I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game


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Only a few people know the true identity of the man inside the game. Whoever he is-and whatever team he plays for-TSF is always honest, fearless and opinionated. Here he takes readers past the locker-room door and reveals the inner-workings of a professional club, the exhilarating highs and crushing lows and what it's really like to do the job most of us can only dream of doing. TSF chronicles the exploits of his Premiership colleagues with a gimlet eye and frank humour. Aug 16, Tom Webster rated it liked it.

I don't really know what I was expecting with this book. It would have been great to read some real shocking expose dishing the dirt on the beautiful game. On the other hand I was also expecting a banal trudge through cliched stories of drink and drug fuelled orgies and turning up late to training. The reality was rather thin on the former and heavy on the latter.


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The style in which the book is written is appealing enough, however I find the constant references to the author's love of classic liter I don't really know what I was expecting with this book. The style in which the book is written is appealing enough, however I find the constant references to the author's love of classic literature, high art and fine wine to be more than a tad grating.

The shocking inside information never really materialises. Yes there are a few anecdotes which are amusing but nothing that you haven't heard before from any after dinner speaker or chatty ex pro. One section of the book which did touch a chord was the final chapter where he mentions his descent into depression. Not only was it genuine and heartfelt but it was the only point in this book that you felt you were actually reading anything unique. Maybe his columns are fantastic but the book is rather a damp squib.

Apr 01, Russio rated it liked it. Anon has always had a fairly wide-ranging output and this lid-lifter really serves to confirm much of what we suspect anyway: managers add some value, tactical decisions mix with luck to produce the outcomes, people at high levels within the game are onto a I-win-even-if-I-lose scenario. More, that footballers are disgustingly overpaid and fail to appreciate the value of their so-called earnings. There are insights here, particularly about some of the play that goes on and the dressing room reali Anon has always had a fairly wide-ranging output and this lid-lifter really serves to confirm much of what we suspect anyway: managers add some value, tactical decisions mix with luck to produce the outcomes, people at high levels within the game are onto a I-win-even-if-I-lose scenario.

There are insights here, particularly about some of the play that goes on and the dressing room reality. But despite this being a secret expose, it offers little more than the average sensationalist autobiography which a given player would choose to give their name to. Surprises are over-played as are the literary credentials paraded by the writer. As an insider this provokes interest, as an apologist for the excesses of the modern game it goes some distance but, in the final analysis, is as alienating for a fan as illuminating.

That footballers disdain their fans is quite a brave thing to say but quite a difficult thing to sympathise with. Jan 23, Greg rated it liked it. Having read The Secret Footballer's column on the Guardian website, I was chuffed to get this book and the sequel for Christmas. Sadly, there seemed to be very little difference in terms of the stories included and the revelations they hold. That said, it is still an interesting read with plenty of behind-the-dressing-room-door stories of how top-flight footballers behave.

Of course, this is an insight into one footballer's life and the highs and deep lows he encounters. As good and as well put as t Having read The Secret Footballer's column on the Guardian website, I was chuffed to get this book and the sequel for Christmas.


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As good and as well put as the stories are, you get the feeling you've been here before with most other football biographies. The Secret Footballer's unique selling point is that he is still playing the game, whereas most others who put pen to paper have retired. But the anonymity he brings and the names covered up to avoid exposing his identity or getting the lawyers called in every five minutes nullify that aspect of it.

Despite it's USP, this is just football biography with some interesting tales. Worth a read, but not as good as it could have been. Feb 15, Allison Grindle rated it liked it. I looked up who the Secret Footballer is while I was reading this book.


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I was mildly disappointed and I think it coloured my view of the rest of the book. That said, it offers some incredibly interesting gossip about one of the biggest football leagues in the world. On the other hand, it sometimes made me feel not at all sympathetic towards the guy who railed against the industry while also participating in some of the same activities he gossiped about.

I don't think he's a particularly good wri I looked up who the Secret Footballer is while I was reading this book.

