Shortlisted for the British Sports Book Awards 2018
“What’s your dream, son?”
A six year-old boy, head bowed, mumbles the eternal answer: “Be a footballer….” Steadman Scott, football’s most unlikely talent scout, smiles indulgently, and takes him in from the street. He knows the odds. Only 180 of the 1.5 million boys who play organised youth football in England will become a Premier League pro. That’s a success rate of 0.012 per cent.
How and why do the favoured few make it? What separates the good from the great? Who should they trust – the coach, the agent or their parents?
Michael Calvin provides the answers on a journey from non-league grounds to hermetically sealed Premier League palaces, via gang-controlled sink estates and the England team’s inner sanctum. He interviews decision makers, behavioural specialists, football agents and leading coaches. He shares the hopes and fears of players and their parents. He exposes bullying and a black economy in which children are commodities, but remains true to the dream.
"Another landmark work from Mike Calvin, who has taken us beyond the surface of football to show its true workings. Ground-breaking reportage with a heart and a conscience. A service to the game."
"Extraordinary writing, a vital subject, a brilliant read"
"If you’re in any way interested in what lies beneath the water of the Premier League Iceberg, read Mike Calvin’s latest book No Hunger in Paradise"
"A fascinating insight which gets to the heart of the matter – and problems – chasing every kid’s dream. A compelling read for anyone who likes football and the stories surrounding the stars of tomorrow. I couldn't put it down."
"Another exceptional piece of work"