Autobiographies of sportsmen: 300 pages of being rude

The autobiographies of two sporting legends, Kevin Pietersen and Roy Keane, were recently released with the promise of telling the rags-to-riches story of a talented young athlete rising to fame. Instead these so-called greats decided to give a middle finger to the worlds of both sport and literature by printing 300 pages of childish spats and petty vendettas with the book itself acting as the final insult.

Keane takes the reader on a journey through his impressive career in his book The Second Half, but unfortunately this only serves as a vessel for his juvenile insults, the majority of which are aimed at former manager Sir Alex Ferguson. In a press conference following the book’s release Keane stated that he had only written the book to “defend himself against stuff which is untrue”. As if that is a perfectly valid motivator for writing an autobiography.

Following form, Kevin Pietersen drags out his dirty laundry in KP: The Autobiography where he criticises his team mates, colleagues, and the entire ECB. The narrative does provide some humorous quotes along the way, such as Pietersen describing former teammate Matt Prior as “a Dairylea triangle thinking he’s Brie”, but quickly turns bitter when discussing former coach Andy Flower. At one point Pietersen addresses him directly with a torrent of abuse concluding with “your legacy is roadkill. You tell me what good came of it”.

Is this really what people want from an autobiography? The whole point of an autobiography is to strip away the guise of fame and allow the fans to connect with their hero on a personal level as they openly reflect on their life’s accomplishments. Unfortunately, Pietersen and Keane have published something that is more akin to a pseudo-celebrity gossip column rather than the introspective memoir that it should be.

However, among all the vanity there is one genuine thought from Pieterson: “One day we’ll all be old guys playing a charity match somewhere, and we’ll look around at the craggy faces in the dressing room and wonder how we let our friendships fall to pieces.”

[Andrew McIntyre – @_andymcintyre]

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