I bet you won’t be able to put down this new Leon Pryce autobiography

Aaron Bower, rugby league writer for the Guardian, was put in the unfortunate position of being unable to say ‘no’ to the writing of “Prycless”, a book no-one asked for and almost no-one will read including Leon.

Autobiographies from athletes are, naturally, a whitewashed bore.  Worse for rugby league players, where little if nothing happens. Even worse, if you’re a British rugby league player.

If you played for one of four British clubs, you won 9 trophies, along with 85 other guys.  No-one can remember any of them, except Bobbie Goulding.  If you played a lot of internationals, you lost them all except that one AMAZING win over Australia somewhere.  AGAINST THE ODDS will be the title of that chapter.

One of your teammates was involved in a betting scandal that saw him fined an irrelevant amount by his club, and another crashed his team-sponsored car.  Neither made the papers, so you can’t include those, because you need to avoid teammates bringing up the occasions you did the same.

You might be able to pad it out with a chapter about the time you were played out of position but made the best of it, or one where you couldn’t believe you were made captain of your junior club.

The Leon Pryce story would be a ripper if he focussed on three areas:

  • How any young kid from Bradford can have a 17 year and counting professional sports career while bashing out 20 cigarettes a day.
  • Explaining how you were the only person ever to face a custodial sentence for unlawful wounding for assaulting Brian Carney.  Naturally, the judge bumped it down to community service when he saw the opponent was Carney – but how have more teammates not bashed him?
  • Telling us more about how Bradford and Blackpool are terrific, and Bondi and Australia are terrible.

Here’s some highlights from Prycey’s BBC interview on the 2006 Aussie tour:

It’s not all it’s made out to be. All the Aussies come over and say how good it is, but I’d much rather be back in Bradford.  I’d rather be on Blackpool beach than Bondi beach. They can keep the country to themselves.

I don’t think they have much respect for us at all, as people as well as players. I don’t think they really like the English.  They don’t seem to be keen on us.

It may be difficult to find common ground with someone who prefers Bradford and Blackpool to Sydney and Bondi.



See, that would be a book worth reading.


Author: Max Smith

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