After weeks of nagging and pestering, WhoisTSF managed to secure a one-on-one interview with The Secret Footballer, the only one he’s done, and is ever likely to do!

Naturally he didn’t want us to learn of his identity so he asked us to come as just one person, pull up in a certain lay-by just off the m4 and to bring a blindfold. He held some kind of voice-to-brummy encryption device to his throat throughout the interview so his voice couldn’t be properly detected. So here for you is the only interview TSF has done in person …enjoy…

TSF’s new book, ‘I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game’, is available in paperback and is also available as an ebook.

NB. Despite the comic nature of this interview, the transcript was taken from genuine questions posed to, and answered by, TSF (see his tweet offering the interview). Read the full interview in it’s original format below:

What was your reaction when you first saw and do you ever go on to check the latest opinions on your identity and see which clues we’ve got right or wrong?

I find it difficult to get on the spot decisions right so I allowed myself to have a good think about it, after which I concluded that this was a good sign that TSF would gain a lot of early traction, so even when the lawyers came to me and said that you were in breach of copyright by using our logo, I told them to go and do proper lawyer things and stop wasting everyone’s time. In a roundabout way of course. I go on to the site as and when the Guardian contact me and point something out, they mention that I might want to think about something on there when I write the next column.

Can you confirm that you sometimes throw red herrings in to your articles to avoid being easily detected?

First and foremost, all of the stories and anecdotes that I have written either in the column or the book are real, that is to say that they most certainly happened. 95% of them happened to me and 5% have happened to other players, at other clubs, and I always clearly point this out by starting, ‘a friend of mine…’

There’s a common perception that you’re just one of a pool of footballers who write the column? What do you say to this speculation that TSF is a collection of multiple footballers?
That is a great theory, probably brought about by the fact that I have so many stories to tell. Believe me, there are thousands more, definitely enough for a TSF 2 book. Lots of my stories don’t make it past the lawyers. One of these stories was in the book and carried on from where the South Korea anecdote left off. The Guardians lawyers wouldn’t ok it on the grounds that it named a nightclub, a violent gang and two American students that had been raped. I was the player that had been left to deal with the fall out in this nightclub. I may publish it as a column on

What was you reaction to Harry Redknapp’s sacking?
At first I thought it was extremely harsh but when I heard the reasons from some of the players I was understanding. Sir Alex Ferguson or Mancini would never have made a mistake like the one Harry did at Aston Villa, it all but cost Spurs a Champions League place. Not to have your finger on the results of the other games is slack at best.

Who were your footballing idols growing up?
We had a real mix of kids in our street that supported Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester Unted and if you were the weird kid in our street Wimbledon (he always pretended that he was Sanchez). I liked Ian Rush but there was an older kid that was always Rush so usually I had to be Barnes.

Which is your favourite ground to play at?
I have never had one, and that is not meant to be deceptive. I always prefer playing at home because that means I don’t have far to go home and I can lock myself away from the madness quicker than I can if I’m playing away.

What was the best goal you ever scored?
As a kid I beat about 8 players and chipped the keeper, my father bought me a new football.

Which manager would you most like to have played under but never got the chance to?

Capello at AC Milan in their heyday. What a team, what a moment in time.

What other sports are you in to and do you get to follow them as much as you’d like to?
I will watch any sport providing it’s a big tournament. For example, I won’t watch golf but if it’s the Open or Ryder cup then I’ll watch avidly, I don’t watch darts but if my pal Phil is playing then I will, I don’t watch rugby but if England are playing in the world cup then I’ll tune in with some mates that are rugby fans. I can get in to anything really. With sport, there are certain things that are replicated that I get a big buzz from, the battle, the crowd and ultimately the glory. You only get that from watching sport.

And what about you? Were there any chances of you making it in any other sport when you were growing up?
I used to be fairly handy at Golf until I broke/dislocated four of my fingers doing something stupid. Now I can play about 6 or 7 holes before one of my fingers starts to pop out again and I end up driving the buggy for the rest of the afternoon. Still, I’ve made a discovery, driving the buggy recklessly is fun people!

