I'm Not Really Here: A Life of Two Halves

Paul Lake

I'm Not Really Here: A Life of Two Halves

Paul Lake was Manchester-born, a City fan from birth. His footballing talent was spotted at a young age and, in 1983, he signed coveted schoolboy forms for City. Only a short time later he was handed the team captaincy. An international career soon beckoned and, after turning out for the England under-21 and B teams, he received a call-up to the England training camp for Italia '90. Despite missing out on a place in the final squad he suitably impressed the management, with Bobby Robson earmarking him as an England captain in the making. As a rising star Paul became a target for top clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool, but he always stayed loyal to his beloved club, deeming Maine Road the spiritual home where his destiny lay. But then, in September 1990, disaster struck. Paul ruptured his cruciate ligament and sustained the worst possible injury that a footballer can suffer. And so began his nightmare. Neglected, ignored and misunderstood by his club after a succession of failed operations, Paul's career — and life — began to fall apart. Set against a turning point in English football, I'm Not Really Here is a story of love and loss and the cruel, irreparable damage of injury; of determination, spirit and resilience; and of unfulfilled potential and shattered dreams. 4.8 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
I'm Not Really Here: A Life of Two Halves

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Biography, Sports, Hobbies & Games
Format Hardback
Pages 416
RRP £14.95
Date of Publication August 2011
ISBN 978-1846058240
Publisher Century
 

Paul Lake was Manchester-born, a City fan from birth. His footballing talent was spotted at a young age and, in 1983, he signed coveted schoolboy forms for City. Only a short time later he was handed the team captaincy. An international career soon beckoned and, after turning out for the England under-21 and B teams, he received a call-up to the England training camp for Italia '90. Despite missing out on a place in the final squad he suitably impressed the management, with Bobby Robson earmarking him as an England captain in the making. As a rising star Paul became a target for top clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool, but he always stayed loyal to his beloved club, deeming Maine Road the spiritual home where his destiny lay. But then, in September 1990, disaster struck. Paul ruptured his cruciate ligament and sustained the worst possible injury that a footballer can suffer. And so began his nightmare. Neglected, ignored and misunderstood by his club after a succession of failed operations, Paul's career — and life — began to fall apart. Set against a turning point in English football, I'm Not Really Here is a story of love and loss and the cruel, irreparable damage of injury; of determination, spirit and resilience; and of unfulfilled potential and shattered dreams.

Read an interview with Paul Lake | Daily Mail

Reviews

The Guardian

Daniel Taylor

Outstanding ... It is an epic, harrowing and gripping story of a man living, as the front cover confesses, "a life of two halves" and it is maybe because the book is ghosted by his wife, Joanne, that he is able to provide such an unflinching account of how dark and tormented the days became once that joy – the buzz, the adrenaline, the fix – of running out on a pitch was removed ... And yet Lake never comes across as embittered — or even close.

20/07/2011

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The Independent on Sunday

Simon Redfern

Unsparingly frank … He says wistfully that his biggest regret is that his injuries don't allow him to play any form of sport, but being welcomed back to City in a new role as a community ambassador seems to have done much to ease the pain … outstanding, if harrowing

06/11/2011

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The New Statesman

Jon Bernstein

Certainly it is not faultless. The clichés and football-speak evident on each page ("scoring goals for fun", "marshalling the troops", and so on) become a little tiresome. But the nature of the story told — a professional tragedy that precipitates a breakdown, followed by redemption — contrasting as it does with the usual tale of pampered excess, turns this into an exceptional book.

12/09/2011

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The Sunday Times

Paul Croughton

While the first half is full of banter (mixing with the likes of Paul Gascoigne and Vinnie Jones, and nights out at the Hacienda), after the injury the tone darkens. Lake is let down by his club, his recovery is botched and, as depression hits, his marriage collapses. But he finds a way out of the darkness, through a new career as a football physio and ambassador for the club, and emerges as a thoroughly likeable, candid, humble and generous narrator.

18/09/2011

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