Spot The Baller: Guardian’s Secret Footballer Appears On Camera For First Time – Who Is It?

Chris Wright

23rd, August 2012


By Chris Wright

What you’re about to see it The Guardian’s ‘secret footballer’ (@TSFGuardian) first ever appearance on camera. If you’re not familiar, the secret footballer is an industry insider, whose documents the riches, debauchery and pressure that professional footballers are subject to from a first-hand perspective.

We’ve had tidbits clues-wise over the years: he’s a current Premier League player, he grew up on a council estate, he’s married and he’s represented at least two clubs in the Premier League – playing under at least one ‘great’ manager (his words).

To plug his new book, TSF has made an appearance in a viral. Of course, his identity is still shrouded and his voice has been dubbed over by an actor, but this is the closest we’ve ever come to revealing just who this tights-wearing maverick really is…

Pies’ best guess? For some reason, we’ve got a sneaking suspicion it’s Nicky Shorey or David Bentley.

Any wiser? Who are you putting your dubloons on folks?

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  1. Eeny says:

    Emile William Ivanhoe Heskey.

  2. Rami says:

    It’s Dave Kitson. Remember me.

  3. Diamanti says:

    Kevin Davies !

  4. Chris says:

    I was always lead to believe that it was Danny Murphy , no longer Premiership but has been til this season.

  5. hello says:

    he’s left-footed; that’s a start.

  6. Nicko says:

    Mr. Robert Savage

  7. lisa says:

    in his book excerpt, he says he won two consecutive player of the year awards so it cant be anyone mentioned here so far?

  8. Gamblino says:


  9. Christian says:

    Banksy for sure!

  10. lisa says:

    robbie fowler maybe

  11. kevin doyle says:

    it’s me.

  12. Kevin Doyle says:

    it’s definitely me.

  13. lisa says:

    robbie fowler fits the bill perfectly the more i read / compare. he also mentions he was in a premier league club that was relegated…he was at leeds and experienced that.

  14. michael owen says:

    michael owen

  15. Jon says:

    I’ll say John O’Shea.

  16. Roberto says:

    Its mario balotelli!!!

  17. Anabelle says:

    I think is Robbie Fowler.

    1) Won two consecutive player of the year awards;
    2) Grew up on council estate;
    3) Played for agreat manager (Houlier?;
    4) According to video he’s a left-footed player. Fowler was considered one of the best left-foot strikers.

  18. One England Captain says:


    according to this'_Player_of_the_Year

    can only be Henry or Ronaldo

  19. Mark says:

    I heard it was Danny Murphy aswell.

  20. lisa says:

    @one England Captain:
    there are a few player of the year awards…theres 1) player’s player of the year 2) fans player of the year and 3) young player of the year

    Robbie Fowler is the only one who has won consecutively and fits the other criteria too: grew up on an estate,was relegated once (leeds), played in a lower league once (blackpool, cardiff city), played for multiple premier league clubs (mancity, cardiff city, liverpool) had boatloads of money and lived the super-hedonism for awhile then lost it all to tax; was accused of drug addiction after an operation (happened to him at liverpool)…and ‘in the last few years played at anfield against liverpool’ ..that would be cardiff city in the fa cup run. he also quoted ‘youll never walk alone’ with some melancholy from that experience. he would do.

  21. lisa says:

    oops, a few typos ….cardiff city shouldnt be in the prem list. also there’s one more player of the year awards.

    and it cant be henry or ronaldo. they’re not english.

  22. anonymous says:

    it’s the stig

  23. plops says:

    Another clue: he’s an emo. Just look at that ‘woe is me’ pose sitting by the goalpost. It would be a lot easier to guess if he didn’t cover his head with a hood.

  24. lisa says:

    @annabelle : played under rafa benitez during his second stint at liverpool

  25. Kevlar Doyle says:

    It’s not fucking Fowler; he doesn’t CURRENTLY play in the prem.

    ‘player of the year’ could easily refer to a club-specific award.

    the game is up – it is I.

    I played under Sir Mick McCarthy for pete’s sake AND got relegated.

    boom boom, shake shake the room.

  26. Gamblino says:

    But even for a footballer Robbie really is exceptionally minted so I dont see his motivation. Good shout tho. Incidentally I think the player of the season’s could be just club awards.

