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It was easier informing Evan Doughty of his decision because it would not involve too much emotion. However, it was another matter with the fans. The fans trusted him, liked him and supported him, but he still had to leave. How on earth would he tell this to the fans?

The debate about whether Twain would stay or not had been brewing and abuzz for a long time, but Twain would not give in to the pressure the media had put on him.

In the media, on the Internet, and even on the streets, the discussion about whether Twain would eventually stay on had never stopped. Even the bookmakers gave the odds on whether Twain would stay or leave so that everyone would come to place bets on it. In terms of the bets and odds, people tended to believe that Twain would stay in the end.

The team was dismissed after they arrived back at Wilford and Twain drove home. Before leaving, he informed Evan Doughty that the press conference would be held tomorrow afternoon.

Having driven out of the Wilford training base not far away, Twain noticed that there was a betting station on the side of the road, where the odds chart about whether he would stay or leave was displayed. However, at this time of the night, no one was placing bets there. The store manager was also yawning repeatedly as he got ready to close the shop.

Twain suddenly had an idea. He pulled his car over and stopped.

The store manager perked up considerably when he saw that there was a customer dropping by. He was stunned when he saw who walked over.

"Tony?" He squinted and cocked his head to the side. He carefully appraised the man who came in.

There might be many men named "Tony" in England. However, in Nottingham, there was only one "Tony" among the public figures – the Nottingham Forest head manager, Tony Twain.

Since he had been recognized, Twain did not have to hide his identity. He asked, "Do more people place bets on me leaving or staying?"

The store manager recovered from the initial shock and replied, "More people bet on you staying."

"What do you think, boss?" Twain continued to ask.

"Erm..." The store manager did not answer immediately. He was caught in an internal conflict. His shop was the closest to the Wilford training base, so he could always overhear a lot of gossip and inside information that no one else could hear. And when it came to Tony Twain, he was also very well aware of how matters stood. From a reasonable standpoint, he thought that the chances of Twain staying might not be very good. However, emotionally speaking, he could not accept the fact that Twain might leave.

Consequently, he hesitated and did not know how to answer Twain's question.

Twain pulled out a note from his wallet and handed it to the store manager as he said, "Ten pounds for a bet on my departure."

The remark sent a shockwave through the store manager. Apparently, he could discern the meaning behind it, so he was not in a hurry to collect the money. Instead, he looked up at Twain.


"The payout is yours if the bet wins. The loss is mine if it's lost." Twain did not ask for proof. He put the ten-pound note on the table at the betting station and turned to walk away.

After getting back in the car, Twain waved to the betting station manager who stood dumbstruck at the door before he started the car to drive away.

  ※※※

The next morning, Nottingham's earliest edition of the local newspaper published a piece of news, which immediately attracted widespread attention.

"...The owner of this betting station, Mr. John Farrell, revealed that at about 11.30 p.m. last night, Tony Twain suddenly came to his store and chatted with him. Then he paid ten pounds to place a bet on his own departure..."

"You're reading the newspaper during breakfast again, Tony," Shania put her lily-white hand out in front of Twain, who sighed and folded the newspaper before handing it to her.

"Have you thought about how to face the fans and the media this afternoon?" Shania asked after she put away the newspaper.

"Not yet," Twain shook his head. "I'll think about it when the time comes."

He really did not think of any good ideas. He could only walk up, sit on the stage, and then figure out a way. How should he deal with questions from the reporters and fan representatives? It was useless to consider such a problem now and prepare a script. He had to handle it according to the situation. Anyway, he was good at giving directions on the spot and was most accustomed to dealing with sudden occurrences.

However, what was reported in the newspaper should give the fans a heads-up, so they wouldn't be too surprised and disappointed when the news was actually announced.

"It's nothing. Am I, Tony Twain, not known for refusing to play by the book?'"

Twain wiped his mouth to indicate that he had finished eating.

Shania rose and cleaned up, while Twain's cell phone rang.

A look at the caller ID told him that it was Pierce Brosnan.

