Football Without Borders is the story of one man's search for the soul of football. Having
become disillusioned with the corporatisation of top-level football in the early 1990s, Chris Allen
embarks on a love affair with non-league football.
Reinvigorated, he creates a refugee fan project at his local non-league club. With the help
of a local church minister, it soon morphs into the first 11-a-side refugee football team in
England. Ullet Road Church Rebels FC (‘the Rebels’) is more than a football club. It is a family
for young players who travelled to the UK to escape torture and death in their home countries.
Set in the context of the global refugee crisis, the book is a heart wrenching, but at times
funny, memoir that documents the lives and times of a unique football team and its players. It
tells the tale of the Rebels' first full season and what happens when football talks the language
of ‘respect’, but fails to practice what it preaches.
Chris Allen has written Football Without Borders from his unique vantage point as the
Rebels’ co-founder, club secretary, minibus driver, kit man, wannabe coach and #1 fan. Chris'
close relationships with the players enable him to write sensitively about their lives as refugee
What people have said about the book:
“A beautiful book which shows how the FA has it horribly wrong, the government has it horribly wrong,
and society still has it horribly wrong. But, through it all, the people who have fled their own countries for
fear of death or torture find happiness as a football team, supported by a handful of remarkable people.”
Neville Southall, ex-Everton and Wales Goalkeeper.
‘Like the film Next Goal Wins, you don’t have to have an interest in men kicking a ball about to appreciate Football Without Borders. Chris Allen lays bare the systematic racism in organisations that should know better and, at the same time, shows just how important kicking a ball about, and being part of something, can be to people forced to flee their own countries and settle here.’ Adrian Cork, AFC Liverpool, Club Secretary.