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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.
For those of you who don’t read the Guardian on Saturdays this is a Premiership footballer who writes a weekly column containing his articulate and intelligent views about all things Premiership. Which obviously narrows it down a bit, unless the Guardian is foxing us all by making it up, and they don’t so things like that in Kings Cross do they? Neither does the player in question sound like a current international or one who plays for a team at the frenetic, Champions League-obsessed top end of the table.
Murphy fits the bill; talking today about his old boss at Liverpool Gerard Houllier, under whom he won a fair few honours, he was exactly the right combination of seasoned old pro and intelligent analyst to fit the secret footballer profile. Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist.
At More About Advertising we aim to bring you the inside track on what really matters in the world of advertising, marketing and media. New agency Viceroy Creative tries a naked launch March 11, 2015 New York design and marketing firm Mode Design Group is…Omnicom agencies to move into giant London HQ June 23, 2014 Omnicom is close to securing 370,000 sq. 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. 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.
Argentina boast the most formidable attacking force in the World Cup finals – Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria. Argentina should score goals in Group F, with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria in opposition. The comparisons with Diego Maradona will again be aired in Brazil, tiresome baggage that Messi has to carry around with him every four years. Ossie Ardiles, the World Cup-winner with Argentina in 1978, adds perspective to the argument. But with Messi weaving his magic behind Aguero and Higuain, and with Di Maria slinging over the pin-point crosses, surely Argentina can get past that last-eight hurdle this time.
Argentina vied with Italy, the world champions, for first place and they came out on top after beating South Korea and Bulgaria. His second came from a superb solo run, taking on virtually the whole England side, before he netted past Peter Shilton.
In the semi-finals, another two goals from Maradona ensured that Argentina beat Belgium and progressed into the final, where they would face West Germany.
In the final, the nation understandably looked to Maradona to provide the goals to steer them to their second World Cup triumph, but it wasn’t to be. Jose Luis Brown opened the scoring for Argentina on 23 minutes and it remained 1–0 until half-time. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge pulled a goal back in the 74th minute for Germany and they equalised in the 80th minute through Rudi Voller.
The TSF team will provide you with all the information and the latest insight you will require surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Casting some kind of shadow in football is inevitable but there are good shadows and bad shadows. Ian Wright’s shadow helped to inspire Thierry Henry to break the all-time goalscoring record for Arsenal that Wright had held for all of ten minutes. And during the first season after retirement, the shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson loomed down from the stands at Old Trafford like an albatross and, ultimately, became too much for his Manchester United successor, David Moyes, to cope with. This week, Yaya Toure and his insufferable agent, Dimitri Seluk, continued to cloud the skies over Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium following another round of self-serving comments. Whenever the storm clouds gather over the Etihad, Toure and Seluk shield themselves under the only umbrella in town. Surround the 31-year-old with world-class talent and he finds it easy to stand out, covering blade after blade of grass and scoring goals from nothing.

But if one or two players around him should suffer a loss of form, and the form of the team dips as a result, then Toure struggles to step up to the plate, preferring instead to turn to his agent – who, in turn, goes to the Press to point fingers at others. As if to prove the point, Toure offered the following comment when quizzed by a journalist as to his options this summer.
In terms of the players and their agents who I have seen in the game who have shown a lack of respect to a club and the people who work there, Toure and Seluk are right up there.
I find the contrived feel of their comments, which are always in perfect harmony, particularly nauseating.
I read the paragraph above to a friend of mine who knows Toure and, while he didn’t entirely disagree, he was quick to offer his own take. I remember only too well the comments that he made in which he’d claimed that Toure felt unloved at City, shortly before the player signed a mammoth new contract offer.
The City executives who Seluk has openly mocked know that if the club asks Toure to leave, then City will have to pay the Ivorian, by law, every penny remaining on his contract. And those same executives know that if Seluk requests that his player be allowed to leave City, then Toure will forfeit every penny remaining on his contract. Seluk is calling out the City executives in an attempt to get one of them to say something publicly that could cost the club millions of pounds.
