Didi Hamann is the footballer I always wanted to be. He didn't let the professional game interfere with his drinking and smoking lifestyle, he seemed at times to loaf around the pitch like on a Sunday morning stroll, yet time and again he convinced some of the best managers in European football that he deserved a starting place in the team. He also happens to have lived the ultimate dream of coming on at half-time in a European Cup Final when your side is 3-0 down and being responsible for the greatest comeback of all time. He may not have scored the winner or captured the headlines, but every Liverpool fan knows what he did, which is why he is held in such high regard as a true Liverpool legend.
This book echoes the affection in which Didi is held. It is not your typical trawl through events that some sports autobiographies are, but it is written with warmth and honesty and is surprisingly funny. His insights and thoughts about the key moments of his life and career are told with colourful wit and German charm, yet he is also not afraid to express his opinion about the frailties in the English national team and its culture. He opens the door into the Liverpool and Manchester City changing rooms, providing a glimpse into the characters and styles of Benitez, Sven, Houllier and Hughes and also takes you down a few dark alley-ways into the late-night clubs with Carragher and Co.
The book brings you right up to date, covering his short spell in management at Stockport County. And you get the feeling that with his knowledge and passion for the game his story, particularly in management, is only just beginning. I await with intrigue to see where his next move will be.
For a German footballer to come over and embrace himself into the English life and culture as he has done he has to be admired. I read this book in two days and loved it. Nice one Didi!