Winner of The Times British Sports Book Award 2014.
A fascinating insight into the enclosed world of football scouts in the UK
A teenaged boy plays football in a suburban park. His name is Raheem Sterling. The call is made: "Get down here quick. This is something special".
Another boy is 8, going on 28. His name is Jack Wilshere. The referee, an Arsenal scout, spirits him away from Luton Town.
A young goalkeeper struggles on loan at Cheltenham Town in League Two. His name is Jack Butland. Within months he will be playing for England.
Welcome to football's hidden tribe. Scouts are everywhere yet nowhere, faceless and nameless, despite making the informed decisions worth millions. Award-winning sportswriter Michael Calvin opens up their hidden world, examining their disconnected lifestyles, petty betrayals and unconsidered professionalism of men who spend long, lonely hours on the road.
Michael Calvin is one of the UK's most versatile sportswriters, having worked in more than 80 countries, covering seven summer Olympics, and six World Cup finals. He was named Sportswriter of the Year for his despatches as a crew member in a round the world yacht race, and has twice been named Sports Reporter of the Year. He is currently chief sports writer with the Independent on Sunday, and has held similar positions at the Daily Telegraph, Times and Mail on Sunday. His last book, Family: Life Death and Football, was shortlisted in the 2011 Sports Book Awards. It was a critically-acclaimed study of a season embedded at Millwall, one of English football's most notorious clubs.