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Bill Shankly was the greatest football coach of his time. He had brought the previously unknown Liverpool to a Championship football team level. He had left many famous football famous sayings, the most widely known of which, of course, was, "Football has nothing to do with life and death. Football is much higher than life and death."

However, he abruptly announced his resignation at one of the finest moments of his coaching career and this decision shocked the whole of England at the time. Shankly's argument was that he was going to spend more time with his wife. Seven years later he died of a heart attack.

Twain wasn't very close to Shankly at that time and he didn't know if Shankly had made such a decision entirely because of his wife or for some other reasons. However, from a peer's point of view, it was not difficult to understand Shankly's choice. Putting aside the idea of health and the necessity of taking care of his wife, just thinking about the team's development, Shankly's retirement was a pretty good thing for Liverpool.

Because if he didn't retire, how could the obscure Paisley rise from being unknown to being a world-famous head coach? Until Shankly retired, Paisley was just an ordinary player who hadn't proven himself in the coaching position at all. Moreover, Paisley and Shankly were the exact opposite type of coaches. Shankly preferred to deliver inspiration and encouraging words to the team through the media as Twain would always do. Paisley was more pragmatic and more low-key. Dunn and he were very close in characteristic.

It was a coincidence. However, it was as if it was determined by fate.

Twain and Dunn were just like Shankly and Paisley at the beginning.

Bill Shankly took Liverpool from Football League Second Division to England's top-flight - England Football League First Division. In terms of making champions, he was certainly no match for his successor Bob Paisley. However, he paved the ground for Paisley, who made Liverpool an undeniable force to be reckoned with in England. On the basis Shankly had made, Paisley was able to make the miracle of "19 Champions in 9 years". However, it could not be simply attributed to the fact that Shankly had done the foundation work in advance. Shankly's reputation was so high at the time that his influence at Liverpool was like that of Busby at Manchester United. No matter who his successor would be, the pressure on his shoulder was enormous. But Paisley, a low-key successor, has always put himself in a position of "transition coach". He was the man who led Liverpool to go beyond Shankly's great influence. He did what Shankly could not do during his coaching.

Would Dunn accomplish the same result in the future? Lead Nottingham Forest beyond the influence of Tony Twain and create the Forest Dynasty that would belong to him?

Twain was looking forward to seeing that day.

He chose Dunn as his successor, which was, of course, entirely and carefully considered. He had full confidence in Dunn, which was definitely not the result of a whim.


Shankly's story was well known in England, and Evan should be aware of it if he really knew football. However, did he know the story beyond the surface?

Twain wouldn't know.

  ※※※

Once again, after refusing Evan's invitation to stay at Forest, Twain returned to Nottingham to continue their league campaign. In the Football Association Cup, after passing Dunn, Twain gave up the whole tournament altogether. The Nottingham Forest, who were almost all second-tier and youth team players, lost to Everton in the next round.

For many Forest supporters, this loss was a big shame. They believed this was the only chance for Nottingham Forest to return to Europe, and that the team had to take advantage of this opportunity to revitalize and rise again. However, the team lost the game and judging from the performance on the field, Twain didn't care about the Football Association Cup at all.

After the loss of the game, some minor dissent came out through the media. They believed Twain must still think the Football Association Cup was a non-essential game and did not know that the Football Association Cup was the last straw for Nottingham Forest in the current situation.

However, with the ranking of the team rising in the league, the voice of criticism gradually faded. They saw Twain's intentions: from the beginning, he didn't expect to rely on the Football Association Cup winners to get a European ticket for the game. The Football Association Cup was so randomly won that it had always been called a "race of dark horses". Twain was reluctant to bet in it. By comparison, the long-running league was better suited to Nottingham Forest today.

The purpose of giving up the Football Association Cup decisively, securing enough fitness and stamina for the Forest team, was to ensure they wouldn't collapse in the end because of the double-line battle and end up with nothing.

The rest of the team also endorsed Twain's strategy. Watching the rankings rise, they were trusting the head coach more.

Evan Doughty has not come to Twain since that day to talk about the subject of staying with the team.

Twain didn't know if Evan had given up, but he has made up his mind. He didn't care how hard everyone else tried to persuade him to stay.

