Tuktuk Day 81

So, everybody is getting ready for Non-League Day and Sunday League Day this weekend. I know some clubs like Caversham United are really going to town. Other clubs like Sutton Utd are putting on great offers. It seemed a good time to look at books about life outside the Prima Donna League (oops, sorry, Premier League!)

“I Hope You Die of Cancer”

Ok, let’s get the negativity out of the way. I abhor the book title (* see below) but perhaps that should not detract from what is a good read. It is a genuine reflection of life in the beautiful game ….. without the beautiful “bits.”

The publishers say …….

“A million miles away from the rich uplands of the Premier League lies the Poundland world of non-league football. A far grittier version of the beautiful game, it’s a glorious ragbag of former EFL clubs on the down, impoverished minnows and ambitious outfits on the make, played by a mix of full-time, part-time and amateur performers. This is the inside story of life in the lower reaches of English football, seen through the eyes of a player with over a decade’s experience in the Conference and National Leagues.

Footballer X lifts the lid on never-before-told stories of dust-ups, bust-ups, backhanders and betting scandals, the players lucky enough to get contracts and the rest who live precariously from game to game. It’s a story of constant financial struggle, big sacrifices and small victories for owners, fans and players alike. Our footballer is still playing, so the cloak of anonymity allows him to give us a true picture of what life is really like playing as a non-league footballer today.”

The author:

Footballer X, who has played for six different Conference and National clubs, collaborated with Marvin Close to tell this story. Marvin is the author, with Chuck Korr, of More Than Just A Game: Football vs Apartheid, and Hope, the life story of Hope Powell. He co-wrote and edited FIFA’s Beach Football manual. Marvin is also a drama writer for TV, radio, film and theatre.


“A really bad choice for a title… shouldn’t obscure the brilliance of the latest in ‘The Secret’ genre, first made famous of course by The Secret Footballer. Co-writer Marvin Close enables the anonymous player to delve deep into the realities of the part-time player with a full commitment to their sport, the harsh reality of life outside the league with hope for rising thru’ the tiers in equal measure, makes for a read quite unlike most player not-exactly tells-it-alls.” –Mark Perryman, Philiosophy Football.com, ‘Books To Brighten Up A Summer of Sport’

The book is available from out friends at Stanchion

Other books you might like to look at to understand life outside Top of The Pyramid include….

Dave Roberts is perhaps a parallel to Tim Parks’ classic “A Season with Verona” which remains one of my favourite books of all times …or maybe it is another classic “The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro”

“Dave Roberts was, for once, almost lost for words as the news sank in. Perennial underachievers Bromley, in the vertigo-inducing fifth tier of English football? It was the greatest achievement in the UK club’s 130-year history. This book takes Dave the length and breadth of the land on a journey of discovery, with Bromley games thrown in.”

… or maybe Gary Thacker’s great stories of Spanish non-league football.

…. and this is a great time to remind everyone of a big fair in Chelmsford where a huge selection of books will be available. I will be doing a full review nearer the time.

* OK, this is where I am on the choice of title of the book. I personally think it is in very poor taste and my first reaction was not to spotlight it. I then decided that if it makes one person think about cancer and especially being tested then it is not a bad thing. I absolutely respect your view to be different. Which leads me on to money. I hope that you will consider a donation however small to support Prostate Cancer UK  If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and help the charity to continue their great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can. If you can’t you can still help massively by sharing this page about the work of Prostate Cancer. Thanks, Steve.


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