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Summary

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 at which 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 began to fall apart. Watching from the side-lines as similarly injured players regained their fitness; he spiralled into a prolonged bout of severe depression. With an enforced retirement from the game he adored, the death of his father, and the collapse of his marriage, Paul was left a broken man.

Set against a turning point in English football, I'm Not Really Here is the powerful story of love and loss and the cruel, irreparable damage of injury; of determination, spirit and resilience, and of unfulfilled potential and broken dreams.

©2011 Paul Lake (P)2012 Random House AudioGo

Critic reviews

"a brilliant insight into the mind and life of a professional footballer and definitely worth a read." ( Hereisthecity.com)
“a thoroughly likeable, candid, humble and generous narrator.” ( The Sunday Times Culture)
"Ex-Manchester City footballer Paul Lake's autobiography I’m Not Really Here is the latest life story to be snapped up by the big screen, telling the story of his relegation to the sidelines when an injury cut short his career." ( We Love This Book)
"Lake is the perfect antidote to the commonly held view that top footballers are just a bust of arrogant, overpaid, aggressive louts. He’s sensitive, honest, highly intelligent and palpably decent. He admits to having suffered depression, but he steers clear of self-pity, injecting a lot of humour into this story. This is one of the best sporting autobiographies I’ve read." (5 stars, Mail on Sunday)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Once a Blue...

Insightful and absorbing account by a true City hero. Some great memories but also a moving account of the years of frustration recovering from injuries. As fans we don't realise what players had to go through. This book is right up there with Tyler Hamilton's as one of the best sports biographies I have listened to. Very well read too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Compelling story of a childhood hero.

If you could sum up I'm Not Really Here in three words, what would they be?

I found City legend Paul Lake's autobiography to be honest, entertaining and informative.

What other book might you compare I'm Not Really Here to, and why?

If I could compare this book to another I would compare it to Kelly Smith's autobiography Kelly Smith, Footballer: My Story.

Both are autobiographies to two legendary footballers in their own right. Both have suffered traumas around injury and overcome their demons through hard work and determination. Unlike Kelly, Paul was unfortunately unable to return to the sport he loved so much but is still remembered as one of City's best young players.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were points in this book which made me cry. Hearing about the death of Paul's father bought a tear to my eye.

It was also sad to hear how a man whose poster I had on my bedroom wall as a child suffered headache due to his injury.

There were some amusing parts in the story as well and I found it very interesting to learn how Paul first got in to football.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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amazing

story of MANCHESTER and MAN CITY pre premier league the era I supoorted them, my youth so i can relate to some things
family struggles and success, life
riches and life goes on...

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Heartfelt, interesting, tragic & funny.

What a superb & very heartfelt account of Pauls life & tragic injury.
Brilliantly narrated too. I would highly recommend a listen!

Diane Clarkson

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A must read for any Man City fan!

5* - A must read for any Manchester City fannew or old. Will not disappoint.

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  • Peter
  • Newton-le-Willows, United Kingdom
  • 23-07-15

A lake with view

Would you consider the audio edition of I'm Not Really Here to be better than the print version?

Hearing the author adds an additional dimension to the book

What was one of the most memorable moments of I'm Not Really Here?

Hearing the author explain how he came to terms with being able to play football

Which character – as performed by Paul Lake – was your favourite?

Himself

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Hearing the author explain how he came to terms with being able to play football

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Recommended

This is a rather good story about a side of football you don't hear much about normally. I strongly recommend it for those interested in using football as a way of viewing life. It's rather nice that the book is read by Paul Lake himself, although I wish he'd avoided trying to imitate other people. They just all sound the same. It's also a great listen for anybody interested in Manchester in the 80s/90s, with the music scene and the life surrounding that.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • kmcca5
  • Deepest Darkest Yapton, West Sussex
  • 29-01-13

A Wonderful and truly Inspirational book.

I read a glowing review of this book in the magazine When Saturday Comes a while back and have been on the lookout for it since then.



This inspirational tale takes you through the life of a die hear football fan who wants nothing more but to play for his beloved Man City. He starts to live the dream by not only playing for them and being handed the captaincy at a very young age. He is involved with England under 21’s and is touted as a future England captain but sadly serious reoccurring injury and some extremely badly managed operations prematurely end his career. The story follows through the good times and the bad and I was gripped from start to finish.



The Authors passion and honesty throughout is obvious and I would recommend this to any football fan or anyone that has suffered from depression. The author narrates the book and as you would expect, being a footballer not an actor, he stumbles with words every now and again but I actually found this added authenticity to the story as you could hear all the the emotion in his voice as he relives the highs and lows of his life.



I would firmly put this In the top 5 football books and would whole heartedly recommend it. 5/5