Customer Reviews


348 Reviews
5 star:
 (120)
4 star:
 (105)
3 star:
 (68)
2 star:
 (36)
1 star:
 (19)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping but very frustrating
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...
Published 23 months ago by M. Johnes

versus
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't quite do it for me
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...
Published 23 months ago by G. Waterman


‹ Previous | 1 235 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping but very frustrating, 31 Aug 2012
By 
M. Johnes (Swansea) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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. For all the discussion of his wages and his depression, he's holding back.

This is shame because there was the potential here for the best book ever written about football. It could have been a very open autobiography that told us everything about his personality, his life and the game itself. That was never going to happen though because he's still playing and wants to stay in the game.

What he's given us is very good but it leaves the reader with as many questions as answers. He's just had to leave too much out in order to protect his identity and, presumably, his reputation within the game.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
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".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and revealing., 27 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A different read not good read, 4 Feb 2013
By 
H. R. B. Smith "H-extra" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read this without having read the Guardian columns., 8 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having never before read the secret footballer's columns before I thought this may make me enjoy the book more than the regular Guardian readers who have.

Unfortunately I do not believe this to be the case. After looking forward and paying the high for me 3.99 fee (not being a millionaire footballer I buy my kindle books for under 2 or from charity shops) I quickly read the entire book in about a day. This was more due to the fact that it was fairly short and easy to read rather than because I was gripped or amazed by the revelations. In fact I think high paid footballers are in the main much worse than portrayed here and there isn't really anything too shocking in the book.

Nevertheless it was a reasonably entertaining read, worth it if it goes down to 1.99 on kindle or a good charity shop buy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tell us something we didn't know., 10 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It seem's that the 'author' is such a secret footballer that that he is pointless. There is nothing in this book that anybody who follows the professional game in this country can't already be aware of.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the money, 21 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the columns, 4 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but short, 7 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 235 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game
4.92
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews