When Mick Rathbone signed for Birmingham City as a 16 year-old apprentice he was living every schoolboy’s dream. But when he discovered he was so nervous he was unable to speak, let alone pass the ball, in the presence of his boyhood hero and City star Trevor Francis, he realised that a career in football might not be everything he had imagined.
The Smell of Football is the brutally honest and utterly compelling story of how ‘Baz’ conquered his personal demons to build a life in the game – from the terrified teenager who purposely tried to get injured in training rather than get picked for the first team, to the experienced pro who became Head of Medicine at Premier League Everton FC in charge of the treatment of the likes of Wayne Rooney, Louis Saha and Tim Cahill.
Brilliantly written and packed with hilarious tales featuring a football ‘who’s who’ cast of characters – from Sir Alf Ramsey and ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce to David Moyes, Duncan Ferguson and Rooney himself – The Smell of Football is an engrossing and moving memoir that covers every aspect of the professional game and gives an unprecedented insight into what life is really like at football’s coalface.
About the author
Mick ‘Baz’ Rathbone is unique in the game of professional football in that he has been a player, manager and physio. A no-nonsense full back, between 1975 and 1995 he turned out for Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Preston North End and Halifax Town, where he began his career as a physio and ended up managing the team as they battled to retain their place in the Football League. He went on to become physio at Preston North End in 1995 and then in 2002 he was appointed Head of Medicine at Everton FC by David Moyes. He left Everton in 2010 but continues to work in professional football in a freelance capacity, most recently for the England U17 team and Preston North End.
“Rathbone’s autobiography is a superb read, from his playing days to fixing Rooney et al as Everton physio. Especially heartening is his honesty about his nerves as a young player, so crippling he’d hide to avoid being picked. By the end, you can hardly begrudge him a chapter on success.” ?????
FourFourTwo magazine, July 2011
“A fantastic insight into the real world of football– a cracking read.”
Oliver Holt, The Mirror, July 2011
Baz is one of football’s true gents and it shines through in the book. The pressure might have got to him as a young player, but he had a good career, and has become a top physio and now writer. ”
Chris Kamara, SKY Sports, July 2011
“You can almost smell the liniment as you turn the pages of Mick Rathbone’s unique take on life in the dressing room as player, manager and physio at the top and bottom of the game. If you thought football was all glamour – think again.”
Shaun Custis, The Sun, July 2011
“His encounter with Cristiano Ronaldo was hilarious. Typical of a refreshingly unpretentious read. A bit like Fred Eyre with f-words.”
Patrick Barclay, The Times, July 2011
“I remember Mick as a young player at Blues he was hilarious, He used to come to me every week and say I want to pack up football and be a priest/Policeman/Sports journalist. The book is brilliant, a fantastic read for any football fan.”
Tom Ross, BRMB Radio, July 2011
“‘Bazil’ Rathbone’s book is like a great football match. It has drama, humour, tribulations and triumphs and chronicles the career of a lad who represents the true backbone of the game. A wonderful read for all football lovers. “
Gordon Taylor OBE, PFA, July 2011
My best ever signing? Mick Rathbone without a doubt!
David Moyes, July 2011
“Baz is one of the funniest people I have ever met.”
Sam Allardyce, July 2011
“He was a great physio and a top bloke.“
Duncan Ferguson, July 2011