Review – The Game: Player. Pundit. Fan by Micah Richards

The former Manchester City and England defender-turned-broadcaster Micah Richards has produced an upbeat and entertaining read.

Richards’ career highlights include winning the FA Cup and the Premier League title, as well as becoming the youngest ever defender to represent England, but after a career-ending injury he had to create a new life for himself.

He neatly sums up the modern game in this early paragraph. “The game isn’t what it seems from the outside. The game isn’t quite what I was expecting, when I first broke through, when I thought I was invincible. The game doesn’t always work like people of television think it does. The game is better, worse, and stranger than you can imagine, and that is coming from someone who saw it all with their own eyes.”

Richards provides interesting insights into dressing room politics, the different characters, and the rules of the dressing room at the top level. There are jealousies between players and the dressing room can be an unforgiving environment.

The players are extremely well rewarded and have glamorous lifestyles, but he knows lots of players who were earning eye-watering sums of money at the peaks of their careers, maybe £100,000-a-week, but have nothing now.

There are plenty of stories about managers such as Stuart Pearce, Roy Hodgson, Steve McClaren, Sven- Goran Eriksson, Manuel Pellegrini, and Tim Sherwood. You will learn about when Manchester City’s dressing room became a soap opera with volatile characters like Robinho, Craig Bellamy, Mario Balotelli, and Carlos Tevez.

There are also amusing anecdotes, for example when we learn about why Italian managers Fabio Cappello and Roberto Mancini don’t like Tomato Ketchup!

Richards is renowned as a happy character, but he has suffered periods of depression particularly when his career came to a premature end at the age of only 31. “Being a footballer isn’t just a very privileged and occasionally ridiculous job. It’s also an identity. It is who you are. When it comes to an end, you lose more than your income. I had no idea how to deal with it.”

Richards has luckily found a new career into which he has settled well. He is a very likeable pundit with a good sense of humour who is now working for BBC Sport and Sky Sports. He has managed to continue to work within football and is enjoying the close camaraderie that that lifestyle provides.

If you want to know about the life of a very well-paid Premier League footballer and now media pundit, this is the book for you.

The Game: Player. Pundit. Fan by Micah Richards. Published by Harper Collins. Price £22.

This review first appeared in the March/April 2023 edition of Late Tackle magazine.


About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Football Book Reviews, Late Tackle magazine, Micah Richards, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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