However, from the home game stands of this round, Twain was surprised to hear the voices from the Nottingham Forest fans.

On Robin Hood Grandstand, one of the fans hung a banner that read, "We Hope to See You Again Next Season, Tony."

Although there was only one banner, Twain saw it. He was very sure that it was not Evan Doughty's initiative. The president of the club had a very low reputation among the fans and would be unable to get them to cooperate with him.

This must be a spontaneous action of the fans themselves.

It was no secret that he only planned to spend half a season with the Forest. It was written in the contract and fully covered by the media. Many people were then wondering if he could lead the Nottingham Forest team out of trouble again. So the half a season news did not surprise all the fans at the beginning. They could think that Tony Twain had no confidence in himself, so he chose to sign only a half-season contract.

Therefore, fans knew, of course, that Twain only had half a season's contract with the team. However, they had always wanted Twain to stay. From the very first interview in the press conference to the present, as the season was getting closer and closer to the end. They channeled this emotion into practical actions and expressed it directly.

Twain then saw a banner in the stands, begging him to stay with the team.

Two days later, in Wilford, he saw the banner again. Twain saw the fan who raised that banner, and it was not John. It was another group of people, who were supposed to belong to another fan group, and Twain had no personal relationship with them.

The banner hanging alone outside the barbed-wire fence attracted much attention around. The media took photos of the banner before they left the training ground. Players training on the pitch would also look at the banner from time to time. Even colleagues in the coaching staff were getting interested in studying the distant banner at their leisure.

"I think if I were a fan, I'd do the same," said Freddy Eastwood, looking at the banner fluttering in the wind in the distance.

His words got the approval of the majority. Twain was the isolated minority.

"You guys don't want me to leave the team?"

"That's an interesting question, Tony. Who wants you to go?" David Kerslake replied.

Twain looked into the eyes of his colleagues. He knew they were not lying. However, he had to go.

He didn't want to go on with this conversation, so he lowered his head and smiled, touching his nose tip.

Everyone knew Twain had his personal reasons to go, so there was no further discussion.

Twain looked up again at the distant banner, deeply lost in thought.

  ※※※

On the weekend, Nottingham Forest was playing at home. This time Twain saw more similar banners at the stands. All the banners are asking him to stay.

Even the live cameras noticed the situation, giving several shots of the banners in the stands during the live game.

Nottingham Forest had won the game. Their ranking continued to rise to 7th.

Such results have made the fans more reluctant to let Twain go.

After the game, fans have spontaneously formed a group to persuade Twain to stay. The name of the group was, 'Tony Stay'. They quickly set up the group's official website, calling on more fans to join online, creating a force that could not be ignored trying to retain Twain.

After that, the "Tony Stay" slogan could be seen everywhere. Twain opted for silence in the face of fan voices and media attention.

Reporters wanted him to comment on this, but Twain rejected their questions on the grounds that "now he just wanted to focus on the team and the play".

His silence didn't mean the media had nothing to say. When would the media give up? They could even let the dead speak, not to mention a living man.

The next day, the following headline appeared in the press: 'Tony Twain Silenced in Face of Fans' Call, He Is Hesitating!'

If one didn't speak, the media would figure out a headline title themselves. The more silent one was, the easier it would be for them. They even had their way to get dead people to speak.

Really.

"It's not going to work like this, Tony. " A large crowd of fans gathered outside the Wilford Stadium, holding up portraits of Twain and signs pleading with him to stay. They were so numerous that they have completely disrupted the team's normal training order. Looking at the crowd, assistant coach David Kerslake spread his hands out helplessly and called Twain.

The players looked at the enthusiastic fans and felt a little overwhelmed. They certainly knew what the boss's personal reason to leave the team was, but they could not say so. They could only secretly look at Tony Twain with concern on their faces.

Twain frowned as he looked at the growing crowd of fans. Since a few days ago, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of fans gathered outside the training ground. Moreover, they have only come for one purpose: get him to change his decision of leaving the team after the end of the season.

However, he did not expect that the spontaneously organized activities of the fans could get so many responses and gather such a large crowd.

Should I be flattered, or should I be overwhelmed?

