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The Secret Footballer #3

The Secret Footballer: Access All Areas

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Forgive your enemies, they say.

Keep their addresses and keep notes, I say.

In Access All Areas, you'll learn how to buy three Premier League points for just £25,000, what it's really like to face a Football Association disciplinary hearing, and why every footballer in the country shuddered when they heard about the Ched Evans case.

Add to that The Secret Footballer's no-holds-barred tour of the country's Premier League clubs - telling us what it's like to play in each ground and revealing the one that all players really hate to go to - and you get an entertaining glimpse into a world that's normally off-limits to the fans.

Unapologetically opinionated, witty and honest, Access All Areas is every thinking fan's guide to the beautiful game.

I am The Secret Footballer and all bets from here on in are off...

368 pages, Paperback

Published November 5, 2015

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The Secret Footballer

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5 stars
148 (22%)
4 stars
242 (36%)
3 stars
211 (31%)
2 stars
53 (7%)
1 star
12 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews
Profile Image for James.
676 reviews14 followers
April 15, 2021
It's difficult to accurately rate this book due to reading it cover to cover in about 2 days, yet feeling like it was still a bit of a let-down.

Despite the preface from his 'WAG', in which we are told this is the book he really wanted to write all along, this very much continues from his previous books, as a collection of anecdotes of antics and the actual playing of football.

It's difficult to know to what extent TSF is a character in his own right, and how seriously to take him as the genuine player - he doesn't care about swapping shirts despite an earlier book where his collection seemed to lift him out of a negative spiral. He seems to think he is above the dressing room banter but is also keen to show how he still fitted in; he is at pains to point out he is different without being a weirdo; he has a very high opinion of his playing ability yet drops down the leagues unlike many top players who retire in their mid-thirties in the top flight; he avoids the attentions of girls but is keen to suggest he could have them if he wanted. He hates the idea of a media career but enjoyed going on local radio in a previous volume.

This book is also meant to be 'for the fan', but is so lacking in a real structure and just a collection of gripes and sometimes insightful comments that this doesn't seem heartfelt enough - it seems very much for his own ego.

And yet - I still read it and found many parts interesting. The sarcastic parts on West Brom were quite funny, and now long-term readers pretty much know who TSF is, we can understand why. But as a book, it fades into the others; I both sympathise with and dislike the author, and feel distinctly mixed about it, but it does read well.
Profile Image for Paul.
888 reviews71 followers
November 6, 2015
The Secret Footballer – Access All Areas

Once again The Secret Footballer gets down to the nuts and bolts about the professional game in England lifting the lid on aspects some clubs and managers would never like the light to see. As usual this is a humorous book packed full of information that looks at all the clubs in the current premier league as well as a few of those who are no longer there.

The unique views we are given here are wonderful, frank and honest, some know the TSF identity many do not and I hope it stays that way. TSF has now retired from playing professionally and has his fingers in a number of pies. We are able to see how Chief Executives try to dupe fathers about their son’s abilities, steer them away from agents and dazzle them with cash.

TSF also shows us that like wild animals footballers attract tics that will suck the blood out of them until the show is over then disappear in to the mist. When the phrase of “A fool and his money are soon parted..” could easily be aimed at the professional game especially the high echelons and TSF gives some illuminating stories that back this up. Whether it is buying cars, buying in to businesses or investing in ponzi style schemes, not forgetting the ladies that want the money the fame and fortune. On one TV dating programme a professional play was watching was giving a yes, yes, no, no, as to which ones he had sex with, all because they want to be famous.

We are taken on a tour of all the grounds of the premier league and what they are like to play at, and what the crowds are like as well as the dressing rooms. That obtaining 3 points for a win for your team only really costs £25,000, which what the FA fine a manager for berating a referee, and therefore getting a friendlier one to officiate their games. Some managers were better than others at this, especially one that ruled a club that was the biggest team in the league for twenty six years.

The Secret Footballer has once again hit all the right spots with Access All Areas telling the fans who it really is in football. All fans usually suspect that most of what he says goes on but never have the proof, so this feeds in to a fans paranoia but at the same time gives everyone a good laugh. As always one is in despair at some of the people who run the game and run the clubs, sometimes naive, some stupid but money seems to be the largest motivator whoever you are.

