    Training. The regime of runs, stretches and general exercise was strenuous to say the least, but Manchester United's youth coach René Meulensteen was known for his hard-faced approach and, with the most promising group of youngsters coming through since Fergie's Fledglings themselves, he had every reason to ensure his team worked hard.

    Meulensteen's team had won the Youth Cup twice already, even with the average age only being 17 years old. Their star striker, one Giuseppe Rossi, netted over 40 goals in the last campaign, and looked likely to outshine that feat this season. Being nearly 20, I was the so-called veteran of the squad, ironically also the goalkeeper, and with the 4th round of the cup approaching, it looked likely I would get my chance in the United 1st team. Tim Howard had been rested for the important game against Chelsea the weekend after, and Ben Foster had picked up an injury during training the previous week.

    Into practice games, which I usually thrived in. Joining me on my side was Rossi and Darron Gibson, a young lad touted as the next Roy Keane, so, being the competitive sod I am, I was confident we'd win easily. Against us, was Sylvain Ebanks-Blake, who at 19, was also on the brink of breaking through, and the centre-back Gerard Pique, Barcelona-born, and a handful in the air.

    The game started well, with Rossi netting within a couple of minutes to give us an early lead. Gibson was pulling the strings in midfield, and the rest of the lads could hardly touch the ball. At the 10th minute, however, a misplaced pass led to Ebanks-Blake running through, clean on goal, and he fired a curling shot toward the far post. With it being on my favoured right, however, I diverted it around the post for a corner.

    I set my defense out to cover the danger-men, except for Pique, who came over to mark me near the front post. I was confident I would beat him in the air, even with his extra 2 inches of height; I knew I could out jump him. The ball came in at just above head height, I came forward, ready to jump and catch the ball. At that moment, I felt a weight hit me in the side, propelling me into the goalposts. I heard a sickening crack, and felt a searing pain run up my leg. Collapsing to the floor, I looked down and saw my left leg hanging at a horrific angle from where it should be, and instinctively knew my hopeful career was over before it had begun.

    One hour later, in the Salford Royal Hospital, the doctors and Mike Phelan pondered over me and my newly plastered leg. The damning conclusion came as the Head Surgeon came over to me and said:

    With a double fracture like that, you'll be lucky to even walk as well as you used to, never mind return to Manchester United as a player, you will never play football again.

    You will never play football again.

    Led in my hospital bed that night with the surgeon's words echoing in my head, I decided that I, Danny Newton, would not be kept out of the game that I loved. If I couldn't play, I would gain my coaching badges and become a successful Football Manager, hopefully one day returning to my beloved Old Trafford, possibly even to take charge of the club that I loved.

  2. Good luck, following

  3. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Quote Originally Posted by PafcLad View Post
    Good luck, following
    Cheers mate

  4. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 1:
    13th June, 2011

    “Sevilla boss walks out after impressive La Liga season”
    Marca was a bit off the pace with that headline. As I flicked through the Spanish paper on the flight from Seville to Manchester International Airport I thought back to the last few years or so since I gained my coaching badges. How far I'd come in the last few years, since I was the head coach at my local Droylesden FC. After Droylesden I took over struggling Bury in League 2, hitting midtable when the odds were massively stacked against them, and making myself known as a talented manager.

    Post-Bury came Derby, and after a successful promotion campaign, I’d been approached during the end-of-season break by Sevilla, who gave me my chance at top level management. I couldn’t say no to such a high level team, so I upped sticks and shifted to Southern Spain. After a good start to my first season in charge, there was talk of me going on to bigger and better things. By April we’d secured Champions League football and had 2 points on 3rd placed Real, which since Barcelona had already won the league by this point, all we were playing for was pride.

    In the run-up to the deciding game at the Bernabeu, there was talk in the lead-up to the game that Sir Alex Ferguson had been taken ill and that he would step down at the end of the season. Not only that, but La Marca had run a story with a full sheet on me entitled “Newton para el próximo entrenador Del Manchester United?” (Newton for next United manager?). Admittedly, the idea of replacing the great man had stuck in my mind. Which made accepting the call from David Gill to meet him in Manchester to discuss taking the hot seat easier.

  5. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 2:
    29th June, 2011.

    As I walked into familiar surroundings of the reception at Old Trafford I remembered how I used to dream of walking out in front of all the fans onto the pitch. That dream had ended due to my injury, but now I had a second chance. I continued to stroll towards the press room, where David Gill was waiting in front of the press to officially announce me as the new Manchester United manager. I had large shoes to fill, taking over from the great Sir Alex, but I was confident.

    Some of the press had decided to ambush me just outside the press conference, and the questions flowed forth.

    How do you feel to be appointed United manager?
    Are you sure you can take charge with such little experience?
    Do you have any targets in mind?

