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Midweek Moan: Muamba’s autobiography is worth it but Rooney and co should wait

Former footballer Fabrice Muamba impressed during his Strictly stint File picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire. Former footballer Fabrice Muamba impressed during his Strictly stint File picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
12:59 PM

I love reading about sportspeople and have just finished reading Fabrice Muamba’s autobiography ‘I’m Still Standing’.

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The former Bolton player, who was brought up in London, is only 24 and he has a book out about his life, although most of the book is about his cardiac arrest at Tottenham on March 17 and subsequent recovery.

The first words of the introduction were: “I know why you’re reading this. Don’t worry, I’d be doing the same if I were you.”

Those words, obviously, refer to the 78 minutes when he was dead and what happened since that point.

He’s right. The only reason why I bought it was to hear his story about what happened at White Hart Lane on that fateful night.

I’ll give him some credit – his childhood and move to England from Congo, for his own safety, is interesting, moreso than a lot of other footballers.

Take Wayne Rooney as an example – his first book was released when the Manchester United striker was 20.

What can you say about your life at that age, when you’ve only got, say, 13 years to properly look back on.

England cricketer Kevin Pietersen released his first book when he was 27 and spin bowling great Shane Warne wrote in the foreward he was originally amazed that the batsman had written a book after a year in the game at the highest level.

Like Muamba, but for professional reasons rather than personal safety, Pietersen left the country of his birth, South Africa, for England.

His is a story that has a bit of X Factor and provides an insight into what growing up in another country was like.

Rooney has now written another book about his first 10 years in the Premier League and it has made slow progress on the sales front.

Given that he’s already written about four years in his first book, there are only six years to write about.

Also, as it’s purely about Premier League football, it lacks a mass-appeal.

I even found myself agreeing with Joey Barton after Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard all produced books after the tournament.

“I can’t get my head around that,” the controversial midfielder said.

“England did nothing in that World Cup, so why were they bringing out books? If I’m buying a book I’ll buy a book about someone who’s won something.

“I might be off the mark, but (the England World Cup team) seemed to be a bunch of individuals playing for themselves and not wanting to do the nasty things involved in being a team.”

You could say, on a pure football basis, that Muamba hasn’t won anything but he triumphed in his battle to survive.

I’m not going to single Rooney out. Theo Walcott is younger than me and has already published a book about his life, which he did last year – don’t worry I won’t be releasing a book about my life any time soon, if at all!

The Arsenal forward has been to one World Cup, as a 16-year-old, and didn’t play. I can see the appeal to some Arsenal fans wanting to read about life inside the dressing room. However, couldn’t he wait until he’d won a trophy or came to the end of his career. Then it might be more interesting.

With most of these books anyway, the juicy bits are serialised in a paper like Walcott’s criticism of Capello.

The longer your career goes on, the more interesting your tale will be.

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