on 29 August 2013
To start off, I just want to say that I love sport biographies and actually had a bit of a soft spot for Robbie Savage when he played.
There possibly could have been a Robbie Savage biography that revealed an interesting, substantive human being that is hinted at occasionally in his punditry. Sadly, this book only portrays the shallowness of the modern Premiership footballer, (although perhaps I am being too harsh and the book is instead an accurate reflection of a singular conceited big-mouth that happened to play football for a living).
The first-person narrative does nothing to persuade the reader that Savage isn't a completely self-centred moron, despite numerous entreaties to the contrary. If Savage isn't trying to persuade you how brilliant he is, or re-hashing the numerous arguments he has had during his career, he decides to regale with tales of his vast wealth and lavish spending. Wins and promotions are measured by the size of the bonus he receives, as are major life events, such as his marriage, honeymoon, and various house purchases.
His opinion of himself is staggeringly inflated, and if you knew nothing about football or humanity, Savage would have you believe that he is one of the best footballers and human beings of all time.
More generally, books by players such as Savage call into question the necessity of publishing books by modern-day footballers. Everything they do is reported in the press and therefore the only thing revealed by having them 'write' a tell-all book is their own perspective on the matter which, in the case of Robbie Savage at least, does not add any value to the reader’s understanding of events. This is why I tend to steer clear of the biographies of modern footballers and it was a total aberration to expect anything different from Robbie Savage.
Don't read this book. It isn't worth the time, the money, or the depressing insight into the mind of a conceited braggart.
on 29 August 2010
Nothing you read in Savage! will change your mind about the man. You will still love him. Or you will still hate him. It may be that your view becomes even more polarised - but at least it will be based on fact rather than blind prejudice. Yes, he admits, he deliberately winds people up; yes, he tries to get opponents sent off; yes, he's overachieved as a player; yes, he buys a lot of boy-racer motor cars; yes, he dyes his hair, whitens his teeth, uses fake tan, and has a bizarre clothes sense; and yes, he loves his mum. But Savage! turns the cartoon character he can sometimes appear into something more 3-D. His ghost, Janine Self, allows Savage's voice, and his almost endearing self-deprecation, to shine through in a book that rattles along at a fair old pace. Recommended for those on both sides of the great Savage debate.
on 26 December 2013
I was curious as to why Robbie Savage divided opinions so readily. Now I
feel a little better equipped to understand why many admire him, while
others are easily annoyed.
In the early parts of the book he is depicted as a young, energetic person
who loved a joke, change room banter and to wind people up. He came from
humble beginnings, was shy, had a speech impediment, a slight frame, family
and a sizeable ego. He repeatedly jokes that a friend assisted him to pass
exams. This character trait of doing anything to win, without in his opinion,
being malicious, continued on the football pitch.
Savage's determination to play professional football despite not being deemed
good enough to play for Manchester United, leads to an impressive 600 plus
Premier Division games. He thanks people for their contribution to his life
even after conflicting with them. Sir Alex Ferguson, his neighbour for six
months, falls into the category of preferring to cut contact.
Savage makes it clear that he wins many man of the match awards, was often
sensational on the pitch and aspired to be captain but was not offered the
chance till late in his career. Sometimes with disastrous consequences. To
his credit, he is self-deprecating about his image, his car, house and boat
buying where he loses considerable sums of money.
I think many readers will be put off him as a person simply due to how he
monetises many transactions. He likes to let the reader how much he earns,
how much he saves, how much he loses or wastes. Bragging is a theme in the
second half of the book that detracts from the fairly decent impression we
get in the first half.
What I particularly find difficult in the book is that we don't get told much
about Savage's interests, hobbies philosophies, why Mark Hughes was an idol,
why he thought Steve Bruce was a good manager. He mentions his dogs, wife,
mates, parents but we don't ever get a sense of their characters to understand
why they mean so much to him. We know he likes to walk Boxers, watch TV, the
media, but never get more than a very superficial insight as to why. He never
mentions significant places or reading about anything other than news about himself.
What aggravates is his pride at being booked 91 times, fouling, diving,
pretending to make his mark. Much of the second half of the book is about him
justifying his actions. bemoaning unfair treatment or settling scores. He shows
little insight as to why fans booed him or why he was substituted. In one
instance, he angrily approached Steve Bruce as to why he was pulled off and Bruce
said he was crap. Savage responds by saying that one game in sixty isn't bad.
Implying that even if he is crap he has earned the right to play. Regards being
booed, he says he doesn't think its personal, rather a mole in the dressing room
feeding negativity to the media. Right, work that one out.
In earlier days, he needed a lot of hired help, to mow his lawn, do his laundry,
change a car tyre, wash his car which if added to the fact that as he gets older,
he shows little appreciation or understanding for home making other than shouting
at his wife and children if the house is dirty in case guests arrive. Football seems
to be the only thing in his life that interests him, other than banter, cars and
He claims to have been saving £40,000 a month for some time. This explains, I think,
why another reviewer talks about a lack of class. Along with his comments that in
his opinion, many fans loved him, that he was Mr. Birmingham. His bragging about his
popularity at Birmingham in the 2002/03 season is plain revolting. One nauseous
quote is "First season, I was the main man. Fact." There are others in a similar
vein littered around the book that dilute the books value substantially.
I don't think any reader would begrudge Robbie Savage his hard earned fame and fortune.
As he said often, he overachieved and his love of the limelight drove him. He made good.
Well done. However, he did fail to build spirit in the team when captain at Derby, he
does go on about his money, houses and cars. He mentions he scored one single goal for
Blackburn, surely this would raise a few eyebrows as to his form and ability? Needless
to say, he would rather readers think he was undervalued and a bit of a world beater
actually. His humour and childish pranks he says were often misunderstood. I would argue,
that he had little sensitivity for others and was not prepared solve the problem and
change his ways.
Robbie's book would be more tolerable if he ceased to justify his behaviour, to settle
scores and seek to understand others more. He will continue then to do well, yet behave
with discretion, some wisdom and respect for his viewers. Without which, he surely will
continue to annoy people as his media profile grows.
He wanted to be liked on the big stage and he admitted to want to be the next Gary
Lineker in the media. Considering Lineker was never booked or cautioned, won a few golden
boots and has a great goals to games ratio as a player, he is somewhat different to Savage.
That said, many would suggest that if Robbie Savage combines his talents and determination
with some sensitivity training, he will do well with his technical knowledge and experience.
I gave the book three stars because in my opinion it provides enough anecdotes and insights
into the subject, while never being riveting. Its not a bad book, just irritating in parts.