    Targets?! I hadn't even talked to the chairman as manager yet, and this guy was asking me about targets? I brushed them away with a simple, 'You'll find out', and continued through the door. The spotlights around the room blazed as I took my seat next to Gill, and I listened as he explained the goals of the club for the next seasons. I snapped out of daydreaming when I heard my name.

    I introduce to you, our new manager, Danny Newton!

    Snapping back to reality I cleared my throat, and started to take questions. Was I happy to be United boss? Yes, of course I was, since a young boy I’d supported them.
    Would I bring in any players? With the backing of the board, I would attempt to sign the best available.
    What sort of football would I play? I would play football that would be enjoyable to watch, and would still win the games we needed to.

    After other questions about coaching staff, ambitions and my own plans, Gill called the conference to a halt and the press began to filter out. There I was, now officially the new manager of my boyhood club! The club was by far the biggest on my resume, with only Droylesden, Bury, Derby County and, most recently, Sevilla before this appointment. None of this mattered, however, as this was a new chapter, one which was both only a few miles, and yet a million miles, away from that day at Carrington where my professional career ended, and where I hit the lowest point in my life.

  6. keep em coming

  7. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 3:
    15th February, 2005
    Salford Royal Hospital

    I can’t believe the news today? Oh, I can’t close my eyes and make it go away...

    Here I was, bedridden, with my leg suspended in plaster above me, feeling sorry for myself. I let Bono’s words wash over as I stared at the ceiling. Sunday, Bloody Sunday it was, for me anyway. Only 2 weeks after that fateful day and I’d hit a new low. I’d got to the point of giving up, when the lads decided to pay me a visit. All the squad present that day, and some of the players and staff from my local (and former) club Droylesden, and all of them, even Gerard Pique, who at 6 foot, 4 inches tall and imposing at the best of times, looked genuinely sad to see the extent of the injury.
    “Here’s something for you, mate.” Sylvain handed over a bottle of clear liquid. “Maybe when you’re more active we’ll go out on the lash again?”

    I turned it over. Smirnoff, and the pure stuff too. Smiling to myself, I thanked them all for coming and hid the bottle behind a large card.

    Sod the nurse’s “No Alcohol” rule. I turned towards it now and took a mouthful of the spirit, straight from the bottle. Washing over me like a wave, the alcohol eased the pain of the injury and calmed my nerves. Taking another hit, I stared out of the window. One day, I told myself. One day I’d go back to the game I loved.

  8. Really a pleasure reading it. Keep it up mate

  9. This is awesome, kutgw

  10. Nice start Danny, Keep up the great work

  11. Brilliant story, looking forward to reading more. Keep up the good work.

  12. looks a really good story, keep it up!

  13. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 4:
    July 15th, 2011:
    Salford, Manchester.

    And they say, she’s in the class A team, stuck in her daydream, been this way since 18, and lately...

    Ed Sheeran’s wistful lyrics echoed around my car as I drove back from the first day’s training with the team. I had some ideas for signings, whether I’d get the cash for them would be another matter. My first problem would be to address the central midfield role, made worse by Scholesy retiring. Martin Ferguson was set to head to Italy in the coming days, so I had a word with him about keeping a sharp eye for a playmaker.

    Getting back to the manager’s office, I found a couple of e-mails waiting in my club inbox. One was from Gill, telling me that the club had given me a £40m warchest to rebuild due to the retirements of Scholes and Neville, and the departures of Hargreaves, Brown and O’Shea. The other was from David Friio, the scout watching Chivas in Mexico.

    “Take a look at my report on this Erick Torres lad. Looks like he could be a world-beater.”

    I opened the attachment. David had noted that he was quick and good on the ball, tall for his stature and a confident finisher. Watching the video in the e-mail, I stared in awe as this lad beat one, two, three players before confidently faking the ball onto his right and flicking the ball over the keeper. Below the video was a number labelled “They know he's good. Offer a couple of million. – DF”

    I picked up the phone on my desk and dialled. This was a talent I wasn’t going to lose out on.
    Last edited by I7IDanny; 07/11/2011 at 08:36 PM.
    Steve*, Wilko, Welsh Lad and 2 others like this.

  14. good stuff man, follow my Newcastle story 'Geordie Nation' please!

  15. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 5:
    29th July, 2011:
    Old Trafford, Manchester.
    • Alan Brennan, Sky Sports News. How much of an impact do you expect Erick to have at this club?
    As I sat in the press room of Old Trafford alongside David Gill and new signing Erick Torres, I thought for a second about the answer to the journalist’s questions.

    “I feel the lad can make an instant impact, although he may have to accept that coming to United means you have to step up your game to keep your place.”

