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.
The outspoken anonymous author is back with the ultimate book to challenge conventional footballing wisdom.
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Aston Villa have signed Barcelona winger Adama Traore, 19, for a fee reported to be around ?7 million. Traore stood out because he had the physique that could cope with English football, he had speed and trickery, but what I really liked about him was that he was direct.
When he got the ball, it was obvious that the only thing on his mind was to try to create something or score. What I really liked was that, in certain games when the team was struggling for a goal through their usual play, they’d start giving the ball to Traore more and more so that they could change from patient to direct.
For all that, I don’t think Traore is ready for the Premier League right now, hence the five-year deal. Good signing for Middlesbrough and another indication that chairman Steve Gibson is heading back to the days where the club were spending money like a drunken sailor. In that respect, it will be very interesting to see Gibson’s approach if Boro do reach the promised land. As for Nugent, he has had decent career to date and still has enough left in the tank to offer Boro something like his best. Not the bravest, or the most orthodox in his finishing, but he does have a huge amount of pace to burn. In the Championship, it’s sometimes hard to find that in the same place as someone who can actually play to a decent standard.
Watford have signed former Italy midfielder Alessandro Diamanti, 32, on a season-long loan from Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande. It’s difficult to tell what a 32-year old Italian who has had six clubs in the past five years can offer Watford. Teams coming up are far better with a collective that work as hard as possible for one another and play as a team. And Diamanti is not a player that Watford would want hanging around the place if the club is relegated back to the Championship. The art of being promoted is to buy players who can keep you up and are either easy to get rid of or can play in the Championship if you are relegated. For all that, though, Diamanti is on loan and, in terms of wages, probably isn’t costing Watford a great deal. For that reason, it looks like a signing that Watford made dimly because they could, rather than whether or not they should. Chelsea have signed defender Baba Rahman, a 21-year-old Ghana international, from Bundesliga side FC Augsburg for a fee believed to be ?21.7 million. As part of that approach, the club signed Rahman from fellow German side SpVgg Greuther Furth, but Rahman has been on the radar of Europe’s top clubs for a long time. If you speak to scouts I know, they will cynically tell you that the award is fixed and created to sell top talent to Europe that always seems to be part of the same agencies.
Rahman delivers a great cross with his left foot and is a pure athlete going from box to box with ease.
I will be interested to see if he can play in a team like Chelsea where opposition sides are regularly pinned back.
That means that Branislav Ivanovic, who has had an uncharacteristically shaky start to the season, will probably be benched. It has perhaps come one season earlier than Mourinho would have expected but Chelsea are certainly going to be a club to keep an eye on in the transfer market over the next 18 months, even more so than usual. Striker Roberto Soldado has moved from Tottenham Hotspur to Spanish side Villarreal in a deal worth a reported ?7 million. One of the biggest problems that Soldado faced was that Tottenham could not carry a player who just scored goals.
Soldado was told that he’d need to work much harder than he had in Spain to crack the PL and that was a game that was completely unnatural to him. He was coming too deep, too wide, running after things he shouldn’t have been running after.
And when strikers don’t score goals, they lose confidence and everything becomes ten times harder.
But Spurs lost their wingers, changed their shape and approach and then signed a player who desperately needed wingers to excel. Physically, you could argue that Soldado wasn’t exactly in the mould of successful Premier League strikers, anyway.
I’m sure he will fair far better back in Spain and to be honest, given his attributes, that was probably always his best option.
But that suggests to me that they knew Pedro’s agent was using Manchester United as bait to draw a bid from Chelsea, which is where Pedro wanted to go all along.

Sergio Ramos used Manchester United to try to draw a new contract from Real Madrid and Wayne Rooney has used Manchester City twice in order to draw new contracts from United. But for all that, he is a great signing and ?21 million for a player of his versatility and quality is, you’d have to say, a pretty good purchase. Especially given that he is so fit that he could probably play at the highest level for at least another four to five years, even if he begins to lose a little pace in the last couple of seasons.
What I most admire about Pedro, apart from his speed of thought and quick feet, is his desire and will to win and a wonderful work ethic that seems to energise the entire team. When players see a forward chasing and shutting down defenders, it encourages the rest of the side to push in behind him and press. And that is interesting because, against the big teams, Mourinho has, historically, sat back and soaked up the pressure. He could, indeed, play with Pedro on the counter-attack, but I think that this may be a little sign that Mourinho is going to press the bigger sides more often. Leicester City have signed Switzerland midfielder Gokhan Inler from Napoli on a three-year deal.
