This moving story of an enduring friendship is a work of fiction but is inspired by the real lives of two footballers, Edgar Kail, who played for Dulwich Hamlet FC, and Adolf Jager, who played for the German club Altona 93, based in Hamburg. The encounters between the two players and their teams take place in the 1920’s and 1930’s and the imagined special bond that unfolds is broken by WW11. The chapters set in the 1920’s and 30’s detail matches, press reports and conversations between the two players. These chapters are interspersed with the framing device of chapters set in Scotland in 1983 as German teenager Adi fulfils the mission set by his late grandfather Adolf to return a football badge to its original owner, Edgar. Adi’s quest becomes an emotional journey of discovery as he learns more about his grandfather’s fame and achievements through Edgar’s poignant memories.
This is a fascinating and deeply affecting story, mingling fact and fiction, and told in a simple style with short chapters that is perfect for less-confident readers. This is a Super-Readable Rollercoasters title, a series produced by collaboration between OUP and Barrington Stoke and featuring Barrington Stoke’s dyslexia-friendly font and layout. There are useful pages at the end of the book with a ‘What to read next’ list, ‘What do you think?’ questions, a word list, a quiz and background information from the authors. This is an engaging, accessible, and beautifully told story about an intriguing episode from football’s past.