Growing Up Fast
by Theo Walcott
Bantam Press, £18.99
Reviewed by Cameron Carter
From WSC 297 November 2011

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This is not a life of peaks and troughs. There are no regrets, no fatal flaws, no falls from grace – just a rapid rise to the top by a polite young man from Newbury. Theo Walcott's story is an incredible one, but only from one angle: his youth.

My Autobiography
by Ricky Villa with Joel Miller & Federico Ardiles
Vision Sports, £18.99
Reviewed by Huw Richards
From WSC 290 April 2011

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The title, evoking the famous commentary on his greatest moment, and three pages of adverts for other Spurs-related books, make it clear that there is one reason why Ricky Villa's autobiography was commissioned. There are, though, many more reasons than one for reading it. This might easily have been a lazy exercise focussed exclusively on Spurs and treating everything as though it leads to a single glorious moment in the 1981 FA Cup final replay.

The Tragedy of Robert Enke
by Ronald Reng
Yellow Jersey Press, £16.99
Reviewed by Mike Ticher
From WSC 297 November 2011

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Considering young men are a group at high risk of suicide, the number of active footballers who have taken their own lives is surprisingly small. Dave Clement, Alan Davies and Justin Fashanu are perhaps the best known in Britain, all in their declining football years. That makes Robert Enke a rarity among rarities: the Hannover 96 goalkeeper was at his peak, in a season that should have led to the World Cup, when he walked in front of a train in November 2009.

My Autobiography
by Gary Neville
Bantam Press, £18.99
Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 297 November 2011

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"Put ‘Gary Neville' and 'wanker' into Google and you'll get about 10,000 results." Neville is a man with no illusions about his popularity. The English generally like their professional footballers to be either thick or humble, preferably both. Gary Neville is neither and has taken plenty of flak about what are deemed to be his ridiculous pretensions, such as planning to build an ecohouse and daring to have opinions.

The Lost Legacy of a Dundee and Spurs Legend
by James Morgan
Back Page Press, £9.99
Reviewed by Ken Gall
From WSC 286 December 2010

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Your reviewer approached this book with what can be fairly described as some scepticism. After all, can anything be more wearying than another "Where did it all go wrong, George?"/birds 'n' booze/study of a legend of the 1960s and 70s? Happily, however, while there are elements of the above, James Morgan's study of Alan Gilzean offers something else again; combining the career of a great player with an exploration of a personality at odds with our expectations of the great names of the past.

The Robbie Savage Autobiography
by Robbie Savage with Janine Self
Mainstream, £17.99
Reviewed by Joyce Woolridge
From WSC 286 December 2010

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"I have probably watched every adult movie ever made. There's not a lot else to do on Wales duty!... It was the only way to while away a little time when intense boredom set in." Beetroot can turn your pee red. Robbie Savage didn't need to shave until he was 22. He has a big hooter. Steve Claridge is one of the best dancers he has ever seen. At Leicester his team-mates labelled his sillier comments ("What train did the Krays rob?") "the Savisms" and here rattlepate Robbie quite entertainingly reveals every inconsequential detail in his own distinctive style.

A Life of Two Halves
by Paul Lake
Century, £14.99
Reviewed by Tony Curran
From WSC 295 September 2011

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Despite his prodigious talent and popularity as a player at Manchester City, I seem to recall that Paul Lake had a slight image problem with the wider public. Rather like Glenn Hoddle at Tottenham, Lake's languid, easy style and comfortable technique were revered by home fans but occasionally perceived as being rather too effortless by some less enlightened outsiders who preferred their heroes to demonstrate more tangible evidence of commitment.

Up Close with the Giants of the Modern Game
by Simon Kuper
Simon & Schuster, £16.99
Reviewed by Jonathan O'Brien
From WSC 295 September 2011

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Though it shares a near-identical title with John Giles's recent memoir, The Football Men is several galaxies removed from the pockmarked pitches, pitiful wage packets and gnarled enforcers of that book. The world upon which it gazes is one of big names, bigger contracts, jawdropping skill, lucrative endorsements, expensive sunglasses and public tantrums.

The Autobiography of a Goalkeeping Legend
by John Burridge
John Blake, £16.99
Reviewed by Damon Green
From WSC 295 September 2011

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Like the tale of one of those old ladies born in Paris to the sound of Robespierre's guillotine, and eventually run over by a motor car on the Champs-Élysées, it is hard to believe that the two ends of the John Burridge story belong in the same lifetime.

Fighting Like Beavers On The Front Line Of Football
by Chris Kamara
Harper Sport, £15.99
Reviewed by Barney Ronay
From WSC 283 September 2010

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Mr Unbelievable is a mess. It is, structurally and tonally, a confused and uneven affair. It is without doubt unbelievable – an unbelievable dog's dinner. Having said that it isn't a particularly boring book, or at least not uniformly boring – open its pages anywhere and you find yourself assailed, bothered, nudged and jabbered at. Mr Unbelievable has one constant: the sound of uneasily giggling professional banter, the banter of a man who appears to be laughing so hard he has tears in his eyes, but who you feel might, at any moment, jab you in the eye and ask you what's so funny.

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