Autobiography Review – “Ossie” by Leon Osman

Bit of a different article this time – a review of an autobiography from one of Everton’s longest-serving players of all time.

I’ll admit it – I’m not the biggest reader, but when I had the opportunity to take some books on holiday the first one I wanted to have a more thorough look at was Leon Osman’s latest effort – his autobiography.

I’d flicked through it last year like most people to see his thoughts on Moyes (he was happy for him to get the ‘big job’ at United and found him ‘difficult’ as a manager sometimes) and how his style would contradict Martinez, but wanted to find out more about his career with the Blues and his thoughts on our team over the years.

As a short summary I have to state that if you don’t support everton or have an absolute interest in our club you might not get too much out of the book. It’s not something that neutrals will pick up and find to keep their interest throughout like Roy Keane’s, Gaaza’s or (my favourite auto-biography), Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It doesn’t even have the legendary interest of Big Nev or Howard Kendall’s recent efforts.

That’s not to say it’s a bad book though – Leon Osman has always been a favourite of mine despite his lack of flair at times, although we did miss him massively last season and whe he came back towards the end of the season his creativity shone through. He’s a constant 7 or 8/10 player that will give the team his all every time. Just reading the stats connected with his career (see below) mixed with the stories of his injuries gives you an idea of how much this ex-Liverpoool supporter has dedicated his career to the team (even when he was on buttons comapred to the rest of the squad.

There are some tasty bits of information in the book as you’d expect but you get the impression that he was told to put these in to sell copies. He gives certain stories about players like Cahill, who doesn’t seem as popular as I always suspected (being ‘all about the brand Tim Cahill’) and Senderos, who apparently came in for a second leg came against Sporting Lisbon and told his team-mates that he was so nervous he’d ‘need some help’. He even pulls some names out of the current squad such as Kevin Mirallas and gives him some stick – you can imagine the players won’t be crying if the Belgian moves on this Summer. He also gives an insight into several players that didn’t quite make it at Everton, including Vellios, who most Everton supporters couldn’t understand why he didn’t play more often. Turns out that the young Greek saw himself as Zlatan but unfortunately only the strutting attitude and terrible dress sense was anywhere near matching the Swede’s attributes.

I revisited the comments on Moyes to see how the players perceived his tactics versus those offered by Martinez. The reason for this was to see if any comments given by Osman would give any clues aganist the problems we had last season, such as our lethargy towards the end of games or inability to change tactics at times. Osman gives some clever pieces of information about how things may have changed differently and not for the better under the Spaniard. Some would say that he’s not had any other manager, but the fact that Martinez refused to get his players running in pre-season like the Scot did certainly had an impact on the poor form and results experienced at the start of the last campaign.

Similarly, the refusal of Martinez to change hius tactics when up against it seems to be part-praised as a football philosophy and part-criticised as an inability to hit the ball long and relieve pressure from the defenders and midfielders for instance.

As I say there are some real insights for those of us that sat through the Moyes years (it’s good to know the players were annoyed with the cup-rotation too) and hearing stories about the players outside of the confines of Bellefield/Finch Farm/Goodison is great.

What would be very interesting to read is an update to cover last season. Having new tactics come in and seemingly work is one thing, but sometimes you can gauge much more feeling about the club when things go wrong. It’d be intriguing to discover what Osman’s thoughts are about the state of the club now.

Oh, and as an aside – Leon Osman says that he wants to perhaps become a manager one day. I think not acting like a 10-year old and playing pranks on everyone might help…

Osman facts: – He’s one of only 5 EFC midfielders to score 50 goals from open play (Cahill, Alan Ball, Sheedy and the recently departed Andy King being the other 4).

– He’s won more Premier League games for Everton than any other player.