So Twain thought to himself.

"Keep training, and I will talk to them," Twain waved his hand and told the team to go on. He walked to the side of the training ground, where the crowd was gathered.

Seeing Twain from behind, Eastwood sighed, "This is the trouble with being too popular!"

The fans who stood outside saw Twain coming towards them but did not make a loud, excited noise. Instead, they went very quiet, quietly watching Twain walk up to them, staring at them through the barbed wire.

"What shall I say, lads?" Twain shook his head with a bitter smile. "I appreciate your devotion to me, but you really interfere with our normal training. I don't want to do any closed-up training these days."

"Tony, we just want you to stay." One of them was clearly the leader of the group. Twain noticed the T-shirt he was wearing. It was emblazoned with his picture, which read "Stay" under it. There were many people wearing the same T-shirt. It was really well-organized. Even the themed T-shirts were already printed.

  ※※※

When David Kerslake blew the whistle, the players on the pitch were still a little distracted. Some of them were glancing at the area where the fans gathered from time to time. Twain was still talking to them.

"Hey, George. Do you think the boss will stay?" Joe Mattock asked George Wood when they were assigned in pairs to do the passing practice.

Wood hasn't answered yet, but the teammates next to them were all listening carefully and waiting for his words. They all knew that of the entire team, Wood had the closest relationship with Twain. If anyone knew the boss, it was Wood.

Wood did not pass back when he received the ball from Mattock. Instead, he adjusted the football twice on his foot, thinking about the question for a short time. When he passed the football back, he shook his head and said, "I don't think so."

There was an immediate sigh of regret and disappointment around them.

"Why not?" Mattock passed the football over again. "I think he enjoys his work. Can't he change his mind at the last minute? "

"I don't know. However, this time I don't think he's coming back." Wood passed the football and the answer back to Mattock.

"Is that your intuition?" Mattock continued to pass to Wood.

"Yeah, my intuition." Wood passed back.

This time Mattock didn't pass the ball to Wood. Instead, he rested one foot on it and sighed.

"Why wouldn't the boss want to spend more seasons here? I don't think there's anything wrong with his health."

No one answered this time, even George Wood. He was twisting his head towards the training ground sidelines, where Twain was still talking to the fans. It was a quiet discussion.

"Why don't you try to persuade him to stay? Aren't you the captain?"

The questioner was not Mattock this time, but Balotelli.

Tony Twain had won Balotelli's heart in just a few months. Now he just wanted to play for Twain. If any other head coach came instead of Twain, he would find it hard to obey his orders. Now that Twain was going to leave the team, how could he remain indifferent?

Wood looked back at Balotelli. This man has always despised his captain's authority, and Wood didn't know what to make of him.

"Everyone has his own life," He replied indifferently. "I have no right to interfere."

  ※※※

"All right, guys. In order not to interrupt the training of the team, I hope you will leave. Don't do this again. As for your wishes, I will consider them seriously. Please give me a few days to think about it. When the time comes I will hold a special press conference to inform you of the final decision," Twain told his loyal fans through the barbed wire fence.

"Our team is now in a critical period. Whether we can go back to Europe next season depends on the performance of these days. I don't want the team disturbed by anything out of field. Look, they can't even concentrate on training now," Twain pointed at the training ground behind him.

The fans could also see the performance of the team's training. It was true that the players have been a little distracted since the crowd appeared on the sidelines of the training ground with great fanfare. They even made some mistakes that definitely should not happen in training.

They knew they were interfering with the team's training. They just wanted Twain to stay so badly that they had to take extreme action.

"Come on, guys. Just leave and go back home. Thank you for your support of the team and me. I will consider your request seriously. "

Twain fell silent and stood right over the barbed wire, looking at the fans.

The leader was the first to speak. "Okay, Tony. We don't want to affect the training and performance of the team either. Thank you for coming here to talk to us, we know you are very busy."

Then the leader waved his hand and turned away, leaving the training ground first. Others followed him and left one by one. Of course, many of them did not forget to look back at Twain. He was still on the sidelines, watching them leave the stadium.

A voice in Twain's head asked: Will you really consider their request seriously?

Twain could not answer that voice.

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