Another winner from TSF that all fans should read and take on board.
Profile Image for Mark.
74 reviews
February 15, 2016
Falls into the trap of opinion and stale punditry for the middle third. The first and final thirds are much better. Editor should have done a better job and dealt with at least 5 sentences that are ambiguous at best, make no sense at worst.
Profile Image for Ken.
2,207 reviews1,329 followers
November 17, 2017
Loved it! Both entertaining & educational. Could have maybe added a few more Championship clubs though!
Profile Image for Andrei.
2 reviews
January 27, 2016
The latest in TSF's series, it has the usual humour and wit that you would expect from his books. The A-Z of premier league football clubs is a nice touch, meaning that there is a little section on each club to keep all football fans happy. The anecdotes are somewhat amusing as well, especially about on the pitch 'banter'. However, i would say that i was a little disappointed with the back page claiming how to buy 3 premier league points for £25,000. I presumed this would go into detail regarding the gambling and fixing of matches but this is not mentioned at all. Hopefully, this could be an idea for the next book in the series. Overall, though, it is a thoroughly enjoyable book and would recommend to any football fan!
Profile Image for Stuart Bird.
24 reviews
October 20, 2020
More insight than 90% of what you'll read and hear from footballers (or former footballers). Occasionally the author sounds a little too pleased with himself and the prose style sometimes wanders into Accidental Partridge territory. Some topics clearly interest the writer far more than the prospective reader - such as previous slights and injustices experienced by the writer - but despite the occasional mis-steps there is a lot to enjoy. You'll not find the usual cliched punditry but interesting and thoughtful opinions on the modern game ( on agents, in pressuring referees and on footballers finances, for example). Recommended
84 reviews
May 4, 2020
The author is so unlikeable it’s like a spoof. Arrogant, ignorant, rude and childish. There were one or two interesting bits, but overall I just wanted to get to the end to move onto other things!
May 3, 2020
This book has the usual humour and wit that you would expect from his books. The A-Z of premier league football clubs is a nice touch, meaning that there is a little section on each club to keep all football fans happy. The anecdotes are somewhat amusing as well, especially about on the pitch 'banter'. However, i would say that i was a little disappointed with the back page claiming how to buy 3 premier league points for £25,000. I presumed this would go into detail regarding the gambling and fixing of matches but this is not mentioned at all. Hopefully, this could be an idea for the next book in the series. Overall, though, it is a thoroughly enjoyable book and would recommend to any football fan!
58 reviews5 followers
November 9, 2018
Guess it's just not my cup of tea. Some interesting snippets, but written in a really abrasive tone which just made it hard work. The self-confidence required to be a top-level footballer perhaps inevitably leads to a strong sense that you know best. Sadly this book fails to go the extra step of providing evidence or context, instead presenting several hundred pages of overwhelming arrogance, from an author who presents himself as a pretty unpleasant character.
39 reviews
March 23, 2023
A mixed bag. The best bits are really good: insight into agent and the wheeling-dealing behind the scenes, some interesting stories away from the press and cameras about life at a football club, up-close encounters with other personalities in the game.
But there were a few moments of what seemed like petty ranting where TSF just seemed to be “having a dig” at some clubs/players that soured a bit of this.
Still, worth a read
Profile Image for Filip Olšovský.
219 reviews19 followers
August 10, 2018
Probably the best one in the series. Factual, entertaining but mainly (and finally) really insightful.
1 review
January 28, 2020
Bought the book by chance. It was extremely interesting to know lots of details about English Premier League from first person. Plan to read other books from series.
53 reviews
May 2, 2021
Useless. Arrogant, pig-headed and racist. If the identity of TSF is that which is most commonly guessed, then he was definitely nowhere near as good as he seems to think he was.
Profile Image for Duncan Smith.
Author 7 books27 followers
May 3, 2018
Very good - this guy is really smart. Prickly and opinionated, but worth listening to.