He may be 31 but this is a decent signing for Leicester as he still has a couple of good years left in him. But some of my Arsenal fan friends changed their view of Song simply because he was moving to a bigger club.
But he’s only 27 and if West Ham manager Slaven Bilic can just get that little bit extra out of him, then the Hammers will have made a very good signing. Newcastle United have signed Marseille winger Florian Thauvin, 22, on a five-year contract. You never quite know if Newcastle’s big signings will work but, on the face of it, Thauvin is a good signing.
He’s certainly not the finished article but then neither was Cristiano Ronaldo when he turned up at Manchester United. That is to say that he tends to receive the ball while facing the opposition goal, which isn’t always the case with some wingers who come deep, then have to turn, are closed down and so have to pass the ball.
He’s not afraid to cross and not afraid to shoot, though neither of those commodities are fully rounded yet.
He has a trick but he is far better when he drops his shoulder and knocks the ball past the full back with a five-yard burst.
If you’re not on your toes as a full back, then you have no chance in one-on-one situations.
And Thauvin, whether he knows that or whether it is something that has come naturally to him, is a better player for it. Manchester City have signed Argentina international Nicolas Otamendi, 27, from Valencia for ?32 million on a five-year deal. I actually think he’s more Javier Mascherano in style, which is no bad thing when you are in a team that tries to keep the ball on the floor and you have Vincent Kompany standing alongside you. It will be Kompany who goes head to head with the more aerially aggressive opponents but don’t be influenced by the fact that Otamendi is only 6ft tall. Otamendi is all the things that City need in a centre half – strong, quick, committed.
I think that he’ll do well for City and that they will be a better, more resolute, team as a result.
When a player moves clubs, he tends to call on a fellow player who he knows is already playing for his would-be employers. The wages on offer usually hold the casting vote but this primitive due diligence is important for other reasons. The answers to the first two questions can solicit a more detailed response but the answer to the last question is always, always, one of two possible words. And that is a pretty long-winded way of wondering out loud if Gareth Bale made a phone call to a player, such as Luka Modric, before he signed for Real Madrid.
The answer is that he probably didn’t because the transfer fee was too high, the wages were too big, the manager was one of the best in the world, the city is everything a European city should be and the Real Madrid fans are shit. They have achieved a new-found resilience through the Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti, a man known for extracting the best out of exceptional attacking talent while, at the same time, commanding a respect that allows the players to buy into a staunch Italian footballing principle, which states that defending is an art form within which goalscoring is a subculture. There is a common misconception among fans that winning teams need to be broken up so that they don’t go stale. Moreover, they demand that those trophies be delivered in the style of a swashbuckling knight expertly fending off an oncoming army of thousands of mortals from across the border while, at the same time, bringing to a climax the fairest maiden the land has to offer. When I heard that Bale would leave Spurs, I knew that Manchester United were desperate to sign him. Politically, it is very difficult to sell the departure of a big-name signing to the media if a decision is taken to transfer a top player after such a short period of time. Such a sale can also, at times, imply that the player didn’t get on or agree with the ethos of the manager and that maybe that manager isn’t able to handle big players or is losing it. It can put off other players from signing for the club because they are unsure as to why a big signing hasn’t worked when it really should have.
Even Spurs would get roped in, with Madrid reducing their own exposure to finger-pointing by accusing chairman Daniel Levy of overcharging for a player who couldn’t deliver. It is a major political headache for everybody concerned and it is my view that, after only two years, everybody involved has a vested interest in telling Bale that he is going nowhere. Apart from a few catcalls and whistles, nothing coming out of Madrid gives me any reason to think that the club would seriously consider selling Bale. Yes, Bale could be performing better than he has been recently, but he isn’t suddenly a bad player. I played against him, I sprinted alongside him, I tackled him, I competed with him, blocked him, pushed him, chased him, shook hands with him and swapped shirts with him. If Bale is happy at Madrid and his team mates are happy with him then why was his agent complaining about his team mates not passing to him and why are they complaining about his lack of Spanish?
As for the political fallout of selling Bale, there will be a lot less fallout of selling him for a slight profit than there will be from sacking Carlo Ancelotti.
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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. With his trademark wit, intelligence and candour, the Secret Footballer will guide you through formations, tactics, mind games and everything else you need to know about what it takes to be a pro. Well he's back and this time his mates speak out too.Players, agents, coaches and managers give you access to all areas of the Premier League.
