Henry Hitchings

Hit Them Hard

The Second Half

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 304pp £20 order from our bookshop

Footballers’ autobiographies tend to be crushingly dull. Their real highlights aren’t the spurious and febrile attempts to generate sales by stirring up controversy, but instead the inadvertently revealing titbits – such as Wayne Rooney’s description of his ‘very modern and greyish’ kitchen, or Ashley Cole expecting us to share his pain when he nearly crashes his car after being offered a paltry £55,000 a week to stay at Arsenal.

Roy Keane’s first contribution to the genre was a rare exception. While the blunt title of Keane (2002) held a promise of raw frankness – which was fulfilled – there were also passages of lyrical self-examination. Still, the most memorable scene was a brutal one: the Manchester United star’s clash with Alf-Inge Håland, an opponent who, he claimed, had previously accused him of faking an injury. ‘I fucking hit him hard. The ball was there (I think).

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,