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I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game Paperback – 5 Sep 2013

428 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Guardian Faber Publishing; Main edition (5 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1783350040
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783350049
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (428 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,265 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) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A new edition of the bestselling I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game, by the Guardian's secret man inside the game.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 66 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 Mr D A Cook on 4 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quite disappointed with the book after enjoying a number of the columns. There isn't very much insight in the book and I think the book struggles in not having a central concept like the columns. In fact if there are any central messages in the book it is that fans have no right to comment on football as they 'do not understand the game' nor do they contribute enough financially to the industry to have an opinion - failing to understand why these other industries pump significant funds into football...

The chapter around agents I found almost torturous and at the very least laughable. Overall the book doesn't offer much more than the highlights I have seen in the media advertising the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Grafik on 7 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Purchased the book following recommendation from Football365. It was an interesting insight into the world of the professional footballer. Well written and focusing on some of the subjects not really addressed by the mainstream media (such as contracts negotiations). At times, it was a little too 'bleating' about the'tough life' of a professional footballer and the author does come across as a little arrogant (he states that because he plays football he knows more than anyone he'll ever meet or have a conversation with...rendering their point of view invalid). But sections are very interesting and throughout the book, you will be running through potential identities of the secret footballer in your head. At the end though, the ovwhelming feeling was one of "is that it?", the book ends rather abruptly rather than reaching some sort of logical conclusion. Feels very much like the book was seeking to capitalize on the columns published in the Guardian now, and that it was rushed as a result. Would have been better to wait until there was more finished material. Nevertheless, a good book or gift for football fans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Winterbottom on 17 Sept. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I Am the Secret Footballer is a book based on the columns printed in the sports section of the Guardian most Saturdays. The chapters are divided up along themes, such as money, agents, bad behaviour, etc. They are written from the perspective of an anonymous premier league footballer and are refreshingly honest in their assessment of modern football.

The identity of the secret footballer is unknown, but there is a blog devoted to trying to find this out. There is enough information about the career of the secret footballer to narrow it down to a fairly small pool of players but nothing has ever been publically confirmed. I have have heard a rumour somewhere that the secrect footballer might actually be a few different players who reveal their secrets to a journalist at the Guardian who shapes the stories into one narrative.

The book is made up mainly of the newspaper columns, with some additional material added in around the already published bits. Organising everything around themes works pretty well through most of the books but there are a few sections where the linking between one column and another is a little bit clumsy and makes you realise that you are reading something that was not originally meant to be in book form. This doesn't really spoil the enjoyment of the book too much, but means the book leaps from one topic to another in places.

Premier League footballers are subject to an awful lot of scrutiny from the press but it is rare to hear them speak honestly about their jobs and the lifestyle that comes with it. I really enjoyed the behind the scenes stories that rarely make it into the press.
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