`I was faster than all the kids twice my age, and somehow, I could always make a football do whatever I wanted it to. It just came easy to me, I don’t know why, but it did.’
The only thing Billy ever wanted to do was to play for Chelsea. His dream came true when he was picked for the team – but that was 1939, and the Second World War began, and then Billy’s life, like everyone else’s, was changed forever. Billy’s no kid now – he’s eighty today.
But he’s got memories, such memories…
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- The author uses different fonts at different points in the story. Can you explain why this is?
- Could you write a story about a person who reflects on some of their strongest memories?
- Write a set of instructions to teach someone how to play football. What are the rules? What equipment is needed? What are your best football tips?
- Explore the punctuation used in the story. What has each type of punctuation been used at each point? Use the punctuation pitch (see Resources below)?to write your own sentences with different types of punctuation.
- Billy mentions lots of footballers in the story (Stanley Matthews, Jimmy Greaves, Georgie Best, Michael Owen). Can you investigate these players and write a biography of them?
- Billy has ‘legs like sticks of celery’ when he first joins Chelsea. Can you think of other similes to describe something?
- Write a newspaper article about one of the football matches in which Billy scores the winning goal.
- Write a letter from Billy back to his family while he is away at war.
- Billy and his friend Robbie travel around Italy when they are freed from the prisoner-of-war camp. Write a story about their experiences while they are there.
- Make your own football top trumps using the cards provided (see Resources below). How many points will you give to each player? Who will have the most? Can you make some graphs and charts using the information on the cards?
- Billy wins farthings by challenging other children to take the ball off of him in the playground. Find out about different types of money. How do they compare with the money that we have today?
- ‘Toad in the hole’ was the author’s favourite meal when he was little. Can you think of healthy meals that you enjoy?
- Use a spreadsheet to plan a birthday party for Billy. What things will you need? How many of each will you have to buy? How much might they cost? What will the total cost be?
- Explore the Chelsea FC site and learn about the club and its past.
- Jamie and Maddy build a cabin at the bottom of their garden for Billy to live in. Can you design this building? What facilities will it need for a person to live there?
- Look at photographs of footballers playing on the pitch. Can you use these as a starting point for your own drawings / paintings of footballers?
- Draw the expression on Billy’s face when he kicks a ball past a goalkeeper. Can you draw the goalkeeper’s expression?
- Design a new football kit for your favourite football team?(see Resources below).
- Design the front cover of the match programme on which Billy appears.
- Find the location of the Chelsea football ground on a map. What is there in the local area? What transport links are there? If you were to plan a school trip there, how would you travel? What route would you take? How long would the journey be?
- Billy’s family went to Broadstairs a number of times for holidays. Can you find this on a map? What is it like now? What was it like when Billy was young?
- Billy is eighty years old. Find out what life was like 80 years ago. How was it similar / different to today? Could you interview a person in their 80s and ask them to share their memories with you?
- Find out the history of the Chelsea football team and ground.
- Research the history of football. How has it changed since it was first played?
- Billy’s family went on seaside trips to Broadstairs. What were seaside holidays like in the past? What are seaside locations like today?
- War was declared on the third of September 1939. Can you find out more about this event? How did it happen? Why?
- What were the main events of World War 2. Can you plot these on a timeline?
- Billy becomes a prisoner of war. What would this have been like?
- Read the ‘Author’s Notes’ at the back of the book to find out more about the places, people and events in the story.
- Choose a famous footballer and find out about them. What teams have they played for in the past? What are their best achievements?
- Teach a friend how to play football and share your tips with them.
- Billy’s dad and Mr. Osborne gave him self belief. What does this mean?
- Billy had a special football which he only played with when he was with his dad. What special belongings do you have? Can you explain why they are special?
- Billy had ‘warm tingles down his spine’ when he first heard the crowd shouting his name. What other emotions are there and can you think of different ways of describing them?
- Billy receives a Red Cross parcel while he was in the prisoner of war camp. If you were going to send a special parcel to someone, what would you send?