"Hello, Mr. 007." When Twain was in a good mood, he would make these little jokes. Brosnan knew him well, so he was surprised. He said, "Listening to your voice tells me you're in a good mood, Tony."

"Of course. What can happen to make me feel bad?"

"The press conference this afternoon..."

"Ha. I've already made a decision. There's nothing to worry about."

"I read the news in the papers this morning. Is it true?"

Brosnan indeed called to confirm the matter.

"What's true?" Twain deliberately acted confused.

"Is it true that the manager of a betting station said you went to him late at night to place your own bet on your departure, Tony?"

It was useless to deny it, so Twain openly admitted it and said, "Yes. I went to place a bet, but the store manager will earn the winnings if there's any, and the loss will be mine if the bet's lost."

Brosnan laughed bitterly on the other end of the line and said, "Do you still think you will lose?"

Twain shrugged and said, "Who knows?"

Brosnan understood Twain. He did not think that Twain was going to stay just because of his deliberately mystifying remark.

"I actually did not call to ask about this. I wanted to ask if you need me to coordinate with you at the afternoon press conference."

Twain and Brosnan did many such things before in the past. Whenever he encountered troublesome reporters, Brosnan would stand up and help Twain to change the topic. If Brosnan had not done this, he would not have gained Twain's trust and naturally would not be able to become the author of Twain's biography.

"There's no script for us to rehearse in advance," Twain tactfully declined Brosnan's offer.

"Then I can only wish you good luck. You know the fans are very passionate, Tony."

After hanging up, Twain shrugged at his wife, who was looking at him, and said, "I think Mr. 007 is really worried about nothing."

Shania smiled and did not speak. In fact, she was also a little worried...

  ※※※

After a morning of canoodling with Shania, Twain drove alone in the afternoon to the Crimson Stadium to participate in the press conference.

It was a special press conference, because not only the reporters attended it, but also fan representatives chosen by the club. The head of the "red shirts", whom Twain had a direct dialogue with outside the training ground at the time, was also among them.

Twain was upstairs to meet with Evan Doughty first.

"Are you nervous, Tony?" Evan asked.

Twain said with a shrug, "What's there to be nervous about?"

"It's not always easy to say 'no' to people who love you..."

Twain grinned and chuckled silently.

In fact, he was silently muttering words that Evan Doughty would probably not understand, "Damned if I do and damned if I don't..."

He could see from upstairs the media and reporters coming in and out below, as well as some people who, he could tell at a glance, were fan representatives. It seemed that there were quite a lot of people.

Not only that, fans who were not invited to the press conference stood in the square outside, holding signs expressing their desire for Twain to stay.

"If I were you, I wouldn't be leaving such passionate fans," Evan Doughty half-joked as he and Twain stood by the window together, looking at the people below.

Twain did not respond to his quip. In fact, he did not say a word again until he appeared in front of the reporters and officially began the press conference.

Sitting in front of everyone, Tony Twain had his signature playful smile on his face. Some people called it a 'gentle smile' which of course was nonsense. Gentleness was not something that characterized Twain. It made the people below the stage slightly relieved. Twain did not look like he was going to give bad news.

Twain sat on the stage and observed the situation below. Although the hall did not reach the point of overcrowding, all the seats were full.

Seeing Twain come out, the debates in the hall gradually subsided and eventually completely disappeared. Only then, the press coordinator announced the official start of the conference.

According to the procedure, Twain would speak first, followed by free time for the press to ask questions. Therefore, the media and fans sat below the stage and turned their eyes to Twain, waiting for him to speak.

Twain did not announce his decision first, but said, "I know what you want to ask. About the incident last night, yes, I did do it. The answer is quite obvious, isn't it?"

As soon as that was said, everyone knew what Twain's final answer was. The fan representatives could not hide the disappointment on their faces, but no one was making a clamor. They were still waiting for Twain to continue speaking.

Twain looked at the fans off the stage. He automatically filtered out the reporters.

