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on 3 September 2011
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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on 12 December 2013
This is a light, entertaining account of the highs and lows of being a professional footballer in the lower leagues. It's written in an easy to read, blog-like style which isn't surprising as the author blogged for his local Devon newspaper.

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.
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on 10 August 2013
The book is a sober message that not all football is 250k a week prima donna's. Chris's journey through the lower leagues is a fascinating insight into the world of football and the dreams of probably every young footballer.

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.
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on 6 October 2011
If you're a fan of a lower/non-league football team then chances are you've probably seen Chris play at your ground in the last decade or so. As an Aldershot Town Fan, I'd seen Chris play against us on numerous occasions so when I stumbled across the book, It was solely for that reason (and the book only being a couple of quid if I'm honest) that I downloaded it.

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.
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on 12 October 2011
As someone who regularly watches League Two football ("real football") and followed a non-league team for fifteen years, I could readily identify with this book. It also ties in well with the picture painted in Garry Nelson's "Left Foot Forward" and "Left Foot in the Grave". Above all it is realistic, not least because it appears to have escaped ghost writing.

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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on 24 August 2013
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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on 26 April 2014
I had the pleasure of reading this whilst holidaying on Rhodes last summer. Chris has had a great playing career and although we were relegated today he will help to inspire us to greater heights. A dedicated gentleman who works & plays hard. You must read this book!
So sorry to hear today that Chris has been placed on gardening leave. His knowledge & wisdom will benefit any team. This has been proven in his autobiography. I still urge you to read it.
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on 2 February 2012
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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on 2 June 2013
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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on 7 December 2012
I bought this as I knew of Chris, he's from where I live and knew him as a lad and his subsequent links to Grimsby Town. It's a great book and tells the tales of life away from the money mad Premiership. It's a good account of the life a footballer leads during and after their career. No doubt about it Chris pushed his luck in the early years, who knows with a bit of dedication he could have gone to play at a higher level. If you like your football autobiographies then this is a must.
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