Up Pohnpei

 

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This was another charity shop find at £2.50 and what appeared to be a frivolous book turned out to be another of those stories that just warm you to the football community that exists all over the world and the extraordinary lengths people go to achieve their dreams.

Up Pohnpei written by Paul Watson was first published by Profile Books Ltd in 2012.

Paul and his pall Matt Conrad discuss endless lists, ideas and dreams about football and one is which country in the world could they play for. Their footballing ability rules them out of playing for their home countries but there could be a possibility of playing for one of the smaller lower ranked nations.

In depth research leads them to Pohnpei a team that has never won a match. One problem is that Pohnpei is a Pacific island, one of the four states in the Federated States of Micronesia whose population is only 36000 people. Not only is this thousands of miles from home but football seems to have no current roots in the Island.

The friends manage to get funds and kit together and approval to go to the island to train the locals but have no salary to do this. They find challenging facilities and a casual approach to football and life in general that does not look good. They also find that they will not be able to qualify to play for the Island.

Determination and the help of some local people seem to keep them going but Matt’s chance of advancing his career in the USA leaves Paul the only one on the ground. Matt still helps from afar but it is Paul who goes through all the emotions possible to try to succeed in getting football established.

Shining through the book is friendship that football gives and receives and the joy of comradeship.

It would be wrong to say more and spoil the book but I can guarantee you won’t put it down.

The best way to sum up the book is by quoting a sentence from near the end “Not bad going for a couple of Sunday League nobodies”.

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