    Apparently satisfied, he noted my response down in his notebook, probably to be twisted into a more interesting story later on.
    “That concludes our conference, I’m sure Erick will be happy to answer any questions personally, in private.”

    The press began to file out, and Gill came over to me. “Nice bit of business, heard a lot about this lad. The fans are really looking forward to his debut.”

    And with a pat on the back, he left too. As I headed to my car, I thought about my first month in charge. Along with Torres, I’d brought in a young Czech striker I’d admired as a player for a couple of years in Vaclav Kadlec. The midfield position still needed to be filled, especially since I’d let Michael Carrick and Anderson leave the club for a collective £31m. This freed up the bank balance for the big signing the fans wanted, and with a large amount of names banded around in both the media and by word of mouth, I’d settled on a couple of targets. Jack Rodwell was a name known to almost everyone in England, and a target for nearly every top club in Europe, whilst a lesser known talent had come to my attention via Martin Ferguson. Marek Hamsik, the Napoli playmaker had caught his eye whilst out on the continent.

    However, that would be another day, with a friendly against Sporting Lisbon coming up in a couple of days. At least the fans would get to see why we were insistent upon getting Erick so quickly.

  16. Great read. Keep it up

  17. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Another update's on it's way lads, been busy with college and work atm.
    DonSamTheBoss likes this.

  18. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 6:
    2nd March, 2005,
    Salford, Greater Manchester.

    Over the hills and far away, he swears he will return one day... Sure as the rivers reach the seas, back in his arms again she’ll be...

    Gary Moore’s dulcet tones were drowned out as I roared after Alice, my ex-girlfriend, as she ran back down the hall and out the door. As I hobbled back, on the crutches I was given into my room, I glanced around at the myriad of happy memories and felt the tears well up in my eyes. Pictures of holidays gone by, in Dorset on my 18th birthday, London at Christmas, all, me and her with gleaming smiles, not a care in the world. I picked up the nearest one, Plymouth, her red hair billowing in the wind and a gleam of laughter in her eyes.

    2 months later I’d caught her sleeping with one of my ex-teammates. Some people believe I was poached from the Bloods, but a training ground spat with the other player had ended with me almost fracturing his skull with a removable goalpost. I was called into the manager’s office later that day.

    “In the last few days we had received an offer from Manchester United for you. This “incident” has forced us to let you go. Good luck, and I hope you won’t forget us here at Droylesden”

    How could I forget? Today had been a horror show. My psychiatrist had been on the phone earlier, basically telling me I was clinically depressed and an alcoholic. Then she’d arrived, seemingly genuinely unhappy to see me in such a state. I had actually enjoyed her company, until I glanced out of the window and saw a shining black Audi, of which I had no doubts whom it belonged to. I’d seen red and flipped.

    Reaching for the bottle on the side, I popped 2 anti-depressants from their tabs and took a long hit from the vodka. Fuck it, I thought, reaching for the painkillers, taking all 6 that remained in the packet and chasing them down with the rest of the alcohol. I lead back and felt an odd numbness spreading around my body, a welcoming feeling. Closing my eyes, I wanted it all to just end.
    Last edited by I7IDanny; 30/11/2011 at 01:31 PM.

  19. And you say my storys too personal? Haha, good update mate
    I7IDanny likes this.

  20. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 7:
    3rd August 2011,
    Old Trafford, Manchester.

    “Just stand a bit to your right, Mr. Newton. That’s it, now keep the shirts raised”

    I was stood on the touchline in front of the home dugout, with the two newest additions to my squad. To my left, Liverpudlian ex-Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell had a massive grin on his face as he held up the red shirt, his name and the number 26 emblazoned on the back. At £19m, he was the cheaper signing of the two, yet only a few days beforehand I was sure we had lost him to Manchester City, who offered £24m. Yet Jack turned them down, citing he’d rather win trophies now than earn millions for sitting on the bench.

    To my right, Slovak playmaker Marek Hamsik was shifting up slightly, allowing the photographer to get all 3 of us in. At £29m, he was an expensive purchase, but a necessary one, (Martin Ferguson had described him as a “young Scholesy, with the potential to be even better”) as I now felt we had truly patched up the gap left by the midfield magician himself.

    After the shoot, I walked out of the doors toward the car park. Looking up, I saw the famous statue of Sir Matt, and told myself that one day, I’d hope to be even half as great as him.

    First step, however, was Saturday’s game down in London. Manchester City in the Community Shield.

  21. Keep writing please! It's a great story to read!

  22. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Quote Originally Posted by hersi 7 View Post
    Keep writing please! It's a great story to read!
    Will do! haha, nice to see people appreciate it

  23. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 8:
    3rd March 2005, 20:00,
    Royal Salford Hospital.

    “He’s coming round, that’s good, it was touch and go for a moment there”

    I opened my eyes and instantly shut them again. The blinding lights in the Intensive Care Unit of Royal Salford Hospital glared down as I became aware of a repetitive beeping by my side, and faint movement by the end of my bed. Propping myself up on my elbows, the blurry figure spoke.

    “What were you thinking, you mad bastard, overdosing like that? All my years at Droylesden, I’ve never seen someone fall so far, so quickly. Now you’re awake, I’m here to get your life back on track. I mean, it pains me to think what would have been if Sylvain hadn’t barged down your door when you didn’t answer.”

    My old gaffer’s voice echoed around the ward, damning my actions. Sylvain Ebanks-Blake shifted slightly, leant against the wall in the corner, spoke up.

    “Told you we’d go out on the lash again, turns out it saved your life, eh? Didn’t expect to be back here so soon. Seriously though mate, get your head on, Ste here’s gonna offer you a way back”

    Ste explained, “All of us at Droylesden know that Tim Anderton, the youth team coach, is leaving next season. I’m here to tell you to sort your life out, get your badges and tell you that you are the only name for the job, what do you say?”

    I couldn’t agree fast enough. Thanking him over and over again like a madman, Ste left and placed a card on my table. I picked it up. A name, embossed with the FA logo and a number to call for enrolling for coaching badges. The lifeline was there, and I was going to hang onto it, tooth and nail.
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  24. Another top quality update mate. Keep it up.
    Love reading this, you get right into the characters mindset
    DonSamTheBoss likes this.

  25. Great update again! Good story so far!
    Might be even better with a few screenshots!

  26. This story is definitely worth keeping an eye on

  27. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 9:
    6th August 2011,
    Wembley Stadium, North London.

    “Knock me right off my feet! Hard to beat! Hard to beat! Hard to beeeeaaattt...”

    “Right Steve, music off now” I said, motioning to Steven N’Zonzi.
    “This is it lads. May only be the start of the season, but it’s still a derby day and a cup final. City have been spending like no tomorrow, but we have something they don’t. We play for the club. Not our next paycheck and that makes us the better side out there. Now go out there and win the cup for the real Mancurian club, not some Arab billionaire’s plaything!”

    A roar of approval came up from the team, with captain Nemanja Vidic providing more encouragement above the din “Come on lads!” Following the team down the tunnel, I was suddenly side by side with Roberto Mancini, who with a snide grin and an outstretched hand proclaimed,
    “May the best team win”
    “Aye” I replied. “Let’s see that smirk when we win, eh?”

    Fighting talk. I headed to the dugout as the squads lined up on the pitch. Signings Erick Torres and Vaclav Kadlec were behind me on the bench, I’d preferred Javier Hernandez upfront on his own in a 4-2-3-1 to combat City’s notorious midfield, with Rooney and Young spreading the play wide, and Hamsik forcing the play in the centre. Ryan Shawcross, signed only the day before from Stoke for £11m, and a former United trainee, partnered Nemanja Vidic at the back, whilst Jack Rodwell and Steven N’Zonzi provided the bite in the centre of the park.

    The game took a while to really begin, both teams happy to sit back and observe the play. It all kickstarted, when in the 19th minute, Rooney bombed forward on the right and pulled it square to Hamsik inside the D of the area. His piledriver of a shot smashed the post to groans of both relief and disappointment. After this, the game came to life, with Aguero forcing De Gea into a fantastic stop at his near post. From the resulting corner, Barry swung it in, and Yaya Toure, leading with his elbows, headed into the net from eight yards, whilst simultaneously smashing into the back of Vidic’s head. Cries of “Foul!” screamed out from the United fans behind that goal, who’d blatantly seen it, as Nemanja lay on the floor, dazed.

    I glanced toward the assistant referee, hoping for the flag to signal a United free kick. It didn’t come. Instead, he signaled slowly toward the center circle, and the ref blew his whistle, to the joy of the City fans. The goal had counted.

    I leapt out of my seat, and began yelling at the linesman.

    “You blind bastard! How could you not see him use his elbows!” then, as the referee approached, I turned on him. “You had the best view in the fucking house! He should be marching down that tunnel now, not celebrating!”

    Safe to say Phil Dowd, the fourth official, did not appreciate this outburst one bit.
    “Mr Newton, please return to your seat, or you will be sent to the stands.”

    Returning to my seat as Rooney kicked off, I was still fuming. My mood wasn’t improved by, only a couple of minutes later, Vincent Kompany barging into Ashley Young inside the box, only for Martin Atkinson to wave away the protests, even going as far as booking Ashley for simulation. Not too impressed, I watched on as with a new found energy, possibly from feeling hard-done by, my United team pushed on.

