Secret Footballer lifts the lid on tall tales from abroad

Dean Goodison - Book review

The Secret Footballer
The Secret Footballer

If you are based in the north half of the county, there's a pretty decent chance that you've had the pleasure of bumping into our photographer Ger Leacy, he of the blissfully colourful attire and wide variety of hats of differing shapes and sizes.

Being a keen film buff that knows his stuff, Ger will happily recount tales of the latest Korean classic on at the Irish Film Institute, to those who share a similar interest. But Ger is no movie snob, and if there's not much on of intellectual worth, he'll happily while away two hours at the latest action thriller.

His review for these types of 'blockbusters' usually start along the same lines: 'it was graaand' he'd say, hovering with only a morsel of regret over the 'a'. 'It was a leave you brain at the door type of movie,' he'd round up with.

If Ger was a sports books kinda guy, his description would sit so perfectly with 'The Secret Footballer, What goes on Tour…'. The fact that this is the sixth book in 'The Secret Footballer' series suggests that, like blockbuster films, there's a large demographic that just want a break away from thinking. People that just want light entertainment.

The slight difference between the vast majority of Hollywood tales and this almost 350-page offering is that 'The Secret Footballer' is billed as a no holds barred, warts and all, piece of non-fiction. This is, apparently, all the stories the millionaire footballers wanted to keep secret.

Reading between the lines, and the pages, there's seems to be a certain amount of artistic licence granted to the tales. Where the blurred lines of reality and 'fuzzy memory' cross is hard to tell at times, but there are just enough holes around the stories to make the reader feel that most have a foundation in reality.

This sixth leg (the first was released as recently as 2013) focuses on the vacations taken by the footballing elite. It details the stories of trips, mostly with other players, that turned into messy, money-draining excursions laced with questionable ethics.

The Secret Footballer, who started his career down the leagues before breaking into the Premiership, chronologically goes through the various locations that were hotspots for the elite of the English game. He describes how Marbella became Ibiza, which morphed into Vegas and then to Dubai, dragging up some great stories of crazy shenanigans along the way.

There are, in all honestly, some laugh-out-loud moments, such as the Anelka story, and the American college student in Vegas; even if you know you shouldn't laugh, you can't help it. It should be noted at this juncture that for those who would prefer not to read profanity-laden books, this is not for you.

An interesting aside is the actual author of the book, never revealed in publication. A quick internet search will give you the answer and it's someone Wexford native Kevin Doyle will be more than a little familiar with, having spent a few seasons in his close company.

So, who will want to head down the Main Street and pop into The Book Centre to pick this one up? Anyone who enjoys sport and is happy to both laugh with, as well as at the expense of, millionaire footballers will be in their element here.

Certainly there's the youthful element of football enthusiasts that will lap up this publication. It's a breeze to read, it doesn't become stale (although maybe if you have read some or all of the five others it might be grating), and it's a great accompaniment for that summer holiday in the sun.

Visit The Book Centre on Wexford's Main Street for the very best selection of sports books.

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