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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
After the match with Man City, the media lost interest in hyping up the resentment Bendtner had against Nottingham Forest. Upon losing the bet, Bendtner treated all his teammates to a round of drinks. He was smiling again, almost as if he had forgotten his experience he had playing that match in that city. Although he lost the match and his bet, his relationship with his new teammates became more harmonious. Guess there was not a gain without a loss.
There were also no Nottingham Forest fans discussing the player who no longer belonged to the team, but Bendtner would be greeted with jeers if he returned to that city for another match as a Man City player. His performance in that match made a lasting impression on Nottingham Forest fans.
Nottingham Forest players would also no longer talk about the past matches, even though that match created many topics which could be talked about with great relish. George Wood’s goal was evaluated to be the best in that round, and was repeatedly played in the highlight reel. Žigić was also favored by the media, because he had only recently transferred into the Premier League for a month, but had already scored for Nottingham Forest in his second match. Plus, this goal became the final winning goal.
After the end of that league match, Twain brought the team to Kyiv, Ukraine to participate in their second match in the Champions league. It was October, and the weather in Kyiv was cool and perfect for outdoor activities.
Although they were playing in the Champions league, Twain decided to use rotations on account of FC Kyiv Dynamo’s true capabilities and the current state of the team. Switching up the roster they used in the Man City match and relying on the second-grade roster, Nottingham Forest was victorious over FC Kyiv Dynamo with a 2 : 1 victory as the away team. Having a streak of two consecutive wins streak and a good start for their group matches.
Continuing their expedition created problems in the physical fitness of the team. Their physical reserves, which were never that good to begin with, have been hovering below the safety line since the international matches.
Upon returning to England, Nottingham Forest drew against Middlesbrough with a score of 0 : 0.
After seven matches, Nottingham Forest ranked 4th in the league with 14 points. They were even behind the newly promoted Hull City. Hull City, since their 5-goal loss to Nottingham Forest in the second match, had achieved three consecutive wins, bagging 4 wins and 1 draw in their 5 most recent matches. They had accumulated the same number of points on the league table as Nottingham Forest, placing third and thereby becoming the biggest black horse since the opening of the new league season.
Even Twain would lament on the inconstancy of life. Hull City, who they had utterly destroyed in the second match, now placed above them in third place. But he was not concerned that Hull City could become a real threat to their team. It was normal for recently promoted teams to be ranked highly at the start of the season as they relied mostly on momentum and the public’s general unawareness of them. However, the test of endurance was what truly tested the mettle of these teams. Wigan Athletic F.C. was once also called a black horse. But now? The coach who looked up to him was still leading a team that was working hard in the Champions League to return to the Premier League.
Soccer’s top leagues were essentially just a rich man’s game. Without a stable financial backing, a team would only be a temporarily brilliant display. At the end of the day, they would still be heartlessly eliminated. No matter how strong a team was, stronger teams would split them up if they did not have money, reducing them to a “player market” . This was what happened to Italy’s Parma and England’s Leeds United.
Though Twain knew Hull City posed no threat to him, he also knew that the league was a long battle where one placed most of their efforts not at the start during the middle or towards the end. As for the current state of the team, Twain was still not very satisfied.
What happened during the summer threw a wrench in their plans for transfers and they did not achieve many of their goals, which resulted in the players being overwhelmed with problems It had only been 2 months since the league had begun and they were already in such a state. Winter, the more ruthless season, had not even started. Twain could not predict what other unfortunate events would happen to the team; he needed to take precautions.
He decided to find Evan to discuss the financial issues they would face when attracting players during the winter transfer period. Speaking of Evan made him realise that he rarely saw Evan around. Evan used to frequent Nottingham but meeting him in Wilford had become a rare occurrence in the past month. Allan Adams was another person Twain rarely saw. They were probably busy with some things, though it was a relief they were in Nottingham these days. Twain decided not to put it off any further. He immediately left to find Evan.
In Evan’s office, Twain saw Allan again. Because both of them were business partners are friends who were always hanging out together, this was not a surprising sight for Twain. He greeted Allan and went straight to the point.
