Godfather Of Champions - LightNovelOnl.com
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"The match is reaching the last 10 minutes. Nottingham Forest, who is not on their home ground, is tied 3:3 with their opponent. Both teams have played frantically today with five goals being scored in the first half of the match alone! At the 66th minute, Ipswich changed the score to a draw."
"Bad news just in for Forest from Rotherham United. A goal by the Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. in their away match against Rotherham United, and that boring match has finally shown some signs of life. However, this is devastating news for Forest. If this score holds until the end of the match, there will be five points difference between Forest and Wolverhampton."
"…But back to what's happening here…oh yeah! The ball goes in! Marlon Harewood! This is his first goal today and his 21st goal for this season! This goal must be a relief for Tony Twain! At the 79th minute, his team is once again ahead of Ipswich!"
"The match is over! Nottingham Forest has gotten their fourth continuous victory in away matches! Tony and his team are definitely walking a bright path!"
On April 5th, at the 41st round of league matches, Tang En led his team through the difficulty of the away match, beating their closest competitor, Ipswich, with a score of 4:3. Harewood's last goal brought the precious three points for the team.
On April 9th, at the rescheduled 40th match, Nottingham Forest lost to second-ranked Leicester by one goal. The loss was not a complete failure. Tang En had reserved his firepower and was satisfied that the team only lost one goal. Because Leicester had 80 points and was ahead of the third place Sheffield United by 11 points, he treated only giving up one goal as a win. As there were only five more league matches left, Leicester and Portsmouth, who had 83 points were locked in for promotions to the Premier League. The remaining teams could only compete through the playoffs for third—the last position to be advanced to the Premier League.
As Ipswich, who was ranked seventh, had been losing all the while and was quite far from sixth, Tang En was not worried that they would catch up. As a result, he decided to reserve Forest's energy for the upcoming competitor, which would be the Wolverhampton Wanderers.
This match was going to be a direct battle between fifth place and sixth place. If Tang En won, Forest's ranking points would be the same as Wolverhampton's, and then they could overtake them with their goal differences. However, if Tang En lost to them, the gap between them would widen.
The third- to sixth-ranked teams for the League Matches all participated in the playoffs. However, according to the English FA Cup, the competition system employs the two-round knock-out method. The semi-finals would employ the away goal rule and the finals would be determined in just one round at the stadium. The opposing teams would be between third and sixth places, and fourth and fifth places. Therefore, the higher the ranking, the weaker the opponent would be. This was the reason Tang En so desperately wanted to win over the Wolverhampton Wanderers and take fifth place.
Because it was a playoff match, the manager of Wolverhampton probably thought similarly to Tang En and planned his tactics accordingly. It would be a fair and direct battle.
The match was nine minutes in when Wolverhampton striker Nathan Blake scored a goal.
At the 26th minute, the Wanderers' midfielder, Colin Cameron, added more salt to Forest's wound and scored a second goal, making the score 2:0. The Forest fans sunk into a deathly silence.
David Johnson brought back hope with a goal at the 40th minute. The Forest fans revived.
In the second half of the match, both managers treated the field like a chessboard and played an intense game of chess.
Finally, at the 73rd minute, Tang En's "give it all" tactic worked. Michael Dawson got a goal after being pushed by Tang En to the forward line. City Ground suddenly sounded as if a bomb had been detonated. The cheering from the viewing platform was so loud that Tang En couldn't hear his own clapping,
For the remainder of match, though Tang En tried his best and the Forest players ran until their legs cramped, they still were not able to bring victory for the fans. They could not do anything but shake hands with the Wolverhampton Wanderers on their home ground.
The draw did not change the ranking board, as the top six remained the same, and even the order was unchanged.
Tang En's bad mood was completely gone the next morning when he woke up. This was because he had a lesson with Yang Yan that night. He now felt that there were two things in his life to look forward to. One was the victory after every match, and the other was having Chinese lessons with Yang Yan.
Every time Yang Yan saw Tang En, she would marvel at him, as he was the only foreigner she knew that could learn the Chinese language and culture so quickly.
Tang En always nodded and showed he agreed every time Yang Yan complimented him seriously and added, "I'm not trying to butter you up." Of course, his success was because he could already speak and write Chinese. He was a Chinese man who has grown up and lived in China for 26 years.
The Chinese lesson was just an excuse for Tang En to get close to Yang Yan.
He hoped to hear Yang Yan's voice, watch her smile, be in the same room with her, breathe the same air, and talk about whatever subject she liked.
Usually the first half of the lesson consisted of Yang Yan teaching Tang En, while the second half always turned out to be Tang En talking about football to Yang Yan.
Neither of them felt there was anything wrong with that. Yang Yan had gradually become a fan of Forest, while Tang En's Chinese had improved very quickly, and that made Yang Yan very proud.
Seeing his old schoolmate look so proud, Tang En was amused. However, he could not express himself and give away his true identity. He realized there was no way for him to go back to his original life. He had already fallen in love of being a manager. Even though he was just a substitute, he did not want to return his new body.
As for Yang Yan… she was his only link to his past. Tang En's past life had nothing for him to cherish, except for this girl, which occasionally made him think about studying in a Chinese school and meeting new people.
Yang Yan was his first crush. However, first crushes did not usually turn into anything. Tang En had no plans to say these things out loud and pushed them way down inside in order to preserve his current life. I did not know you then and you did not know me, either. Now we know each other, but nothing will ever happen.
The excitement that Tang En had experienced when he first saw Yang Yan was just because of the sharp contrast he felt between his past and current lives, as well as the effect that fantasy has on reality.
Now, that effect has slowly faded away, and he could treat Yang Yan calmly and normally.
Let the past stay in the past…