Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Lad Lit Book Reviews: I Am The Secret Footballer

Books For Men Book Reviews: I Am The Secret Footballer
Football has never been bigger – in terms of both finances and global status. Players are like rock stars from your Ozzy Osbourne’s (Luis Suarez – likes to bite things) to your Bono’s (David Beckham – does a lot for charity y’know) and your Donny Tourette’s (John Terry – no one likes him) to your Liam Gallagher’s (Joey Barton – talks a good game and likes a punch-up).

If the football field is a theatre then the media tales we hear is the pantomime and we’ve become as hungry for all the on-field antics as we have with those off-field. The almost 24-hour coverage of the beautiful game makes us feel like we have almost open access to the inner-goings on at our clubs, but the truth is the truth is there has never been such a wider divide between players and fans as there is today.

That is what makes I Am The Secret Footballer so intriguing. Even before this book came out, this mystery player has been revealing top secret information about the inner sanctum of the Premier League and the lives that revolve around it in his column for The Guardian. Most footballer’s autobiographies are rarely that open, maintaining that What happens in the dressing room, stays in the dressing room stance, especially if they are still playing.

But in this book, the Secret Footballer is more than happy to hold the door wide open and let us walk in to explore all manners of everything football from managers to players and the media to money. He talks candidly about players contracts and what the atmosphere in the dressing room is really like.

And then there is the bad behaviour. For every scandal that makes it on to the front pages of the tabloids, there appears to be double the amount we never hear about. His stories about one footballer’s wife and another married player openly getting jiggy in a Dubai swimming pool or the time the his team had an interesting altercation with a bunch of Barcelona players at a Las Vegas strip club make for more than just an interesting read!

Still, I couldn’t help but think as I read the book that he was always being totally open.  For example, the player is clearly married or has had a long-term partner, so when he regales stories about wannabe WAGs throwing themselves at footballers (one great story is when a girl is ashamed of herself for going back to sleep with a Championship player!), he is always quick to distance himself from any wrong-doing despite the fact some of his stories involve him going back to hotels with these women.

For the most part he is honest and open, and discussion around his identity continues to grow. A recent website set-up by fans of the column believe they have ‘unmasked’ the player to be current Sheffield United striker Dave Kitson after matching certain criteria within the book to the former Stoke City and Reading player.

Whoever he is, he has written a must-read book for all football fans who want to know what really goes on in the world of a top-level professional footballer.


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