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No, not my usual sort of book either, but we were on holiday and M (and all his family) are Liverpool fans, so I picked it up for a brief look and a few hours later had finished the book. And that was how I came to know the names of the last three Liverpool managers and the reasons why Stevie G has played poorly in each of the last tournaments for England.
To be honest, the most overwhelming thing I felt for the book was pity for Gerrard’s wife, Alex. Perhaps it was his lack of language skills and therefore ability to express how he really feels about her, but saying that she is a close friend, he loves her and he loves Liverpool Football Club (same sentence) and that she has a small career but is not a model but a Mum did not do anything to endear him to me.
I didn’t have high expectations when I started the book but they were pretty damn low when I finished. Gerrard has an explanation for everything and seems to be a rather angry man, blaming everything but himself for his poor playing, performances or tackling issues. And yet, I didn’t really feel that I gained much of an insight into his life. Yes, I discovered some interesting facts that I didn’t know about the organisation of the F.A and players and clubs but I am sure that those won’t be new to anyone who follows football ‘properly’. Yes, there was information about some of his early years but a quick search on the Internet revealed almost as much information. There were pages and pages of drivel about formations and tackles and passes but a quick poll of my male friends interested in football revealed that they knew most of that information anyway, despite having not read the book. In short, there may have been several hundred pages but there was very little in the way of actual content.
In fact, perhaps the most intriguing part of the book was the index, which is something I have rarely seen in an autobiography. Still, useful if you are a footballer and can’t be bothered/can’t read the whole thing and just want to see what Gerrard wrote about you, if anything…
Yet not all is lost, I am going to try and read another autobiography or two of similar aged/standard players to put Gerrard’s work into context. But as I had to give up on David Beckham’s book 2/3 of the way through out of sheer boredom, do not hold your breath for the reviews.