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A Compulsive Tale
on 19 November 2012
I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that someone with an addictive/compulsive personality should write a really compelling book - especially when the subject matter is the very eventful life of former footballer Mark Ward. He was a busy, industrious player (400 plus career matches as a pro) so when he finds himself banged-up for 4 years, he can't just sit still and bide his time. Instead he bangs out his life story, and it's a real page turner, embracing nice memories of the emergence of the Premiership, and all the old footballing characters from the 80s and 90s. There are two in particular that stand out for the author as beacons of inspiration and decency in shaping his early career - John Lyall and Howard Kendall (who repays all the tributes in the foreword). But when his career path takes him away from their strong influence, things start to unravel, and this quickly becomes a salutary tale for any young footballer (or anyone really). The author readily admits that he is often let down by his own judgement and decision-making, and when this is fuelled by too much booze then enmities and problems start lining up like a huge defensive wall that stops him getting to where he thinks he should be.
Ultimately this is an (apparently) honest and sobering tale, with a post-script chapter stressing how much of a struggle post-prison life still is despite the success and coverage of this book.