    Then, in the 42nd minute, that man Wayne Rooney again, turned Aleksander Kolarov like he didn’t exist and blazed an effort from 30 yards toward the far top corner. Joe Hart produced a magnificent diving stop to tip it just over the bar. Ashley Young ran over to take the corner kick, whilst Nemanja Vidic and Ryan Shawcross came up from the back. The corner came in, a high, inswinging ball that lingered in the air, which was met by the head of Shawcross at the back post, and flew straight into the roof of the net.

    Turning back, Ryan ran the 4 short yards to Toure with a triumphant look on his face, spread his arms, and kissed the United badge, right in the face of the opposing player.
    The referee instantly blew his whistle frantically as both red and blue shirts ran into the mix, then, without warning, Atkinson’s red card flew up, to the utter confusion of both myself and the fans in the ground. I feared the worst, that he’d sent Ryan off for provoking an opposition player, but only when Steve N’Zonzi threw Yaya Toure out of the way I saw Shawcross clutching his face on the floor.

    The linesman escorted Toure off to the touchline, whilst the ref tried to retake control of the game. Therefore it was a blessing when the whistle for the end of the 1st half went, and the teams retreated to their respective dressing rooms.

    It was only now, with the replays playing on the dressing room TV, I could see what had happened. As Ryan celebrated, and subsequently surrounded, Yaya Toure had blatently headbutted the centre-back in the face, which was what the ref had spotted and sent him off for. Turning back to the team, I pointed first at Ashley Young, “You’ve played well Ashley, but I don’t want you to pick up another yellow from this ref.” Then to Vaclav Kadlec. “You’ve got your chance now mate, you’re on.”

    “There have been some seriously terrible decisions so far, but they’re now a man down in midfield and that will show. They’ll tire, and that’s when we can break and nick this game. We will win this trophy!”

    The players emerged to a cacophony of noise, the fans eager for this battle to continue. From the off, Kadlec looked bright, beating Richards a few times down the wing but struggling to really make an impact with the tiring Hernandez in the centre. I looked up, and motioned to Erick Torres to begin to warm up.

    As Erick made his way to the touchline, a cheer went up from the crowd. Wearing the number 8 shirt, recently vacated by the outgoing Anderson, he applauded the fans as the board went up. Almost instantly, he made an impact, firing just wide of the post from a Rooney lay-off.

    Dominating as we were, we just could not break down a resilient City side, and with penalties looming, it seemed like it just would not be our day, with Rodwell hitting the bar and Shawcross coming within inches of his second as it was cleared off the line by Kompany. The ref checked his watch, and blew for full time. 1-1, and penalties would settle this Community Shield.

    Nemanja won the toss, and Marek Hamsik stepped up to take the first penalty kick, which he drove in low with aplomb. Up stepped Aguero, who replied for City, sending De Gea the wrong way.

    Next up, Wayne Rooney, who advanced to the spot and placed the ball down. We’d seen him do it countless times in training. The one man you’d expect to score.
    His standing leg gave way on his final step and the ball screwed high and around 10 yards wide. Not a single man in red could believe it. It got worse when Milner coolly slotted it past De Gea in response.
    Erick Torres nominated himself to go next. I could barely watch as the 18-year old took a 2 step run-up and launched the ball clean into the top corner, a perfect penalty, whilst Vaclav Kadlec stroked home his penalty inbetween two fantastic saves from De Gea to put us in the driving seat.
    Next up came Steve N’Zonzi, who took one step, two steps back. A goal here from the former Rovers midfielder would win us the cup. A shrill blast on the whistle, two steps, and a clean connection from the right boot of the midfielder, who sent the ball past Hart, into his opposite corner.

    Leaping up and celebrating, I ran to join the mob of red shirts around the French international, glancing over my shoulder at the figure of Mancini, who had his head in his hands. It may have been ugly, it may have been late. But it was still my first silverware as Manchester United boss.
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  28. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Hope you guys don't mind the size of the last update

    Don't worry, all matches won't be that indepth, only important games.

  29. I leapt out of my seat, and began yelling at the linesman. “You blind bastard! How could you not see him use his elbows!”
    *sigh*.. Another Ferguson? God help us...

    Kidding, great update mate... Got me excited all the way through

  30. Good old Sylvan Ebanks-Blake Love this story, moreee!!
    Eric the Red likes this.

  31. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 10:
    13th November 2007,
    Butcher’s Arms Ground, Droylsden.

    Go on Atkins, get stuck in! You’ve just let him breeze past you!

