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I'm Not Really Here by Paul Lake

Release date: 04th August, 2011
Publisher: Century Publishing

List Price: 14.99
Our Price: 8.39
You Save: 6.6 (44%)
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Manchester City may have assumed Chelsea's mantle of cash-rich arrivistes, but back in the eighties and nineties, they were just plain old harmless City, a football club forever teetering on the brink.

The reputations and unmatched successes of Bell, Lee and Summerbee continued to cast a long shadow over Maine Road, but in 1983 City unearthed a rare talent - a player with the potential to lead them back to glory.

Paul Lake's rise through City's ranks, from junior to first team captain, was meteoric and, following selection for England's junior sides, he was called up to the national team's training camp prior to Italia '90, narrowly missing out on a World Cup berth.

Following the tournament famous for Gazza's tears and England's atrocious penalty taking, Lake was playing in an early season fixture for City against Aston Villa. The midfielder went in for a tackle, landed awkwardly and ruptured his cruciate ligament. In a split second, Lake's promising career was effectively over.

Countless operations and years of rehabilitation followed, but though Lake attempted a comeback in 1992, his knee collapsed for a second time and he never played for City again.

Frustrated and forgotten, as Lake watched his home-town club from the sidelines, his life began to unravel in nightmarish fashion. Forced to retire from the game, he suffered severe bouts of depression. After his father died and his marriage collapsed, he was a broken man - this at precisely the time when the Premiership was still in its infancy and football began to attract riches on a spectacular scale.

I'm Not Really Here, a title taken from an old supporter's song when City languished in the lower divisions, is a completely different type of sporting autobiography which highlights the slender line between success and unfulfilled potential.


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