  27. lisa says:

    @gamblino … on the secret footballers site he mentions his mortgage is £18K per month…think he just doesnt have the £100k per week salary anymore. to him he is not as rich as he was in his heyday…but he would be rich by any normal persons assessment

  28. Christian says:

    Banksy for sure …

  29. Bo-tep says:

    Robbie Fowler wasn’t a Premier League Footballer last season…

    Other clues:

    He has been relegated on the last day of the season.
    Promoted to the Premier League from the Championship.
    Back to Back club player of the season awards.
    Played against Valencia at Man Utd.

    It’s either Dave Kitson or Danny Murphy.

  30. Leslie says:

    It’s gotta be Messi

  31. Mr Sensible says:


    I thought Fowler owned about a million houses in Liverpool though, at least that’s what the ‘we all live in Robbie Fowler house’ song is supposed to be about.

  32. squiggle says:

    It’s not Robbie Fowler, unless he has quite the ghostwriter.

    p.s. I mean that he’s a halfwit.

    p.p.s. TiD-bits?

  33. James says:

    My immediate thought was John O’Shea. That makes two of us.

  34. Cleaverson says:

    Matthew Etherington?

  35. stu says:

    Dominic Matteo? A guess really. Not sure what awards he’s won tho.

  36. stu says:

    Dominic Matteo. Bit of a guess.

  37. gamblino says:

    Whoever it is probably does have quite the ghost writer though.

  38. Col says:

    Frode Grodas.

    Or more seriously, Joe Cole.

  39. Otagolad says:

    The Secret Footballer is…….. David Bentley!

    1. TSF is English – check
    2. TSF is Caucasian – check
    3. TSF is married – Kimberley Wells
    4. TEF has a daughter – Devon Bow
    5. Has played for at least 4 managers – Arsene Wenger, Nigel Worthington, Mark Hughes, Juande
    Ramos, Harry Redknapp, Alex McLeish and Sam Allardyce
    6. TSF has transferred between two Premiership Clubs – Arsenal to Blackburn and Blackburn to
    7. TSF was club record buy – Tottenham £15m+
    8. TSF was a big flop following his record transfer – David take a bow
    9. TSF has played club football with group of French players – Arsenal
    10. Played for a ‘Legendary Manager’ and ‘God of the game’ who subsequently lost it – Arsene
    11. TSF has been involved in an unsuccessful last day relegation battle – Birmingham City 2011
    12. TSF subject to deadline day transfer – to West Ham 31st August 2011
    13. TSF thinks most successful captain of his club during his tenure was arrogant and self serving –
    Thierry Henry??
    14. TSF has himself been a captain – England under 18’s
    15. TSF played with a striker who refused to move unless the ball went exactly where he wanted it –
    Thierry Henry/Robin Van Persie?
    16. TSF was at a club where a brawl with bitter rivals which included the dugout is still a touchy
    subject? – Battle of Old Trafford/Pizzagate
    17. TSF developed his game at a lower league club – Norwich
    18. TSF grew up in a small town – Peterborough
    19. TSF’s depression – Sam Allardyce said of David Bentley – David Bentley was suffering from depression on the Spurs bench. When you’re forgotten at the football club you’re at, you become very depressed. People say footballers are happy to just pick the money up, but they’re not. He was a £15m player three years ago. You don’t lose that quality but you can lose confidence. So we will give him confidence and some TLC and hopefully bring the best out of him again.

    Further evidence – the Guardian ran a piece on Bentley in 2008 called ‘The secret life of a footballer’.

  40. lisa says:

    @mr.sensible..he says in this video that he’s got £40M on paper but he couldnt give you 10 quid out of his pocket….sounds about right?

    @botep….its not a requirement he played in the prem last season. its a requirement he just played last season (he did in australia)

    also…..i am certain theres red herrings in the stories to protect his identity. doesnt help, i know lol

  41. Mr. Chopper says:

    It was worked out a while back that it was Dave Kitson and that was completely watertight, but this whole David Bentley thing is certainly intriguing. There’s a story in TSF’s book where he talks about having an operation and the press running a story on his being addicted to painkillers. That’s the real killer.

  42. squiggle says:

    Savage. I read that as Robbie Savage. Robbie Savage is a halfwit, not Robbie Fowler.

    My apologies.

    In my defense I was as de-stressed as a newt.

  43. squiggle says:

    No, bugger it, Robbie Fowler’s a halfwit, too. And a bigot.

  44. folkdevil says:

    It’s Matthew Etherington.

  45. folkdevil says:

    but on checking you might be right he hasn’t been relegated twice its David Bentley

  46. folkdevil says:

    won’t let me edit its David Bentley cos Etherington hasn’t been relegated twice

  47. folkdevil says:

    having checked I don’t think Etherington has been relegated twice so I’m inclined to go for Bentley

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