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The purpose of this book is to introduce youngsters who like football to the story of Jesus and some of the basic elements of the Christian faith. It can be read as a straight story, but there is the option of discussion in the form of questions at the end of each chapter. The questions relate to what they have just read but also give the group the opportunity to reflect on their own lives and their experiences. There are also leaders’ notes at the end of each chapter. It is the story of twelve characters who play for a truly dreadful football team. Their manager quits, and they are left wondering whether they might never find a new leader. Then a new manager, James Cooper, comes into their lives and teaches them about the true nature of success. Eleven of them accept his message and begin to change. However, Jude Lucas refuses to accept the message and wants to win football matches at all costs. The story follows the eleven youngsters as they try to put into practice the new way of life they have learned about and compares their story with Jude’s, who continues to live the same way. It is a story about the everyday problems which youngsters face, temptations to cheat, and the battle to be accepted and be popular among peers. It includes the battle against irrational fears and dealing with loss. By the end of the story, Jude has left to join a better football team, but he does not find the happiness that the other eleven do. Right at the end, James Cooper announces that he must also leave. He leaves with the message that he is proud of the team who are winners in the true sense of the word.

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