Not Such a Bad Life
Burnley, Gazza, Wrighty, Waddle and Me
Dave Thomas, Paul Weller
Paul Weller was a one-club player. He moved from sunny Brighton aged just 16 to dreary Burnley, with its grey skies, run-down terraced streets and mill chimneys, where riots were among the first things he saw. A more timid person might have caught the first train home. But he went on to play 252 games for the Clarets between 1993 and 2005. He would have played many more but for suffering the debilitating effects of colitis. It took a huge chunk out of his career, forcing him out of the first team. Other players might have capitulated, but he faced the problem head on, battled it and beat it and got back into the first team, with a promotion to the Championship. Remarkably, he was 'player of the season' the very next year. This is a real-life story of how to overcome obstacles and fight illness using courage, grit and determination. But it is also a story of the bullying, pitfalls and perils that await any aspiring footballer, the impact of managers and the inhuman cruelty with which players can be so casually released.