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4.8 out of 5 stars
I'm Not Really Here
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2011
Although Paul Lake's City career effectively ended at the age of 22, he is still revered as a City legend. Why?

Firstly, during his short career at City (truncated by a horrific knee inury) he had already proven to be a star. Captain at 21, often MOTM...he simply didn't do bad performances. He could play almost anywhere - and had all the attributes necessary to make it at the top level. England captain of the future? You can never say for sure, but the consensus was almost unanimous.
Secondly, he was a blue through and through - a fan wearing the shirt. You could see how much he wanted to play, and as fans we saw ourself in him.
Thirdly, he was something to cling onto when things started to turn sour in the early 90s. "It'll be ok when we get Lakey back", was something I heard often at Maine Road.

This book is a frank and thorough depiction of the nature of depression when something you love is taken from you. It's something most people can relate to, athlete or mere mortal. The fact that Lake is so up front about a subject that is still almost taboo can only be a good thing for mental health awareness too.
I really enjoyed the book: it was well written and produced both smiles and tears. It's a refreshing work, not the same old same old football biog.

Thanks for the memories Paul, and I wish you all the best for the future.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2011
I'm not a Man City fan, and can't profess to knowing a huge amout about Paul Lake, in spite of being a big football fan all my life. This book however, is possibly the best autobiography I've ever read. It traces Paul's life from childhood to the success of being made Man City captain and part of the England World Cup Squad in 1990 to the lows of severe depression following long term injury and many botched operations.

It'll make you laugh, and cry (or at least get a lump in your throat!) in equal measures, and every page you read will just make you want to get to the next even faster.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2011
I'm a United fan, and a good blue mate bought me this.
I owe him big time.

Red, blue or whatever team you support, you probably know about Paul Lake already "he did his cruciate didn't he?", but you might not know about the man who in his depths of despair admits to defacing and tearing to pieces a City programme, dissolves into tears after a chance meeting with a fan in a curry house and loses his father, is forced to retire from football and gets divorced within the space of months.

Lake's honesty about his struggles with his physical and mental health is brutal. Yet the writing style and the structure flows smoothly from first page to last.

The tragedy is that a talented young man with a treatable injury was let down by the Medical profession and sadly by his club - read the bit about his toe-to-toe with Peter Swales.

