There is a long-established viewpoint that goalkeepers, if not mad are totally different from their team mates and Brentford goalkeeper Richard Lee has certainly brought out a book that stands out from the norm.
Using the structure of a diary of a roller-coaster 2010/11 season at Brentford as his framework, Lee provides an acute, revealing and painfully honest account of how it feels to be a professional footballer and the way in which he has transformed his outlook, training and preparation in order to maximise his playing potential.
Lee opens himself up to the reader as an intelligent man quick to question himself and also riddled with fears and self-doubts who is not even a particular fan of the sport in which he makes his living. Yet he is open and perceptive enough to challenge the traditional preconceptions of life as a footballer and search out and then institute his own methods of preparation and training both his mind and body which result in him producing the best and most consistent form of his life.
But don't think it was an easy ride. Lee was brought in from Watford as first choice, was dropped before even playing a League game, fought his way back from third to first choice, was the hero of several heart stopping penalty shootouts, suffered the dressing room gobbledy gook of a manager in Andy Scott who he claims was a poor man manager and who was to end up with the sack, and suffered the heartbreak of missing a Wembley final through injury after doing so much to help the team get there.
Don't feel sorry for Richard though as what comes through loud and clear is his clear analysis and understanding regarding his self-development and growth as a man who is becoming far more comfortable in his own skin and at peace with himself in terms of his occupation and level of achievement.
The book is written clearly and lucidly and peppered with anecdotes and self-deprecating humour. Lee is quick to give praise and thanks to the series of mentors who have helped him in his quest
As Gary Player said, "the harder I work the luckier I get" and Richard Lee has worked enormously hard to become the footballer and person that he is.
This book is a unique, uplifting and inspiring read which will live long in the memory due to its difficult subject matter and the honesty with which it was written and it never falls into the trap of becoming preachy or full of jargon.
For me, Michael Calvin wrote the football book of 2011 and I suspect that Richard Lee's wonderful effort will take some beating in 2012.
Just read it!