Chapter 985: It is Decided
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“The American sports news are so boring…” Twain muttered as he switched off the television. He had wanted to watch some sports news on it, but there was a shocking lack of football news as the sports news comprised of only basketball, baseball, ice-hockey and American football. It was not really boring, just lacking in news regarding football.
He decided to search the internet for news about European football. Even though he was retired, he could not possibly rest at home his whole life and depend on his wife for a living. His job in the future would definitely involve football, that was why he wanted to ensure that he paid attention to football as a whole, so when the time came where he needed this information, he would not know nothing.
Twain had already planned his future. After resting for a few months, he would go look for a job. If there were no surprises, he would accept the invitation from BBC5 and be a commentator. As for his future after that… He had not thought about it. Maybe he might host a football program like Lineker.
Twain could not rest even though Theresa was napping in his room. That was because he could only make use of the time when Theresa was napping to do his own things. Otherwise, if Theresa was awake, he would have to go keep her company.
Just when he booted up his computer, his phone rang beside him.
Twain took a look at the caller ID on the screen of his phone and saw that it was the old Billy Woox.
That took him by surprise. As far as he knew, ever since he stopped being Nottingham Forest’s manager, Billy Woox, Wood’s agent, had not looked for him much. There was no personal friendship between them and since there was no longer any work relation between them, they naturally did not contact each other much.
Why was he calling Twain at this time?
Twain thought for a while before answering. He did not really like to have anything to do with this old man with questionable sexual orientation. Twain would get goosebumps when he heard the feminine voice of his. However, he had to show him some respect. After all, this agent did not urge George Wood to leave when he was still Nottingham Forest’s manager.
“Hi Mr Woox. What made you call me?” Twain teased, “I’m not longer the Nottingham Forest manager.”
“Are you still at Los Angeles, Mr Twain?” What Twain did not expect was that Woox did not give him a sarcastic rebuttal.
“Huh?” Twain was surprised by this question and he took a while to recover. “Yes, I’m at Los Angeles. Are you here too? Are you on holiday?”
“I was there two days ago, but I’m in Nottingham now. It seems like you’re doing well in Los Angeles. I’m sorry but…can you return to Nottingham now?”
Twain thought that it was weird, “Return to Nottingham? I have to wait for another month…” A thought suddenly appeared in his mind, “Is something the matter, Mr Woox?”
“George is planning to retire. I tried to convince him for a whole night, but he wouldn’t listen. I think that there are only two people in this world who could possibly convince him, and that’s his mother and you. However, his mother is in a coma in the hospital now, you’re the only one who can…”
Twain did not even listen to a word after that.
It felt as if there were many flashes of lightning inside his mind. This piece of news was such a shock to him that he could not react, as thought his brain had stopped responding.
George Wood retire? Sophia in a coma?
“…Mr Twain, I hope that you can come back immediately,” Woox’s words found their way into Twain’s ears again and he finally snapped out of it. “George is going to call a press conference to make this announcement… But you should know that if he really made the announcement, things would only get worse. He would not listen to me so I could only tell him that he has a contract with the club. If he wanted to end the contract and retire, then the very least he could do is to discuss with the club… I’m stalling for you, Mr Twain.”
After Woox was done speaking, Twain opened his mouth, but he did not know what to say. This was the first time that Woox did not have his usual demeanor, saying so many things at once.
After many flashes of lightning in his mind, there was now a thunderstorm inside, and his brain was mush. He shook his head forcefully, then pinched his thigh so hard that he exclaimed in pain.
“Mr Twain?” Woox heard Twain exclaimed over the phone, but he did not understand what had happened.
“Um… It’s nothing, I’m fine. I’ll go back immediately. I’ll book the tickets now,” He pinched himself so hard that he was in tears, but this also cleared his mind a lot, “You must stall him before I return! Keep in touch!”
He hung up after saying that.
Next, Twain stood up and paced a few rounds in his room to calm himself down. Then, he made two calls. One to Shania, telling her that there was an emergency and he had to return to Nottingham. Theresa would stay with her in Los Angeles and he would return after the matter was resolved. Shania was surprised that Twain would decide to return to Nottingham so suddenly and she asked him about it. Twain told her that George wanted to retire, and she immediately understood the gravity of the situation. She promised Twain that she would rush home to take care of Theresa after her work was over.
The second call was made to the local ticketing office, and he requested for the earliest plane ticket to London.
After making these two calls, Twain took out his luggage and started to pack. There was nothing much to pack actually, just a few under garments and a few outfits, which was thrown into the luggage by Twain very quickly. After all these, Twain finally sat down and thought about what he just heard.
Sophia in a coma… Obviously her illness had taken a turn for the worse. She had been in a bad shape for the past few years. If he was being a heartless, he would say that Sophia did not have long to live. Twain was prepared for that, but not Wood… No, it was not that Wood was not prepared, he was, but he did not want to admit it.
Wood’s retirement had a lot to do with Sophia’s coma. Twain thought about it carefully. Based on his understanding of Wood, he must had had no mood to train or compete now that his mum was in a critical stage. For the past decade, his mother was his motivation for everything he did. Now that his mother was in a critical stage, he obviously had no interest to continue playing football anymore. Choosing to retire and keep his mother company was the only future plan that he could think of.
But this plan…
“You idiot!” Twain cursed.
