Book review: Savage!
Footballing macho man Robbie Savage gave 110 per cent every game and never shirked a challenge. He faced down some of the game’s hardest men, stood up to Alex Ferguson and even took Stuart Pearce out of one game with a bone-jarring challenge. But there was one thing he could never admit to, until his career was over and his book had come out.
Robbie Savage had been hiding a terrible secret. He was a thespian.
In his cliches’n'all autiobiography, Savage!, the Wales star bravely comes out as a ‘situation embellisher’ and faces the rumours that have been circulating around the game ever since he first clapped eyes on Tottenham’s Justin Edinburgh.
When his big moment on the biggest stage in football came, Savage gave the performance of his life. His theatrical tour de force blew the packed house at Wembley Stadium off their feet. Referee Mike Riley was so impressed by Savage’s dramatic ouevre that he awarded the highest possible accolade in the modern game, the coveted Red Card for the Opponent.
Now retired, Savage wants to stand up for all the thespians in the modern game, many of whom suffer terribly at the hands of small-minded football fans.
“They boo a thespian in the other team, but they’ll happily cheer their own man’s furtive shenanigans,” said Savage. “I’ve decided it’s time to defend my own, and others’ craft.”
Many more enlightened modern pundits are prepared to recognise the positive contribution that thespians make in the modern game. Post match analyses on Match of the Day between Gary Lineker, Mark Lawrenson and Alan hansen will frequently end with the words, “He’s entitled to go down there” or “that’s definitely up for an Oscar.”
Many thespians go to great lengths for their work. Savage spent time among the playing staff at Crewe, Leicester and Blackburn, learning how real footballers work rest and play. His Stanislavsky Method paid off and many people were astonished to see him perform in the Championship for Derby against QPR and not look out of place. Deeply superstitious, like many actors, Savage said he carried a Taarabt in his packet the whole night.
In retirement Savage says he misses the changing room atmosphere most. “I miss it all, the fans, the lights, the nerves, the smell of the greasepaint…..”
By Nick Booth