These people supported him, and he was very sorry to disappoint those who loved him.

"I am sorry," His voice became low, "that I've failed to live up to the expectations of the fans. Even though I made this decision for personal reasons and my family's sake, I still want to apologize to the fans."

In fact, Twain did not have to apologize, because he never deceived the fans. When he came back at the beginning, he had already stated that he would only be here for half a season. The enthusiastic fans strongly urged him to stay on, which eventually made him stand up today to make this speech.

However, as much as Twain could set himself against the media and the will of the club's senior management, his relationship with the fans had been good. Therefore, he did not mind standing in front of the fans to placate them and say some words from his heart.

"I have some things that I would like to say to you," Twain kept looking at the fan base seated on the left-hand side and ignored the media on the other side.

"Truthfully, um…..." Twain's speech was an impromptu performance. He never prepared any speeches, so now he did not know where to start. Twain scratched his head and said, "How should I put it? I have a happy family. For ten years, I have loved my wife, and my wife loves me. Generally speaking, I should be satisfied, but it was not so. My wife and I have been apart more than we have been together for these ten years. I have houses in Nottingham and Los Angeles, but most of the time my wife was alone in the house in Los Angeles and I had the home in Nottingham to myself. I don't know if you can imagine what kind of life that was. I'm tired of it. I want to be able to spend the rest of my life with my wife, whether in Nottingham or in Los Angeles. I admit it's somewhat selfish. However, I've given my best 11 years to Nottingham Forest, leaving behind great memories. I think that should give me the right to be a little selfish, shouldn't it?"

He looked at the fans below the stage. No one answered him.

"Initially, I could have retired completely. When I decided to come back at the time, it was because I did not want Nottingham Forest to slip into the abyss. I wanted to pull the team up. However, I can't keep holding on and not let go. I will grow old one day... In fact, I'm already old." Twain tilted his head to the side to show the fans below the white hair on his head. He had not dyed his hair since his 50th birthday. His appearance now was a far cry from how he looked at the World Cup. In comparison, he did appear old now.

"No team in the world can rely on one manager forever. Don't tell me you were not proud of Nottingham Forest before my time. Before me, wasn't there Brian Clough? What you love should be Nottingham Forest, not Tony Twain. I'm very honored to have been the manager of such a glorious team for 11 years, but I've never forgotten that the name on the front of the jersey is far more important than the name behind it," Twain declared.

"I think my departure is the right decision for the Forest team. It's a decision that will make the Forest team stronger in the future. I believe in this; hence, I made the decision. As for the results, I'm leaving it to time to prove it."

"If you truly love the Forest team, please support my decision. The future Nottingham Forest team doesn't need me. There's no way I can continue to lead the Forest team forward. There's a more suitable candidate than me waiting for everyone."

At this point, Twain stood up, which was an indication that he was leaving.

"Thank you, everyone, for your support over the past 11 years. I would also like to ask you to keep up your support. I apologize to you once again, but I want to live my own life and hope you can understand."

Having said this, Twain turned around and walked out without looking back, leaving behind a room of people who had not yet recovered from the shock.

Only when his figure disappeared completely at the exit, people finally reacted. The fan representatives were silent, while the reactions from the reporters were much more intense.

"In other words, is it true that Tony Twain will retire completely at the end of the season?"

"Are you still questioning the veracity of the news?"

"That was really cold. He just left after he said his piece. He did not even leave any time for us…"

"It felt like he was reading from a script..."

"I even prepared a lot of questions... Now what? We have nothing different from any other press outlets. Nothing else to do than release a record of his speech!"

Pierce Brosnan did not participate in this pointless discussion. He was distracted.

This time, it was not a hunch of his, but a plan that had been confirmed – an era was about to come to an end for the Nottingham Forest fans.

  ※※※

Nottingham Forest would play in an away game this weekend. The banners urging Twain to stay had disappeared. Twain saw another banner in the stands of the Forest fans that had come along:

"Thank you, Captain!"

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