News of Sophia being in coma spread across England very quickly. Everyone knew that the person Wood loved the most was his mother. So, nobody thought it was strange that Wood missed training because of Sophia’s illness. However, the number of people from the media waiting outside the hospital became more and more as days went by. Both the hospital and the police had to arrange for people to ensure things were in order and prevent the paparazzi from entering.
Vivian Miller was still in-charge of taking care of Sophia’s daily requirements, even though there was nothing much to take care of now. Wood’s mother was still in a coma after two days and the doctors in-charge were worried that Sophia might not wake up and become a vegetable. Of course, they did not tell George Wood about their concerns, they merely discussed amongst themselves privately.
Wood talked to his agent outside for a very long time the night before, their tones were rather intense. Vivian did not hear what they were arguing about, but she could see that they had a very grave look on both their faces when they reappeared in front of her. She did not know what happened between them and she did not need to concern herself with it. Her job was only to take care of the patient, and it did not entail taking care of the patient’s son. However, when she was free, she could not help but wonder about what made them argue so fiercely.
At that moment, Wood was sitting on the couch outside the ward with his head in his hands. It had only been a night, but he was a mess mentally.
“I called the club and they heard about your intention to retire. Do you want to hear their response?”
Wood shook his head, “I’m going to retire anyway.”
“You still have a contract with the club. If you want to cut the contract short and retire, you’ll have to discuss it with the club first. The club obviously does not approve of your retirement request. They’re willing to let you go on an extended period of leave, but they do not wish for you to retire now,” Woox had already said whatever he could to persuade Wood yesterday. He did not intend to say much more now, just repeating what the club said.
After that, Woox sat across from Wood and asked him, “Is your mother awake?”
Wood shook his head slowly. This was the source of his worries. His mother had not woken up yet and he did not know if she would ever wake up again.
“If you really want to retire, it’s better for you to talk to the club first…” Woox started again.
This time, Wood did not object to it. He merely nodded and the ward fell into silence again.
Even though Wood needed to talk to a representative from the club, the club did not send someone immediately. They were in a mess internally because of the news of Wood’s impending retirement.
“Retire?!” McAllister was shocked by this news. If it did not come from the club chairman, Evan Doughty, he would most likely think that it was a prank. Even though Wood was already 32 years old, he was still in good shape and everyone thought he could at least play till he was forty. Just like the previous legendary captain from Nottingham Forest, Stuart Pearce.
“George’s agent called us. He said that Wood decided to retire last night.”
Evan looked at the two people in front of him. One of it was the manager, McAllister and the other one was Allan Adams. He hoped that the two of them could offer some ideas.
“I think that this is ridiculous…” Allan Adams frowned, “How could he decide to retire so easily?”
McAllister said, “It’s true that retirement can be an impulsive decision. Just like the previous Emperor of Manchester United, Cantona…”
Evan waved his hand. If he allowed them to continue this path of thinking, they would be off topic by miles, “I don’t care why he decided to retire, but we cannot let him do it. We’re all very clear that Nottingham Forest cannot do without him. You guys have to think of something.”
McAllister hesitated for a while and stole a glance at Allan Adams next to him. There was nothing coming from him and it seemed like he was intending to just watch. However, it was true that Wood was McAllister’s player. The manager would have a greater say in such matters as compared to a marketing director.
“Let me go talk to him…” It seemed like he had to do this himself. It was not an easy task to communicate with Wood… McAllister had not really talked to Wood even though he had been at the club for a few months. That was because when he talked to Wood, he could speak for a good half hour, until his throat was dry, but he might only get a couple of words in response. To be honest, he would rather lead a team out against Manchester United at Old Trafford than to talk to George Wood in private.
Evan Doughty nodded in satisfaction when he heard that the manager was taking the initiative to handle the situation.
He thought that Wood was only doing it on impulse. Now that the manager was going to talk to him personally, and he would have a day to calm down, he should definitely take back his decision to retire.
With arrangements from Evan, McAllister went to the hospital to see Wood on the day after. Wood had treated the ward as his home for the past couple of days, doing everything he needed there. He would not sleep until his mother was awake. When McAllister saw him, he could hardly believe his eyes. The legendary Nottingham Forest captain was so haggard that his eyes were sullen and unshaven. He looked like a totally different person from the impressive George Wood on the pitch.
After greeting Wood’s mother, McAllister told Wood about his reason for coming——To talk Wood out of his decision to retire.
McAllister analyzed the pros and cons of Wood’s retirement from all angles in an attempt to calm him down, but he failed.
No matter how McAllister put it, Wood would not say anything. After he was finished talking, Wood said, “I’ve already decided. I’ll retire.”
Hearing him say that made McAllister think about retreating. He had been doubtful that he would be able to convince Wood, and this was an opportunity for him to retreat.
Evan Doughty had no choice but to do it himself after hearing McAllister tell him about Wood’s determination. He brought Allan Adams to the hospital with him, under the pretense of visiting Wood’s mother. He told Wood to keep his mother company without worries, the club had already given him an extended period of leave and he could return to the team after his mother’s condition improved.
He said nothing about retirement.
Too bad Wood was having none of it. He did not thank Evan Doughty for his arrangement, and the first words out of his mouth was, “When can I talk to the club about my retirement?”
Evan was stumped by the question and it took him a long while before he thought of stalling him.
“George, we can talk about it after your mum wakes up…”
Other than stalling, he could not think of any other way. Maybe Wood would change his mind when he was feeling better after Sophia was awake?
However, if Wood insisted on retiring after Sophia was awake, what should the club do then?
Evan Doughty, the club chairman, had no idea at all…