The Pensioners

by Hamzah Khan

The Fairview Pensioners played in the Northern League and finished 5th that season in a league of twenty. The league was distinctly divided into those with money, and those without. So, for Fairview, being in the latter category, were satisfied with a 5th place finish. The Frontier League, Northern League, and The Plains League were the premier divisions, and every year the top four finishers would play in a tournament to crown the champion of all the land, dubbed the Champions' Trophy. There were minor leagues spread all throughout the nation, but could not financially compete with the premier teams. Some years, The premier teams would be forced to relegate to the minors due to lack of financial stability. That year, the Central Coast Dragons of the Plains League won the prestigious trophy led by Joe Morrison. The Dragons were short on money and talent, but showed everybody that a good coach can do the trick. That same year The Pensioners saw a change in fortune. A newspaper magnate by the name of Mr. Abraham was keen to purchase the Pensioners. He owned not only newspapers, but various other teams in the other leagues. Suddenly, an injection of money was given to Pensioners. Joe Morrison was appointed coach that year. Mr. Morrison hailed himself as "the savior" for the Pensioners. The Dragons, citing financial difficulties, placed themselves in the minors. Mr. Abraham handed Joe $100 Million and told him to win him every trophy available. Joe sold all the players except two, who were part of the illustrious 5th place finishing team. Lured by lavish wages, only the best players in the world were on that team. Joe and the Pensioners finished the season winning every trophy in their contention, including the Regional Trophy, and the League Championship that guaranteed them a spot in the Champions' Trophy next season. The Pensioners went from a semi-mediocre team to League Champions in one season. Mr. Abraham continued to write check after check, satisfying Mr. Morrison's need for more, and better players. Not just players expected to start, but players who were counted on to sit on the bench and play a secondary role. Not before long, players as young as seventeen were enlisted, and were supposed to replace the first-team in five to six years. The Pensioners faired better than ever in their domestic competitions and were looking bright in the quest for a Champions' Cup. Three of the four teams in the semi-final called the Northern League their home. The Pensioners were en route to play The Melwood Reds, who were in the Northern League with the Pensioners. The Reds had a glorious history of success in the Champions' Cup in years past, and usually were fighting for the 4th place spot to qualify for the Champions' Cup. They too had a new coach, but funds were not as available to him as they were to Mr. Morrison. Mr. Abraham was in attendance for the match. A controversial 1-0 defeat is all it took to knock the Pensioners out of the contest. Domestically, they unsuccessfully defended their League Championship, but reclaimed the Regional Trophy. They finished 2nd that year, assuring them a spot in the preliminaries of the Champion's Cup the following season. During the off-season, Mr. Abraham personally funded the acquisition of two more players against Mr. Morrison's wishes. He threatened to cut off anymore supply of funding if both of these players did not get ample playing time in Joe's star studded squad. Relations started to suffer between Mr. Abraham, the owner, and the coach, Joe Morrison. During the first round of the Champions' Cup that season, the Pensioners were seeded with The Plains League's Rose City Trolls, who were put in the competition because the teams that finished above them had been involved in a scandalous match fixing affair. Nonetheless, Joe was forced to play Abraham's players and the match ended in a 1-0 loss to the Pensioners. Mr. Abraham entered the locker room and said sarcastically, "Well played, fantastic." Joe Morrison, deeply infuriated left the team 24 hours later. Mr. Abraham personally lined up a replacement, Orville Green, a 52-year old coach in the sub par League of the Lakes, which was not even a division allowed to qualify for the Champions' Cup. A personal friend of Mr. Abraham, though relatively unknown to the public, the newspapers kept highlighting the lack of experience Green exhibited. Green's first test would be against the Melwood Reds, who also suddenly were witnessing new ownership and fresh cash. A 2-0 loss at the hands of the Reds did not seem to upset Mr. Abraham, who hoped Orville Green could bring him the coveted Champions' Cup. More and more losses saw a loss of revenue for the Pensioners. Mr. Abraham soon appointed Orville to one of his more minor clubs and pulled funding on the Pensioners. Left with no money, and stable owner, the Pensioners were forced to lower all expenses. They sold all their players just to maintain their status in the Northern League. However, the youngsters on the team, unable to stage their talent for the world to see, stayed. Joe Morrison returned to a team without money, or proved talent. Within two years, they won the trophy, which eluded them, the most: the Champions' Cup.

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