This is not the finest book by the Secret Footballer. TSF’s first book had energy and style, allied with eye-opening stories about footballers’ unseen lives.
With Access All Areas, the fourth book by the anonymous now-retired footballer, it feels like the last drops of juice are being squeezed out of the orange. The thrill has gone.
It’s an interesting book, but what does TSF gain from remaining anonymous? What stories can he tell that he couldn’t if his name were attached to the book?
In his lengthy daydream about being Chairman of a club (a daydream that doesn’t touch on ticket prices or the number of kits released in a season), we gain some insight into the dynamics of football clubs. But even the passage on managers’ racial preferences for certain playing positions is hardly earth-shattering. We can see this bias with our own eyes.
Here’s another shock: certain managers would cop fines from the FA for criticising referees just so refs would give their teams an easy run.
The real shock is that TSF is on LinkedIn. Should I have prefaced that with “SPOILER ALERT”?
Perhaps I’m being unnecessarily harsh here. Perhaps we need to approach these books a bit like the Star Wars movies. If you’ve never read a TSF book before, start with this one, then move on to the others.
Access All Areas is enjoyable. It might not live up to the high standards set with his first two books, but TSF’s writing is a cut above a lot of the drivel published in authorised biographies.