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The third book from The Secret Football takes a different approach from his first two, almost deliberately light, seemingly designed as a stocking filling with a mixture of short bursts of gossip, analysis and opinion. Whereas the first book was an expansion of his Guardian columns and the second book an enjoyable update with more anecdotes, The Secret Footballer’s Guide to the Modern Game is like a collection of intelligent pub conversations for the football fan. Training drills and fitness regimes are interesting detail for those of us immersed in the game but who don’t work in professional clubs.
At its best the book has The Secret Footballer in full flow with his thoughts on the game itself, notably the lack of intelligence of many that still demand that players dive in to chase the ball on the pitch or don’t have patience to understand about the creation of space by either movement or positioning.
Keeping his identity secret is no longer the priority, and after the last book there were enough clues for a few internet searches to cross-check the detail and give a reader who wants to work out who the managers he cites are. It is a good read for fans but still has enough about it to show that most players live in a different world in most part from the paying punter; one anecdote about Mark Viduka shows there is a lack of understanding that the game wouldn’t be as marketable with people who pay to fill stadiums, create an atmosphere and contribute to important match-day receipts and merchandise. A football supporter doesn’t want to hear excuses about unmotivated performances, see players boasting about wealth and don’t want to listen to moaning about progressive taxes on mansions in an economic climate where food banks are on the rise.
Mel Gomes is the author of the e-book Glory Nights from Wankdorf to Wembley which documents Tottenham’s return to the European Cup. 100% ultracotton white t-shirt with an original two-tone print by Lilly Allen for The Substantive. With echoes of Glory from American Cinema to Bruce Springsteen, and full of the flavour of Escape that European Travel brings, The Substantive Columnist Mel Gomes’ e-book ‘Glory Nights: From Wankdorf to Wembley‘ is available from Amazon and Smashwords. Is this lame banner REALLY Newcastle United's answer to Aston Villa's Sob on the Tyne taunt?
Is this lame banner REALLY Newcastle United's answer to Aston Villa's Sob on the Tyne taunt? A FORMER Midland soccer star is the anonymous writer of an explosive football book which lifts the lid on the beautiful game, it has been claimed. The Secret Footballer (TSF) tells tales of players committing adulterous sex acts in hotel pools and splashing out on lavish drinking binges in Las Vegas. But fans believe they have pieced together enough clues to unmask TSF as one-time Stoke City striker Dave Kitson. Early candidates were Blackburn Rovers midfielder Danny Murphy and Bolton Wanderers striker Kevin Davies. But the glory days did not last as Reading suffered the agony of relegation on the last day of the 2008 season, something TSF says he also experienced. With TSF due to release a book and plenty of new clues, the speculation is rife once again and there are some new names being banded around.
Lots of people on the guardian mentioned that Dave Kitson fitted all of the descriptions, including a youtube video of him being knocked down by Antonia Valencia which he mentioned (and exaggerated in one of the articles).
Another clue which matches up to him which I have seen no other reference to is that of the Dog and Duck pub which he makes mention of a couple of times, and mentions that the manager at his first club also referenced it when talking to players. It’s not Andy Cole because he mentions being taken into the circle of black players when he joined one particular club and how they were racially abused by the little boy of one of the supporters, plus the player is still currently playing and Andy Cole retired a couple of years ago.! The more I read about Dave Kitson and hear previous interviews (and compare to TSF interview on R4 today), the more I think it could well be him. Kitson also got relegated with Reading on the last day of the 2007-2008 season and then left for Stoke as their record signing.
All the other links add up other than the supposed daughter but not seen where he mentions that. I have spent a long, long time researching this, and I am absolutely 100% certain that TSF is Dave Kitson. Interesting to note that on that 2007 Guardian interview Kitson talks about footballers and their washbags. Obviously you can’t discount him because he has a son rather than a daughter, or because he supported a different team as a child, or whatever. Just to add to the above: the tone and language in the very helpful link from the staffordshire paper seems very close to the tsf column. Also we know he is from a small town, Hitchen being one, and his history as per his wiki entry matches his comments about not doing YT at a pro. The Secret Footballer has been providing snapshots and opinion on football for 18 months, and the frequent articles with The Guardian have kept people guessing at the identity of the man behind the series. In July, The Guardian secured the global rights to produce a book by The Secret Footballer and it has been one of the most hotly anticipated ahead of its release this week. Thanks to the good folk at The Guardian, we have a review copy on its way in the post and can’t wait to sit down and read what is no doubt an excellent insight in to modern football. Dave Kitson had been most people’s favourite for a long time having finally ousted Danny Murphy from the the top spot a few months back. I never heard the first part of the interview this morning but before the second part was played Ms. Today danish television, Kanal 6, brought an interview with Dave Kitson where they, not directly asked to the book, but asked if he’s been in Denmark. I know it is in Danish, but for those who can’t translate it, the bottomline is that Sheffield United threatened with a lawsuit. I believe I’ve read about an elbow TSF (or one of his teammates??)got from John Terry. Norwich City have signed Hull City winger Robbie Brady for a fee believed to be ?7 million. I also met him on holiday and he was a real genuine and down-to-earth fella who, I have to say, looked in great shape. His only downfall is that he is such an out-and-out winger that he sometimes comes too deep for the ball and has too much to do. As a result, he is often too far away from the goal to become the opposite wide man in an attack and score at the back post.

