#FM17 | The Alphabet Challenge | B | A new country, a new job | Day 423

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It is the end of the season. UE Santa Coloma have managed to win the league after an incredible season in which they were predicted to finish 4th. However, one person seems to be distinctly absent in the celebrations. Manager Siddharth Iyer is at Barcelona – El Prat airport, still deciding on what flight he is to take. He handed in his resignation almost immediately after UE Santa Coloma won the league, stating his time was over and he wanted to pursue a new job. We arrive with Iyer talking to a random lady at the airport lounge.

Woman: Is this seat taken?

Iyer: (he looks around the lounge. The entire airport is empty. He looks back at the woman. Curvy body, willowy legs, almost radiant smile) Sure, be my guest.

There is a brief, yet nonetheless, awkward silence between the two as they seem to decide on what to talk about

Both: So what brings you to the airport? (they laugh)

Woman: I’ll go first. So, what brings you to the airport at this godforsaken time?

Iyer: (he looks up at the clock. 00:52. That makes it almost a week since he arrived at the airport) I’m a football manager. Just resigned from my old job because things weren’t looking bright for my future and, in general, things weren’t really working out between us.

Woman: Sounds like a relationship! (they share another laugh)

Iyer: Yeah, you could say that.

Woman: Where did you manage?

Iyer: In Andorra, a team called UE Santa Coloma. Small club but a big heart.

Woman: Andorra, you say? I went there on holiday when I was 13. Nice and mountainous isn’t it?

Iyer: Yeah, it is. The best place I’ve ever lived.

Woman: SO how did your time at the club go?

Iyer: (taking a deep breath, as all the memories come flooding back into his head) Amazing. You couldn’t have asked for anything better. We won the league and the Super Cup in my time and were just incredible throughout the season. Made friends who I’m sure will stay with me till the day I die. Managed players who worked 6 days a week at the most random of places for 15 hours a day and yet gave it their all whenever they came to play for the club.

Woman: Then why did you resign from the club? It sounds like you loved your time there?

Iyer: I wanted to further my career. But saying that, I’ve been in this airport for a week now and not a moment goes by when I don’t doubt my actions. Should I have stayed with the club for another season to improve my reputation just that bit more? I’ve been applying for interviews since the day I came here but no-one seems to want me to manage their club. Staying in Andorra for just one more season would have at least made my name a bit more popular. But ultimately, it wasn’t ever going to work out between us. Not after the board sold my best mate/driver/assistant manager to our bitter rivals.

Woman: What? They sold a human being? Like slavery?

Iyer: No, no. In Andorra, once a player signs for a club, he no longer has any say in his future. So when FC Santa Coloma wanted to sign my assistant manager, he couldn’t say no. He just couldn’t. The board didn’t even tell this to me. They just sent him away and that’s all I ever heard of him.

Woman: That’s a real shame (another awkward silence) So how many interviews have you had so far?

Iyer: One. And it’s in the Bosnian First Division for a team battling relegation, so not even the greatest job in the world.  I can’t even spell the team’s name!

Woman: Do you plan on taking it?

Iyer: I’ll give it another week. If I get no offers, then I’m not left with much of a choice. If I do get an offer, then we’ll see what happens. I’ve applied for a job in Belgium, Bolivia and Bulgaria so we’ll see how they go.

He checks his email as a notification appears. His applications in Bulgaria and Belgium have not been successful. His head falls into his hands

Woman: Not good news I presume.

Iyer: The jobs in Belgium and Bulgaria are gone. Only the job in Bolivia left. If I don’t get that, then it’s back to filling drinks at McDonald’s for me

Woman: Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. I’m Matilda by the way (she offers her hand)

Suddenly, Iyer jumps out of his seat. An interview offer has just come in Jorge Wilstermann in the Bolivian First Division

Iyer: I’m really sorry but I’m going to have to go right now, I’ve just been offered an interview from the Bolivian side.

Matilda: Ooh, good luck then. Fingers crossed!

===

The scene moves to the internet café in the airport, where Iyer has just accepted a call from Julio Cusicanqui, the chairman of Jorge Wilstermann

Cusicanqui: Welcome, Mr Iyer. Just to let you know, you are our first choice as manager so if all goes well in this interview, we’ll get all the formalities done and we’ll be expecting you in Bolivia.

Although Cusicanqui cannot see this, Iyer is fist-pumping the air in absolute jubilation at the news. Matilda comes around the corner to see him in delight and sits down next to him

Iyer: (now composed) That’s good to hear Sir, let’s hope it goes well.

Cusicanqui: Indeed, so how do you think you can handle finances and transfers here in Bolivia? Your time in Andorra, while successful, was filled with poor transfers and a rather lax wage moderation.

Iyer: With all due respect Sir, only one signing failed and he was only 16. The other two ended up in the Team of the Season.

Cusicanqui: You make a fair point there. Why can I ask have you applied for so many jobs? Should we consider this to be a sign of disloyalty towards a club?

Iyer: Two things. A, they’ve all rejected me and B, I’m just trying a make a career in a sport I love Sir.

Cusicanqui: Good answer. OK, let’s cut to the chase. We want you here and we’ll be sending the contract details soon by email. We trust you’ll be accepting this.

Iyer: It would be an honour Sir

Iyer and Matilda are jumping around with joy at this news.

Cusicanqui: So would you need to get rid of any staff here at the club already?

Iyer: Won’t be needed, I’ll work with what I have.

Cusicanqui: That’s good to hear. We like a manager who’s willing to challenge himself. We’ve sent the contract details to you now and we look forward to seeing you in Bolivia soon.

The interview ends. Iyer realises that he’s been too hasty in accepting the offer, without even checking what his wage is like. He opens the attachment and sees that he’s been offered £625/weekIyer lets out a huge sigh of relief and immediately signals to the bartender nearby to pour him a Jack Daniels.

Matilda: Congratulations then, good luck then. My flight’s now so I’ll be going.

Iyer: Yeah, bye.

They shake hands and depart their separate ways, but not before she slips her number into his palm which Iyer pockets with a smile. He then checks the flights to Jorge Wilstermann International Airport. There is one departing in 1 hour. And that’s all the time he needs. His journey as a football manager hasn’t quite ended yet…