Posted date: 16 Jan 2015
The Soul of Football – Book Review
Mark Chester’s take on football is one of experience, knowledge and a raw love of the game. Something that seems to come so naturally to him as it does to most Liverpudlian’s. Marks unique perspective of football has come from many a personal experience as from a young age he was surrounded by football having being born into a family of Liverpool reds. When old enough he took his first steps out onto the pitch in the form of youth football.
"My football story began with a dream of playing for Liverpool Football Club at Anfield and it ended in a vastly different place – a place in which I discovered the true soul of football."
During the first half of the book, Mark retells his first hand experience of football. From youth football, right up to men’s football, Mark relives his life on the frontline of both playing and supporting football and all that came with it. From the Hillsborough disaster to that dreaded losing your love of the game stage and then getting back to what made the beautiful game beautiful in the first place.
Mark speaks about his faith and how it affected him on and off the pitch, as well as explaining the logistics behind football nicknames like Smith to Smithy, Jones to Jonesy or Tom to Tommo. Not forgetting the insight his farther must have provided while he was chief steward at Anfield – apparently in charge of holding the door open while the players ran out onto the pitch.
The second section of the book, Mark uses his past experience’s as well as his faith in Jesus to shed light on footballing hot topics like, following football, the greatest player on the planet and the trials of a football fan. As well as more practical tips for those who are on the pitch every week, sections on, ‘Understanding the coach’ and ‘playing by the rules’.
"A ball causes us to smile and laugh and scream and giggle, and it leads us to communicate in a much deeper way than we do with mere words"
Does football have a ‘soul’? Well, that’s for you to decide. But one thing is certain; a life of faith and football is compatible. In fact, the beautiful game we call football can teach us more about following Jesus than you can ever imagine. Something that this book, simply, does.