The great footballers and coaches are rarely glimpsed from up close. They shield themselves from the tabloids, hide their personalities behind professionalism, and in the words of the cliche, 'do their talking on the pitch'.
This book gets up close to them. The Football Menis not a series of celebrity profiles, and it doesn't attempt to unearth secrets in the players' private lives. Rather, it portrays these men as three-dimensional human beings. It describes their upbringings, the football cultures they grew up in, the way they play, and the baggage that they bring to their relationships at work. This multimillion-pound, multinational world is mostly inhabited by ordinary men. The profiles in this book are sometimes funny, but never breathless or sensational.
Some of the profiles in this book are based on interviews; others are the results of time the author spent with that person; sometimes the profile is a story of a country. All are fascinating and shed light on their subject to reveal things you wouldn't expect.
From one of the great sports writers of our time this is a penetrating and surprising collection of articles on the figures that have defined the modern sporting world.
Simon Kuper is the author of Football Against the Enemy (which won the William Hill Prize) and Ajax, The Dutch, The War (shortlisted for the William Hill Prize).Why England Lose appeared in August 2010. Simon writes for the Financial Times, and previously wrote football columns for The Times and the Observer. He is currently also a columnist for Four Four Two magazine.