Det ar ett flodande format vilket gor att texten hela tiden anpassar sig till den skarmstorlek, textstorlek och typsnitt du anvander.
Eftersom textstorleken inte kan andras i en PDF sa avrader vi fran kop av e-bocker i PDF-format till en enhet med en mindre skarm.
They’re not players who I would wholly rely on if I were putting together a team to stay in the Premier League. Augsburg have taken a lot of people by surprise since their promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in their history at the end of the 2010-11 season. After almost going out of business, they fought their way up the German leagues and, in four seasons in the top flight, the team has finished 14th, 15th, 8th and 5th.
A worker bee, as we say in the game, and there’s nothing wrong with being one of those, especially if you can chip in with a goal or two as Inler occasionally does. The 27-year-old Cameroon international made 31 appearances for Hammers during a loan spell last season. In fact, given the time and space, he can pick out as good a pass as anybody in the Premier League.
Otamendi is a good signing and not in the traditional style of centre halves who come to England. He seems to be able to jump and hang in the air and has become very deft at directing the ball with his head. My anonymity let’s me tell you how it is, from inside the game without the shackles of pre-conception or fan bias.
Providing the wages are acceptable, the questions at the heart of this time-honoured conversation serve to help the player get his head around what he can expect to find once he steps into his new club for the first time. Firstly, Madrid are a more solid side than they have been for years – far more solid than the years, not too long ago, when it was par for the course for Barcelona to stick at least four past them both home and away. Ronaldo is on a different planet compared to all but one other footballer in the world in terms of his talent and his commercial pull.
But don’t forget that Ronaldo, a man whom Madrid lauds as the born-again messiah, was subjected to exactly the same treatment in his second season at the Bernabeu. Spurs and United had previous in the transfer of players between one and the other and Bale suited United down to the ground.
In La Liga, they sit four points adrift of an exceptional Barcelona side who will be under a transfer embargo next season.
It isn’t a case of simply leaving the club, there has to be a story that everyone agrees with and that protects everybody involved. The media like to ask a lot of questions, awkward questions, and they like to point fingers at people who don’t enjoy having fingers pointed at them, much less have it known that they actually exist. It can occasionally give the impression that some team-mates don’t like sharing the limelight to the point that fans begin to question if those players are too big for the club themselves. Clubs might look at him differently, they might wonder if the player has a chronic injury that isn’t known about outside of his current club. The word may already be out and perhaps Madrid’s stance is why Manchester United announced the signing of PSV Eindhoven winger Memphis Depay last week.
World-class players are rare and world-class players who will sacrifice parts of their individual game in order to win trophies for the club are rarer still. Virtually anyone involved in football knows that Liverpool committed one of the worst acts of robbery in football history when they flogged the broken Torres to Chelsea for 50m quid. If you are not completely satisfied with your order, then please return the item to us for a refund.
From deal-making to play-making, from dodgy tactics to drunken antics, they reveal the unforgettable highs and the unforgivable lows.This is football as you've never seen it before.
E-bocker i EPUB-format ar anpassade for att lasas pa mobila enheter, t ex lasplattor och telefoner.
Om du redan har ett Adobe-ID sa registrerar du det i dito-appen vid nedladdning av din forsta Adobe-krypterade e-bok. This Madrid team defends together and attacks together and is all the more successful for it.
Bale will have known that and would never have gone to Madrid looking to assume that mantle.
The moment that Madrid declare an interest in a player then you know that they will succeed because they are the biggest draw for any professional. He’d have to go into the market to find out whether he can make it up elsewhere, maybe at a club that his client has no interest in signing for. That is usually where the clubs would negotiate on monies outstanding before a public argument can break out. If you want to know how to stop a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, or why exactly Rooney is worth GBP300,000 a week, or who the greatest player of all time is, you will find it all here. The ability to win games on his own, as he demonstrated at Tottenham Hotspur, is not something that Madrid absolutely have to rely on for the team to be successful.
What has happened for Madrid to sell a player that every club in the world, if they’d had the money, would have signed two years ago? Fully illustrated with line drawings showing the technical aspects of the game, this will be the perfect Christmas gift for aspiring football stars and armchair pundits alike.
If you want to know how to stop a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, or why exactly Rooney is worth A?300,000 a week, or who the greatest player of all time is, you will find it all here.

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