If any one of them makes a comment in public that sounds remotely along the lines that the club want Toure to leave, then you can guarantee that Seluk will try to hold them to what they’ve said in the most public way possible.
At 31, Toure certainly has one big move left in him if that is what he truly desires, but he has no need for any more money – he said so himself.
And even if he were the greediest player on earth, PSG still can’t top the ?45 million contract that he signed with City two years ago. Even if City paid Toure something to go before he walked into another contract, it wouldn’t be a sum that would be hugely significant in his decision to leave. Personally, I think they’ve already made it known privately to the relevant parties that, beyond the two years left on Toure’s contract, they don’t want him. The shadow across the blue half of Manchester right now isn’t that of another rain cloud floating inevitably toward the Etihad Stadium.
If Seluk’s aim was to get Toure a move out of Man City then it just might have worked. Speaking as a Chelsea fan if Toure was available for the price Inter are suggested to be offering I’d expect CFC to try and snap him up.
As a Spurs fan and having played against Kaboul, I have to say that I’ve never been overly impressed with him. Yet somehow he did and I attribute that to the fact that Spurs went through a succession of managers while Kaboul was at the club and each came with their own ego that tells them that they will be the manager who can do what’s never been done before and get every single player playing at their maximum. As I say, on the face of it, he would have stood out at that size, being that young and at an inferior league at the time, but the truth is that Spurs should have sold him years ago. Stewart Downing has rejoined hometown club Middlesbrough on a four-year deal, stepping down a division from Premier League side West Ham United. A perfect example that the door is never shut to Boro’s academy kids with chairman Steve Gibson in charge.
The club places a huge amount of stock in its academy and is always happy to welcome back its own successes such as Jonathan Woodgate and Downing.
I know one player who is in constant contact with Gibson, having come through the Boro academy, and when the time is right, he has the chairman’s promise that he will return. This deal is also a sign that Gibson has replaced the previous five-year plan of ?10,000-a-week wages and free transfers with something more akin to what people expect of Boro under Gibson, who in the past have been pretty liberal with the cash.
It was always said that, as a small player, you either have to be lightning quick like Lionel Messi, an incredible one-touch passer of the ball like Xavi or always in the right place like Claude Makelele. He is a box-to-box player with an eye for a goal, though his shooting isn’t perhaps the best while digging in around his own box when the time calls for it.
Reed reminds me of Clasie but, to my eye, looks better and, at 20 years old, is a real talent. Southampton may play all three together but that makes them a little one-dimensional in the middle.
However Clasie fits in, ?8 million is a good deal and manager Ronald Koeman will know him well and get the best from him. Manchester City have signed Fulham’s highly rated 18-year-old forward Patrick Roberts for an undisclosed fee.
I remember hearing about this boy two years ago from a fellow Fulham graduate who was reluctantly raving about him.
Youth-team players are always jealous of each other but, on this occasion, my friend was very complimentary. Sterling pushes the ball and runs after it, Roberts can jink with the ball and move deftly into dangerous areas in the process. Clearly part of City’s drive to sign up the best young English talent to fill their quota, Roberts is a decent player in the mould of another youngster that City signed from Swindon Town a few years back, Alex Henshall.
Newcastle United have bought Anderlecht striker Aleksandar Mitrovic for ?13 million, subject to a work permit. Let’s say that you were an independent observer of football at a big firm that made recommendations to football clubs. If you were looking at Newcastle – with the amount of problems that the club has had recently and given that young strikers, especially as young as Mitrovic, rarely hit the ground running, particularly if they are from foreign climes – could you recommend that the best player for Newcastle to buy is a 20-year-old Serbian? I could have seen him at Manchester United and, to an extent, with Liverpool but there are many factors that mean Benteke’s success on Merseyside is by no means guaranteed. I think the fact that Liverpool were for a long time hesitant to pay Benteke’s full minimum-fee release clause means that manager Brendan Rodgers feels anxious, too. I appreciate that the four players behind Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole were exceptional but there was success for Yorke and Cole that came from knowing exactly what Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and David Beckham were going to do when they had the ball. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is a success because he tries wherever possible to play the same XI.
