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I'm Not Really Here

A Life of Two Halves
By: Paul Lake
Narrated by: Paul Lake
Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's 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)

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Profile Image for "ajbrindle"
  • "ajbrindle"
  • 10-06-16

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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  • JP85
  • 07-08-14

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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  • Paul Howarth
  • 01-10-19

So good

Really fascinating read and even better to hear Lakey read with the passion and honesty he does. Even his impressions aren’t bad ;/

An obvious choice for any city fan

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  • joseph murphy
  • 10-01-18

excellent

loved it great insight into the struggles of a prodigious talent great life story sad but uplifting as well.

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  • Christopher Matthews
  • 06-12-18

Captivating story, not all football.

Could not stop listening to it, a range of emotion and some deep chapters. A great book.

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  • colin maggs
  • 05-28-18

Not just for Manchester city fans

This touching and heart wrenching account of a life full of ups and downs. It's honest depiction of his career from youth starlet, first team captain verging on full international honours with the future looking very bright as he was developing into a future great to it all done crashing down with a bad injury, some terrible treatment and decisions made by people claiming to have his best interests and eventually retiring after 6 years struggling and fighting to save his career and his dreams all before he was thirty. Then the battles after which were all the more difficult. This is a must read/listen for those who think football is the key to the world. Paul lake frankly and passionately tells his tale of heartache intelligently with little malice nor bitterness (i don't think I could be so tactfull ) an inspirational story that can't help but move you. All the best lakey hope life's treating you better now

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  • Ravi
  • 08-03-17

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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-18-16

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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  • AsaMcK
  • 03-18-16

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
  • 07-23-15

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

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  • Paul Hardy
  • 06-09-19

Alive and kicking

Having watched Paul play, even attending one of those b team games at Blackburn during his recovery, I can say he is one of the best players to ever pull on the sky blue shirt.
Having since met him when I was a guest on Blue Tuesday, I can say he’s an even better bloke and this book shows how he battled so hard.
But he still didn’t score that goal at Blackpool despite what he says...