    Only 3 months had passed since I’d gained my badges and I was now the Droylsden 1st team coach at the tender age of 23. And I loved it. Officially, I was the man in charge of the training of the first team, but unofficially, I was managing the U19’s, deriving the bosses’ tactics for him, and basically being the Assistant Manager to Steve Kirkwell.
    So it came as a shock when the gaffer came up to me during the training session and said “Dan, apparently the chairman wants to see you. He says it’s urgent.”
    “How urgent?” I replied.
    “Urgent enough to interrupt training and you know what that means.”
    I certainly did. Bob Lowcroft wasn’t one to get involved in team affairs, even pulling a coach out of training was unprecedented for him. I marched up to the Chairman’s office and knocked.
    “Come in, Danny.” Bob Lowcroft was an old man, well into his 70’s. He’d earnt his money in groceries after the war, and was a lifelong Bloods fan.
    “You wanted to see me, Mr. Lowcroft?” I asked.
    “As a matter of fact, yes. You see, There’s been a managerial problem.”
    “How?” I replied. “Steve’s just signed a new deal, and we’re well on course for promotion.”
    “Not here. Down the road, at a little place called Bury. Alan Knill’s resigned due to family issues, and the board rung this morning. They specifically asked for you.”
    “They what?!?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “But I haven’t really had any experience, only U18’s matches!”
    “They claimed they want someone young, a fresh face. Someone who has learnt from some of the best, trained at a top club. Someone willing to experiment. I’ve seen some of Steve’s tactics this year, and no way did he come up with them without your help. For what they want, you top a very, very short list. They want you to ring them back, see how you feel about it. Personally, I feel you should take it. You’re a good coach, but you could make a damn fine manager.”
    He wrote down the number on a notepad and handed the sheet of paper to me.
    “Thank you very much, Mr. Lowcroft. I’ll get back to them as soon as possible.”

    I walked out of the office in disbelief. The rest of the session passed in a blur. Why me? Of all the managers out there, why an inexperienced 23 year old former goalkeeper? I pondered over it all the way back to my Salford flat, only 5 minutes from Old Trafford, the Theatre of Dreams. As I picked up the phone and began to dial, Lowcroft’s words echoed in my head.

    You’re a good coach, but you could make a damn fine manager...
    Last edited by I7IDanny; 05/12/2011 at 12:52 AM.
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  32. Great story so far!
    Would be even more attracting if you post screenshots!

  33. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 11:
    25th August, 2011
    Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.

    We shall now commence the draw for the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League Group Stages. Group A, we have...

    I sat in the large theatre room of the Grimaldi Forum alongside David Gill, and listened silently as Michel Platini announced the teams being drawn. I already had an idea who I wanted to get and who we wanted to miss. I had high hopes, the season had started brightly, after the penalty win at Wembley, the 1st game of the season was against City, this time at Old Trafford. An early Wayne Rooney finish had settled that at 1-0, and last Saturday’s game was a resounding success, a 5-0 thrashing of Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. I snapped back as I heard us being drawn out.

    Group C, we have, Manchester United of England!

    Group C. Not that it meant anything yet, each pot had a team to avoid, especially Napoli of Pot 4. The Italian team were a force to be reckoned with; however Bayer Leverkusen in Pot 3 would be a difficult draw also.

    That concludes the draw for Pot 1. We shall now move on to Pot 2...

    I listened closely as both Chelsea and Real Madrid were drawn into Group A and B. The team next out was who we’d be playing.

    Group C, the second team is... SL Benfica of Portugal!

    Not too bad. We’d avoided a group stage clash against Inter Milan or Real, which would have been ridiculously hard to progress from. I winced slightly as Barcelona got a rather easy draw in the form of the French runners-up Marseille, but that’s all luck, isn’t it?
    There was a slight murmur as the third Pot was opened and mixed, then silence as Platini reached in and pulled out a slip of paper. Group A had Basle added to it and Group B got Lille. Our turn.

    Group C – Bayer Leverkusen of Germany!

    I groaned. One of the main teams I’d wanted to avoid had just lobbed itself via the hand of the UEFA president right into the middle of the busy November/December Premier League schedule. Looking up, I saw Jorge Jesus looking similarly unhappy, shifting in his seat nervously. The draw couldn’t get much worse, could it?

    That’s the end of the 3rd Pot. The last Pot will be drawn shortly, then managers will be asked questions by the press...

    I could see the headlines already: “New manager receives Group of Death” and “New United Boss has Baptism of Fire” I listened as Otelul were placed in Group B. Not Napoli, I thought to myself. Be kind to us, give us APOEL or someone...

    Group C is finished by... Napoli of Italy!

    My head hit the desk in front of me. Why? One of the most difficult groups in the last decade and it happened to me. I could see Pep Guardiola about two rows down rubbing his hands with glee; Barcelona had been drawn with Marseille, Olympiakos and Romanian minnows Plzen.

    If draws keep going this way against me I could be out of a job by February. At least there was a new signing coming in for this Saturday’s game.

