Fair Play

How far will you go to be the best? Nobby Jones was a soccer legend and is faced with a life-changing decision. He tells his story to Maria, a café owner. She finds out about his difficult childhood, his rise to stardom in the world of soccer, and the event that changed his life forever. This book is great for young (and not so young) soccer fans everywhere.

Excerpt from Fair Play

   The old man sat in the corner of my café. He had beautiful blue eyes. But they were sad eyes. He probably didn’t have a home. Every day he comes in to my café at about half past seven. He drinks one cup of tea and eats a chocolate biscuit. He leaves when I close the café at nine o’ clock.
   But who is he? Why is he sad? I was sure he had a story. So one day, at nine o’clock, I went to his table. I sat down next to him. “Do I have to go?” he asked.
   “No, no, do you want some more tea?”
   “I don’t have any more money.”
   “That’s okay. I’ll buy this one for you.” I got up and made two cups of tea. Then I returned to his table. “Here we are, two cups of lovely tea.”
   He smiled – for the first time. I was happy about that. I don’t like to see sad people. Then I looked at him again. His face: I knew it. From a long time ago – perhaps thirty years ago, when I was a young girl. “What’s your name?” I asked.
   “Me?” He was surprised by my question.
   “Yes, you.” I smiled. We were alone in the café.
   “Nobby,” said Nobby.
   Nobby? Wait a minute, I knew that name from somewhere. “You’re not Nobby Jones, are you?”
   “That’s me,” said Nobby, and drank some tea.
   I didn’t believe it. Nobby Jones, the Nobby Jones, was in my café. Nobby Jones, the football legend! Nobby Jones, popular with every woman in England. He was a lot older now. He had long grey hair. But his eyes – his eyes were the same beautiful blue.
   I had a million questions for Nobby. What? How? Why? When? He was once the best football player in the world. Now – a poor old man.
   “I can see you have a lot of questions,” he said.
   “Well, yes, I’m interested. What happened?”
   “It’s a long story.”
   “I like long stories.”
   “Are you sure?”
   My husband left me last year. I have no children. “Yes, I’m sure.”
   “Okay, nobody knows my full story. This is the first time.”
   “I really want to hear it, Nobby. Can I call you Nobby?”
   “Sure. And what can I call you?”
   “Maria.”
   “Maria, that’s a lovely name.”
   He smiled at me. Nobby Jones smiled at me. I am sure my face was red. He was about fifty five but he looked ten years older. I am thirty five. I understood why many women loved Nobby – his smile, his eyes…
   “So, do you want to hear my story?”
   “Oh, sorry, yes. I’ll close the café and make some more tea.”
   Two minutes later, I sat down again next to Nobby. “Okay, I’m ready.”

Do you want to hear Nobby’s story?

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