This book was bought for me as a present & I must admit I didn't know much about Mr Cottey. However, i wasn't disappointed. In a time when there are so many shallow & moribund autobiographies from big stars with no experience of real life, this book stands out as refreshing, insightful & laugh-out-loud funny. Although on the theme of football & cricket (both of which mr cottey played professionally)it would appeal to anyone with an interest in sport. Thoroughly entertaining & heartily recommended.
But if you want that sort of thing then read any of the sports superstar's biogs out at the moment. If you don't want ordinary, then read this. It's not a story of hard work, rejection, acceptance, superstardom and riches - but instead it's about hard work, rejection, crisis of confidence, loyalty and the daily grind of being one of cricket's (and formerly football's) foot soldiers. Yes there's glamour, famous friendships and plenty of humour but that's to overlook this book's true qualities: what's it really like to exist at sport's coal face? Wonderfully written, it contains some of the finest sports writing I have read and is a real treat for a fan of any sport.
What a great book; Tony Cottey is an entertaining writer and this is a book that stands out from so many other sporting autobiographies of recent times in many ways. First, Cottey has waited until his professional career ended before writing it; this gives him the chance to reflect on things with the benefit of considerable hindsight and experience gained from over 20 years as a professional sportsman. He's able to assess his highs and lows in terms of the broader picture, both in terms of his personal career achievements and family life as well as life-affecting experiences such as being room-mate to the late Umer Rashid on the Sussex CCC tour during which he drowned. Cottey has a sense of perspective that is all to easily missed in the 'My Life So Far' type of book written on behalf of young, current stars. Second, Cottey was not one of the greats, but a solid, professional county player. Although there's been an increasing market for this kind of autobiography, both in cricket and football (one thinks particularly of Garry Nelson's two books Left Foot Forward: A Year in the Life of a Journeyman Footballer and Left Foot in the Grave? and Steve Claridge's Tales From the Boot Camps), they remain the exceptions - often so much more interesting than the life of a high-profile star. Cottey recounts the difficulty of making it, first as a footballer with Swansea City - and the heartache of being released, then as a cricketer, with his beloved Glamorgan, before more heartache and a move to Sussex. His admissions of doubt, worry and innocence in contractual matters make for really interesting reading. Third, it's not been ghosted by a professional journalist who hardly knows the player. This book credits Cottey's life-long friend David Brayley as co-author; Brayley and Cottey grew up together and clearly know one another extremely well, and that aids the flow of the text no end.
This is a great book - full of humour, mingled with doubt, delight, surprise and above all honesty. Particular highlights were Cottey's account of the Viv Richards effect - including his own awe at the great man and being able to count him as a friend. The story of Viv Richards' anger on the night before the final Sunday League match of Glamorgan's title winning 1993 season was fascinating and just a little bit scary. Cottey's devotion to his friends and colleagues shines through; there's a whole chapter on his great friend Robert Croft of Glamorgan, with many extremely funny anecdotes, and also a moving chapter in which Cottey recounts finding out about Umer Rashid's death and the way in which it affected the rest of the Sussex team. His insight into 1980s soccer at Swansea was also fascinating - John Toshack shines through as an inspirational manager.
Overall a great book - a must for all cricket fans.
Too often, one reads a sports related autobiography and you're disappointed. A tale of "I did this, I did that, won a few things, could have won more, people don't really undertstand me, I'm a nicer/better chap than the public perceives" can be quite dull and repetitive. Not this book by Tony Cottey and his lifelong friend Dave Brayley.
It's a wonderfully entertaining story of ambition, multiple successes, multiple rejections, mutiple new hopes and multiple crisis of confidence - the ups-and-downs of life that we mortals take for granted but most of us assume that professional sportspeople are immune to. The required, confident swagger of a pro sportsman can, at times, be hiding terrible insecurities and this book tells the tale beautifully.
Despite having shared dressing rooms with legends such John Toshack, Viv Richards and Mushtaq Ahemd, Cottey's humility, ability to self-depreciate, loyalty, commitment and honesty shines through. Some of the stories make you laugh out loud, some bring a lump to the throat, all will enthrall.
It's not often that I'm pleasantly surprised by a sports book. Most of them are a sanitised version of events that are already public knowledge. But not There's Only Two Tony Cotteys. The very thing I perceived as the book's weakness when I picked it up, the relatively low profile and everyman status of the subject, turns out to be its strength. There aren't just two Tony Cotteys - their are hundreds of them, dotted amongst the county cricket scene and on the verge of first team football away from the gaze of the premiership. The honest toilers, riddled with self-doubt, who know in their hearts that they're not quite good enough to make it at the highest level. The book succeeds because Cottey comes across as such a likable character and it's a tribute to his co-writer David Brayley that the story whizzes by, and, by the time Cottey's moment in the sun arrives, you're genuinely happy for him. I'd recommend this over every other sports book I've read this year.
I've always been a huge fan of sports autobiographies and this one is certainly one of my favourites.
I have the pleasure of working with Cotts at Sussex CCC and when he told me he had written a book, I instantly nabbed a copy from his draw and read it cover to cover overnight. I didn't know much about him or his great career, but the book was not only enlightening, it was incredibly funny, humble and a joy to read.
For the next two weeks I shared his own stories to Cotts pretending them to be my own, before he finally twigged!
I cannot recommend this book highly enough, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.
Played with and against Cotts in the south Wales league and knew his book would be honest and funny. This book will not disappoint to all types of sports fans. The story he told about Viv Richards down in St Helen's had me crying with laughter along with many of his other tales. If you looking for a sports autobiography then look no further as this is top of the tree.