Yet when I look at Liverpool, I have no clue as to which players are going to line up behind Benteke or if he will even have a strike partner. Consider this: tall strikers fail at Liverpool and the reason is that Liverpool consistently produce fewer crosses than most, if not all, of the other Premier League clubs. When I look at stats like that and then look at Benteke, I don’t see a marriage made in heaven. 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.
He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership. 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.

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. Coach Alejandro Sabella, the former Sheffield United and Leeds United player, has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal.
He failed to score in South Africa in 2010 but is on a good run for Sabella, with 20 goals in his past 21 internationals. Argentina, who qualified top of the South American group, have flattered to deceive for decades and have not gone past the quarter-finals since 1990. It was an extremely tight affair, with one goal separating the sides, which was scored by Pedro Pasculli.
Maradona scored a brace in that game and both of his goals are among the most talked about in World Cup history. They talk about not being loved, not being respected, being persecuted in the media more than other players at the club.
The club needs to find a way to wrest the Premier League title back from Chelsea while trying to improve on an unremarkable history in the Champions League. So let’s deal with that in more detail because Seluk is certainly a major factor in all this. With two years left on a contract worth around ?240,000 a week, that’s the best part of ?25 million.
The worst outcome for Seluk is that his client signs a new deal at City and he gets only ?5 million. My anonymity let’s me tell you how it is, from inside the game without the shackles of pre-conception or fan bias. Obviously the source is terrible, but Metro are reporting about a possible cut price 6m deal for him to go to Inter. Man City wouldn’t dare let it happen though because it would be a mistake similar to Leeds giving Man United Cantona or Arsenal selling RVP to MU.
The 29-year-old, who has agreed a four-year deal with the Black Cats, has ended his second spell at Spurs. I’m convinced that a rumour that Kaboul was going to Arsenal when the player was still in France hastened Spurs to act ahead of their rivals. The 30-year-old completed a deal worth ?5.5 million that could rise to ?7 million if Boro are promoted from the Championship.
Clasie cost Saints a fee of around ?8.4m and is seen as a direct replacement for the departed Morgan Schneiderlin. He signed for City after impressing for Swindon’s youth team as a 16-year-old full of promise. Bamford, 21, signed a new three-year contract at Stamford Bridge before making the move across London. 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.
But fans believe they have pieced together enough clues to unmask TSF as one-time Stoke City striker Dave Kitson.
If it is him I guess the column might not be around much longer unless Palace, Charlton or whoever sign him up. The career of the ginger haired frontman a€“ who now plays for Sheffield United a€“ closely matches the events described in the book. And determined fans have unearthed video footage of incidents the TSF says he was involved in, including being tackled heavily by Manchester Uniteda€™s Antonia Valencia. The candid accounts of playersa€™ views on everything from fans and pundits to boozy nights out was an instant hit with supporters. He also told of a footballera€™s wife who had an illicit liaison with another player in a hotel pool, while there on holiday with her husband. 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?
Early candidates were Blackburn Rovers midfielder Danny Murphy and Bolton Wanderers striker Kevin Davies. Instead a€“ just like TSF describes a€“ he played his way through the divisions after he was signed by non-league Cambridge United in 2001. There he scored 40 goals in two seasons before being snapped up by Championship outfit Reading two years later, where he experienced the ecstasy of promotion to the Premier League in 2006. 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.
Kitson managed to stay in the Premier League however by joining Stoke City, another strong clue as the TSF tells how he regretted leaving a relegated club to stay in the top flight. The sharp-witted interviewer asks the striker if he had ever visited Denmark, Kitsona€™s reply a€“ of being driven to beach holidays in the country by his dad as a child a€“ also matches the account given in TSF book.

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