Sport

New Revelations From The Secret Footballer

The Banksy of the beautiful game reveals the truth about dressing room drug habits and racism

Interviewing The Secret Footballer is 10 times more exciting than interviewing a normal player. For a start, he is all the things a non-secret footballer isn’t: forthright, honest and controversial. Plus, the covert procedures that surround any interaction with him lends the whole thing the thrilling atmosphere of a spy novel. Usually he does interviews over the phone using a voice distorter, but when ShortList caught up with him he was on the team coach so he had to be even more careful. He snuck to the back with his laptop to slyly tap out his thoughts on some of the game’s current burning issues. He told the lads he was on Facebook, if you’re wondering…

FERGIE’S BOOK

“The fact that he criticised former players was totally unnecessary. What can be achieved by talking about players that have contributed so much to [United’s] success, as well as his own success? It shows a lack of respect and is proof that there are still some things that are better off left in the past.”

JACK WILSHERE SMOKING

“I was once outside a hotel when the Inter Milan team bus rolled up. Literally, to a man, each player pulled out a cigarette and started puffing away. It looked more like a social thing than a dirty habit, but the Italians have a way of making almost anything look cool. In terms of cocaine and other recreational drugs, the lower down [the leagues] you go, the more you’ll find that sort of thing. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t players taking banned substances at the top. I have seen players literally go into a blind panic when drug testers turn up.”

RACISM

“Racism, in its crudest form, does not exist around the training ground – it simply would not be tolerated. Roy Hodgson’s ‘space monkey’ reference was something that went over most people’s heads, including mine. Naturally, the media whipped it up and suggested that it had racial overtones, which was bullsh*t. The dressing room is a safe haven so far as tactics and coaching are concerned, but players are far too self-important to have to take the sh*t that they were once expected to.”

PROTECTING HIS IDENTITY

“I’ve had a few people threaten to blow my cover, but they don’t know for sure that it’s me that writes the articles. Because of that, I always point out that if they name names without proof and subsequently get it wrong, they’re open to all kinds of litigation. Unless I say, ‘I am The Secret Footballer’, then it’s always going to be fraught with danger for somebody to name a name.”

Tales From The Secret Footballer is out now and you can buy a copy here

(Images: Sam Armstrong/PA)