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I'm Not Really Here Hardcover – 4 Aug 2011
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"His tale is one of incredible neglect, which makes for fascinating reading on a sporting, but mostly human level." (The Sports Diaries)
"Paul Lake could have been a world superstar but will forever be a legend at the club he loves" (Steve McManaman)
"Paul Lake was the most gifted in the group of young players who brightened Manchester City up for fans in the 1980s who were pining for the glory days to return...his is an inspirational human story" (David Conn The Guardian)
"I'd be frightened to put a price on his head these days ... Paul was as good a young player as I've ever worked with." (Howard Kendall)
"Without question, he is the best young player I have ever worked with" (Mel Machin)
The extraordinary memoir of Paul Lake, the greatest English footballer to never make the national team.See all Product description
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I saw the reviews for this book on here and thought I'd give this one a try as I love anything football related. I was concerned that having not heard of Paul Lake, I'd either not really get into it, or I'd quickly lose interest. I needn't have worried about that because, to use a cliche, I could not put this book down.
The first half of the book follows Lakey's beginnings with high hopes and dreams of representing his beloved Manchester City and, one day, England, representing his country on the world stage at a World Cup. His dream of playing at Maine Road for Manchester City becomes reality and is upbeat and joyful. The second half of the book is a desperately sad story, so well written by Paul Lake that you genuinely have absolutely nothing but sympathy and immense sadness for such a talented footballer who had his dreams snatched from him at such an early stage of what should have been a long and successful career at the very top. He talks of his struggles with injury and depression that follows and it keeps you gripped till the end.
This isn't your run of the mill, former premier league footballer autobiography with the odd memory of such and such game, how many millions they've made etc. This is a guy who simply had a great love for the game and desperately wanted to play the game he loved unlike a lot of modern day footballers who play the game for the love of money.
If you love the game and you enjoy reading autobiographies or anything football related, read this book. I'm a Liverpool fan, you don't have to be a fan of Manchester City to find this book a gripping read.
As a Liverpool fan, I've heard of Paul Lake but didn't know much about the player who pretty much had it all in the palm of his hands - and then had what would have been an amazing footballing career cut cruelly short. This isn't your standard bull*h*t story - boy does well, earns hundreds of thousands of pounds a week, wins a few trophies and now wants to cash in even more.
This is an emotional rollercoaster of a story about a player who was Man City's captain and likely would have been England captain too - but for a knee injury that was misdiagnosed and then mistreated. Time after time after time again. You live and breathe Paul's career on every page - he doesn't hold back. His happiness and joy when it was going well, and then the depression and effects following years of rehabilitation, surgeries, comebacks (repeatedly) and, finally, the inevitable decision to hang up his boots.
Here's a player who genuinely wanted to play for his boyhood club, who wasn't motivated by money or the riches of the modern game. It's one hell of a book and you're left feeling that Paul hasn't come to terms with how his career ended - particularly as he's seen his friends and other players suffer similar injuries and gone on to be successful footballers. It makes for an emotional and riveting tale.