Take a train home from Germany, nothing to read and only a short while in a small bookshop in the train station available. Result: the controversial autobiography from a German football player who never seemed even half sympathetic.
Yet it is easy to read train literature and it does give me the chance to see myself if all the fuzz is true, if it really is controversial, or blown out of proportion.
I have to admit he seems fairly open in this book, which for a sportsman biography is not an automatic given. There does seem logic in the chronological order, but then you realise several things are left out. His career in the national team is an extra chapter in the end, as is his private life. Not very logical I guess. Especially as while leaving Bayern he talks with Atletico Madrid with his wife coming along, ends up in Wolfsburg which he celebrates with his girlfriend.
Let me just admit that I do think he was a good player. Not brilliant, not a star, but a very good one at international level. Now to the annoying bits: he does not seem to be able the effect he has had on people. This does make the book a sort of ‘let me tell you my truth’ book, which is necessarily the same as THE truth.
Every single news paper clipping that has featured at some point in his life gets a perfectly logical explanation in his book, even the ones that do not seem to be of any importance. On the other hand any stupid mistake he has made, e.g. hitting a woman in a discotheque after several drinks are tiny mistakes from his side, misunderstood by others, blown out of proportion by the press.
Even the thing he is most famous for, giving German supporters the finger during the World Cup 94 in the USA, is nothing serious. After being whistled at and shout at during the match, he finds it completely reasonable to make an obscene gesture. He seems totally oblivious to that fact that when you are a professional football player people will look at you. You can’t be the same anymore than when you are a postman or a factory worker. Funny chapter was the completely empty page he dedicates to Lothar Matthaeus. After that he tells anyway about the German star. Payback time certainly. He confirms that Matthaeus really is the most irritating arsehole the football world has seen in the last decades.
Everywhere he uses the facts to explain his point. When his wife and the kids are in Florida, he meets the wife of a former team mate and they fall in love. Then suddenly it appears that his wife had a lover as well. And even though she is married to someone he used to be in one team with, he has no message to the fact that he is breaking up another marriage. And after appearing together on a television show, he is surprised to find out that paparazzi want to take a picture of the couple. For over a week they go through a lot of trouble to avoid that happening, while they could have just get it done and over with after the first day.
And in the end he suddenly plays for another year in Quatar, obviously a cash motivated move. While he kept talking about retiring back to Florida, to be with his ‘most important treasures’ his children. Oh well, that can wait another year I guess.
My conclusion is that Effenberg is the annoying git most people hold him for. That does not make this a bad book though.