And still the physical pain goes on. Paul Lake will most likely be the youngest ex-pro to need a double-knee transplant, so buy this book right now and give him some support. Trust me, if you love football, you won't regret forking out for it, it's worth every penny. Hey, I can't believe I just wrote that about a City player, but it's true!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2011
Growing up as a city fans from Denton, Paul lake was our inspiration and local hero. Everyone I knew was so upset when Lakey had to retire due to injury at such a young age. I was 16 then and now I am a thirty something and thought I would buy the book to see just what did happen to my hero.
What a read !!!! The first 2 chapters set the tone for an emotional read. It progresses to give you an true account of how badly certain people at the club treated their brightest star. The physical pain of an injury that was never going to get better due to being badly diagnoised by people a young Paul Lake trusted. The years of physical and emotional pain clearly come through the words on each page,but there are also some light hearted funny moments that make you laugh out loud. The Final chapter sees Paul "returning Home" back to City in his new role as club ambassador, Well done the club for not forgetting the best young homegrown footballer ever to play for City. Writing this book must of taken a lot of courage and soul searching but you get the sense that writing this book has probalbly helped Paul in his recovery. A must read for any football fan especially fans who like to read books written by players who are still in touch with reality. Well done Paul and Good Luck... (your still my hero :)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2011
I read this book after stumbling across Paul Lake being interviewed on five 5. I grew up in Manchester in the 80's as a Liverpool fan, but as my brothers were big City fans, I was often in the Kippax watching City during the time Paul was on the rise. Along with likes White, and Brightwell; Paul Lake was something of a hero in our house. My brothers always felt more confident if his name was on the team sheet. He was a class act, and as my brothers Inspiral Carpets t-shirt read at the time `cool as f**k` I was still quite young when Paul got injured and must admit that I knew very little of what became of him after about 1991.
I have read many footballer autobiographies in recent years, non of which are a patch on this. His complete honesty to the reader of both the good times, and the bad was a very moving experience (I read the book in one sitting unable to put it down for longer than 5 minutes). At times it felt like I was intruding on very private and personal thoughts which must have been difficult to put out there, but give an excellent insight into the psychological processes attached to a serious football injury. This is not the norm of a footballer book but I felt very privileged to have heard Paul's story.
If Paul should ever read this review then I would like to wish him all the best, and thank him for some great memories.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2012
I was lent this autobiography of Paul Lake off a blue mate who claimed that although was a Red i would enjoy the book. I have to say this by far one of the better football biography's i have read in a while. Paul is a similar age to me so i can relate to a lot of the stories he has of growing up in around 70-80's Manchester. I did remember him from the period but had forgotten how much potential he had and had shown and he would surely have gone on to become a much greater known player and England regular if a knee injury had not brought his career prematurely to an end. He comes across as a totally genuine nice lad and far more down to earth than the prima Donna's of today. A great read for any football fan.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2011
an honest and frank account of pauls fight to save his career,at times the book left me with a big lump in my throat,and as a city fan,a sour taste about the way my club treated him in the past,am glad to read they are now making amends,a fantastic read for all football fans and a definate inspiration to anybody fighting a long term injury.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2012
I was recommended I'm Not Really Here by a friend who said that I'd find it interesting but I must confess that I was a bit sceptical. Yes, I'm a huge football fan and that was partly why I was recommended the book, but I'm not a City fan and let's be honest 99% of football autobiographies tend to be egotistical, ghost-written, quickly forgotten rubbish - so I thought I'd give it a try but didn't hold my breath.

The second reason I guess I was recommended this book is because I am bipolar and as such I am prone to sinking into some very dark, lonely and quite frankly horrible moods.

Paul Lake was a gifted footballer and it would seem he is also a gifted story teller. So gifted in fact that I spent a while trawling through Google trying to find out who helped ghost this, but I couldn't find a thing. It is the genuine article. Put the football aside if you have to and just read the story of how a fellow human being copes when all his hopes, dreams and ambitions are snatched away in the blink of an eye. A lifetime of being told you're destined for great things, and deep down knowing that you have a special talent that can take you there, and then boom! What would you do? This is the story of how Paul Lake stubbornly fought for his dreams to the point where only he failed to see the obvious, and then when he finally succumbed how he struggled through deep depression to resurrect and fill a life drained empty.

If you can overcome some of the football speak (nearly everyone is referred to with a name ending in ey or o - even the author, in his inner monologues, calls himself Lakey)this is a well written, honest page turner of a story that can't fail but to suck you in. I have my own demons to battle and it's people like Paul Lake that let me know that no matter how bad it gets there's always hope and for that I thank him.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2011
Beautifully written - funny 'laugh- out- loud' moments ( eg mum running on the pitch) and moments of real heartfelt, sometimes gut wrenching emotion. The best book I have ever read. And my husband read it before me - first book he's read in 20-odd years. I cannot speak highly enough of this book or indeed of the very talented and ultimately very resilient Paul Lake himself. A credit to his club and his family. As blues, we're truly very proud of him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2011
I picked this book up after reading a review from Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror. I remember the name of Paul Lake and recall the struggle of his attempted comebacks throughout the five years he remained a player only in name.
He was a talent that had the rug pulled from beneath his feet just as he was becoming known beyond the stands of Maine Road.
This is a real story, told with a heartfelt sense of what might have been, but shows a real sense of determination of a player keen to remain in the game he truly loved.
If you only ever read one football autobiography - make it this one - a fantastic account of a player from a time that the game was honest and true.
Carlos Tevez take note - and maybe get your interpreter to read to you the story of real hero of the Blue Army.
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