England were playing football against Colombia in 1995 when something incredible happened. It was a friendly match, trundling along without much excitement in front of a threadbare Wembley crowd of about 20,000 spectators.
Delighted that the Baptist Times has published my parable about the football genius Maradona.
Picture it. We are enjoying Sunday lunch with friends and the conversation turns to football. It could be Brexit but it isn't. Before you know it, the diners are debating that pressing question. Who is the greatest footballer of all time? Jackie plumps for Pele. Frank is a Johan Cruyff fan. Susan urges us to consider Cristiano Ronaldo. Roy puts in a kind word for George Best. The conversation is noisy and passionate.
It's World Cup time - so some thoughts on Neymar, the Brazilian superstar.
Is Maradona the best footballer of all time?
Worldwide there are 200,000 worshippers of Diego who attend the church of Maradona. The faithful follow their own 'bespoke' ten commandments which urge them to 'love football above everything' and 'name your first son Diego'.
The Church of Maradona insists that you get baptised by slapping a football!
There are three ways of looking at this odd story.
Materialists will dub this 'mere superstition'.
Relativists will nod approvingly: whatever works for you.
Mark is away this week, so here's something you may have missed last month.
As anticipation mounted for the World Cup final, a feature about football and faith went out on 6th July on 16 local radio stations around the country: from Yorkshire Coast Radio to Cornwall's Pirate FM. Mark was a central commentator: speaking alongside Christian professional footballers Bruce Dyer and Bobby Hassell, he talked about the drama, joy and wackiness of football as one of the good things we can do in God's creation.
In the past few weeks, RealityBites director Mark Roques has partnered with Whistling Frog Productions (Bradford) and St George's church in Leeds to bring RB stories and teaching to thousands of people in West Yorkshire.
On Christmas day Mark delivered six football monologues on the Pulse of West Yorkshire radio station to approximately 136,000 listeners! He told the story of Jesus' birth through the lens of five football fans from England, France, Germany, Spain and Russia. There was a clear gospel challenge to follow Jesus and not Herod! Feedback has been excellent.
Here are four I've found but I need more! Can you help me?
Is Roy Keane the most articulate commentator on our secular world?
If I was to offer advice to Wayne Rooney, who is a good lad, I would tell him to make sure he looks after number one. Players are pieces of meat – that is how I look at it. When your time's up, your time's up.
Thomas Hobbes would have roundly applauded Keane's astute comments when he wrote this: