I Am the Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game
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Who is the Secret Footballer? His identity, jealously guarded by just one person at The Guardian, is the subject of many feverish blog posts and forums. Whoever he is -- and whoever he plays for -- he is always honest, always fearless and always opinionated.
The Secret Footballer reveals everything you need to know about the beautiful (and not so beautiful) game, from racism to relegation and from team talks to the slow decline of the goalkeeper.
career turned the other way, it was hard to take. He took a huge amount of abuse from the fans but it was clear to anybody who knew him that he simply couldn’t function properly on the pitch. I would say to him: “Just tell them why you don’t feel well,” but he wouldn’t, and then I woke up one morning to find that he’d written about it instead. The next day he seemed better. He didn’t want people to know he was ill – he just needed to get it off his chest. Playing high-level football has been the
and hostility that go with that, so when he travels to Liverpool away or Manchester United away, he will have the temperament to handle the occasion. “As of right now, a lot of solicitors could not have done that for him. They just don’t have the intimate knowledge of football, the players within it and their individual situations. Yes, they are professional people but they are legal people.” @Markarthurs: “If an agent has fallen out with a club, does this bar his players from that club?”
providing a genuine service to both parties, while the club pays the agent. The player is only taxed on the element of the services provided to the player. “I’m talking as a genuine, honest agent here: there isn’t a conflict of interest if the agent has the best interests of the player at heart and acts in a professional manner.” @Bluemorbo: “What are the most difficult demands you’ve ever had to deal with from a player or club?” “When I was starting out and learning the ropes, a senior player
shouldn’t they be? Hundreds of thousands of people are more than happy to pay to watch us each week, the kids in the park want to emulate us by wearing shirts with our names emblazoned across the back, and the sponsors and sports manufacturers are desperate to get into bed with us because it sells product (mums and dads often ask me who my boots are made by because their child has asked for a pair just like mine for Christmas or a birthday). I can’t understand the people who trot out that tired
delegation (well, if they’re down you may as well stick the boot in – that’s what I was always taught), he conceded that it could well be a valid criticism. But he also reminded me that I had never been a manager. I take his point, because I may easily suffer from the same flaw should I ever enter into management. I find it very hard to trust other people with important responsibilities, because invariably they won’t do what I would have done with the same task. They will put their own spin on