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I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game [Paperback]

Anon , The Secret Footballer
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (353 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 9.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

23 Aug 2012

Who is The Secret Footballer? His identity is jealously guarded by just a handful of people. But whoever he is - and whoever he plays for - he is always honest, always fearless and always opinionated.

This genuine story of one player's career is a unique combination of considered analysis, tell-all gossip and the joys and frustrations that only someone who plays the game at the highest levels can really feel. From the realities of racism and depression, to the pleasure and pain of sky-high salaries and the scandals of Christmas parties, The Secret Footballer reveals everything you need to know about the beautiful (and not so beautiful) game.

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I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game + Tales from the Secret Footballer + Football Manager Stole My Life: 20 Years of Beautiful Obsession
Price For All Three: 27.90

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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: 21.4 x 13.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (353 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping but very frustrating 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't quite do it for me 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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some illuminating points but overall quite poor 25 Aug 2012
By B Das
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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and revealing. 27 Aug 2012
By Niall
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been reading The Secret Footballer's column in The Guardian for the last couple of seasons and enjoy it hugely. It's always the first thing I read on a Saturday morning, and has the advantage of being topical because he tends to write about issues that have come up in the professional game in the preceding week. Therefore, and let's get it out of the way immediately, the thing that did disappoint me slightly was the cut-and-paste nature of some of the chapters which had simply been lifted straight from the columns.

Having said that, despite what some of the other reviewers have said, I really enjoyed the book. He is very clearly a different cut to the majority of professional sportspeople and that comes out in his ability to construct a sentence, provide insight and make the reader laugh. Although the chapter focussing on 'Bad Behaviour' was at times puerile and toe-curling and will re-enforce much of the disdain that footballers are held in, it painted a picture.

Britain is still, whatever some will say, a deeply divided and class-obsessed nation and TSF's journey was brilliantly chronicled from council estate to ridiculously over-appointed mansion. The passage about his birthday celebration with some of his oldest friends was (Psueds Corner Alert!) written with genuine pathos. He had become a different person and there was real pain in his writing. Earlier in the book, he covers his time as a young professional the contrast between where he started and the 'Money' chapter is stark and, again I don't mind saying it, insightful.

It doesn't set out to be a seminal piece of sporting literature. It's not 'Beyond a Boundary', 'The Fight' or 'Moneyball' but it is a good read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
This was a fairly quick and intriguing read. I got it as a free book, on one day, as an offer and I really didn't think I would like it very much but ended up sitting up late to... Read more
Published 9 hours ago by Pamela
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 day ago by amina johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent, thanks
Published 3 days ago by DaveyV
This a well written an in-depth exposé of the footballers experiences in all its nooks and crannies. A magnetically captivating read
Published 6 days ago by HarryM
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening read
Good fun, well written. Just a shame he doesn't seem to be in love with the game anymore. A must read for any football fan though.
Published 10 days ago by chris stone
3.0 out of 5 stars not the kind of insight I was expecting
Well written, decent read, but it is missing the real detail and juicy gossip which it pitches to you. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Jon Barber
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read
Brilliant book and a great price too.
Published 13 days ago by Waity
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Enjoyable read and with many insights. By the end, though, I had very little empathy with the secret footballer, despite reading the columns for years. Read more
Published 14 days ago by C. Chanona
2.0 out of 5 stars Works better as a newspaper column
Contains the odd interesting passage but mostly rather dull and author too often at pains to point out he's not like the typical footballer. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Not Waving
2.0 out of 5 stars Not brilliant
Did not find this book that interesting although I am I huge football fan.
Published 22 days ago by J. G. W. Goring
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