Disclaimer: 'Any people, objects, places and so on that you recognise belong to JK Rowling. I'm just having fun playing in her sandbox for a while.
Hope Johnson sat at her desk looking through the profiles of the final year students at Hogwarts. Each year she made a point in sending her head scout to the Hogwarts matches with the task of finding the leading talent and those with the most potential of making the grade of British and Irish League.
Normally nothing came from the reports, as she was looking for a very special type of player to fit in with the Harpies squad. Having managed the Holyhead Harpies now for twelve years she found that very few of the kids that played in their teams at the wizarding schools matched her high criteria for a player. Her players all must possess speed, agility and precise passing and shooting skills so they were able to compete with the high speed moves. Being less physical than all the other teams in the league, speed was really a must. The players she picked had to be the elite. And even then, some of the best of the best school players failed to make the grade as they struggled to adapt to the physical nature of the national league.
However, this year she was hopeful—well more hopeful than normal, about unearthing a potential star. This year rumours had been circling around the managers and scouts in the league that there was a seventh-year Gryffindor breaking all the goal scoring records at Hogwarts, some of which had stood for centuries, including number of goals scored in a season.
Hope had even gone as far as Flooing over to the girl's Head of House at Hogwarts to get a personal recommendation. It was not a step that she usually took. In fact the last time she had got in personal contact with Minerva McGonagall was about a young keeper called Wood, only to be left disappointed, when she had found out the promising keeper was a young man. She really had to start getting initial reports that usually contained just the basic facts to use full names and not just surnames.
This time she had been very happy about the report she had received on the high spirited Chaser: that the Weasley girl would be a lot of hard work, but if you could get the best out of her, it would be worth every moment that you had to put in, that young Ginny Weasley was exceptional on the Quidditch field, and so passionate that she would always give everything she had even if that resulted in exhaustion. That report had also been tempered with the news that the girl was highly academic and was expected to pursue a career that reflected her good examination results and the Ministry of Magic were also interested in offering her several jobs, with even the Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt wanting her on his personal staff.
She turned over the paper to read whether McGonagall's words had been echoed by her trusted scout, Mary Jones, who she had worked with for the twelve seasons she had been managing the Harpies.
Ginevra Molly Weasley known as Ginny
Age – 17
Date of birth – 11th August 1981
Family – Parents Molly and Arthur Weasley, siblings – youngest of seven (one brother deceased)
Residence: The Burrow, Ottery St Catchpole, England
Hogwarts – Gryffindor House (1992 – 1999), Head Girl 1998/9
Predicted NEWT results: Charms – O, Defence Against the Dark Arts – O, Herbology – E, Potions – E, Transfiguration – E
OWL results: Astronomy – E, Care of Magical Creatures – A, Charms – O, Defence Against the Dark Arts – O, History of Magic – A, Herbology – E, Muggle Studies – E, Potions – E, Transfiguration – O
Personality: Very popular confident girl, who adapts well to new situations.
Other information – Fought in the battle of Hogwarts, given Order of Merlin Second Class, girlfriend of Harry Potter, Holyhead Harpies supporter.
Hope studied the paper, trying to denote any other information from the text. The first thing that she was drawn to was the girl's surname. She was a Weasley, naturally she knew the name Weasley; that family had received a lot of press attention over the last few years and she had heard only good things about them.
Fighting during the battle of Hogwarts in 1998—that was interesting. If the girl was born in August 1981, then surely she would have been only sixteen during the final battle and to have come out of a battle that had claimed so many lives of talented witches and wizards was an outstanding achievement. And it was no mean feat to be awarded the Order of Merlin Second Class, most of the fighters had only achieved third class honours. Maybe Minerva was right about this girl having many options open to her outside the world of Quidditch. But also if this girl was able to fight in a battle, she did not lack bravery which could only benefit her in the heat of a Quidditch pitch. If you could dive from curses, then surely Bludgers would be no problem.
Harry Potter's girlfriend.
Well, that could be interesting. She had no doubt that her chairwoman would love that fact which would be all over the press. She could think of several reporters who would be all over the story if she signed Harry Potter's girlfriend. That boy still seemed to be in the papers on a weekly basis despite the war being long over. Yes, the chairwoman would really really love that fact. She was always trying to get press attention to the club and bring in financing.
Hope could only wonder if having such a famous academy player going in would have a negative effect on the rest of the squad. She'd had experience before with bringing in a vastly famous player, Jessica Moran after the Irish World Cup win in 1994, only for it to have disastrous effects on the rest of the team as Moran isolated herself from the rest of the team causing huge resentment and Harry Potter was much more famous than a Quidditch world cup winner. And at least at the time she had Moran, the rest of the team had known that she was an exceptional Chaser, they had no guarantees about that with this Weasley girl. The trouble that this could cause in her squad should be so much more.
