This isn't a book about money. This isn't a book about playing in European Leagues and World Cups. Nor is it a sensationalist, tabloid style, expletive-filled story of recovery from debt, gambling and alchoholism. It's just the story of a player who had his dreams but never made the big-time, and met no end of hurdles and injuries along the way. It's a story about life, the crossroads that we meet, the choices that we make, and the way that the decisions of others affect the paths of our lives. It is both heart-rending and heart-warming. Roger Eli's career was influenced by several managers, Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest, Eddie Gray and Billy Bremner at Leeds United and then Frank Casper and Jimmy Mullen at Burnley. There are others who appeared fleetingly in his story. It's a story of struggles, determination and bravery, and then brief success before the man who mattered, the man who picks the team, decided he was of no further use. Roger Eli was one of those pioneer black footballers of the early 90's. He was Player of the Year at Burnley in '91/92. After several years of knockdowns he eventually tasted glory.
This is a story about what lies at the heart of football, about how cruel football can be, and how success is so fleeting. For every Terry, Tevez or Torres there are scores of other footballers that make a living from the game, but who could write a manual on the pitfalls and obstacles along the way, yet not without a little humour and a store of good memories. Roger Eli is one of them.