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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I had to buy this book
Having read Captain's Blog I couldn't wait for Chris Hargreaves new book Where's Your Caravan. Life in the lower levels of the football league makes a far more interesting read than the premier players who earn too much and have all their needs taken care of for them.

I read this book in a few days and at times found I didn't want to put it down. It was also...
Published on 29 Aug. 2011 by P. Robinson

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book a real football fans
Enjoyed it because I like football. Interesting take on life in the lower divisions. OK, it will never win the Booker Prize, but full of little nuances on what it is like to be a football journeyman. Good luck to Chris in the future. He seems to be an ace person.
Published 21 months ago by Mr Derek L Porteous


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I had to buy this book, 29 Aug. 2011
By 
P. Robinson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Having read Captain's Blog I couldn't wait for Chris Hargreaves new book Where's Your Caravan. Life in the lower levels of the football league makes a far more interesting read than the premier players who earn too much and have all their needs taken care of for them.

I read this book in a few days and at times found I didn't want to put it down. It was also nice to hear about family life and the children. I am a female football supporter and Chris has played for the club I support OUFC.

I think Chris should consider another book about life after football to include what life is like running a shop.

I would like to recommend that you give this book a try - it is well worth the read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable football read, 3 Sept. 2011
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Having seen Chris Hargreaves ply his trade on numerous occasions over the years (including two and a half fantastic seasons at my club) I was really looking forward to reading this but at the same time I've read so many footballer's autobiographies that were so poor that there was a bit of trepidation. It didn't let me down - it gave a real insight not only into Chris' career but also one into the others of many other journeymen footballers who ply their trade entirely in the bottom two division. It is funny, uncompromising and sometimes very sad.

It was definitely 'warts and all' and perhaps the slight disappointment of not making it at a higher level coupled with a bit of fear of the unknown shines-through in the book at times to give an honest assessment of his career to date. The style of writing is different to many other accounts that footballers give in that he sometimes jumps to the "here and now" when he is writing the book at random points - but just like everything in his career - 'he did it his way'!

Great reading not only for every Grimsby, Hull, West Brom, Hereford, Plymouth, Northampton, Brentford, Oxford and Torquay fan (think that's all of them?!) but for anyone interested in getting the low down on the life of a player of twenty years that didn't get to drive the Ferrari, buy a country mansion and accumulate enough wealth to keep him sitting pretty for the remaining sistey years of their life. Hopefully in another few decades time I'll be reading an account of his career as a coach and a manager.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life as a journeyman footballer, 24 Sept. 2011
By 
Bantam Dave (Bradford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I remember seeing Chris Hargreaves play. He was a decent enough footballer but what I remember most about Hargreaves was his long and frankly horrible hair. I'm sure our terrace choir will have honoured him with the famous chant `where's your caravan` as will supporters all over the country. No self respecting supporter would miss the open goal that Hargreaves's terrible hairstyle offered them.

Hargreaves had a long career, playing for over twenty years, so no doubt when he packed the game in he will have walked into a job in management, with a healthy bank balance and a cupboard full of medals and trophies to reminisce over. Wrong, wrong and wrong. As he tells us in this eye-opening book life in footballs lower leagues is not the route to fame & fortune that it is in the Premier League. Can you imagine a player from footballs elite ever having to sell his possessions on the internet to make ends meet? Hargreaves does. Whilst he was never loaded during his playing days (except with booze, but that's another story) he was `comfortably off', but since he retired the expected managerial offers have failed to materialise and with a sizeable family to help support he has struggled financially. At the end of the book we read that he has opened up a sports shop in Sidmouth; as I couldn't help but like the man after reading his very readable autobiography, I hope it proves to be a success.

He probably deserves a little success because he didn't really have that much to celebrate as a player. When he was just starting out in the game he had the chance to play in the big leagues with WBA but due to a mixture of a bad injury and a bad attitude that didn't work out and he was soon hurtling back down the divisions. From then on his playing career drifted from club to club, rarely putting down any roots at any of them, with only victories in the Wembley play-offs and a minor cup providing any kind of highlight.

I suspect that supprters of the lower league football clubs will probably love this book. We are, after all, a much neglected group of people, particularly when the total support of the Championship clubs FAR exceeds that of the Premiership teams. Hargreaves`s revelations about the amount of drinking and drug taking that went on at the start of his career will surprise a few people but consider this - if players on comparatively low wages can afford to drink and take drugs, just imagine what the wealthy Premiership players might be doing?
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Painting a vulgar picture, 17 Aug. 2011
By 
Ultra_Fox (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
A new football season is upon us.

For those players fortunate enough to be part of the national game's elite, the rewards have never been so large. However, for those journeymen whose achievements rarely match their aspirations, the glamour lifestyle can often seem very remote.

