A new book from Liberty Mountain Publishing shares the amazing life of former professional soccer player and Liberty University men's soccer coach William Bell.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel tells the unlikely story of how a former Scottish and Leeds United soccer star turned his life around by giving it away to others. Bell, widely considered one of Scotland's greatest soccer players ever, shares his journey in an autobiography told to journalist and co-author Ron Starner. The book includes William's recollections of meeting Elton and Peter Frampton.
Press Manager Sarah Funderburke, who has provided a special preview for EJW, says:
''William Bell met Elton in the late 1970s when he was in London coaching and
managing the Lincoln City soccer team. The singer, who was heavily invested in
the Watford Football Club, was present the day Lincoln City played Watford.
''Bell’s encounter with Peter Frampton also took place during Bell’s tenure as the Lincoln City soccer coach. Frampton owned an American soccer team and knew about Bell’s career as a coach and professional soccer player. He interviewed William in New York City, and was interested in having him coach the American team, but there was a catch. Peter wanted the franchise built around a player from the English Soccer Division who had a bad reputation, and Bell knew
this player all too well. Due to these circumstances, he politely
declined Frampton’s offer.''
In the book's section about Elton, William starts off by noting his return to England to resume his coaching career, following a ''life-changing experience'' in a small Ohio chapel.
Here is the remainder of what Bell calls ''An Encounter With a Legend.'' . . .
I had just been appointed head coach and manager of Lincoln City a few months prior to our game against Watford.
Elton John, who had invested heavily in the Watford Club, entered the directors' box. He was an extremely colorful character, dressed in a black leather coat and hat and sported, as usual, outlandishly large eyeglasses. When I sat next to him, my thoughts turned to the impact that this brilliant musician could have on millions of fans if he were to experience the same life-changing love of Christ that I had only a few months before.
The game ended in a 1-0 loss for our team. The victory almost clinched a promotion for Watford to the top English league.
In the board room following the final whistle, champagne was flowing, with the imbibers either commiserating or celebrating. As I entered the room, my mind was on Elton. I had read an article in a newspaper in which the writer said that Elton would invite boys into his garden to play soccer with him.
I was well aware that some of the seemingly blessed people in our world were often among the loneliest.
I plucked up the courage to go over to Elton and ask if I could speak with him in private. He politely agreed. As we made our way to a corner of the room, he probably was thinking that I would inquire about a player or congratulate him on the result.
''Let me tell you about Jesus Christ, Elton,'' I said. ''He is the most important person in the world for you and me.'' As I spoke to this precious soul, I had his undivided attention, but I did not know how to lead him to Christ. I had only been a Christ-follower for a few weeks.
''Well,'' I said. ''Thank you for your time. I wish you and your team well.''
Elton looked me directly in the eye, squeezed my arm, and said, ''Thank you.''
I glimpsed a tear in his eye.
Months later, I came home and sat down to watch the Parkinson Show on TV. Michael Parkinson's guest was Elton John. The music superstar had just returned from a dinner engagement and was still holding the menu. Parkinson asked Elton to sing the menu. Elton then proceeded to sing the menu in his usual brilliant fashion.
The two men then began to discuss the singer's latest album, including A Song For Guy. Elton had written the song upon the loss of his close friend in a motorcycle acident.
Parkinson asked his guest, ''Now you have another possible gold record. What are your thoughts at this time?''
''My soul,'' Elton said, quietly. His reply floored me.
Parkinson fumbled for a response as he quickly changed the subject.
Death had become to real to Elton John following the loss of his friend. My prayer is that more dedicated Christians will care enough to try to help Elton John find the peace his soul craves in God.