“Evan, you’ve seen what the team is like now. The reserves are not sufficient, resulting in many matches where I could not arrange a well-rounded and complete roster. I feel that we should at least transfer in 3 players during the winter period, especially for the offensive half…”
Upon finishing, Evan looked at Allan for a moment, then gave a bitter smile while spreading his hands. “Tony, I’m afraid I can’t meet your requests this time.”
Twain felt strange. “Why?”
Evan’s smile was not any less bitter. “We’re out of money.”
“Out of money? I don’t understand, isn’t the club still in a good financial state?”
Allan stood up from the sofa. “Simply put, the current costs of running the club are still affordable, but coming up with additional money to buy new players is a little difficult. Have you seen the news, Tony?”
“I only watch the sports side…”
Allan sighed. “There’s a financial crisis.”
Twain was a little confused. He could not differentiate between “financial crisis” and “economic crisis”; they were the same to him. He only had two opportunities to learn about these crises: once during high school where he learnt from the history books about the 30-year global economic crisis in the past century, and the 1998 financial crisis in Southeast Asia. But being an ordinary person living in China, even the most recent case in 1997 had minimal effects on his life, so it was unlikely for him to have a concrete idea of what a financial crisis was.. What exactly was a financial crisis, and what impact did it have on my life? Now, he had the chance to properly learn about it.
“A sub-credit crisis broke out in the United States, so it’s only time before this crisis affects the whole world. Evan’s business in the States took many blows. This sub-credit crisis started due to the United States’ property market bubble, and Evan’s company in the United States was property investment…”
Evan continued from what Allan said. “Simply put, Tony, my company in the United States went bankrupt.”
“But isn’t your business in the United States always separated from the duties in the club?” Twain asked. He still did not understand why Evan’s company in the United States had any relations with the club.
“It is. But in reality my business in the United States could still financially support the club. This summer we were doing heavy investments in China, but we overestimated ourselves and the investments were insufficient. Now the business in the United States collapsed, our investment chains are broken,” said Evan as he sat on the chair, looking a little dejected.
Twain felt like he more or less understood the situation. Although the business in the various lands were separated, they were always linked. The business in the United States could fund the club’s activities, and the club’s gain could be used for their investment project in China.
From the United States to England, then onto China, this structure of organisation for a soccer club, which was not considered wealthy and lacked a financial backing, was spread too big. Now, if any part of the link broke, the rest of it would be affected. Of course, if there were issues with their investments in China, the other two areas would not be impacted as much.
“If you want a large-scale business, your money cannot stay in a single place, which is why the money is constantly circulating. Now that there is an issue in the United States, this chain will break…” Allan’s words confirmed Twain’s conjecture. “We’ve been in the States this month to handle some affairs.”
Twain asked carefully, “How bad is the situation?”
Evan smiled a little, but it did not reach his eyes. “It’s not too bad now, but I think it will be bad once the crisis spreads across the world. Globalisation has made it easier for one country’s problems to become a shared one. Actually the sub-credit crisis had already begun in the United States last year, but at that time I was still optimistic that the economy will not collapse, that the self-regulating function of the market would resolve the crisis. Also, at that time there were many who were as optimal as me. But in reality we all underestimated the crisis. It was only a crisis last year, but it snowballed into Europe and Japan’s financial markets, becoming a windstorm…”
“Will the club go bankrupt?” Twain did not understand the professional terms that Allan would use, he was only concerned about one thing.
“I cannot confirm,” said Allan as he shook his head.
“That is indeed very terrible,” Twain mumbled.
Seeing how the atmosphere turned a little dull, Evan clapped his hands and grinned. “Alright, the situation isn’t actually that terrible yet, is it? I’ve already shut down all the business in the United States, now this club is the only business I own. I will not let this club go bankrupt no matter what.”
Twain looked at Evan Doughty who was beaming, and Allan Adams who was usually confident, but now seemingly at wit’s end. “How can I help?”
