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I am the secret footballer is taken from the Guardian column of the same name. Written by a professional footballer who has played in the Premier League, it details the life of a professional player, from the dissatisfaction with the man on the street shouting abuse or telling a professional how to play the game or discussions on the failures of some named footballers as people.
It is an interesting and eloquent book, but some of the words and phrases feel as though they've been thrown in there to make this writer appear smarter than your average footballer. The book is broken into chapters and is basically a collection of the Guardian columns compiled in print.
I bought the book on Amazon for my kindle for 99p and read it in an evening, it is an easy read for football fans as many of the names and stories are ones you'll remember, I did spend much of the book wondering who the footballer and it is easy to work out as he provides slightly too much detail on a couple of occasions and eagle eyed google browsers will be able to find exactly the same quotes in an interview with a reasonably famous former premier league player.
Knowing who the writer was has clouded my view of the book a little, as having watched him on numerous occasions I do think he overplays his own ability somewhat, as the book portrays him as someone with huge natural talent, from watching the player, that never appeared obvious.
The book has interesting sections on life as a player, the fame, the fortune, managing the press, jealousy of other players and the rivalries that can occur. John Terry and Ashley Cole don't come out of it wonderfully, nor do many others, however, this isn't a book for score settling its a tale of a player who has fallen out of love with the game and wants to share his dissatisfaction with others.
There are interesting accounts of depression and managing the slippery slope of dropping down the career ladder at a young age, the player clearly has talent as a writer and could continue as this or a pundit. Although he had a reasonably decent season last year so will probably continue to play at a lower level until his enthusiasm pushes him back up or he finds something else to occupy him.
I enjoyed the book and came away feeling less enamoured with the game and particularly the money, but still fascinated by the sport. I would recommend this to all football fans, it is a well written book with a decent and varied line of stories, many of the characters aren't named but are obvious to many, while others are and detailed to a degree they perhaps wouldn't like to be.
This is a slightly higher brow tale than most football autobiographies out there and anonymity obviously provides the player with more freedom to say what he truly feels, the book is better for this and is a really enjoyable read.