If Norwich can ensure that they keep him high up the pitch, then I feel that he will add goals to his game because he has good confidence. Aston Villa have signed Ghana striker Jordan Ayew on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
With a five-year deal in hand, this is one for the future, particularly if Villa add Emmanuel Adebayor to their squad.
After all, that’s what he does and I see no reason for that to change at Villa just because Tim Sherwood is the manager. All managers have a little part of their ego that tells them that they can do what’s never been done and get certain players performing at a level that had previously been thought impossible. Ayew follows a long line of African strikers who have come to these shores to test themselves. They desperately needed somebody of top quality to come in and either act as cover for David De Gea or replace him should the Spaniard leave for Real Madrid. Romero’s pedigree is excellent, having played in the 2014 World Cup final with Argentina. Goalkeepers can afford to sit on their arses for a year at a big club and not damage their reputation too much in the process. Watford have made their tenth signing of the summer by recruiting Dutch forward Steven Berghuis from AZ Alkmaar.
I know a little bit about the player because he was linked with a club that I’m involved with. He is very accomplished with it so Watford fans will just have to hope that all his chances fall on that side. There is undoubtedly a Barcelona link at Stoke, to the point where I’ve got one eyebrow raised. Marc Muniesa is another graduate who is a slow defender that gets on the wrong side of players. I feel that either his best position has never been found or that he has no one position and is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades type of player. It’ll be interesting to see how Hughes sees Afellay fitting in and whether the Welshman can extract any kind of solid form from him.
This will have raised a few people’s eyebrows but there are some constants at work here that will soon make it stack up for you. Firstly, West Brom head coach Pulis knows Chester well and has tried to sign him previously. Secondly, Pulis will have called Sir Alex Ferguson about Chester because that’s what Pulis does.
Pulis forged the relationship with Fergie when he signed Ryan Shawcross from United on Ferguson’s recommendation. At the time, Stoke were a Championship side and Fergie had told Pulis that if he could speed up the feet of Shawcross, then he’d eventually have an England player in his squad.
Ferguson clearly gave Chester a glowing review while telling Pulis exactly how to improve the player.
Queens Park Rangers defender Steven Caulker has signed for Southampton on a season-long loan.
Caulker arrives at Southampton purely so that QPR can save wages but he isn’t a bad player to have in the squad at all. When the chips were down at St Mary’s Stadium last season and the team had their backs against the wall, they largely stood up thanks to Toby Alderweireld pulling people together and leading by example.
Years ago, it would have been unthinkable: an Arsenal player calling a Manchester United player for help.
The surprise move came about after Scholes’ appearance as a pundit in the televised match between Arsenal and Swansea City, in which he gave a withering assessment of not only the progress that Wilshere has made as a player but also the credentials of Arsenal as a title-challenging team. During a brutally honest post-match critique, Scholes claimed that Wilshere had not improved since the age of 17, something that led Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, to question Scholes’ coaching credentials. And it’s easy to understand why; after all, when does Scholes say anything about anything? Wilshere, however, to his eternal credit, was intrigued and rang the former United midfielder in an attempt to improve both his performances and his injury record. Aside from desperately wanting to know which players Wilshere thinks are rubbish, and despite the fact that Paul Gascoinge would have a huge claim to be the greatest English midfielder of all time, Wilshere’s ability to swallow his pride and contact Scholes has really impressed me. Whether you’re in the Gascoigne or Scholes camp or neither, it cannot be denied that Scholes was one of the finest players that this country has ever produced. Criminally misused by England in order to get two other central midfielders who were not on Scholes’ level into the team, he nonetheless caught the eye with some big goals and intelligent use of the ball at international level. It will come as no surprise to anybody who has read my first book that Scholes is something of an enigma for me. When I got to the Premier League and played against United, I stood in my own half and watched him warm up for 15 minutes. I had the unenviable task of trying to disrupt Scholes’ game in a match that I played against United.