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I don't think he's a particularly good writer, more like a very intelligent, well-read man who has been given a chance to write a book because of his willingness to speak to the truth and because of the gossip he has to offer. I am not interested in reading this other book and although I commend his bravery at writing about the real life of a footballer, I find myself retroactively disliking a player I had previously liked. Jan 16, Fran rated it really liked it. I now tend to watch games by tuning in exactly on kick off, turn off at half time and turn on exactly on kick off and then turn off, mainly because pundits have me tearing my hair out, for every Gary Neville there is a Harry Redknapp, Robbie Savage, Danny Mills, Danny Murphy, Chris Sutto I am a football fan, however my support doesn't just end at the premier league "best league in the world" TM , I love all football, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A, Lega Nos, The Championship etc etc etc.

I now tend to watch games by tuning in exactly on kick off, turn off at half time and turn on exactly on kick off and then turn off, mainly because pundits have me tearing my hair out, for every Gary Neville there is a Harry Redknapp, Robbie Savage, Danny Mills, Danny Murphy, Chris Sutton etc etc etc, who for some reason seem to know nothing about football at all coming out with every cliche under the sun.

This book is for the fan, its unflinching, personal and searingly honest and is unquestionably the best book I have read about the game and I look forward to the rest in the series. Jan 07, Huw Rhys rated it it was amazing. Yes, this is a football book, and I suspect to fully appreciate it, you need to be a bit of a football anorak like me. It will be interesting to see what non-football fans make of it, as it's nothing like any other football book I've ever read. But if you're going to read this because you think it's all about some juicy bits of gossip on famous footballers, think again.

More than that we get the feeling that our author is a tortured soul, who really struggles to come to terms at times with the fame and fortune that being a top footballer has bought him. He claims that he suffers from mental health issues, bought on in part by his inabilities to deal with what football has done to him. One small thing that worries though - he says openly that he has to change "some details" to protect both his own identity, and that of many of his sources. But what exactly does "some details" mean? Does this in fact give him carte blanche to take a small truth and blow it up out of all proportion to reality?

But if this is predominantly a work of fiction, does it actually matter? It's a damned good read, looking at elements of a professional sportsman's life that even I, as a football anorak, never even imagined could have existed. There are four more books currently published in this "series" - I am heading straight for the next one!

I Am The Secret Footballer

I enjoyed this insider's look into Premier League football, even if it is a bit outdated now. TSF is a thoughtful man, someone who wants more out of life than just a footballer's career, and I appreciated that.

It gives him a different perspective on his career one that, judging by reviews, is not fully appreciated by fans of the Premier League , because it allows him to put football into a larger context than "the best league in the world. He's no angel - he's paid dearly in financial terms for some of the shit his agent got him into - and he doesn't pretend to be. His struggles with depression ring true, and it hurt my heart to read that his groundbreaking column on mental health in the Guardian came out the same day of the news that Gary Speed had taken his own life.

The Secret Footballer: Inside The Transfer Window

I'd love to read his take on football today, especially in light of the huge historical abuse scandal. Feb 12, Russell George rated it liked it. Having avoided the Secret Footballer for some reason, I finally gave in. Anyway, I must admit that, after a few interesting chapters in which Dave gives insights into the bullying of young players, tactics, and the role of managers, I became a little bored as the book focussed instead on the role of agents, and where moneyed footballers go on holiday.

For some reason I thought it would shine a light on what it felt like to be a footballer, but even the section towards Having avoided the Secret Footballer for some reason, I finally gave in. For some reason I thought it would shine a light on what it felt like to be a footballer, but even the section towards the end when the author describes his depression felt oddly superficial.

Perhaps I was expecting a bit too much, given that there are several follow-up books. Perhaps surprisingly, the author is quite even handed when it comes to the media, showing that they can be helpful to players, as well as harmful with the pressure they can apply. The book is very readable, particularly for the football fan. However, the problems I found with the book outweigh the positives.

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Yes, it does provide some insight on what happens during transfers and the relationships between players and their managers and clubs, but very little else. The problem is that for the author to remain anonymous, the people involved have to be referred to as friends or team-mates of the player, whether they were his manager, his agent or someone at a different club. I suspect the main attraction for many readers of both the book and the Guardian column is trying to work out who the supposed author actually is and there is a website set up purely for that purpose.

With a number of books now in this series, the gimmick has clearly worked, but this first book has not given me any incentive to read further, particularly when the book promises much, but delivers little. Sep 03, Alison rated it liked it.

I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game
I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game
I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game
I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game
I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game
I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game
I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game
I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game

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