Chris Hargreaves has been among the latter category for the best part of 20 years. Rejecting a contract with Everton as a teenager, he signed for home-town club Grimsby and regan to live the dream. But things didn't quite go according to plan as a disagreement with his manager, saw him offloaded to neighbours Hull, thus beginning his progress through England's lower leagues.

His tale has more lows than highs, as Hargreaves twice found himself part of teams demoted from the Football League, though later he also play his part in two successive promotions. Like his more renowned namesake, he was no stranger to the treatment table. The numerous injuries and illnesses which afflicted him during his long career are described here in graphic detail.

But when he was sufficiently patched up to play, he occasionally created moments which will live in the memories of those fans who wished them, when the dream once more sprang to life.

It's not the easiest of reads - the frequent present-day interludes detailing the production of the book are distracting and not entirely necessary. However the patience and tolerance of readers will be rewarded by the insights offered by the author into the laddish, cliquey and occasionally naive world of the professional footballer.

Those who suspect that progress in the game is often dependent on who (rather than what) is known will find plenty of ammunition within these pages. Many fans and players will empathise with Hargreaves as he documents tensions with colleagues and managers alike.

He deserves particular credit for shedding light on areas of the game too often shielded from it, and for being willing to admit to his own failings in a way which others higher up the scale would never contemplate.

If you can't afford to buy the book, then beg or borrow a copy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Splendid caravan, 11 Sept. 2011
By 
Mrs. G. Wright (West Midlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There are many footballers' biographies and autobiographies fighting for space on my bookshelves. As someone who dabbles in publishing myself, they are frankly essential tools of the trade, offering fresh insight and quotes that simply can't be obtained elsewhere. That these volumes are essential doesn't mean they are interesting - the vast majority have the same appeal as garden spades - dull but necessary. Most are just bland, money-making exercises, an extension of a club programme. As a rule of thumb, often the more successful the player, the more dull that his authorised story will be yet they sell in big numbers. With the publishing industry under assault from all directions, biographies remain a safe return for publishers so there will be plenty more on the way.

Hardly any footballers write their own life stories for obvious reasons with the vast majority preferring to dictate their raw thoughts to ghost writers. It's not easy being a ghostie having to keep everyone happy at the same time - player, publisher, players' family and other featured footballers. The easy option is to go for "public truth" and avoid upsetting anybody. Potential career wreckers will be omitted altogether or encounters just glossed over. For me, that's just wrong. There's ultimately a duty of care to the customer to tell the story as it is, warts and all, compromising only when really necessary.

Unusually, Chris Hargreaves book is neither dull nor ghost written. To Christian's absolute credit, he appears to have written everything himself and doesn't even acknowledge a proof reader or his publishers for their input. That's actually rather brave. I used to think that going it alone was the dream option until I actually tried it this year for an e book project. It's far harder than I imagined to solo write without a pushy second opinion. Towards the end of the project, I had doubts about my direction and sure enough two thirds through his own book, Hargreaves also suffered self-doubt to the point where he suggested disgruntled readers might want to seek a refund.

Christian's doubts were unfounded. He has put together a book which I completely recognise as being football reality -the importance of team bonding, the fear of injury and becoming a non-player, the extreme mickey-taking, intimidating management and many other aspects of being a professional that few supporters recognise. I'd go as far as saying this is the most frank insider account of the beautiful game since Garry Nelson.

I'm slightly privileged because I've had the opportunity to talk to some of the characters featured in "Where's Your Caravan" over the decades and I'm with the author every time. For instance, Alan Buckley does have a vile temper and Stacy Coldicott is an obsessive fitness fanatic.

In addition, I do admire Hargreaves' honesty and his laugh out loud self-deprecating humour. I'm not usually a fan of the `then and now' switching style yet the ex-Hereford man mainly pulls it off in his own laidback style. The author readily admits that his thoughts often go off at a tangent. Me too Chris, so I can hardly be critical of some of your meanderings!