Being a Harpies fan, well, that could only help. She found the players on her squad who had grown up supporting the club, showed so much more heart on the field.
Strengths: Weasley can play in two positions. She is an exceptionally talented Chaser but has also played very well as Seeker when required, never failing to catch the snitch. Weasley is brave and fearless (even slightly reckless), she is a strong in a tackle. She has good pace and has excellent aim with both passing and shooting which would work well with the Harpies' style of play. She broke the Hogwarts record for goal scoring in her final season.
Weaknesses: Weasley has a temper that can see her getting into trouble with referees and other officials. This was highlighted by her flying into the commentator in the 1996/7 season and her suspension from the team in the 1997/8 season. Weasley has a very slight figure and may struggle to compete against some of the league's more physical teams. Weasley also is inexperienced at handling a broom at the speed of the British and Irish league.
Many people would focus on the strengths of a player but Hope always looked at the weaknesses. Strengths were always there; they were the player's basics—their bread and butter. Weaknesses were where a player could explode, and in this case, this could be quite literally with the girl having a temper. Although she could hardly blame the girl for getting suspended in the year that the Death Eaters ran Hogwarts. From what she had learnt in the last year from a variety of different people that was the least that had happened to anyone who had worn Gryffindor colours at Hogwarts. Although she would want finer details about that commenter incident, there was no justification in that from what she could tell.
As for the inexperience, well, that could be worked on. At this age, a player having a lack of experience never really worried her. They had not been given a chance to get that experience. She knew only too well that the only way for her to get experience was to give it to her.
Potential: Weasley is playing well, breaking Hogwarts record scores and could already fit into the professional game but she is also a young player who has great potential despite missing nearly a full year of playing time. Should she continue to progress at the same rate, she is likely to be considered international standard. There are a number of teams rumoured to be chasing her signature.
Comparison: Our best Chaser is Andrea Vaughan (31) and Weasley is not far off her standard. Weasley is a lot better than our best young Chaser, Danielle Simpson (19). Weasley would become the fourth best Chaser in the Harpies squad. Our best Seeker is Rachel Hinds (22) and Weasley is some way off her standard. Our best young Seeker is Nicole Abbott (20) and Weasley is not far off her standard. Weasley would become the third best Seeker in the Harpies squad.
Now this was the interesting part. She liked to keep a squad of around 20 women that included between six and eight Chasers, to allow for injuries, suspensions and lack of form, and this Weasley girl would already rate in her top six according to Mary Jones. She would at such a tender age already be looking at the first team games and not the reserves, like most teenagers you picked up. That would make her already better than players who were older than her and there was promise that she could get much better. Not many players were linked to being International level at such a young age. Now whether she could live up to that promise was a big question but was she going to be the manager who missed out on a potential great?
With a lack of funds, it was important to get the best of the youngsters out there. That's why she spent hours each year, trolling through the reports and sending scouts off to the leading wizarding schools. With talent like this, if the girl was as good as she seemed on paper, she would be a fool to miss out on her. Strength and experience could be worked on, in long hard hours at training; talent, pure talent, you couldn't work on that, and the girl seemed to have talent by the bucket-load.
Season: 1995 – 1996 (4th Year)
Saturday 21st February: Hufflepuff 240 Gryffindor 230; Weasley played as Seeker and caught the snitch.
Saturday 30th May: Gryffindor 260 Ravenclaw 80; Weasley played as Seeker and caught the snitch.
Season: 1996 – 1997 (5th Year)
Saturday 14th September: Gryffindor trials; Weasley scores 17 goals, secures position of Chaser.
Saturday 2nd November: Gryffindor 310 Slytherin 110; Weasley played as Chaser and scored 11 goals with 7 assists.
Saturday 8th March: Hufflepuff 320 Gryffindor 60; Weasley played as Chaser and scored 4 goals with 2 assists.
Saturday 10th May: Gryffindor 450 Ravenclaw 140; Weasley played as Seeker and caught the snitch.
Season: 1997 – 1998 (6th Year)
Saturday 1st November: Gryffindor 330 Slytherin 190; Weasley captained the team and played as Chaser, scoring 13 goals with 9 assists. Weasley was suspended from the team due to activities at the end of the match.
Season: 1998 – 1999 (7th Year)
Saturday 7th November: Gryffindor 410 Slytherin 210; Weasley captained the team and played as Chaser, scoring 16 goals with 8 assists.
Saturday 6th March: Gryffindor 390 Hufflepuff 170; Weasley captained the team and played as Chaser, scoring 13 goals with 6 assists.
Saturday 8th May: Gryffindor 470 Ravenclaw 260; Weasley captained the team and played as Chaser, scoring 17 goals with 12 assists.