In your first season as TSF the opinion polls on our site had Danny Murphy way out in front as prime candidate for TSF. Did you discuss this with Danny the next time you played against him?
That’s a terrible attempt!! On another note, I was once with a player when two lads came up to him and shouted something like, ‘It’s the secret footballer!’ That player then turned to me and said, ‘this always fucking happens!’

With your new book, ‘I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game‘, are you looking to make up the holy trinity of seminal football writers following up from ‘Left Foot Forward’ by Garry Nelson and Eamon Dunphy’s ‘Only a Game’?

In short, no. Whatever anybody else has done, is doing or wants to do is their business. I am doing this because I know that nobody has ever seen a book like this before, I know that I have never read a book like it before and I have read most of them.

How do you perceive differences between football from when Nelson wrote Left Foot Forward and football now?
Football has changed enormously since The Premier League began, whether that is players behaviour, money, club ownership, agents and, most importantly, the way the game is played. I take the point that lots of pundits have achieved a huge amount in the game but that was in a completely different era, the public needs pundits that have just finished. A very obvious example of that was Gary Neville who came in and in a few weeks had completely opened up the way people look a the game. He didn’t sit there saying stupid things that aren’t funny and he didn’t stand there thinking ‘I better not say that because I might lose this job’, he’s Gary Neville, just retired, worth a fortune and didnt need the job and had won everything. He was perfect for the viewer.

You’ve made your battle with depression public knowledge and have recently said that you wouldn’t be releasing this book if you weren’t well on the road to recovery. So, still on the topic of seminal works by national treasures, firstly: have you read Alan Partridge’s ‘Bouncing Back’, and, if so, did you take much inspiration from it?

I got the audio book of ‘I, Partridge’ and I was listening to it thinking that it must be a tough read without Coogans voice accentuating the words and anecdotes. I love Partridge, some friends told me that the movie has been signed off ready for filming, I look forward to it. So far as taking inspiration is concerned, are you serious!?

Now sell it to us, why we should we read your book?
I’m told that the book will enter The Sunday Times paperback bestseller charts at number 2. It’s a book about football by an anonymous author. It must be pretty good to do that! I know that you wont have read anything like it before.

You’re known to be critical of media coverage in terms of their understanding and portrayal of tactics. Can you provide us with an alternative snippet of journalistic analysis as you’d like it to be delivered?
Let’s not blanket the whole of the media. The media is a huge industry and many of the people that work within it are helping to put out some fantastic content. In fairness to many of them, some tactics are only obvious to us players because we do it for a living, it’s all we’ve ever been doing and it is second nature. The trick when it comes to tactics is to look at the mistakes made when goals are scored, 90% of the time, mistakes come from losing concentration and poor decision making. So each time a goal is scored watch it back from the moment the attacking side took possession. My guess it that you will see two or three players that could/should have made better decisions. Remember, every goal is preventable.

As you’ve alluded to yourself, footballers are often perceived as champagne swilling, happy-go-lucky numpties. Now the floor is yours to tell us just how many of you are actually cynical old bastards?
There are definitely some players that fit that first mould but I have also met many that have things to say for themselves outside of talking about tits and football. I’m not saying that I only ever want to talk about the writings of Nietzsche and the compositions of Schubert because very often you need to engage in the everyday things that make the world go round. A reporter once asked Bob Dylan how many artists are also writing protest songs, Dylan said it’s either 146 or 152. In other words, how the hell should I know?

Right, and last of all, so many people on write comments convinced that you’re a certain player (different players for different people). Obviously they can’t all be right, so come on, tell us, which members of our community guessed right?!
I can feel somebody beginning to push his luck now. As Gordon Strachan once said, I’ve got a yoghurt in the fridge that I desperately need to give some attention to! Good luck.

‘I Am The Secret Footballer: Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game’, is available in paperback and is also available as an ebook.