I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game Paperback – 5 Sep 2013
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This is better than any turgid football biography on the bookshelves and well worth seeking out (Sunday Business Post)
A recklessly honest read that pairs huilty pleasure gossip with a moral compass, as TSF is force-fed a lifestyle that comes with being a Premier League footballer (Loaded)
Not since the days of the great super-injuctions has the identity of an anonymous sports star cause as much speculation as that surrounding the mysterious author of the Guardian column, The Secret Footballer, which has been running in the paper for the last 18 months (Choice magazine)
A hugely insightful and opinionated commentary on the modern game (Morning Star Online) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
A new edition of the bestselling I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game, by the Guardian's secret man inside the game.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most interesting was his perception of the supporters in the stadium on match day and how there are certain elements of the tactical side of the game that only those who have played at a professional level. Also illuminating was TSF's battle with depression.
The book isn't perfect. Some of the tales of high-rolling footballers behaving poorly get a little tiresome and less shocking as the book goes on; possibly due to repetitive nature of some of them.
I found myself disagreeing with some of the opinions the author has at times but at least they open a debate so I can't complain too much about that.
There is even something of a twist at the end which adds an element of drama.
Overall this is an intelligently considered account of a world which is often beyond even the most ardent football fan's imagination
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".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very insightful book and gives you a very small glimpse into the world of the pro football playerPublished 2 months ago by Mr. D. HUNT
Bought this as a surprise gift the hubby. He in our 6 years of knowing each other has never read a book until this one. It was fantastic he says. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A long overdue look at the game from the inside - especially into money, peer pressure, boredom, gambling, alcohol and how agents operate. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Benjamin Frankly