on 21 November 2007
Books on footballers don't come much more honest that this. Dean Windass has a reputation as a 'hardman' of football. But how many 'hardmen' in football or outside it would bare their souls about the childhood sadness of their parent's divorce and its impact on them right into adulthood: the drink, the silent rages . . . and wetting the bed! Deano isn't scared to tell it like it is, which suggests he is a man comfortable in his own skin. He reveals how he was rejected as a teenage apprentice from Hull City and how he felt as if his life was over. But whilst working on building sites and frozen food factories, he kept playing non-league football until a few years later he had a second chance with Hull and this time was taken on. Maybe this is what has inspired him to work so hard at his craft so that now at 38 he is still playing league footie, scoring goals and, having played for top clubs all over England and Scotland, he's now back with Hull - a kind of fairy tale ending. I hope I've not made it sound as if it's all very deep and serious, there are lots of funny stories and Dean's 'up for it' character shines through. Anyone who loves the real game of football - hard, fast, muddy, sometimes bloody and with flashes of brilliance - will love this book.
Deano is a very hard character to warm to. On the pitch his style of play is a little too agressive, seemingly geared towards winding up both the opposing players and their supporters as much as possible. Off the field he is the same; newspaper reporters know that they can usually rely on him for an outrageous quote that they can splash across the back page. Even at my team, Bradford City, he his not universally liked by the supporters despite him regularly heading the leading scorers lists and almost single handedly keeping our on the field heads above water for a number of seasons. No one can dispute his enthusiasm for the game but sometimes he just seems to be a little too enthusiastic...
On reading this book you can understand what makes him the player he is though. In his teens he was rejected by both his mother and father, an act that left deep scars that obviously still have not fully heeled. Then as a junior he was rejected by the football team that he loved, Hull City, for being too small (haven't those fools heard of Alan Ball?). Following this rejection he worked packing vegetables in a frozen food factory for a while and it is the unhappy memory of this that surely drove him on to become a professional footballer.
On the field Deano never holds back and he hasn't held back in this book neither, as he occasionally bears his soul in what is a very readable book.
on 30 November 2007
Dean Windas always gives 110% on the pitch and it's no surprise then that he's done exactly the same with this book. With the kind of passion that, in the past, has resulted in numerous red cards, he doesn't hold back on anything in telling his life story and, as a result, it gives you a very real taste of what it's like earning your living in the precarious world of football. There's a rich cast of supporting characters such as Stan Collymore, Benito Carbone, Paul Jewell, Neil Warnock, Paul Gasgoine and many other familiar names. The fact that the great Bryan Robson has written the foreword shows just how much respect there is in the game for this hard-working pro.
The description of being 'let go' as a teenage by Hull FC is particularly raw and shows the harsh reality that many young footballers face when they are suddenly cast aside. Fortunately for Dean, he managed to work his way back up the ladder to reclaim his dream.
This book is a cut above the plethora of footballing autobiographies that are churned out every year because it has a real story to tell - and Dean tells it very well indeed.
on 6 February 2008
I bought the book as a bit of a laugh and to be honest I think Deano is the one laughing now. I hadn't expected to like the book for a likely delving into football trivia and detail( and it does have some), but as others have highlighted this is the tale of a man in torment and whose torment balm comes from scoring goals ( and of course his family now).
It is a great story of how adversity creates pressure,pressure creates energy and energy creates both sublime and desperate actions.I commend the book for it's candidness, directness and ease of reading. And, if your aren't a Hull City fan tough.