King - My
by Ledley King and Mat Snow
Hardback - 288 pages
Published : 12 Sep 2013
This book starts in
a strange place.
Not at the start or end of the writer's career, but in the middle of
the Euros of 2004 in Portugal, when Ledley King has to fly home as
his partner is due to give birth early. He was not injured,
but this is one lost opportunity (as well as the team losing to the
home nation in the quarter final while he was away) when Ledley cold
have made headway in his career. In a way, you might have
expected his story to start on a high point in his professional
career, but the personal joy of the birth of his first child is
offset by another set back to his progress.
It is a familiar thread through the book. As anyone who has followed
his time at Tottenham will know, his performances for the club were
outstanding and the revelation in this autobiography that he was
never 100% fit when he played just makes you incredulous when you
think what a player he could have been. Anyone who saw his tackle on
Arjen Robben in a game against Chelsea at White Hart Lane in 2006
will know the quality the man possessed.
One of the finest defenders of his generation, Ledley King opens up
in this book to reveal more about him than he had previously
revealed in his 20 odd years with the club. His hopes, his fears and
the continual search for a solution to the knee problems he suffered
after playing matches. Travelling the world is an exciting part of
being a footballer, but not as a health tourist, having to suffer
exhausting treatments and being left to get to know the club’s
medical staff perhaps better than he might have hoped to.
Ledley’s encounters with racism are shocking, despite being from
unexpected sources, but he handles them with great dignity and rises
above the abuse. Throughout the book, the Spurs captain’s behaviour
is exemplary, but then a couple of incidents off the pitch blot that
copybook and King addresses them without any attempt to cover them
The author is surprisingly frank in his opinions about some of the
players and managers at the club during his time at the Lane. It is
enlightening to hear the views of a professional on some of the
players that I had seen as a fan and how different they are !!
In the end, the story comes to the crushing point of King’s
retirement and the new role he has moved into, which is something he
enjoys and having witnessed it at first hand, he is superb at.
While his football career may have not been completely realised, his
life in the game has been notable and despite not revealing what
happened between him and John Terry, when the Chelsea player was
sent off at White Hart Lane in 2006 (when I have never seen Ledley
as angry on a football pitch), he is often candid and open in his
autobiography. His family, his friendships, his young friends and
team-mates who didn’t make it and all those he played with ... it
has a cast of hundreds.
Written in an easy style, there is the odd error, which is more than
Ledley made in his career, but it is an enlightening read and one
which a Spurs fan will find interesting and provide an insight into
how a career in football unfolds.
Marco van Hip