  34. My head hit the desk in front of me.
    I can just imagine you slamming your head down on the desk
    Jasonlfc96 likes this.

  35. Awwww shit. thats a tough group

    Whos the signing???

  36. Modern Day Legend
    Unlucky about the group but your squad is good enough to finish top of it .

  37. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve* View Post
    Awwww shit. thats a tough group

    Whos the signing???
    Someone I've worked with before in my career... and you'll have to wait for the next update

  38. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Gonna get the next update done tonight - New signing is revealed and an old flame returns...
    Wilko likes this.

  39. Quote Originally Posted by I7IDanny View Post
    Gonna get the next update done tonight - New signing is revealed and an old flame returns...
    Sylvan Ebanks-Blake will be a great signing mate! ;D

  40. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 12:
    26th August, 2011,
    Salford, Manchester.

    Standing in line to see the show tonight and there’s a light on, heavy glow...

    I placed my iPod into the dock and pressed play. Anthony Kiedis’ lyrics filled my apartment as I wandered to get changed. Nothing like the Red Hot Chilis after a stressful day of press shoot after press shoot. My day had began at 8:30 as I drove to Manchester International to pick up Jesus Navas, the man who had almost singlehandedly drove my Sevilla team to 2nd in the Liga BBVA last season, and one of my main targets.

    He’d cost the club a cool £30m, but the initial reaction was one of joy from the fans. By 11 we’d been accosted by the photographers outside OT, after which we moved into my office to sign the contract. With a beaming smile when he put pen to paper, Jesus said to me.
    “It’ll be nice to work with you again, amigo”
    “Your English is getting good now, Jesus. Good work!”
    “Gracias, boss”

    I crashed onto the sofa with a ice cold bottle of San Miguel, and switched on Sky Sports News. All the talk was about Jesus and him signing for us, although a small note mentioned the sacking of Steve Bruce by Sunderland. That dulled my mood a bit, Steve was a good manager and a good boss, and the Black Cats should be proud of what he’d done for them.

    I wandered back to the fridge for another beer when I noticed a message on my apartment phone. It was a personal line, so it couldn’t be some reporter wanting another “exclusive” interview. I picked it up.

    “Hey Dan, its Alice. I thought I’d give you a call, see how you are. If you ain’t busy with all your managing stuff, fancy coming for a drink tonight? Just for old times’ sake? Give me a ring back if you’re up to it. See you soon!”

    I stood there thinking. Yeah, she’d walked out on me, but she’d mentioned when I was in hospital that she’d broken up with Rhys Bowell, the player who she’d left me for.
    I decided I needed a break from football for the day and called her back.

    “Hello?” She sounded a bit breathless.
    “Hey, Alice, its Dan. Got your message about catching up, yeah I ain’t too busy, where’d you want to go?”
    “Hey, yeah cool! How about the Old Dog Inn, 8 tonight? You just caught me actually, just got back in from a run. Maybe we can catch up, I mean, I know all about your work, being the youngest manager, like, ever for Manchester Rovers...”
    “Manchester United.” I corrected her. She’d never really been good with teams.
    “Yeah, them! Ha-ha. Anyway, loads of stuff’s happened since we last spoke! See you there!”

    I put the phone down and headed to the kitchen. I’d have another beer then start getting ready, I reckoned. Deep down I knew it would be a good idea to meet up. If anything, it’ll put some old ghosts to bed.
    Steve* and thebusbybriddon like this.

  41. Plzen are from my Czech Republic Thank You Very Much

  42. Manchester Rovers? What's next, Blackburn United?

    Quality update mate

  43. When you drew Benfica I thought you'd edited it to be the same group as in RL tough group mate very good story
    I7IDanny likes this.

  44. Good update, however even the thickest of birds know who Manchester United are

  45. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 13:
    14th September, 2011.
    Old Trafford, Manchester.

    “And it’s three! Ryan Giggs with the finish! Classic United performance tonight...”

    I wheeled away in joy, fist raised as Giggsy slotted us 3-0 ahead in my first ever Champions’ League match against Napoli. This was the sort of win we needed, after going down firstly 3-2 to Wigan, conceding 3 times in the last 10 minutes (including a 95th minute winner) and then losing 2-0 away at struggling Blackburn Rovers. Even the performance of Navas, who’d set up both goals on his debut, didn’t help. Tonight however, with a goal and two assists, he’d been instrumental for the win.

    As the players filed into the dressing room after the final whistle, I congratulated what was mostly a second string side, faces such as Darren Fletcher, Ravel Morrison, Paul Pogba, Anders Lindergaard and Dimitar Berbatov joined the spattering of regulars. All of the players looked happy, however, Marek Hamsik seemed less so than the others. Understandable, he’d come through at Napoli and the fans had adored him, when he’d bagged the second earlier he’d refused to celebrate.

