'The Smell of Football': The candid story of 'Baz' Rathbone's eventful 35 year-career in professional football
As a young player crippled by nerves (and an irrational fear of the legendary Trevor Francis!), Baz struggled to hold down a place at his boyhood club, Birmingham City, but went on to forge a distinguished career in the lower leagues with Blackburn and Preston in the '70s and '80s.
Baz qualified as a physio when his body finally gave in and, after a rollercoaster season battling against the relegation trap door as manager/physio at Halifax, he re-joined Preston where he met up with a young David Moyes. After a successful period at Preston he eventually joined forces again with David at Everton as Head of Sports Medicine.
At Goodison Park he was responsible for the well being of millions of pounds worth of talent - rubbing shoulders with the likes of Duncan Ferguson, Wayne Rooney and Tim Cahill - in a remarkable eight year spell that would take him to the heights of walking out at Wembley on FA Cup Final day.
The book is the honest, uncensored account of life in the dressing room - charting the changing face of football up and down the divisions, from booze-fuelled bus trips and £50 a week pay packets, to the glitz and glamour of the Premiership and its celebrity trappings.
The Smell of Football is firstly a refreshingly frank and vivid biography of a professional footballer from an era that is now long gone when the salaries of an entire team were as he puts it probably equal to the mobile phone bill of the average Premier League player. Mick Rathbone's book is wonderfully evocative, firstly describing his boyhood apprenticeship and mantle of being the most promising prospect for the future of Birmingham City football club.
A highly recommended 5 Star read
Football.co.uk will be interviewing Mick Rathbone later in the week so if you have any burning questions to run by Baz please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org