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MARVIN'S GOSPEL TRUTH; Another sunday mail Exclusive.

Byline: By GORDON WADDELL

MARVIN ANDREWS is the barefoot kid from Trinidad who found God, became a Rangers star...and says Gordon Brown is the answer to his prayers.

Today the Sunday Mail tells the gospel truth according to Marvellous Marvin as he reveals forthright views on sectarianism, racism and homosexuality.

The giant born-again Christian, whose book Marvellous Marvin is serialised in the Sunday Mail from today, admits he was once a sinner with booze, gambling and women.

He also tells how he snubbed English Premiership clubs to return to Raith Rovers, the Prime Minister's hometown team, after God spoke to him through Brown.

And he hits out against sectarianism and the allegation that he hates gays.

The 6ft 2in powerhouse revealed: "People mocked me a few years ago when I said God was my agent and told me not to go to Dundee United. But I ended up going to Rangers.

"When I was leaving Rangers, I'd been praying for two months for God to tell me where to go. We also have a book called The Word For Today which I read every day.

"God said in it this day, 'I will send people into your life - be very sensitive to who they are'.

"The next day, Gordon Brown phoned my church to talk to me.

"I knew he was a fan of Raith Rovers, who were my first club when I came to Scotland in 1997.

"But I used to tell fans there was no chance of me coming back."

Brown managed to persuade him otherwise.

Marv added: "If it was up to me, I'd be playing in England. I had interest from Reading and Southampton. But I was aware of what God was trying to tell me.

"God speaks in different ways. Human beings are used to direct you once you ask God for direction.

"It was that call from Gordon Brown I took as my direction."

At 31, Andrews has had an astonishing life.

A born-again Christian since his arrival in Scotland a decade ago, he is now ordained as a preacher and conducts his own services in Fife and speaks to youth rallies all over Britain. But none of it came easy.

He said: "There were times as a teenager when I had one pair of trousers, one T-shirt and one pair of trainers with a hole in them.

"At times all I ate was bread. For weeks and months, that's all I had.

"I always had a roof over my head but I used to have to dig toilet holes for people to make money. So football was a chance to better my life and help my family."

His progress through Scottish football's ranks from Raith to Livingston led him to Ibrox in 2004.

Many thought he would struggle to deal with the Old Firm bigotry. But Andrews said: "I always spoke to Rangers and Celtic fans.

"It just seemed strange that two sets of supporters could go into a game, each claiming God is on their side while screaming un-Christianlike hatred at each other. But the religion involved in the Old Firm game has nothing to do with the Bible. It is a man-made thing. In Scotland, religion and believing are two separate things.

"We need to let the next generation know how wrong it is."

During matches Andrews wore a T-shirt under his jersey saying "With God, nothing is impossible". And he also made a huge impact with his work on the Show Racism The Red Card campaign.

He said: "Everyone made me feel welcome in Scotland.

"But racism will be here as long as the devil is on this Earth.

"I've been lucky, I've never heard it on the pitch. It's one of the worst things in the world to judge someone on the colour of their skin."

Andrews claims that three times he has healed injuries with prayer after specialists said he required surgery.

His views hit the front pages when quoted as condemning the gay wedding of Lib-Dem MSP Margaret Smith in 2006 as an "abomination" - which he denies.

In the book, he says: "Pastor Joe (Nwokoye, his mentor) told a journalist what homosexuals are doing is against the will of God.

"The journalist met me on the stairs and asked if I agreed with what he had said. I said it was all in the Bible and that made the front page. I do not hate gay people, they are human beings just like me.

"But when I talk to them I have to let them know that I believe what they are doing is wrong."

Part of the deal brokered by Brown to tempt him back was the establishment of the Marvin Andrews Youth Development Trust to help get kids off the street and back into football.

He revealed: "A prophet from America came and said she saw me leading loads of kids in a big arena and a week later Gordon Brown came.

"It was another message. Now I spend a lot of time with kids. I'm proud of what I've achieved and that I'm able to have an influence on others through God."

Readers can buy Marvellous Marvin (RRP pounds 15.99) for the special price of pounds 13.99 including free UK p&p. To order call 01206 255800 and quote the reference 'Sunday Mail'.

ON HIS FAITH

'God spoke to me through Gordon Brown, telling me to go back to Raith'

ON BIGOTRY

'Religion at Old Firm games has nothing to do with the Bible'

ON GAYS

'I do not hate gay people but I must tell them that what they do is wrong'

MARVIN'S STORY: MAILSPORT PAGES 72 & 73

SUNDAY MAIL

g.waddell@sundaymail.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Poor start: Marv as child in Trinidad; Rise to fame: Marvin at Rangers; Gord's will: Back at Raith Rovers; Raith healer: Star's faith is helping him get young people off the streets
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 19, 2007
Words:989
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