Would a pre-book team-talk be useful before we begin? A few uplifting words to take with you as you pull on the shirt, tie your boots, perform a few light stretches and get ready to go out there and read this? I ought to be able to help. I've sat in enough dressing rooms with enough football managers...
This book is inspired by the stories Danny and I have shared with each other about what life in football is really like. Not the dull-as-dishwater post-match interviews you sometimes see on TV, but the secrets, the superstitions, the laughs and the personalities at the heart of it all.
I've looked back at my playing days, prising open the dressing room door to reveal what actually happens in there, not to mention what happens in the tunnel and on the pitch and - with the appropriate pixellation - in the showers afterwards. Coming at football from the other end of the spectrum, Danny shares stories from a lifetime of following the game as a fan. Both of us reflect, too, from a fair amount of time we've spent broadcasting about it on Match of the Day and BBC Radio 5 Live - 606.
From Messi to Millwall, from yellow cards to World Cup trophies (I've never been awarded either of them), from the warm-up to the jangling nerves of match day, you'll find it all here - everything you always wanted to know about football, but didn't realise that you did. Full of new and expanded stories, you'll find out about-
My real life playing for England, Leicester, Everton, Barcelona, Tottenham... and Nagoya Grampus Eight
Danny's adventures blagging his way to Italia '90
The best player I ever played with (and wish I had played with)
The identity of the true GOAT- Messi, Ronaldo, or Graeme Souness?
How you really feel after a motivational speech from Sir Bobby Robson
My greatest superstitions, and Danny's as a fan (not to mention Eileen Drewery's)