My mouth’s so dry. It’s never been this dry. I need refreshment. I could drink some coffee but I’m fairly sure it’s gone cold. I should’ve drunk it before when it was nice and hot. Now it’s potential has been left unfulfilled. I could’ve had Michael Owen in the 1998 World Cup but I’ve left myself with Michael Owen at Newcastle. Fuck it, I’m going for it… Yeah, ice cold. That’s disgusting. What ever happened to Michael Owen? I know he owns a horse, I’m sure I heard that. Is he still commentating? He gave it a go didn’t he, but he wasn’t very…
“Franjo?” I look back across the gingham tablecloth to Arsene Wenger, still sitting with his fingers interlocked and a serious look in his eyes.
“So wait”, I hold out a hand as I try to process his question. “You’re retiring…”
“No, I’m joining Manchester City.”
“You’re… Oh, really? I could’ve sworn you said you were retiring.”
“No, you must be mistaken.”
“But you’re stepping down…”
Arsene sighs. “Managing both a club and a national team in this day and age, it’s… It’s unsustainable. Wouldn’t you agree?”
I laugh nervously. “Well I wouldn’t leave Auxerre.”
He nods. “That is your decision.” I could swear that his mouth flickers into a smirk, just for a second. “But do you accept? Will you take over the French National Team?”
Will I? Fucking hell. I honestly don’t know. Am I ready? This team just won the World Cup. They’re the World Champions and I’m only just breaking into top tier club football. They’ve got Pogba… Griezmann… Laporte… Is it too soon? Should I politely decline, focus on Auxerre and work my way up the ladder in a less risky way? Mind you, if I take Auxerre back down to Ligue 2 or get sacked I might not get another chance like this. I’m absolutely stumped. Arsene’s waiting for an answer though.
“You know how insane this is, don’t you?” I ask. Arsene chuckles, but says nothing. I start to laugh again too. “Of course I’ll fucking do it.”
“Oh actually, I have one condition.”
“Go on”, says Arsene.