The Smell of Football
On Thursday a big thud came through my letter box, I rushed to the door and found sat on my doormat a package which at this stage I did not realise would give me only 2 night’s sleep for the next week. After opening up the package I found inside Mick ‘BAZ’ Rathbones new autobiography “The Smell of Football. Over the years I have read many books and autobiographies but no book has ever had the effect on me than this one.
Initially on Thursday night around 21.30 I picked it up with the plan of reading one chapter, My wife asked me “What time are you coming bed” My answer was in about 20 Minutes. I started reading the book and my wife went off to bed.
The next voice I heard was my Wife’s asking “Why have you not been to bed its 7.30 am”
This is a book I did not want to put down, I could picture the events which where unravelling with each turn of a page and I just wanted to know what happened next.
Mick Rathbone is unique as he has been a Player, Manager and Physio; He started life out as a player at the very club he supported, which is any supporters dream. However those dreams can become a harsh reality if they don’t match up to how you dreamt it. This book is real lives story how football can be a lonely game, and how the boy next door had to struggle with self-confidence whilst he was submitted to the school ground bully treatment.
Baz would go on to make nearly 300 appearances for Blackburn Rovers in a career which would go full circle from Home town club Birmingham to Blackburn, Preston North End and Halifax. After a spell in Management, Mick has gone on to be one of the most respected Physio’s in our National game and became a valuable part of David Moyes back room staff both at Preston and Everton. Mick’s work has also seen him be involved with the next generation of budding International players as he is currently on the England under 17 back room staff.
After reading the book, I could not wait to meet the man; His self-criticism through confidence made him a reluctant hero to any young footballer wanting to make their way in today’s professional game. After meeting Mick to discuss this book, He said “That this was a book he felt he needed to write, many footballers would have thrown the towel in if they had been subjected to the treatment and in house bullying that Mick was subjected to as a young player. However it shows the strength of the man to brush himself down and get back on the horse. In life many people will get asked what their weaknesses are, which is a question many struggle to answer. People always like to talk about their strengths in self-promotion. Mick is the opposite, he is humble both in person and in his book, He is too self-critical, When people always put you down and tell you things you start to believe them, By writing this book Mick has let go of those demons, and has shown no hurdle is too big, He is the type of guy you can go for a quick drink with then realise you have had ten pints because he is so open you don’t want the conversation to end.
This book is a must have to anyone who has a genuine interest in football, It’s not about the flash cars or the money, or the rewards of what football can bring you, it’s about a simple guy who could easily be you or me whose dedication to work hard with no real interest in reward has made him one of the most respected individuals in a modern game which is full of people who are the opposite to him.
Its now available from all good bookstores, feel free to tweet Mick Via Twitter, with you thoughts on his new book,
Thank you Mick for your warmth and openness during our meeting, it was a real honour to have spent time in your presence and a moment I will always cherish