Roy Keane might have been deemed a thug as a player but at least he was honest. I am not one to admire the words of a footballer. Too often self involved and often manipulated to sell a brand of designer dog food, they have become the laughing stock of a sporting world for their ignorance and stupidity. Joey Barton could head the list of idiot sports stars but an utterance by this buffoon of player struck a chord deep within me at the time and has become even more resonant in the past weeks.
"I'd never write a book unless I'd done something," Barton said back in December. "I've achieved nothing in this game. Nothing. Maybe in time, if I achieve everything I want and I win trophies, I'll write a book. But what have I done in my career? 'And there was this one season we finished eighth at Manchester City . . .' You know what I mean?"
Yes Joey I do ‘know what you mean'. Out of England's 23 man squad for the World Cup 2006 a total of 14 books have been released. This statistic is slightly misleading seeing as Beckham has released 5 books alone, that's almost as many times as he has been sent off with the three lions on his chest!
When is the right time to bring out a book regarding sporting achievement? How long should the dust be left to settle on old wounds, mad parties and long vendettas?
How can Rooney at the age of 22 have written two books? What can he possible have to tell me about? Having read around the subject in recent weeks, the quality of material at hand is startling. Apart from recounting training regime and telling me what they ate for lunch…..not a great deal.
One book that most defiantly broke these rules was Roy Keane's autobiography simply titled ‘Keane'. Although some of the content could quite easily have appeared in an East End gangster thriller it is the most honest appraisal of professional sportsman I have ever read. Obviously I am not naïve enough to think that this ‘explosive' approach wasn't written with sales in mind but fair play to him, he got banned for five matches because of it. But that thing that scared the authorities so much, was the honesty that Keane showed to the subject matter. Players think like any of us, they hold grudges, they dislike people they work with and sometimes they snap.
So for all the heavily doctored Steve Gerrard's and Wayne Rooney there are the real stories that will shock and scare the authorities waiting to come out. I can't wait until they're Bobby Charlton's age……..