Boozy Nights, Loose Women & Dodgy Agents? The Secret Footballer Tells All!
Most of us reckon we know what it’s like to be a footballer: money rolling in, women, fans kissing their behinds… Basically, they have the dream existence. But is it really that glamorous?
One man going some way to answering that question is The Secret Footballer, the player who writes an anonymous column for The Guardian. With his identity more closely guarded than Andy McNab’s, this is the first time a current Premier League player has been able to reveal so much about life inside the beautiful game. He even has his fellow players hooked!
“I know there are players who are avid readers because they come in on a Saturday and it’s the first thing they talk about,” he tells ZOO. “But there are still only five players for sure who know I am The Secret Footballer.”
With his new book hitting the shelves, we spoke to him about everything from female attention to being ripped off by agents. But only after swearing on our mum’s life not to unmask him…
On nights out…
“At the most sociable club I played for, we perhaps went out once a month; it really isn’t a constant p*ss-up. We have to perform and you simply can’t do that if you are permanently hungover and reeking of booze. Back then, we would all be p*ssed by the end of the night and the next day was always a day off. I used to be very anti these kinds of nights out, but once I pulled the rod out of my arse, I saw how good they were at knitting the team together.”
On pitch Banter…
“The funniest thing I heard on the pitch was as we were coming out for the second-half once. An opposition player told me why one of my teammates – who also happened to be one of his mates – was having such a lousy game. Apparently, he had invited a girl they had both slept with to watch the match and he had seated her next to the wife of my teammate. I can hear the conversation in the stand now. ‘So, how do you know player X?’ ‘Well, it’s a funny story really...’ I thought that was genius!”
“How easy it is to get laid depends on where you go out. There are some places where it’s the same girls on the prowl all the time and you get to know them like you might get to know the girl you always see at the train station on the way to work. The trick is working out which ones you have seen in the paper and which ones just want to sleep with footballers for their own pleasure. All this stuff about BlackBerry groups to pass around girls doesn’t happen. It all takes place privately. Some players’ wives will go through a player’s phone every chance they get, which is what brought about the introduction of a secondary phone – the ‘batphone’. That’s where all the wrongness goes on.”
“There are some top negotiators, but there are also some sharks, who’ll screw up a promising career to take an extra fiver from a deal. A common trick is for an agent to approach a club and offer a player to them for £10,000 a week, when he knows the club would have paid £20,000. If the player signs a three-year deal, the agent will bill the club for £780,000 (£5,000 a week). The club, despite paying the player £10,000 a week and the agent £5,000 a week for three years, are still paying £780,000 less than they would have been if the deal had been for £20,000.”
On foreign players…
“Many foreign players like to stay below the radar. Don’t get me wrong – they engage in all the things the British players do. But they seem to be more discreet and operate under the premise that the less people know about them – even their own teammates – the less chance they have of running into trouble. I will say this: my best friends in football, bar one, are foreign. Some of these guys have had fascinating lives and have a lot to say for themselves, beyond boobs and football!”
I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting The Lid On The Beautiful Game by The Secret Footballer (Guardian Books, £12.99) is out now.
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