Put simply, this is a fine example of classic football writing so just buy it. You won't regret it - although at a price that low Chris Hargreaves certainly will!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book a real football fans, 30 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Where's Your Caravan?: My Life on Football's B-Roads (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed it because I like football. Interesting take on life in the lower divisions. OK, it will never win the Booker Prize, but full of little nuances on what it is like to be a football journeyman. Good luck to Chris in the future. He seems to be an ace person.
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5.0 out of 5 stars True dedication, 2 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Where's Your Caravan?: My Life on Football's B-Roads (Kindle Edition)
I knew Chris Hargreaves when he joined Hereford United, as I started as a YTS player the same year. He was one of decent pros, and would normally say hello if you passed him in the tiny corridor at HUFC. I think I may have cleaned his boots at some point, but I can't remember a tip at the end of the season! Chris probably can't remember me as I was only a small, spotty teenager who didn't say an awful lot, especially to the pros at the club. It has been interesting to read how he came about joining Hereford and what he went on to do over the next 10-15 years. There are some really good stories in the book, I had to laugh when he said joining Hereford was the worst decision of his life. Perhaps it was mine too as I didn't make it as a professional footballer and this book has confirmed what I've thought about the game ever since. If you don't make it to the top you will one day end up back in the real world with not much to show for it. However, I am in awe of how dedicated Chris has been throughout his topsy turvy career. So much end of season heart ache, but he kept going. What Chris is doing now with young lads is fundamental, as a young player you need time to develop and grow into an adult. Football is a fickle game and whatever level you play, ultimately you are used by clubs and managers to fulfil their dreams! I wish Chris all the best and hope the book sales and sports shop eventually pay of that mortgage! But don't change and lose sight, life is still for living, even if you haven't got the riches of some lucky people.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and refreshingly honest, 31 Dec. 2012
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Don't know how I stumbled across this book on Amazon but I glad I did. As a (very long suffering) fan of Grimsby Town I remember Chris from many years ago and it was interesting to read his story of what became of him when he left us

An easy to read account of the sometimes brutal life in the lower leagues with its many ups and downs (Chris was relegated to the conference not once but twice!) written by a man who spent 20 years putting in the hard yards trying to make a living through football without quite managing to "make it big" . This isn't the glamorous life that the Premier League would have us believe all footballers lead, and you will not find a reference to him almost crashing his car when he was offered a derisory £50K a week contract . This captures well the nomadic life of a "journeyman" footballer with its uncertainties as to where you will be playing next season, and also the biggest uncertainty of all as he muses on what on earth he will do with himself now he has retired. It is written with a lot of honesty, where Chris admits his poor decisions and mistakes (which do appear to be many) and there is a lot of self deprecating humour as he looks back on his career with the wisdom of age. This will be of an interest to fans of his many previous clubs but I think anyone who has spent years following a team outside of the promised land of the premiership will be able to take a lot from it even if they've never heard of the author.

On the downside, as other reviewers have pointed out there is a lot of repetition and someone really should have gone through it with a red pen. Also , there could have been a few less of the "I'll tell you about a great night out I had with my mates once" tales - I'm sure his mates are pleased to be reminded of the time when they did x, y and z but the general reading public aren't interested - however I'm just been picky here and these minor annoyances don't manage to ruin the overall experience - after all he's a footballer , not a writer so I am happy to cut him some slack here

I must confess that I wasn't Chris's biggest fan back in the day. We're from the same Town and are around the same age. When we were in our late teens the impression I got from many mutual acquaintances was the he was massively arrogant and walked around the Town as if he owned the place (which to be fair he admits). - however this book has given me a new found respect for him which was very much lacking before. I don't know if he's vain/paranoid enough to read all of these reviews but if he is then I wish you all the best for the future, whatever it is you are doing
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read - Unputdownable, 2 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Where's Your Caravan?: My Life on Football's B-Roads (Kindle Edition)
In the age when many of us "older" fans are falling out of love with football due to the obscene money not just at the top level but in the championship too (My team have a player on 16k a week and heading for league 1) this book reminds us that there are some "real" people who play the game.

I laughed out loud on numerous occasions, his hectic lifestyle leading to many scrapes. As a young player he sounded like a real numpty, wasting a decent talent, partly due to his extra-curricular activities and partly due to being "bullied" by an old school manager. However, what stands out most is how fickle professional sport can be. I loved his theory that he signed for teams who called 1st whenever he was out of contract as this must be the team who wanted him most! Classic. (Did you not wonder Chris if some managers were holidaying in the summers or doing the background checks or trying to get hold of your agent/contact? Or maybe had other targets as priorities, before going for their long haired journeyman).

Anyway, in short, one of the best sports books I have read, right up there with Garry Nelsons books and Sir Stanley Matthews autobiography. One thing that Hargreaves certainly has, is an amazing capacity to make really bad decisions both persoanlly and in his career! (Who chooses Hereford over West Brom?). In his defence though, the reasons for many of his decisions show a level of integrity that plenty of premiership footballers could learn from! (Ashley Cole you NEED to read this book).

If only Hargreaves had played for 44 years instead of 22! The book would have been twice as long as I didn't want it to end, oh and Mrs Fiona Hargreaves you deserve a long service award!

To not read this book would be a crime if you have any interest in sport and football in particular - inciteful and hilarious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 24 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Where's Your Caravan?: My Life on Football's B-Roads (Kindle Edition)
When I downloaded this book, I had know idea who Chris Hargeaves was. I was football fan who need a new read (and I liked the title).

Chris's story is brilliant, funny and at times very exciting and emotional. Best of all, Chris lets you in to whole of a player outside of the football bubble.

It's great to read about players who aren't on stupid money and doing because they love the game, no matter what league their in.

Chris, if you do read this reviews, please accept my thanks as you have reminded how I love the game too.
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