House Cup (for Gryffindor): 95/96, 96/97, 98/99
Top Goal Scorer: 98/99
Recommendations: I would strongly recommend this signing.
Hope put the paper down, thinking for a few moments longer.
"Mary?" she spoke into the intercom between the two offices, "have you got a minute, I want to talk about this Weasley girl?"
"I'll be right through."
Mary was true to her word. It was only a matter of seconds before the experienced Quidditch scout walked through the door that separated the two offices. She was carrying a huge pile of notes, which would have taken hours if not days to read and placed them down on the table. The top one read, 'Ginny Weasley, Seeker, Gryffindor 230 Hufflepuff 240, Saturday, 21st February 1996.' And each one underneath contained a similar detailed report, with a full report on Weasley's role and a description of each of the goals and catches.
Hope held up the paperwork as her old friend walked through the door. "Is she as good as all this?"
Mary smiled. "You've read the stats." Her hand gestured to the further paperwork. "Nine matches, three as a Seeker, three catches, the rest as a Chaser, 87 goals. I think she prefers Chaser too; that's the position she picked for herself as captain, and boy, does she get stuck into those games. Almost like a young Georgina Best."
"Impressive," Hope replied quickly but then paused and pursed her lips as she gave the topic some further thought, glancing down at the piles of reports. "You can use facts and statistics to back up anything; it depends where you cut the quote off." Hope smiled at her leading scout as she handed back the paperwork, "I want your opinion."
"It may take time, especially given her stature. She's quite a petite girl, just like Vaughan was when we picked her up, and look at what she has grown into, Harpies top goal scorer for the last eight seasons, " Mary's smile had grown, "but I honestly think she could be a great, better than Vaughan. I'd go down to the bookmakers tomorrow if I was you and place money on her breaking in the England team, maybe even while she's still a teenager. She is really that good, Hope."
Hope's own smile grew. Mary had been her friend since they had both played together on the Hogwarts Ravenclaw team back in the early 1950s. She trusted her and while Mary may not always have been right, and talents had not come through, she had never lied to her. Likewise, she had never seen Mary react like this about a seventeen year old girl.
She studied her old friend's face. "You've never said that before."
"Well," Mary paused, her eyes meeting Hope's. Hope looked deeper into those eyes and saw a rare excitement twinkling in the blue, "it's been a long time since I've seen a seventeen-year-old that is this good."
Hope paused, "Still, a lot of seventeen-year-olds never make that promise count. I have, we both have, seen a lot of teenagers never make it out of the reserves, unable to live up to that potential and this one already has so many expectations on her."
"Well, that's always the risk. What's a couple of hundred Galleons now opposed to a couple of million when she makes it big." She paused to add weight to her words. "Trust me, if she goes elsewhere—and there's a hell of a lot interested in her, we won't be able to afford her when she's a couple of years in to the professional game." Mary looked her in the eyes as she spoke bluntly. "With the current state of the Harpies, and the impact the war had on us, she'll make the starting seven before the season's out. I'd give her the number 4 shirt that Figo left open with the contract."
The Harpies squad had suffered terribly during the war in Britain. Although the Quidditch league had continued, of her starting seven, she had ended up losing three players due to the fact they were Muggle born, while her star Chaser, Gabrielle Figo had fled Britain and returned to her homeland of Portugal, liking it so much there she had decided not to return. Add to that five retirements from the squad over the last three seasons and she was in desperate need of new players.
Hope's eyes flicked over the report again. They did not have the money to go out and buy seven new star players that she knew they more than needed. Maybe if she was lucky she could make the galleons stretch to two big name signings. She knew she was going to have to turn to some academy players and free transfers and this looked by far the most promising of all the reports she had read.
She was convinced, not that she had ever needed much convincing after reading that report. She had just wanted the reassurance of a trusted friend before she gambled on a seventeen year old no matter how promising but with a slight build and no experience outside school Quidditch.
"The famous boyfriend?" She spoke of her last concern.
"Not a problem, I've spoken to her and to her professors. She's really down-to-earth. Sure, she's confident, a trouble-maker, a spitfire, but none of that is linked to fame." Mary spoke in such confident tones it was hard not to be as excited as she was. "The pair of them, both Potter and Weasley, shun the limelight, avoid it at all costs from what I could tell."
Hope's own smile had grown and now extended to her whole face, her friend had told her everything and more that she had needed to know. She had given her all the reassurance she needed, and now she knew she could just be about to make the signing of the century. "And we could get her?"
"Oh, Hope, it's her dream to sign for us as much as it's ours to get a player like this. The perfect fit really." Mary's grin widened. "Offer her the contract and she'll sign."
"I'll send an owl to her tomorrow and hold off giving out the number 4 shirt just a little while longer." She looked into her friends sparkling blue eyes and smiled. "Just to let you know though, if this doesn't work, you owe me big."