    I drove back to my flat in quiet thought. The next game was Everton, at Old Trafford. The former team visits seemed to be happening rather regularly, first Marek, and now Jack Rodwell at the weekend. I wondered how he’d take it. Sure, he was young, but he was still 2 years older that Wayne Rooney at the same stage, with the same fans. He also had that “never-say-die” mentality that shone whilst we scouted him.

    I opened my apartment door, switched my phone back on and left it to boot up whilst I grabbed a beer from the fridge. Loosening my tie and leaving my suit jacket on a nearby chair, I switched on the television and channel-hopped to Sky Sports News. The highlights were in full flow, the pundits especially enjoying Jesus’ 35-yard free-kick that left De Sanctis floundering in the Napoli goal.

    I checked back to my phone. 3 new texts, all from Alice. We’d clicked right from the off, had got back together after meeting a couple more times, and had been seeing each other for almost a month now. I’d suggested that she move in and she’d taken me up on the offer. Ah, the last few nights of ‘freedom’ before the inevitable discipline of having the woman you love living under the same roof.

    I scrolled through her texts, the first two were jokey, almost playful. The third, however, consisted of three words.

    Dan... I’m pregnant.

    I choked on my beer as I did a double-take. I just hoped to hell the media wouldn’t catch wind of this.

  46. Wow. Really top class stuff. If mine turns out half as good at this one I'll be pleased.

  47. Dan... I’m pregnant.
    Uh-oh. You're screwed.

  48. Nice story mate, really enjoyable to read, and you've made some good and interesting signings. However, should have kept Anderson
    Eric the Red likes this.

  49. Nice update mate, must get round to updating my own

  50. I7IDanny's Avatar I7IDanny
    Modern Day Legend
    Chapter 14:
    16th September, 2011.
    Salford, Manchester.

    “ ...well I certainly haven’t told anyone! You didn’t let it ‘slip’ at a press conference, did you?”
    “Of course not! What the hell do you take me for?” I yelled back across the table to Alice, who was furious. Spread in front of me was this morning’s News Of The World, on a full two-page spread detailing how my girlfriend was pregnant. Naturally, I had said nothing about the subject to anyone other than her, so both of us were blaming the other.
    “Look, Alice. I’ll ask around, see if anyone’s seen whether any journalists have been sniffing around. Then we can sort this out, eh?” That calmed her down a bit.
    “OK... it’s just a bit.... mad, that’s all. Anyway, I’ve got to be at the office in ten, see you later.” She left, more shocked than anything.

    As I drove to training, I pondered over whether anything odd had happened since I’d got the text after the Napoli match. I always left my phone in my suit jacket during training, which was in...

    My office. What if some journo had told the receptionist that he wanted to see me, just on the off chance he’d get some scoop? Would they have sent them up to wait? Possibly. I called into the security office once I arrived at the ground.

    “Mr Newton, would never have expected you. What brings you down here?” John, the guard on duty, asked. John Martins was a big guy and built like a bodybuilder, exactly the type of man you’d expect as a security guard.
    “Not much, Johno. Can you bring up yesterday’s CCTV, from outside my office, in here?” I mentioned, almost whimsically.
    “Of course, wouldn’t be much of a security office if it couldn’t!” he joked. Chuckling to himself, he typed for a few seconds and my office came into view.
    “9 o’clock... 10... 11” He commented as he fast forwarded the tape. “See anyone that interests you?”
    I didn’t answer as I watched the footage like a hawk. “There! Pause it!” I pointed at the screen. A man was frozen leaving my office, a press pass clearly visible. “What time was this?”
    “44 minutes past 3. Guessing you weren’t having an interview, then?”
    “No, John. So I want to know what he was doing in my office.”

    I wandered out of the security office and toward reception. The receptionist looked up with a glittering smile. “What can I do for you today, sir?”
    “The journalist you sent up to my office yesterday, about half 3? Do you have his name listed anywhere? It’s just I want to give him a call back.” I said, trying to sound as innocent as possible.
    “Of course. Let me just find it.” Another smile. “It’s Peterson.... Bill Peterson, News International.”

    Walking out, I retrieved my phone from my car and dialled. Steve Kirkwell, my old gaffer, had retired and become a reporter for some local paper based in Manchester. He’d still be able to do some digging, though.
    “Hey, Steve. Long time no see. Can you do me a favour? I need a phone number, of one Bill Peterson. Can you do that? Good.” I put the phone down and checked my watch. I still had half an hour to get to Carrington for training.
    There was the important match against Liverpool coming up, and I don’t think “personal reasons” would please the fans if we lost.

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