Eric Liddel – my hero!

Eric Liddel – my hero!
Vinny Commons
Matthew Seymour
Matthew Seymour Matthew Seymour is an elder and pastor at Emmanuel Church Leamington Spa.
08 July, 2024 7 min read

An interview with Vinny Commons by Matthew Seymour

MS: Thanks for agreeing to speak with me about one of your heroes, Vinny. Before we get to Eric, please tell us how you became a Christian.

VC: I became a Christian when I was 19, but for five or six years I was thinking about it because, at the age of 13, a friend of mine was killed on his birthday on his new motorbike. That shook me because I had questions like what happens to me when it’s my turn to leave the planet.

I went along to church or mass, but I didn’t find any answers there – particularly when it was in Latin. I was searching, and I thought I’d find answers in pursuing my dream, which was to be a professional footballer. I played for Burnley, Blackpool, and eventually Manchester City at 18.

Being there helped me because I saw the emptiness of the top professional footballers, who looked for answers by going out on a Saturday night and playing their sports the next day. That gave me a bigger impetus to search for something more, and I found that through talking to my two sisters, Angela and Philomena.

They told me to concentrate on the cross where Jesus died. They said: the gift of God is eternal life. That blew me away. I thought you had to be a good boy, but I came to realise you had to be a forgiven boy, through Jesus’ death for me.

MS: You mentioned a bit about your passion for sports. Tell us more about that.

VC: I was born to a family of 12 children: six boys and six girls; I was number nine. We lived very close to a huge playing field and I’d go on there and play sports. I had a brother who played badminton at county level and another one who was very good at football. We were all very sporty.

In my early teens, I would play lots of sports and I would spend hours pushing myself to be able to kick a ball with both feet because I knew that would be important if I wanted to get into professional football. I got noticed by the scouts and asked to join the development squads at football clubs.

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