Read three of his books inside a couple of weeks.
Profile Image for Alistair.
289 reviews7 followers
February 6, 2019
this covers much of the same ground as Crouchie's book and is an antidote to it in many ways . Whilst Crouchie is good humoured and thinks it is all a bit of a larf/ridiculous TSF is cynical and reveals football the be a money driven out of control sport with a "me first " attitude from all participants from the players to agents to owners to administrators . The buying of the various World Cups is the norm . I did not chortle very much but revelatory .
Profile Image for Colin Murtagh.
502 reviews5 followers
December 13, 2015
I've been really enjoying this series. Unlike most football books, this gives a much more cynical view of the beautiful game. As such, it's probably more accurate, it certainly feels frank and honest.
He works through the premier league teams giving his views not only on the teams but on the character of the teams and fans.
This is all interspersed with little stories about his playing career, and his life after retirement. The two big things are his attempts to take over another club, and his movement into being a football agent.
The attempt to take over as chairman of a new club is really no big eye opener. It falls apart after the current owners load the club with debts, allowing them to make a huge killing while placing the club close to administration. This sort of carry on has been documented at great length within the pages of Private Eye, It does show however the way football has become such a business that the asset strippers are active.
On the agent front, it's slightly worrying, as he points out, how easily it has become to get an agents licence. The story he tells about looking after a young lad, while we only get the one side of it, doesn't surprise me, although it does sadden me a little.
There is a lot of talk throughout the book of the way players get scammed, or taken advantage of. These are young lads, with lots of money, and to be fair, very little in the way of common sense. Given their short careers, it's amazing how many of them lose their money in ways we wouldn’t think of.
I've no idea who TSF is, and to be honest I don't care. AS long as he keeps writing like this, I'll keep reading it.
Profile Image for Nick Brett.
957 reviews57 followers
November 16, 2015
This series of books has been both fascinating and revealing. TSF a now retired “ex-Premiership” footballer who continues to lift the lid on football and what really makes it work. Even the knowledgeable football fan will find things here to surprise them. TSF has been there and done that and writes with eloquence and clarity (obviously populated with swearing) about the underbelly of football. We get an A-Z of the Premiership clubs in terms of visiting them, their culture and their managers. All fascinating. We get views on the underhand ways some clubs and managers operate and sight of the behaviours of young men with a lot of money.
TSF is a little more bullish than in his previous books and this translates into passion and knowledge that puts you close to the reality of the Premier League. TSF is planning what to do now he has “paid his dues” and is dabbling in representing some players (interesting section about how family can get it wrong for their sons) and being part of a consortium looking to buy a club. All of this gives you a unique insight.
I have read loads of football autobiographies and they have their place. They focus on an individual (obviously!) and their journey during their time before, during and after football. And some of them are very good. But what TSF does is let you into the secrets and culture of football and takes you by the hand and leads you into places you never thought would have light shone onto them. It doesn’t matter who you support, this is a book that will both educate and entertain you.
Profile Image for Donny.
151 reviews2 followers
September 23, 2016
(Finished earlier than recorded here)

Ok, a little something about their propensity for sex. Nothing too saucy though. Young chaps with testosterone on overdrive. And willing participants. Oh well.
I like that Mr Footballer here is very self-aware about what's happening, and his observation of the environment in which these footballers spent most of their time changes their view of the world. Not everyone matures at the same rate, and some of these boys cannot recover from the praise that was heaped on them since young.

Anyway, a thoroughly entertaining book. I've read three of his books now. One more to go. It's not a competition or a checklist I have to go through. I like the insider bits he shows us as he paints the picture of a world I won't have access to otherwise.

Compared to his other books, this is average. I liked his Guide to the Modern Game a little more I think, because I learned a little more about the game from the perspective of how it's played, rather than learning about the dirty bits that go behind the scenes of the game.
Profile Image for Kevin Collett.
185 reviews
February 13, 2016
I enjoyed the book. This was the first TSF book I've read and it was entertaining and well written. I was a bit concerned when I started as people were not being named but that was a brief situation with plenty of dirt being dished on well known players and managers. Good luck to the TSF in buying a club and being chairman.
Profile Image for Adam Hurt.
7 reviews
December 11, 2015
Genuinely a decent read

I've given the book a 3* rating because although it's a good read, it's almost repetitive of the other 'secret footballer' series. Nothing really surprises me, there is no shock factor, it's turned into a book on what the fans already know and think.
Profile Image for Albert  Gubler.
209 reviews24 followers
March 6, 2016
The Secret Footballer is a funny book full of great one-liners and interesting stories surrounding the whole wide world of football. It helps that the author seems to be acutely self-aware and also is not afraid to mock himself. Entertaining, but also not really full of depth.
Profile Image for James Koppert.
413 reviews
December 2, 2016
The third book of his I have read and equally as brilliant. It highlights exactly how ridiculous, false and corrupt the game is but at the same time exactly why it is such a beautiful game. The most honest football books you will ever read
Profile Image for Jack.
98 reviews
December 17, 2016
I read an earlier version as I'm a football fan - Scottish football - but really did not like the tone of this one. That's probably pretty personal though, read the first chapter and took it straight back to the library.
24 reviews
May 21, 2016
read this in 4 days,loved it, and yes i do know who the secret footballer is!!
July 26, 2016
Great read

Loving Dave Kitsons work. Superb book as ever and truly insightful to get to the nub of the issues in the game.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews

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