If the ball came in to him and I was close enough to nail him should he choose to control it, he’d simply bounce it first time to a team-mate. And that was the part of his game that Xavi, the legendary Barcelona midfielder, so admired. He didn’t play to the crowd, he did exactly what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it and that is what marks him out as unique in the history of English footballers. Personally, I think that Wilshere has at least another gear and that what Scholes was trying to say was that most of us in the game had expected him to find it by now. The Arsenal midfielder has a long way to go to get anywhere near Scholes but, then again, it isn’t a contest.

And that is, if you managed to put a strong challenge in on Jack, then there was a good chance that he would not withstand it. Who knows, for the sake of a phone call, this might turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to Jack Wilshere. Gazza was very talented, but injuries and his lifestyle mean you cannot mention him in the same breath as the likes of Scholes. One thing for sure, unless Wilshire learns to pick and choose his tackles a little, he is not long for the game. It is arguable that the info graphics about twitter followers and retweets and subjective lists on players and goals add little to the book, but when writing on the wider subjects, notably the workings of FIFA, the strategy of sponsors and tactical approaches, make an easy read. There are more personal anecdotes here, that continue to give the impression of an intelligent player who loves the game, with a cultural football upbringing of watching Hoddle and Gascoigne, while being wise to the forces that use the sport as nothing more than a commodity.
As well as the e-book, you can also buy the t-shirt, with all proceeds put towards the running of the site. This blog is proudly powered by Wordpress and uses Modern Clix, a theme by Rodrigo Galindez. Has he played with a striker who refused to move unless the pass went exactly where he wanted it? Did he play for one manager for a considerable amount of time who was great before losing it? Never played for Man Utd and in the book he says things like he’s been stopped in the street and parents say their kids want to be him. Book mentions a fallout with a manager slating him in the press, then SF got revenge in a paper.. He was known for some pretty bizarre behaviour like throwing buckets of cold water over the players before games and was sacked after falling out with the chairman despite being their most successful manager. Maybe this was the period when he suffered depression as his performance level certainly dropped to the point of being unrecognisable as the player he was at Reading. In the column regarding relegation TSF mentions that during that relegation season a poor headed clearance of his was volleyed straight back in for a goal. I can’t find any reference to Dave Kitson being captainy at any of his clubs, am I missing something or does this rule him out as TSF ?
I found a gem of an article that gives it all away, but I will wait for you all to find it, to make it more interesting. Then you have just a few days ago TSF answering question in the Guardian, and he also seems bothered by these washbags. Was worried it was just going to be all the articles he wrote one after the other but he’s gone to the trouble of updating, joining together and talking around the pieces he wrote previously.
Details like that are bound to be changed to try to hide the identity, plus he may well have added in a few anecdotes that actually happened to other players as if they happened to him.
His potential and age make for a sensible signing but the success of his Villa career is anyone’s guess. He plays a little deeper, linking the play, has good movement and senses when things are about to happen and seems to be at the heart of it. Big things were expected of him as a youngster and he’s a good player who needs a home where people love him. My anonymity let’s me tell you how it is, from inside the game without the shackles of pre-conception or fan bias. But on Wednesday, we learnt that that’s exactly what happened when the Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere called United legend Paul Scholes to ask for some career advice.
And in that 15 minutes, I realised that everything that I knew about what it takes to be a great footballer was wrong. However, Wilshere is certainly easier to play against and he also has a very serious weakness that Scholes also recognised and that was never lost on any of the teams that I played for in matches against Arsenal. His horrendous tackling was held up as his only weakness but, thinking about it now, it may have been his biggest strength because nobody in our teams ever wanted to go in for a tackle with him if the ball broke loose. It takes a big man to ask for help and admit that he has something to learn, especially if you’re already at a big club and playing regularly.
His injuries will continue to pile up until he is out of the game by 25, both ankles are suspect already. I’m not saying there was intent to injure, but that approach is inevitably going to result in some mis timed tackles which will end in disaster. I have won back-to-back player of the year awards, trophies and played against all the big-name players that the Premier League can offer” Loads on that statement? Kitson is articulate, considered, well read, always shunned the limelight and openly talked about wanting to be a writer (a thing that the TSF was keen to stress in the R4 interview today). His lack of ready cash might be due to not getting paid by Portsmouth or the tax bill he got that nearly bankrupted him. And the article in the Guardian I have included a link for goes on about him wanting to reveal the truth about footballers. And aside from that, he scored goals, lots of goals … and with every part of his body. If it is him I guess the column might not be around much longer unless Palace, Charlton or whoever sign him up.

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