Evan laughed. “Just lead the team well, Tony. Don’t worry about the financial side of things. It’s not something you can worry about, anyway. Didn’t I say? No matter how terrible things are, I will also hold onto this club. Because this is my last hurrah.”
What else could Twain say? He had initially come here to ask for funds, but he could not make that request now. He bid them goodbye and went back to the team alone.
He sighed at the inconstancy of the world. Allan Adams and Evan Doughty had been smug upon arriving from Asia last summer. On the plane, they described the future of Nottingham Forest to him as one full of excitement. Unexpectedly, only after two months, things changed completely. The company in the United States went bankrupt, cash flow became unstable, and the plans went from becoming a reality to becoming completely impossible to carry out with the current state of affairs.
But what could he do? How could a club profit? Profit came mostly in the form of television money and sponsors, along with ticket and merchandise sales, and all of these stemmed from one thing — results. If the team’s results were not good, their television airtime would be reduced, sponsors would no longer be interested, ticket and merchandise sales would be reduced, and cash prizes from competitions will be lost. Twain felt the burden on his shoulders grow heavier, and was no longer able to relax.
Actually, even if Nottingham Forest went bankrupt, he could just jump ship. Depending on the results he achieved while leading the team, he could land a high-paying job as a head coach in any club in the world. Even now, some teams were waving cheque books in hopes of him joining them. He definitely did not have to worry about starving. It was not like his early days where not succeeding at his job would cost him his job, causing him to starve to death. That would never happen to him.
He did not need the guilt and emotional stress from worrying over Nottingham Forest’s potential bankruptcy. But he could not put down this team which he raised personally, nor the fans which looked up and trusted him. Being a traditional Chinese, he valued sentiment. Allan and Evan also treated him well, so he could not do things that would betray them. He should try to help them to his fullest. Evan said Nottingham Forest was his last hurrah, so Twain was also willing to regard the team as his.
Twain did not know how to run a club, and he was not some business genius. Looking at large numbers gave him a headache, and even when he was buying things from the market he would pay the wrong amount. What he did know was how to lead a soccer team in competitions, and winning those would mean the club earned cash prizes. Twain could only get the club through these tough times by earning money the only way he knew.
Tony Twain, someone who only cared about soccer, only learnt about financial crises today. In reality, this global-wide financial crisis had already persisted for almost a year. Property markets took a heavy hit, stocks of various countries took a huge dip, credit companies went into bankruptcy, currency devaluation was occurring. It was akin to a windstorm, forming in 2007, spreading over the world and peaking in the second half of 2008.
The global market, during the first half of 2008, was still carrying the optimal thought of “subprime mortgage crisis’ worst period has finished”. But upon reaching the second half of the year, the situation took a turn for the worse.
In August, France announced its profit warning. Following that, an estimate of 8.2 billion euros were lost, because they, under an extent of 127 billion euros called the “Rhineland Fund”, participated in the United States’s sub-credit investment business.
The United States’ 10th largest mortgage institution — American Home Mortgage Investment Corporation, officially applied for bankruptcy protection on 6th August, following the bankruptcy of Century Financial Corporation, another big-scale mortgage institution in America.
On 8th August, the 5th biggest American investment company, The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. announced the fall of two funds, reason also being the sub-credit windstorm.
9th August, France’s biggest bank BNP Paribas announced the freezing of its three funds, similarly because of investing in the subprime bond with the United States and resulting in huge losses. Thus, the European market was in shambles.
On 13th August, Japan’s second biggest bank Mizuho Bank’s parent company Ruisui Group announced its losses from the United States’ sub-credits being 6 billion yen. In the past, people thought if the United States partnered with other economic powers in other countries, this economic state would not be so devastating. However now the cruel reality has been displayed in front of everyone. The financial crisis was not just a frightening thing to raise an alarm, it had became a reality.
These incidents were actually still quite distant from Tony Twain’s life. But as September transitioned into October, an event had begun to alter the work life he originally had. The American investment bank Lehman Brothers, which invested in Nottingham Forest’s new stadium through loans, applied for bankruptcy protection.
That October, in England, Twain also felt a chill.
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