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I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game Paperback – 23 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Guardian Books (23 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0852653085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0852653081
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (400 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

This is better than any turgid football biography on the bookshelves and well worth seeking out (Sunday Business Post)

A recklessly honest read that pairs huilty pleasure gossip with a moral compass, as TSF is force-fed a lifestyle that comes with being a Premier League footballer (Loaded)

Not since the days of the great super-injuctions has the identity of an anonymous sports star cause as much speculation as that surrounding the mysterious author of the Guardian column, The Secret Footballer, which has been running in the paper for the last 18 months (Choice magazine)

A hugely insightful and opinionated commentary on the modern game (Morning Star Online)

Book Description

The honest truth about professional football, by the Guardian's man inside the game.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By M. Johnes on 31 Aug 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is both a gripping and a deeply frustrating book.

In terms of its aim of lifting the lid on the hidden world of football it's very good and better probably than every Premier League autobiography. It's far most honest and open than is the case with almost everything else written from within football. There's much here on the shenanigans, the money, the mindset of players, their relationships with people outside football and about the playing of the game itself. Every fan will learn something from it.

But, in terms of trying to understand the secret footballer himself, the book is deeply frustrating. It's not so much the fact that he's anonymous but that so much of the detail is left out.

He talks a lot about money and about figures but at the same time is vague enough that you don't really understand whether he's very rich from his investments or broke from his tax bill (or both). Understanding the trajectory and nature of his career is impossible because he, understandably, doesn't give too much away in order to protect his anonymity. This means understanding quite where he's coming from is very difficult, as is understanding why he suffers from depression.

Indeed, building up some sympathy for the writer is almost impossible. He comes over as rather arrogant but I guess that's inevitable with any highly-paid, high-profile elite athlete. He seems to see himself as both an insider and an outsider within football culture but how that affects his relationship with his teammates is never as explicit as it might have been. His wife is virtually absent from the book, despite the talk about the impact of home life on performances. You get the sense that while he might not want fans to know who he is, his identity within the game isn't a secret.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By G. Waterman on 22 Aug 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The concept is great, an anonymous top flight footballer telling it as it really is without fear or favour and this is certainly an insider's view bit it falls a little bit short for me as it tantalises but in many cases fails to deliver.

I appreciate that the content needs to be tailored in such a way as to protect the author's identity but this means that it reads as too generic rather than specific with not enough names mentioned.

Robby Savage and Ashley Cole might take exception to the vilification they receive but they are in the minority with too much waffle and generalities.

I understand that his Guardian columns are far more hard hitting and I shall certainly be seeking them out from now on but I found this book ultimately frustrating rather than the insider's guide I was expecting and hoping for.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By the fat 1 on 21 Nov 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great read! I read this book in one night the writer does a good job of drawing you into his world. The best thing is the human aspect of the protagonist its too easy to demonize footballers because of their income and behavior of the minority. Read this book you will not regret it.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By B Das on 25 Aug 2012
Format: Paperback
Let me get this out there to begin with - i'm a big football fan and as such have no agenda against the game or the players or people within it. This book does indeed provide some interesting points that I either didn't know or hadn't thought about, for example on the tactics side, or to do with managers.

However if "TSF" is supposed to be one of the more rounded, popular and intelligent footballers, then it pains me to say that most of the stereotypes about the modern day player (which ironically this book partially intends to dispell) are correct. The guy comes across as egotistical, macho (e.g. when he writes about the time that a manager threw a tray at another player's head and if that had been at him he would of course have returned it even harder), and out of touch with reality (ripping up thousands of pounds worth of money like it was nothing to show some upper class folk at the races that it meant nothing to them and that therefore they could behave as antisocial as the like).

He is no doubt a little more well read than many of his colleagues, but whether it is as a product of environment, or just that he is an arrogant sod, unfortunately the more I read the less I liked him.

The book itself (and this maybe harsh given that he is not a writer) is poorly written and jumps around from idea to idea. The longer chapter is dedicated to an agent defending the public view of him (again this maybe harsh as he had some interesting insights but it was just far too long).

I would only recommend this book if you really have time to kill and only then to really skim read it. As another reviewer says he is so generic there is not really anything that controversial. In fact I could probably pick out half an A4 side of quotes and insights and you would have the best of this "book".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. R. B. Smith on 4 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback
I think this has worked as a column, and the problem fitting it into a book, is that his opinions of everything else comes out, and suddenly it drops off a side oa cliff, his justification of his wages his argument with fans on his wages, that they only pay 26% (as in tickets) who watches it on TV then? Aliens? His birthday, and slagging off his friends, his relationship to his agent, in fact himself. I deeply sad person who really needs to say sorry, it is my fault.
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