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Where's Your Caravan: My Life On Football's B-Roads Paperback – 10 Jan 2011
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'If you want to know exactly what happens in the real football world, Chris Hargreaves is the man to tell you. He's been there and done it at a wide range of largely unfashionable clubs including my team Oxford United. The fans love and relate to him because he's a grafter….a great team player who always gives everything for the cause. Chris has been down many times but was never counted out'. JIM ROSENTHAL
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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.
I like the way the book doesn't get bogged down with lots of boring recollections of matches and, instead concentrates on some of the personalities and incidents that Chris has encountered in his career. The episodes about slaughtering turkeys with his octogenarian next door neighbour and taking a call from Ronnie Kray are wonderfully bizarre! And the bit about giving a stool sample had me in stitches - and I very rarely laugh out loud at books. On a more serious note, the book does underline the insecurity that comes with being a professional footballer. It's not all banging in the winner in the the last minute ...
Chris sounds like a nice geezer too and quite a lad in his time. You can imagine him recounting these tales - and in just the same manner - if you met him down the pub.
There is a lot of heartache along the way and a dawning realisation that he will not play in the top leagues or for England. The tale runs by seasons interspersed with a little of what he is doing now. My only real criticism is their is too much detail of his children's lives, he clearly is a proud father but I did not buy the book to read about his kids favourite food, tv or talents which is boring.
Other than that the honest details about his own faults, the managers and players he has worked with and mistakes he made add up to an enjoyable and easy read for anyone interested in football true side. I hope he does well on the managing side as his experience could stand him in good stead.
I have to say my expectations weren't that high (no offence Chris but our former Keeper once wrote an autobiography and it was utter tosh) but I have to say I quite enjoyed it. There's a nice pace to the writing, enough humour without it looking like Chris is trying too hard and quite an interesting insight into a world most Premiership fans don't even know exists.
Definitely worth a read in my view.
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.
It's refreshing too, that Chris Hargreaves comes from an ordinary background. We are spared harrowing tales of growing up on a sink council estate and class-based platitudes. Frank Skinner (and Dennis Skinner for that matter) might not enjoy it. But it brings home the struggles, financial, contractual and physical, of a journeyman footballer at the sharp end.
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